Flower

Author Archive

Fact Sheet: World Teachers’ Day

World Teachers' Day Infographic

October 5, 2017 is World Teachers’ Day commemorating the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.

This year’s theme is “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers” and correlates with the Sustainable Development Goals established in 2015. The top priority for these education and development goals is for teachers to be empowered and celebrated.

To reach the goals set by UNESCO, the world needs to recruit almost 69 million new teachers by 2030. In this infographic, I’ve highlighted how many primary and secondary school teachers must be recruited in 2020, 2025 and 2030 respectively to meet these goals.

With teachers at the forefront of importance in shaping students’ educational and social understanding of the world around them, it is vital that teachers are acknowledged for their contributions and commended.

Reach out to your teachers and let them know how they’ve inspired or challenged you. Just a few kind words can go a long way. The more teachers there are in the world, the more students there will be who continue to ask questions and find solutions to long-standing problems. And those students could become our next innovators, humanitarians, and world leaders. Support teachers—our future depends on it.

How will you celebrate World Teachers’ Day? Let us know on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below! Also, find us on Facebook @ProQuestHomeworkCentral.

Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.

Back-to-School for Educators: ProQuest Is Here to Help

Are you ready to make or finalize lesson plans? Have you made your school year shopping trip yet? Do you know how you want to decorate your classroom? Educators have so much to do before the school year starts let alone during it. While there’s a lot to think about, having helpful tools ready to go and a checklist of what you need to do can make it easier. The ProQuest story is to curate enriching content, simplify workflows for our customers and connect with our vast community of educators, researchers, and librarians. As an editor that works on the Guided Research products, my department works hard to not just do all of the above but also to create new ideas and content that help students grow and thrive in K12 plus preparing for what comes after. Our editors do the research to come up with new Leading Issues and create them from beginning to end. We create new product features and curate the content that’s highlighted and we make sure our customers feel connected.

Simplifying an Educator’s School Year

Curating and Creating Content for All Researchers

SIRS Discoverer

Animal Facts and Pro/Con Leading Issues are two product features in SIRS Discoverer that were created in-house.

In collaboration with product management, Content Editor, Senior Jen Oms came up with the idea for Animal Facts and Content Editor, Senior Ilana Cohen came up with the idea for Pro/Con Leading Issues. Jen and Ilana both explained why they wanted these two features in SIRS Discoverer.

Before Animal Facts was created, Jen knew it was a feature SIRS Discoverer needed. She said the product had articles about animals, but it wasn’t enough. She wanted to simplify the time and process kids would have to go through to learn all the key facts on their favorite animals. She also wanted such a feature to complement the product. She knew SIRS Discoverer had articles on tigers for example. She wanted there to be an Animal Fact page for tigers too. Jen collaborated with another colleague Michelle Sneiderman to create what is now totaled at over 300 Animal Facts (with more being added). They modeled the idea on a 1-page table style of animal characteristics, conservation status and additional information like fun facts. Jen also said one of the main sources used to create Animal Facts came right from the encyclopedia content in SIRS Discoverer. Jen wanted Animal Facts to be robust and it is one of the most popular features in the SIRS Discoverer product.

Bobcat Animal Fact via SIRS Discoverer

Bobcat Animal Fact via SIRS Discoverer

The creation of Pro/Con Leading Issues for SIRS Discoverer seemed a logical decision. Ilana said it was modeled as an “entry-level pro/con research product for young audiences,” something the product didn’t have but would be beneficial. She created the initial pro/con issues and added supporting content in collaboration with a few other editors. These issues are created and updated dynamically on a yearly basis. While SIRS Issues Researcher includes main and sub-issues, SIRS Discoverer Pro/Con Leading Issues only contains main issues. It currently has 60 Pro/Con Leading Issues that students can choose from, and Ilana explained her process for choosing new ones to create includes looking at existing content and search reports. This feature also includes a Visual Literacy asset which presents a cartoon and pairs it with critical thinking questions. Pro/Con Leading Issues is also one of the most popular features in the SIRS Discoverer product.

Pro/Con Leading Issues via SIRS Discoverer

Pro/Con Leading Issues via SIRS Discoverer

SIRS Issues Researcher

Visual literacy, information literacy, and critical thinking are three skills the Guided Research products help build. SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issues are created in-house. Editors curate the content to support them that students can debate and discuss in and out of the classroom.

