ProQuest Acquires bigchalk

The ProQuest Co. recently acquired bigchalk and is fully integrating it into ProQuest Information & Learning ( "ProQuest has a history of working closely with bigchalk, and we are very familiar with its products. This acquisition provides opportunities to expand distribution of existing products from both companies into their various markets. It also allows greater opportunity to develop new products, drawing from an increased number and range of content sources," says Alan Aldworth, president and CEO of ProQuest Co.

Bigchalk was founded in 1999 with the combined assets of ProQuest's K-12 division and Infonautics Inc.'s K-12 business. The company supplies comprehensive reference databases, using pictures, magazines, newspapers, as well as audio and visuals, to make learning more interactive and enjoyable. In addition to its up-to-date online reference databases, bigchalk offers standards-based digital curriculum and easy-to-use tools for lesson preparation. Its products include bigchalk Library, eLibrary, bigchalk Integrated Classroom, ClassMate and other Web-based programs. No immediate changes are planned for the product line.

"With the addition of K-12-focused products, we can meet the needs of all library types with age- and interface-appropriate products. In addition, we can incorporate some of the bigchalk content and features into our products to better meet the range of user needs in public libraries," says Tina Creguer, a ProQuest spokeswoman.

ProQuest Co., based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is a provider of information and content products to the library, education, automotive and power sports industries. The company also develops databases comprising periodicals, newspapers, dissertations, out-of-print books and other scholarly information from more than 8,500 publishers. Users can access these databases through ProQuest's online information system.

"With the addition of bigchalk products, we will be able to fully meet the needs of multi-type library consortia with a seamless set of electronic reference products serving kindergarten through post-graduate researchers," says Rod Gauvin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for ProQuest Information & Learning.

Aldworth adds, "With the acquisition of bigchalk, ProQuest becomes a leader in the growing K-12 market."

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.