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Information firm and civil rights organization work together to preserve archives and improve access

The first step in broad, digital access to the archives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) commences in April when ProQuest and the venerable civil rights organization release the first in a series of modules for libraries and researchers. ProQuest® History Vault’s NAACP Papers 1 will provide the first electronic access to files from the group’s Board of Directors and Annual Conferences, as well as text of major speeches and national staff records.

Digital access is just one piece of a larger project to preserve the NAACP’s valuable records. ProQuest is working with NAACP offices throughout America to implement best practices for selecting, cataloging, storing and handling of original documents.

"Preservation and access to important, unique and historic content are the very foundation of ProQuest’s mission to support serious research," said Rod Gauvin, senior vice president and general manager of ProQuest Information Solutions, a business unit serving the library market. "When we combine this rich, foundational content with our powerful research tools that allow researchers to find, compare and share, we accelerate the ability to discover, synthesize and understand."

The NAACP archives are part of the rapidly expanding ProQuest® History Vault, which chronicles the American experience. For example, The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century contains digitized documents from the founding of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs at the close of the 19th century to the riots that followed the verdict in the Rodney King police brutality case in the 1990s. Upcoming modules provide access to primary sources that document other facets of African American life: Slavery and the Law (due in March); Southern Life and African American History, 1775-1915, Plantations Records, Part 1 (due in June). Other collections of primary sources scheduled to release in 2012 include American Politics and Society from JFK to Watergate, 1960-1975 (due in September), and Struggle for Women's Rights, 1880-1990: Organizational Records (due in December). Documents in History Vault are available for remote study and are supported by rich, intuitive search technology. Original archival arrangement schemes are preserved and PDFs of the original sources replicate the user experience of browsing through archive boxes, providing an unparalleled research experience for their students and faculty who would otherwise be unable to access materials held at geographically-dispersed archives.

History Vault's NAACP archives are part of ProQuest's vast portfolio of products that provide diverse viewpoints and lenses on news. The company's rich research resources also include Historical Black Newspapers, an archive of digitized African-American newspapers, Jewish Newspapers, a developing archive of historical Jewish American papers, and Black Studies Center, a digital core collection of primary and secondary sources that record and illuminate the Black experience, from ancient Africa through modern times.

About ProQuest (www.proquest.com)
ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company has forged a 70-year reputation as a gateway to the world's knowledge — from dissertations to governmental and cultural archives to news, in all its forms. Its role is essential to libraries and other organizations whose missions depend on the delivery of complete, trustworthy information.

ProQuest's massive information pool is made accessible in research environments that accelerate productivity, empowering users to discover, create, and share knowledge.

An energetic, fast-growing organization, ProQuest includes the ProQuest®, Bowker®, Dialog®, ebrary®, and Serials Solutions® businesses and notable research tools such as the RefWorks®, and Pivot services, as well as its' Summon® web-scale discovery service. The company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices around the world.

20 January 2012


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