Recently, I worked with my colleague Jeff Wyman to make it possible for our editorial team to create charts and statistics in-house. Sometimes our content providers lack this and we wanted a way for ProQuest editors to fill the gap when it happens. Knowing how to read charts is a skill that students can continue to develop as they advance in their research and go on to college.

EU Favorability Chart Created by ProQuest Staff

EU Favorability Chart Created by ProQuest Staff

SIRS Issues Researcher also includes Curriculum Guides that are helpful in building information literacy, visual literacy, critical thinking, and research skills. These guides help students understand editorial cartoons, infographics, primary sources, research, statistics and writing arguments.

Both Leading Issues and the skills they support drive the ProQuest story. We simplify educators’ workflows and not just curate, but create too. SIRS Issues Researcher delves into the heart of the issues affecting people all around the world every day. It gives students the chance to explore topics they may have never thought of before and think critically about them.

Connecting with Customers and Our Community

ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information and media literacy skills. Free trials are available.

Find us on Facebook or Tweet us @ProQuest. We love our customers to reach out and say hello!

Exploring the International Space Station Library

It’s not unusual to think of books and other types of media when discussing libraries, but we usually don’t associate floating in space with the word library (although you may if you’re deep in your imagination…but I digress.) Believe it or not, there’s an informal library of books and media on the International Space Station, much of which was left by astronauts. While it isn’t huge, it has continued to grow over the years. To illustrate what media you may find aboard the International Space Station, I’ve made an infographic. Thanks to a couple of Freedom of Information Act requests listed in the sources section of the infographic, some details about the number and types of materials on board were found.

And for more information on the International Space Station, visit the SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issue page which highlights invaluable resources and editorially selected articles to help students debate and discuss the International Space Station both in the classroom and outside it.

ProQuest stands for better research, better learning, and better insights. We enable people to change their world.

Do you have a favorite library to share with us? Tweet us @ProQuest or leave us feedback below. Also find us on Facebook.

Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.

National Music Week: 15 Museums for Music Lovers and Educators

May 7-14 2017 is National Music Week. Educators, if you’re already thinking about summer vacation, you may want to make time to visit one of these music-themed museums with loved ones soon. From country to blues to everything in between, there’s a museum for all types of music fans to enjoy. So, put down the textbooks and start planning your summer vacation with a music adventure!

  1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

    Situated in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is filled with a rich history of the best artists in country music.

    Screenshot of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum website

    Screenshot of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum website

  2. Musical Instrument Museum

    Located in Phoenix, Arizona, this museum is home to 6,500 displayed instruments from 200 various countries and territories around the world. In the Experience Gallery, you are encouraged to play instruments and even though 6,500 instruments are on display at a time, the collection includes a total of 16,000 musical instruments and objects.

    Screenshot of the Musical Instrument Museum website

    Screenshot of the Musical Instrument Museum website

  3. Delta Blues Museum

    Founded in 1979, this museum has its home in Clarksdale, Mississippi, near the Delta region where “the blues began.” It is the state’s oldest music museum. This is a place where you can explore exhibits on musicians like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker while also enjoying one of the many events or festivals hosted by the museum.

    Screenshot of the Delta Blues Museum website

    Screenshot of the Delta Blues Museum website

  4. Grammy Museum Mississippi

    Located in Cleveland, Mississippi, this museum offers interactive exhibits and experiences that bring the music achievements of Mississippians into the spotlight.

    Screenshot of Grammy Museum Mississippi website

    Screenshot of Grammy Museum Mississippi website

  5. National Music Museum

    You will find the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, on the University of South Dakota campus. The music collection here is the most inclusive anywhere and boasts more than 15,000 instruments from all cultures and historical periods. With so much to see, a trip here can easily take an entire weekend.

    Screenshot of National Music Museum website

    Screenshot of National Music Museum website

  6. National Blues Museum

    Centered in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri, this museum celebrates the Blues and its role in shaping American history and culture. Understanding and appreciating the foundation Blues music has given so many other genres of music, this museum will engage and encourage visitors.

