Researchers Can Find Rich Titanic History Below the Surface

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ProQuest opens Periodicals Archive Online to enhance Titanic research for centennial month.

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Researchers are often looking for access to first hand information that – for historical stories – is unavailable on the open web. We’re giving them an opportunity to see how much more they can explore and discover about Titanic using the deep web.

ProQuest is responding to a surge in research queries related to the centennial of the Titanic’s doomed voyage with free month-long access to Periodicals Archive Online. It’s one of a rich selection of deep web resources that contain early 20th century sources on the ship, the disaster and the resulting news coverage. Researchers can get a view of the content throughout April on ProQuest.com, where a feature on Titanic’s history is shown through a mix of newspaper accounts, magazine pieces and scientific journal articles.

“The story of the Titanic is incredibly layered and just like an iceberg, the biggest portion… maybe even what matters most is below the surface,” said Rod Gauvin, senior vice-president, ProQuest Information Solutions. “Researchers and scholars are often looking for access to first hand information that – for historical stories – is typically unavailable on the open web. We’re giving them an opportunity to see how much more they can explore and discover about Titanic and virtually any other interest area by tapping deep web resources.”

ProQuest.com provides a taste of what users can find by digging below the open web to premium resources typically accessible through library websites (often labeled “databases” on the library homepage). For example, the histories of Titanic’s sister ships – the Britannic and the Olympic – are revealed through insights from Periodicals Archive Online. Libraries purchase subscriptions to such resources to support the research needs of their users and make them available remotely, enabling them to connect from home, office and increasingly through mobile devices.

ProQuest resources that provide insight into the Titanic saga include ProQuest Historical Newspapers, digital archives of the full-runs of major newspapers from around the world with actual images of articles. The archives enable researchers to read first-hand accounts from survivors and family members of those not so lucky, providing a poignant immediacy to the Titanic story. For example, a short Irish Times article from April 16, 1912, provides an insight on Titanic’s wireless operator Jack Phillips – a controversial figure for his failure to report the California’s warning to the Titanic of ice ahead. Yet, reading the Times article we see Phillips as more than a name when we learn the last message from this young man was to his parents: “Practically unsinkable. Don’t worry.” For researchers exploring the evolution of media, the archives provide a first-hand look at the role of rumor in early 20th century journalism.

ProQuest science and technology journals enable researchers to follow up on modern takes on the Titanic disaster, including the role of weather patterns. Still other sources include Periodicals Archive Online, which holds among its 15 million articles an item from a 1910 edition of The Spectator that describes Titanic’s development and role it was meant to play in keeping the White Star Line ahead of new rival Cunard. That database is available for a month-long free preview in April 2012 through ProQuest’s Discover More Corps, which will also offer free training on how to get the most from this expansive resource encompassing hundreds of digitized journals dating from 1665 and published in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

To explore Titanic related or any research area, visit http://www.ProQuest.com and http://www.discovermorecorps.com.

About ProQuest (http://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 management and 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.

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Beth Dempsey
ProQuest
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