We sat down with Stuart Beach, Product Manager for the ProQuest platform, for a short interview on what it was like to be part of the development of this transformative product. With a degree in French and European studies, Stuart, based in Cambridge, U.K., has been working in the library industry for more than 20 years.
Describe your role in the creation and development of ProQuest One Academic.
SB: As a senior product manager on the platforms team, with responsibility for the user interface and user experience on the ProQuest platform, I’ve been leading the product development required to deliver ProQuest One Academic, the first step in the ProQuest One initiative.
ProQuest One Academic is the outcome of our work over the past year and my role has been to manage the project through to delivery, working in parallel with our Go-To-Market (GTM) team, led by Brie Betz. I’ve been involved in developing requirements, meeting with end-users and customers to determine their needs, reviewing analytics and other data, putting together the schedule and making sure that all have been focused on our targets and scope.
I’ve also worked closely with our teams in engineering, user experience and design, content operations, and customer service as well as those in product and project management to ensure they were all connected on what was being done and aware of any next steps. In addition, I’ve helped ensure the findings of our user research are translated into actionable items, that new features and functionality have been fully tested and that our schedule has been met by each of the teams across the different locations and time zones involved on the product.
What were the biggest challenges in creating ProQuest One Academic?
SB: ProQuest One Academic brings together resources from across our organization. In the most direct and obvious sense of that phrase, it puts books and videos directly in front of researchers when they use the ProQuest platform, alongside journals, dissertations, news and numerous other materials. Previously a researcher would have to use three different platforms in order to make full use of this material.
The biggest challenge is the scale of what we’ve done with ProQuest One Academic. It's not enough just to put all of the content together in one place – the content has to be usable. We can’t simply bring together more than 500 million items and expect researchers to just get on and find what they want within all of that. A large part of the work in the past year has been to understand how we can help end-users get to the most relevant content quickly and efficiently and start to introduce that assistance and support into the general workflow on the platform.
Additionally, teams across our company that have – up until now – worked on each platform separately are now working together to bring us ProQuest One Academic. It’s taken a while for the different teams to adapt & get used to each other!
How will ProQuest One Academic improve research and teaching for students and faculty?
SB: Having such rich and varied academic content together in one place is going to be transformative for so many researchers – for those just starting out through to those who are well-established in their chosen fields. All of the material in the product is from trusted academic sources and the multi-disciplinary content means there is something for everyone. This content has already been made available across three separate platforms, but ProQuest One Academic makes it easier to find and use, all in one place.
Whether you’re looking for a preprint, a research paper, a dissertation, a published book or a documentary – or even all of these in one go – you can find it. All of this is supplemented with tools and features provided on the ProQuest platform that simplify the creation of research and study materials and assist with the completion of many research tasks.
I’m proud to be a part of this product team, and I know that that ProQuest One Academic will encourage more researchers to trust the name ProQuest when they see it appear amongst other valued sources.
More news on ProQuest One Academic
Read a blog by Rafael Sidi, SVP and General Manager of ProQuest Information Solutions, on the launch of ProQuest One Academic.