    Screenshot of the National Blues Museum website

    Screenshot of the National Blues Museum website

  7. Museum of Making Music

    Located in Carlsbad, California, the Museum of Making Music is dedicated to sharing the accomplishments of those who make, sell and use musical instruments and products. Unique exhibits, vibrant performances, and inspiring educational programs bring the history of this museum alive.

    Screenshot of Museum of Making Music website

    Screenshot of Museum of Making Music website

  8. Memphis Rock n Soul Museum

    Memphis, Tennessee, is where you will find this museum. Learn about the birth of rock and soul music as exhibits share how musical pioneers overcame socioeconomic and racial barriers to create music that has transcended generations.

    Screenshot of Memphis Rock n Soul Museum website

    Screenshot of Memphis Rock n Soul Museum website

  9. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

    This iconic attraction and museum is located in Cleveland, Ohio. It brings the origin and story of rock and roll to life with hands-on activities, installations, and special exhibits.

    Screenshot of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website

    Screenshot of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website

  10. Motown Museum

    The flat where Berry Gordy and his family lived is now the Motown Museum. Located in Southeast Michigan, it has made its mission to “preserve, protect and present the Motown Story through authentic, inspirational and educational experiences” as stated on the Motown Museum website.

    Screenshot of the Motown Museum website

    Screenshot of the Motown Museum website

  11. International Bluegrass Music Museum

    Moving to Owensboro, Kentucky, three blocks west of its current location in Spring 2018, this museum exhibits decades of bluegrass music and the musicians who made it. The museum holds concert series to continue the legacy of bluegrass music and the Hall of Fame highlights pioneers of bluegrass.

    Screenshot of the International Bluegrass Music Museum website

    Screenshot of the International Bluegrass Music Museum website

  12. American Jazz Museum

    Planted in the jazz district of Kansas City, Missouri, this museum is a haven for those who love modern jazz. It’s an adventure for the senses as you explore exhibits, films, and events. May 26-28, 2017 is the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival.

    Screenshot of the American Jazz Museum website

    Screenshot of the American Jazz Museum website

  13. American Banjo Museum

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is home to this museum. Dedicated to appreciation for the banjo, you can learn about the instrument’s impact on bluegrass, folk and world music while also viewing decorated banjos of the 1920s and 1930s. This museum contains the largest collection of banjos on public display in the world.

    Screenshot of the American Banjo Museum website

    Screenshot of the American Banjo Museum website

  14. Grammy Museum at L.A. Live

    Located in Los Angeles, California, The Grammy Museum celebrates the creative process behind making music and the history of the Grammy Awards. Includes more than two dozen exhibits spanning a diverse selection of music.

    Screenshot of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live website

    Screenshot of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live website

  15.  Stax Museum of American Soul Music

    In Memphis, Tennessee, at the original site of the Stax Records studio you will find the Stax Museum. This museum proudly states it’s the “world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of American soul music.”

Screenshot of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music website

Screenshot of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music website

 

What does National Music Week mean to you? Share your thoughts on Twitter with #ProQuest or leave us a comment below.

Do you enjoy our blog? Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.

National Library Week: 4 Impressive World Records!

Libraries transform readers to writers. Libraries nurture curiosity. Libraries give everyone a chance. Getting a library card is like a rite of passage. Without libraries, we wouldn’t learn about the work of so many diverse authors. We wouldn’t be as informed. We wouldn’t get access to everything print and beyond that libraries have to offer.

April 9th-15th is National Library Week. This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform” and to celebrate, we’ve compiled 4 outstanding library, author, and book-related records that were set according to Guinness World Records.

 

JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong by Wing1990hk CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong by Wing1990hk CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Highest Library from Ground Level

On November 7, 2003, the library located on the 60th floor of the JW Marriott Hotel in Shanghai, China took this title with a height of 757 feet 6 inches.

 

Kewanee Public Library by Kepper66 CC-BY-3.0 via<br /> Wikimedia Commons

Kewanee Public Library by Kepper66 CC-BY-3.0 via
Wikimedia Commons

World’s Largest Library Book Fine Paid

On April 19, 1955, Emily Canellos-Simms checked out the poetry book Days and Deeds from Kewanee Public Library in Illinois. Forty-seven years later, Emily found the book at her mother’s house and returned it to the library with a check for $345.14 in overdue fines.

