ProQuest Black Studies | Reference eReviews

Launched in 2022, this groundbreaking research database brings together ProQuest’s rich array of African American studies content from a wide range of sources, including scholarly journals, historical newspapers, encyclopedias, dissertations, and archival materials totaling around 10 million pages. Researchers of all levels will appreciate the database’s powerful search, user-friendly design, and extensive scholarly and archival content.

ProQuest Black Studies

CONTENT Launched in 2022, this groundbreaking research database brings together ProQuest’s rich array of African American studies content in one place. The database draws from a wide range of sources, including scholarly journals, historical newspapers, encyclopedias, dissertations, and archival materials totaling around 10 million pages. Hundreds of streaming videos (television shows, documentary films, and more) and images accompany the texts. Hosted on the vendor’s signature database platform, ProQuest Black Studies unifies content otherwise scattered across disparate platforms (like History Vault and Alexander Street) and renders it all cross-searchable and browsable. This is the first ProQuest product to integrate archival materials so seamlessly. Content is rich and diverse. The flagship collection is the former ProQuest Black Studies Center, consisting of the Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience and the Black Studies Periodicals. The database includes 160+ full-text scholarly journals and magazines, 10 influential Black historical newspapers (such as the Chicago Defender, 1909–2010), and 32 scholarly essays. The essays are dated (mostly from 2005), but ProQuest plans to publish more. Around 120 archival collections document Black liberation struggles across American history, ranging from 1900s Black Abolitionist Papers to the complete NAACP Papers and the African American Police League Records. This resource is U.S.-focused, offering little coverage of African or Afro-Caribbean studies. ProQuest will add relevant new collections to the database as they are released. An interactive timeline enables patrons to select any event in Black history between 1450 and 2019 to view related materials. Short biographies of prominent figures in African American history come with relevant articles, primary sources, videos, and other information.

USABILITY Black Studies’ user interface is consistent with ProQuest’s other databases. The platform has a contemporary look and feel and is uncluttered, intuitive to navigate, and attractively designed. Pages adjust automatically to fit the screen size of a tablet or smartphone. The navigation makes it easy to conduct basic and advanced searches, search or sort publication lists, search across other ProQuest databases, and learn more about the contents of Black Studies. Patrons can limit their searches to historical newspapers, primary sources, journals, videos and images, or other content types. A persistent link accompanies each content item. Searches crawl the full text and bibliographic records of documents and other files, highlighting keyword and phrase matches. With the advanced search, patrons can design structured queries that may contain up to 10 search terms or phrases, using Boolean logic, proximity, and other search techniques. Patrons can limit to full-text and/or peer-reviewed results and by publication dates, content types, and other filters. They can drill down by archival box and folder and sort results by original archival order, replicating the experience of doing physical archival research.

PRICING Cost is determined by the size of the institution and its population. Interested libraries should contact ProQuest.

VERDICT ProQuest Black Studies is positioned to become the database of choice for both students and scholars in African American studies. Researchers of all levels will appreciate the database’s powerful search, user-friendly design, and extensive scholarly and archival content.

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