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ProQuest and Rutgers University collaborate to widen access to papers that document the inventor’s life and work

ANN ARBOR, MI, September 22, 2014 – ProQuest and Rutgers University are teaming to make the University’s acclaimed Thomas A. Edison Papers more accessible to scholars and students around the world. More than 175,000 of Edison’s laboratory notebooks, diaries, business records, correspondence, and other documents will now be available in ProQuest® History Vault, boosting access, precision search and cross-referencing of these documents with other digital archives from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The Thomas A. Edison Papers Collection provides an intimate look at the life, work, and vision of the inventor credited with integrating the worlds of science, technology, movies, business, and finance.

Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1sCYC1v

An inventor, businessman, scientist, industrialist, entrepreneur and engineer, Edison laid the foundation for the age of electricity, recorded sound, motion pictures, and the introduction of modern industrial research. This extraordinary project has carefully gathered the materials from the Edison National Historical Park that document his life and work. With more than 150,000 pages of materials that have never been available online, it encompasses six parts:

  • Five collections that span Edison’s life and work from 1850 through 1919
  • A sixth collection encompasses Motion Picture Catalogs – a source for studying America in transition as filmmakers reflected industrialization, technological innovation, the changing role of women, race relations, and the birth of new communication and mass entertainment.

Sophisticated digitization and search technology make crisp reproductions of these materials more accessible than ever before, improving research outcomes in areas as diverse as the history of science and technology, business and economic history, popular culture and film history, as well as social and labor history.

“This is a very unique resource,” said Susan Bokern, ProQuest vice-president, Information Solutions. “The Edison Papers are a firsthand insight into the mind and the work of the inventor, as well as a stunning look at how technological innovation and cultural change are interrelated. His inventions both reflected and disrupted the cultural practices of his time. Incorporating these papers in ProQuest’s History Vault Program increases their research utility to scholars and broadens their access.”

ProQuest’s History Vault Program encompasses 11 million pages of digitized primary source content that documents and improves research of the American experience.

  • The Edison Papers’ inclusion in this resource allows cross-searching with other acclaimed collections, including the NAACP Papers, U.S. Military Intelligence Reports and the Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century.
  • Developed with controlled vocabulary indexing and full-text, faceted searching, History Vault enables researchers to drill to targeted results. 
  • Users can also opt to page through an entire collection to explore at a more relaxed pace.
  • Major events in history are indexed and those records are accessible through a timeline of events to help put individual documents into historical context. 
  • The resource supports African American Studies, Women’s Studies, American History, Military and Diplomatic History, and Political Science, among other areas. 
  • Institutions can build their collections over time to provide an unparalleled research experience for their students and faculty who would otherwise be unable to access materials dispersed in collections and archives around the world. 

History Vault is one of a rich variety of historical collections from ProQuest that unlock new research insights for students, scholars and librarians around the world. For more than 75 years, the company has partnered with an extraordinary range of organizations and individuals, preserving and building access to information collections. Robust and evolving technology brings that content to researchers where they are, enabling them to explore at will – whether page by page, reviewing full-color scans that are as crisp as the real thing, or via precision search that takes them to the exact nugget of information they’re seeking.

About ProQuest (www.proquest.com)

ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company’s products are a gateway to the world’s knowledge including dissertations, governmental and cultural archives, news, historical collections and ebooks. ProQuest technologies serve users across the critical points in research, helping them discover, access, share, create and manage information.

The company’s cloud-based technologies offer flexible solutions for librarians, students and researchers through the ProQuest®, Bowker®, Dialog®, ebrary®, EBL® and Serials Solutions® businesses – and notable research tools such as the Summon® discovery service, the RefWorks® Flow™ collaboration platform, the Pivot™ research development tool and the Intota™ library services platform. The company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with offices around the world.

22 September 2014


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