ProQuest – The Quest for Great Digital Imaging

Faster, Better, Sharper.

The Quest for a Great Digital Image is Over


ProQuest LLC is a global information-content and technology company providing solutions, applications, and products for many industries including libraries, universities, hospitals, corporations and government entities. Its resources and tools support research and learning, publishing and dissemination, and the acquisition, management and discovery of many dissertations and theses, e-books, newspapers, periodicals, historical collections, governmental and cultural archives, as well as other aggregated databases, with total content estimated at over 125 billion digital pages. This vast content allows serious research of virtually any topic from varied perspectives across multiple formats. Precision search of the content is enabled through ProQuest’s renowned ability to structure data for simple access and discovery by students, scholars and information seekers of all kinds. These ProQuest technologies uncover the right content at the right time. Other tools streamline research routines with automated bibliographic support and document management, and also by providing online platforms for anytime, anyplace collaboration. ProQuest is committed to empowering researchers around the world. The company’s portfolio of assets — including content, technologies and deep expertise — drives better efficiency and research outcomes for users.

As part of its collections, ProQuest currently holds over 2000 square feet of microfilm, including over three million dissertations being housed for the Library of Congress. The film collection is extensive, and needs to be converted to a digital format and made available to researchers and clients per ProQuest’s ongoing initiative — as quickly as possible and with image quality that will make the resulting digital documents easy to search and read.


A number of years ago, ProQuest made the decision to purchase four nextScan Eclipse 300 scanners to take on the task of scanning 16 and 35mm film collections for its clients. The Eclipse machines were leading the market in terms of speed and reliability, with a design for simplicity of use, low service requirements and 24/7 production scanning environments. The software that accompanied the Eclipse scanners enabled many audit and QA features that were not available from any other manufacturer. The scanner/software combination enabled fast conversion of countless film scanning projects with great resulting image quality, but even though it was considered cutting edge at the time, ProQuest had unique processing challenges within the film itself. For example, ProQuest was scanning dissertations on film that had no space between the pages. This created trouble separating these scanned images and most of that work had to be performed manually. Jewish manuscripts from the 1200’s on film presented huge challenges in resulting image quality. The images were many times dark and difficult to read.

Since the company’s inception, nextScan engineers have worked tirelessly to enhance the features and functionality of its scanners and software offerings to continue to provide cutting edge technology to the film and fiche scanning marketplace. Many of the newest software features available with nextScan products are a result of solving their customers’ unique conversion project issues. With this in mind, nextScan introduced ProQuest to its LuminTec lighting system, which was ultimately
added to ProQuest’s Eclipse scanners. A patented LED strobe light illumination system, LuminTec enabled ProQuest to achieve even better image quality on scanned images, especially for challenging projects that included aspects such as signatures and handwritten data.


Then came NextStarPLUS software… NextStarPLUS workflow software eliminates the need for rescans. All image data is captured initially in uncompressed grayscale as a ribbon, so image enhancements can be performed at the audit workstation, enabling optimum scan time and speed, quality of output and accuracy of the overall process. No images are missed. NextStarPLUS is modular and expandable for multiple audit, index and QA workstations, provides unlimited output of image file formats and hugely enhances workflow through a multitude of management and enhancement features.



nextScan suggested ProQuest add the NextStarPLUS software to its existing scanners, and ProQuest hasn’t looked back.

“With NextStarPLUS, we are able to separate dissertation pages faster and more easily,” said Tom Somers, Engineering Supervisor at ProQuest. “Resulting image quality is twice as good as what we produced prior to purchasing the Eclipse scanners and adding NextStarPlus. Scanning in grayscale and being able to review and modify the images with all of the enhancement features offered through NextStarPLUS after the scan has increased our throughput on an incredible level. We used to have 5-6 operators running these scanners all day and sometimes at night. Now, we are getting the same amount of work done with only 2 operators. Those resources can now be allocated in other much needed areas. One scanning conversion job originally scheduled to take 1.5 years took less than six months after we added NextStarPLUS. Our customers are happy with the end product and no rescans are needed.”

Tom Somers
Engineering Supervisor, ProQuest

Stan Bowling, Content Operations Supervisor at ProQuest stated, “I am hands-on with these machines and software every day. The upgrade to NextStarPLUS was so simple. nextScan engineers worked alongside our team on training and installation to ensure that the transition was seamless. We haven’t needed much help since then as the training was so thorough. We’re happy and our customers are happy. With the addition of NextStarPLUS and the ability to get existing jobs done more quickly, we are now able to take on more work which is a huge benefit for ProQuest and our employees.”

Stan Bowling
Content Operations Supervisor, ProQuest


nextScan is a division of Digital Check Corp. , Originally Incorporated in 2002, nextScan was established to give the microfilm and microfiche conversion market a high performance alternative to existing technologies. nextScan’s innovative patented products are designed and built with simplicity and functionality to increase user production and lower overall costs for scanning film and fiche.

nextScan products are designed with cutting edge components – the latest in camera, LED stroboscopic lighting, image correction and workflow software. nextScan’s revolutionary NextStar PLUS “ribbon scanning” software, now featuring redaction and OCR, along with nextScan’s new Virtual Film and FicheStar software products , dramatically reduce overall conversion time and project costs. nextScan products provide a full conversion solution that doubles the speed, functionality and return on investment when compared to other scanners in the market. nextScan scanning technology has tapped into some of the largest conversion projects in micrographics industry including over 3 million rolls of film in the genealogical marketplace and the largest single document conversion project ever undertaken with over 10 billion pages currently in process for a large governmental agency.


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