ProQuest News Metadata Available in ICON

Image from Chicago Defender, 4 April 1925. From ProQuest Historical Newspapers

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Maria Smith -

ProQuest is the second major publisher of commercial news databases to share metadata in CRL’s International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) database. ProQuest has provided title- and issue-level information from several news products offered through its digital archive. The metadata is now available at

ProQuest Historical Newspapers™ supports a number of digital full-text and page-image archives of significant newspapers dating back to the eighteenth century. ProQuest offers access to major, general circulation newspapers as well as specialized titles.  

The ICON database now represents content from several ProQuest news products including The Times of India (1838-2006), and titles featured in the American Jewish Newspapers and Black Newspapers product lines. Like the metadata from Gale databases currently available in ICON, granular information on the ProQuest newspaper collections can be retrieved through the ICON interface, allowing in-depth exploration of title coverage. Users can locate ProQuest’s holdings in ICON in several ways: browsing the complete list of publications reported to ICON; browsing the titles represented in a particular collection (for example: Cleveland Call & Post 1934-1991); or conducting a search query using title keywords or advanced settings for more detailed search parameters.

The ICON database was created to inform library decision-making on preserving, digitizing, and developing newspaper holdings. By exposing title and issue-level information about the contents of electronic databases, ICON reveals what content has been digitized, how complete that content is, and where the originals digitized are held. With this data, libraries are able to make better decisions on purchases, investments, digitization, and retention of their own newspaper holdings.

Carmelita Pickett, Associate University Librarian at University of Iowa Libraries, notes: “the release of data from ProQuest demonstrates a commitment to the stewardship of their newspaper products. I can now compare ICON data for the Pittsburgh Courier with our current access to understand where the gaps are based on the calendar information ICON provides.” Pickett has been an advocate for greater data transparency and provenance information in content databases, particularly appealing to ProQuest to contribute data to ICON for their Black Newspapers collection.

CRL is currently analyzing the metadata contributed by various digital publishers including ProQuest to identify overall strengths and gaps in digital collections. CRL will share these findings in future content reports, detailing strengths of news databases in terms of geographic and chronological scope, depth of coverage, and uniqueness of database content. 

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