ProQuest Boosts Product Quality, Slashes Cycle Times and Production Costs

Firm Outsources Digital Content Production to Innodata


ProQuest, one of the world’s leading publishers of proprietary electronic content, converts more than 3,100 magazines, journals and other periodicals. The company uses a format that allows for full-text searching and other revenue-generating enhancements. Among the titles the Ann Arbor-based company delivers to college and academic libraries are leading publications, such as Newsweek, The Journal of Internal Medicine and Cosmopolitan.

ProQuest realized it needed a more cost-effective way to convert and format its vast amount of content, especially since it wished to add more titles to its growing list of publications. The company was not willing to compromise on turnaround time, and actually sought to improve it. The sooner ProQuest was able to add magazines to its various databases, the greater the value it would deliver to subscribers and readers.

Converting text to electronic format was only the tip of the iceberg.

ProQuest also planned to re-purpose the content to increase its value to subscribers, as well as generate more opportunities for revenue through the sale of reprints, full-text articles or other data-rich products. Indexing articles, for example, enables researchers to search through the content for specific subject information.


ProQuest chose Innodata , based on its proven experience tagging, indexing and converting content to XML, as well as its demonstrated ability to handle an ongoing workload of more than 3,100 weekly, monthly and quarterly publications.

Converting magazines to a proprietary format (such as ProQuest’s) requires a fair amount of intervention by a skilled and talented team. Innodata's team ensured that headlines, illustrations and supporting material appeared in context. They also decided which content should be omitted, such as Letters to the Editor, classified ads or one-time announcements.


ProQuest had already built its own proprietary format for delivering content online. The primary challenge for Innodata was to develop a production process for handling the workload. The content services team began developing a work plan to handle the volume. To get up to speed, the team set-up a production schedule that called for a gradual build-up to full production. The gradual approach provided the team with time to understand ProQuest’s requirements and the project guidelines, and ensured they could meet the tight turn-around schedules (which included converting four or five publications within 24 hours).

ProQuest ships the documents in XML and Tagged Image File Format (TIFF). Innodata parses the documents into files containing ASCII text, as well as an abstract and assigned index terms. Innodata decides, based on ProQuest’s guidelines, which articles are converted with full text and graphics, and which ones require abstracts and indices.


The project is now in its second year of production and ProQuest has continued sending more titles to Innodata for abstracting and indexing. From ProQuest’s perspective, the project has freed its staff to focus on its strength – finding new sources of content to deliver greater value to subscribers.

The cost-savings from the outsourcing project provide ProQuest with additional capital to pursue other titles. The increased amount of content in proprietary XML format enables the database publisher to increase revenue by re-purposing content for other uses. This is a major goal for any publisher, especially one that specializes in re-configuring content to meet the needs of users.



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