James Patterson by Susan Solie-Patterson CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

James Patterson by Susan Solie-Patterson CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

First Author to Sell More Than 1 Million E-Books

On July 6, 2010, Hachette Book Group reported author James Patterson was the first author to have sold over 1 million e-books. He sold 1.14 million. Self-published author John Locke surpassed this record in June 2011, selling over 2 million e-books.

Comics artist Ken Bald at the 2013 Wizard World New York Experience Comic Con, at Pier 36 in Manhattan, June 29, 2013 CC-BY-3.0 © Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons

Comics artist Ken Bald at the 2013 Wizard World New York Experience Comic Con, at Pier 36 in Manhattan, June 29, 2013, CC-BY-3.0 © Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons

Oldest Artist to Illustrate a Comic Book Cover

At age 95, Ken Bald is the oldest artist to illustrate a comic book cover as verified on November 4, 2015. He illustrated Contest of Champions (2015) #2 (Bald Classic Variant). Ken is also the oldest comic book artist.

How are you celebrating National Library Week? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.

New Leading Issue: Job Automation

Job Automation Leading Issue via SIRS Issues Researcher

Job Automation Leading Issue via SIRS Issues Researcher

Debating Job Automation

What does the future of work look like? As technology increases, it has become evident that our world is changing. Robots are being used in place of workers in factories, service industries, the military, the medical field, and more. Is there a way for robots and humans to work alongside each other in harmony? The debate continues. Some say the automation of jobs will lead to the creation of better job opportunities. Others say automation is just the start of a worldwide unemployment crisis. Should the government provide a basic income if robots replace workers? These are just some of the pro/con viewpoints students can debate and analyze with SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues.

Our new Job Automation Leading Issue highlights the key points surrounding the automation of work and the industries impacted, offers pro/con arguments, a timeline of events, critical thinking questions, helpful websites, and editorially-selected articles and media to kick-start students’ research.

Credit: White House Press Release [Public Domain]

Credit: White House Press Release [Public Domain]

Resources in our Job Automation Leading Issue include:

  • Humans vs. Robots: This National Public Radio podcast explores how humans and robots will coexist in the future.

Want to know more about Leading Issues? Contact us for complete access to SIRS Issues Researcher today!

Is your classroom studying the future of automation? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Confused About Copyright? 4 Tips for Teachers

Photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/65802285@N06/6983297769/">DavidWees</a> via <a href="http://foter.com/">Foter.com</a> / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY</a>

Photo credit: DavidWees via Foter.com / CC BY

These days there’s a lot of images floating around the internet. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when something is in the public domain (free to use), has a Creative Commons license (can be used with certain limitations), is for commercial use (for-profit use), or is copyrighted without permission to reuse.

Knowing the basics of copyright can help you choose images appropriately and even craft lessons centered around the key points of copyright and its uses. To help you stay within the lines, we’ve put together some tips and tools for finding content that works for you.

Tip #1: Ask yourself where the image came from.

Sites like Photopin and Flickr are good places to start. Here you can filter images by commercial/non-commercial use, check to see what type of Creative Commons licenses are being used and search a wide variety of images that can be used to illustrate lessons.

Sometimes, you will find that what you’re searching for can be found in the public domain. Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay are two places you will be able to search images in the public domain.

Tip #2: Look for signs of copyrighted work before using.

  1. Does the image have a watermark/byline?
  2. Does the image have a copyright symbol?
  3. Is the image from a reputable news source?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, chances are this is an image that is not available for reuse. Usually, copyrighted works require permission from the agency/photographer. Often times this means there will be a fee accompanying permission.

Tip #3: Question the image use.

If you are staying within the educational/teaching realm, you may be able to benefit from “fair use.” This is a copyright law that enables copyrighted works to be used without permission if its use is deemed “fair.” Teaching, commenting on, criticizing or parodying copyrighted works are all deemed protected within “fair use.”

Tip #4: Know these helpful terms.

Here are some helpful definitions when figuring out if your content is safe to use.

Commercial Use: used in conjunction with profit. This applies to any business use and any purpose that intends to promote a brand/business. Use in a company blog would be commercial.

