Have you logged into the ProQuest platform this week? If so, you’ve probably noticed some changes. The latest release, which went live a few days ago, brought content from Academic Video Online, Literature Online and Ebook Central onto the ProQuest platform and also introduced changes to the search and results pages.
We sat down with Brie Betz, a Cambridge, U.K.-based Director of Product Management, for a short interview on these changes and what they mean for customers and users.
What do customers see on the ProQuest platform that they didn’t see before?
Betz: The ProQuest platform is now a destination for world-class content from Academic Video Online, Literature Online and Ebook Central. When customers of these databases log onto ProQuest, they can search for 66,000 streaming videos, 350,000 works of literature and more than a million ebooks. Our ultimate goal is to give users a single place to cross-search all of their ProQuest resources, removing their barriers to research.
We’ve also redesigned our search results page to give more prominence to ebooks and videos, offering users a holistic view of their search results and faster access to varied content.
Finally, we moved the “source type” filter to sit directly above the search box on the basic search page, guiding novice users to smarter searching.
How is this related to this week’s launch of ProQuest One Academic?
Betz: ProQuest One Academic is an exciting new product that combines ProQuest Central, Academic Video Online, Academic Complete and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. When libraries subscribe to ProQuest One Academic, their users can cross-search these resources together for a barrier-free experience and a comprehensive set of results.
Much of the work that went into creating ProQuest One Academic took place in parallel with these platform changes – we needed to enhance our ProQuest platform to prepare for this product launch and others on our roadmap. These platform changes are available to everyone, not just customers of ProQuest One Academic.
Are the old platforms going away?
Betz: No, not for video and ebooks. The Alexander Street platform (the native platform for Academic Video Online) and Ebook Central will remain indefinitely, and we’ll continue to invest in them and push the boundaries of innovation. Libraries who subscribe to ProQuest One Academic will also get access to the native platforms, giving their users the power of choice. However, we’ve done everything possible to mimic the “best of” our native platforms so users will also feel comfortable searching on ProQuest.
As time goes on, we’ll feed our learnings from Alexander Street and Ebook Central directly back into improving the ProQuest platform experience. Literature Online is the exception. It’s moving from the legacy Chadwyck-Healey interface to the ProQuest platform, and in mid-2019, the old platform will be retired.
Do we have any early feedback from customers?
Betz: While we were still in development, I spoke to nearly 40 customers around the globe about the proposed changes. Logging into multiple resources can make for a choppy experience, so bringing this content together and minimizing the number of clicks is a direction that has been applauded by nearly everyone.
Librarians are incredibly smart and resourceful, and many of them will make the best of a less-than-ideal user experience, but they know their end-users won’t. They’re too impatient. These changes have been a long time coming, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how they improve workflows and research outcomes for our customers.
What’s next after this release?
We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the changing landscape of higher education, and we’re building a future that will meet the constantly changing needs of students and faculty. This, and ProQuest One Academic, are just the first steps. Stay tuned for more news in the coming months.
Read a blog by Rafael Sidi, SVP and General Manager of ProQuest Information Solutions, on the launch of ProQuest One Academic.