Fair Use: copyrighted works may be used without permission if its use is deemed “fair.” An example would be commenting, criticizing, parodying, or teaching a copyrighted work.

Non-Commercial Use: for use that doesn’t intend to make a profit. An example of this would be for use in an educational lesson that is without monetary gain.

Public Domain: works in the public domain are available to the public as a whole. An example would be a work with a copyright that has expired.

Creative Commons (CC): a license that enables free distribution of copyrighted works. Authors who enable CC licenses want to give people the ability to share, use and build upon their original works–with restrictions. The Creative Commons search engine is a good place to visit.

Want more? The U.S. Copyright Office is another helpful resource.

Are you creating a lesson centered around copyright use? We want to know about it. Tweet us at #ProQuest or comment below!

Our 10 Favorite Education Blogs

It’s a new year and with that comes new goals. Maybe you want to incorporate technology into your classroom this year. Or create a makerspace. Maybe you’re interested in professional development. Whatever your 2017 goals are, having a collection of helpful education blogs to turn to is important. As ProQuest editors, we look to education blogs to gain insight on the issues near and dear to your hearts and ours so we want to share our top ten favorite education blogs so you can focus on what matters to you.

#10 — Worlds of Learning

Screenshot of Worlds of Learning

The tile format of this blog works well in showcasing everything from makerspaces to writing to libraries to coding and more. Everything is neatly organized by categories and this is the place to visit if you’re wondering about ways Disney World can impact the future of learning.

#9 — Edudemic

Screenshot of Edudemic

This is an education and technology blog. This blog is incredibly useful with articles covering topics such as social media and 1-to-1 computing while also addressing topics of student mental health. It breaks everything up into sections for students, teachers and teacher guides.

#8 — The EdTech Roundup

Screenshot of The EdTEch Roundup

This is another edtech blog. What makes this blog work well is its inclusion of lesson plans, suggested education apps, professional development ideas and ed tool reviews aside from its edtech blog posts. A bonus feature is an archive of its weekly edtech podcast from 2013 to 2014.

#7 — Common Sense Education

Screenshot of Common Sense Education blog

Common Sense Education is just that. The site brings reviews, teaching strategies, and digital literacy all together while its blog provides answers to navigating the best ed tools and how to decode teens’ digital lingo. A ‘Browse by Category’ feature helps organize all of the content.

#6 — Mind/Shift

Screenshot of Mind/Shift

Mind/Shift is a blog that goes outside the box. It approaches topics like being a more confident teacher and what makes the imagination so complex with expert commentary and media to back it up. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking to be inspired or want a deeper look at an issue. The Mind/Shift tagline is ‘How we will learn” and this blog indeed focuses on the “how” of learning.

#5 — The Jose Vilson

Screenshot of The Jose Vilson blog

Jose Vilson’s blog addresses current events in the scheme of education and what role they play in shaping our students and classrooms. Jose is a teacher, author, speaker and activist, and his blog posts will stir healthy debates. One post titled, “Politics Are Always At Play In Our Classrooms” fiercely addresses how politics affects students.

#4 — Catlin Tucker

Screenshot of Catlin Tucker’s blog

Catlin Tucker’s blog focuses on blended learning and technology in the classroom. She includes her favorite web tools, interviews and a section on keynote presentations, training and coaching. She offers plenty of useful posts like MyShakespeare and Trading in Traditional Notebooks for Multimedia Blogs.

#3 — Edutopia

Screenshot of Edutopia

From Battling Fake News in the Classroom to 4 Proven Strategies for Teaching Empathy, Edutopia covers a wide range of topics for K12 educators. Edutopia combines research with experience to bring best practices to the forefront and showcase what works and what doesn’t in education. Each post is written with these points in mind.

#2 — Free Technology for Teachers

Screenshot of Free Technology for Teachers

Richard Byrne’s blog “Free Technology for Teachers” highlights useful digital tools, websites, and apps for educators. What’s great about his blog is that each post explains how to use those resources and incorporate them into the classroom. One such example is his post Storyboard That Offers Lesson Plans for Every Month where he alerts readers to Storyboard That’s free lesson plans.

#1 — The Daring Librarian

Screenshot of The Daring Librarian

The Daring Librarian is a wonderful collection of digital tool tips, personal anecdotes and photos from The Daring Librarian herself, Gwyneth A. Jones. Her posts are both informative and fun. Take her post Pokemon Go QR Code Library Scavenger Hunt where she explains how she created a QR code scavenger hunt inspired by the PokemonGo game.

 

What are your favorite education blogs? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

4 Unique Libraries in Chilly Places!

It’s winter, though here in Florida it still feels like summer. For a lot of us, winter means snow, ice and bundling up. To get into the winter spirit, let’s take a look at some unique libraries in chilly places. These libraries are pretty “cool” to say the least.

Wyoming: Albany County’s Seed Library

Often when we think of gardening and the weather needed to grow a decent crop, warmer climates “sprout” in our minds. In a state like Wyoming where the climate can be dry and cold during the winter, creating a seed library seems improbable. But alas, Albany County Library was up to the challenge. The idea is that patrons can check out a packet of heirloom seeds, plant them, then once the plants develop more seeds, the seeds can be saved and returned to the library to later be replanted and so forth. The hope is that after five generations pass, people will have plants that are adapted to the colder Wyoming climate.

France & Italy: Library of Ice

Scientists observe climate change in their day-to-day research and projects, so it’s understandable that they would want to preserve as much data as they can from the ice around the world which is dwindling. Each ice sample is different and vital to uncovering details about our planet. The “Protecting Ice Memory” project, which started in August 2016, is a way for researchers to create an ice archive so to speak. Blocks of ice must be extracted then transported to an underground ice bunker in Antarctica. There, scientists can study the samples and gain valuable information relevant to climate change. While the project started in Italy, participants conducting the archiving effort include French institutions.  European countries, as well as Brazil, China, Nepal, and Canada have also shown support.

“Iceberg on frozen sea at sunrise” Photo credit: Foter.com / CC0

Washington: Gear Lending Library

Whether for snowy weather, rainy days or a camping trip, Washington’s Gear Lending Library has it covered. Jackets, rain pants, layers, boots, and outdoor packs can be borrowed. Offered through the Washington Trails Association with the help of donations, the Gear Lending Library is for adults age 18 and up who participate in the Outdoor Leadership Training program which is designed to get more young people outside and aware of how the outdoors can benefit them.

“Ice gear” Photo credit: simonov via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Alaska: ARLIS at the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus

Ever see polar bear fur or a stuffed puffin in person? Well at the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS) at the University of Alaska you can. All you need to borrow these exotic and interesting items is a library card. Here you can find everything from furs to animal specimens to skulls and so much more. Research is brought to life with the help of these interesting items. Harry Potter fans, there’s even something for you. Yes…a snowy owl.

Photo credit: Wonderlane via Foter.com / CC BY

Where is your favorite library? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest

We Are ProQuest: Jean Ward

Dexter the Very Good Goat, Jean M. Malone, Jean Ward, Children's Picture Books

Photo with permission to use from Jean Ward

We Are ProQuest: ProQuest is only as successful as its staff. The ProQuest difference is people behind-the-scenes using their skills to create products and features to provide the optimal research experience from kindergarten to post-graduate to life-long learner. We Are ProQuest features profiles of some of our talented team members. Today let’s meet Senior Product Manager, Books for the OASIS/CIS products, Jean Ward.

Jean Ward has made a name for herself as Jean M. Malone writing children’s books and has a novel in the works. Her children’s picture book, “DEXTER the very good goat” was mentioned in a ProQuest newsletter when Jean was praised for her work. While Jean has recently changed roles to become Senior Product Manager, Books for the OASIS/CIS products she also balances that job with her writing career. Jean shared with me her journey, challenges and what she dreams to accomplish in the future.

How did you come to work at ProQuest?

I came to ProQuest through the Coutts acquisition from Ingram in 2015, and it has been a very positive experience.

What is your educational/professional background?

I double majored in English (Creative Writing concentration) and Motion Pictures (Screenwriting concentration) at the University of Miami, and then after graduating I started working in a bookstore. It was a small, family run shop where half the charm was the serendipitous discovery, but the lack of Dewey Decimals or a catalog actually drove me nuts. From there I went to work in my local public library for a few years, and then I joined Ingram as an assistant cataloger, which was the perfect outlet for my organization-starved self.

While working at Ingram I went back to school to earn a Master’s of Library and Information Science at the University of Alabama, and eventually transitioned from cataloging to a collection development position within Coutts, first as a title selector and then as the department manager. Recently I left that department to become the Senior Product Manager for the OASIS product at ProQuest.

I understand you’re a writer. When did you start writing?

Gosh, I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember. I guess I’m not embarrassed to admit that I started out as I think probably many writers do, writing fan fiction when I was a teenager (Star Trek). Then I did a heck of a lot of writing in college, and after college, I wrote my first novel, which will never see the light of day.

What do you enjoy best about writing?

That’s a really hard question! I think what I love, even though I also hate it, is the revision process, and once I learned to embrace that, it really freed me because it allowed me to write truly terrible drafts so that I could just get things out on paper and see how they worked, and then go back to them. I think the most beautiful thing about writing is how it’s like a painting, and this is what I realized a few years ago when I finally learned how to revise. It made me think of The Girl With A Pearl Earring movie, where you actually see the way Vermeer would have painted: first there is a shape. Just a shape. And then you come back and you add more textures and more colors and the shape turns into a blob. And then you come back and add another layer–and after several layers, you have this beautiful amazing piece of art. But it didn’t start out as a beautiful, rich, textured work–it started out as shapes and blobs. And I think writing is exactly the same.

How do you balance work and writing?

When you find out, you tell me. It’s basically having two jobs, right? There have been long periods of time where I really burned the candle at both ends, but I have not been very good at this lately, and by lately I really mean for about the last two years. As I have taken on greater levels of responsibility at work, I have less and less energy to devote to writing, and I go through long dry periods where I just don’t write at all. Or it comes in fits and starts which are too sporadic to be useful.

But what I have found is that the best way to write is to have a routine. If I can manage to get myself into a routine for awhile where I sit down and write for an hour or two every day, then I find it much easier to stay in that routine. But life happens, it gets in the way. We moved this year, I have a longer commute, my husband’s schedule changed, my work schedule changed–so I have not been in a routine for awhile. I’m working on getting back into one right now. I’m not really like some writers. I don’t write to stay sane like my sister does. I actually watch TV to stay sane. I write because when I don’t write, I feel very disappointed in myself.

You’ve been published. How did you get published?

Every single path is different, right? I had a screenwriting classmate in college who got a job at Penguin, and she put out a call when she became an editor–send me writing samples if you ever think you might like to write for Penguin. So I did, and one day she called me and said all her writers were busy and she needed a book about flamingos on a short deadline–I think she needed the first draft in about 10 days, could I do it? And I said “Of COURSE I can do it!” and promptly went to the library to learn everything I could about flamingos. I ended up doing 2 more books for Penguin, and what I learned is that you always say yes when presented with an opportunity, even if it’s a little bit scary.

What has been your proudest moment?

I think my proudest moment on this journey has been to do with my latest book. It is a picture book, and the text actually began as my writing sample for that Penguin editor. I loved it so much that I asked my dear friend JJ, who is an amazing young artist, to illustrate it for me, and she breathed life into it in a way that I hadn’t even imagined. Since this book wasn’t an assignment or publisher request, but was all of our own making, it has been incredibly exciting. My proudest moment was finding out how much my–let’s see–she would be something like my cousin-in-law once removed? Anyway, she is the most adorable little girl, and she is Dexter’s biggest fan. Hearing about how much she loves Dexter, how she keeps her book in a special spot in her play kitchen and how she knows all the words by heart–that is definitely my proudest moment so far. Knowing that something about the book struck a chord with her and makes her so happy.

What is a dream you have in life?

I want to continue to write picture books because they are so much fun, but my dream is to be a novelist published by a mainstream publisher. I’m currently revising my third novel, and have been for an embarrassing number of years now. I dream big–I want to touch people’s lives–especially young people–through my writing. I want to win the Printz. And then I also have this nerdy obsession with Hallmark Christmas movies, and I have several Christmas novels that I want to write–and then write the screenplay adaptations for them as Hallmark movies of my own.