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We Are ProQuest: What We’re Thankful For

 

Happy Thanksgiving from the ProQuest Team

Photo credit: kennymatic / Foter / CC BY

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, turkey-induced comas, long weekends, and of course, a time to reflect on what we’re thankful for in the past year. For this edition of our We Are ProQuest feature, our editors share what they’re grateful for this holiday season.

“I’m thankful for my family (which includes my pets), my friends, my job and my co-workers, my house and the community I live in, and most of all my health, which allows me to enjoy all of the other blessings I have. In October, I celebrated 10 years as a breast cancer survivor!”—Becky Beville

“I’m thankful for my family.”–Michelle Brault

“I’m thankful for having incredible friends and family. I’m thankful for the wonderful opportunities I have at work. And I’m also thankful for all the Black Friday deals I will be taking advantage of this year.”–Kim Carpenter

“I am thankful for wonderful family and friends and the Florida sunshine.”–Ilana Cohen

“Although I may not have everything I want, I have everything I need, and for that, I am grateful.”–Jennifer Genetti

“I am thankful for my wonderful husband and my two beautiful children, who surprise me with how much they learn every day. And I am thankful for my loving parents and my brother who are all such wonderful people.”—Jennifer Oms

“I’m grateful for many blessings–my home, job, health, coworkers, friends, and family. I’m especially grateful for my Mom who just moved near me after 20 years of being in separate states.”—Christie Riegelhaupt

“I am thankful for friends who have been like family, an amazing first year in Boca Raton with the best team, gorgeous weather, and the ever-lovely cortadito.”—Juliana Rorbeck

“I’m thankful for my family and friends, especially that they are all healthy.”—Jaclyn Rosansky

“I am thankful for weekends at the beach with my dogs, Loki and Scooby.”—Amy Shaw

“I am grateful for every day that I can see and feel the love and positivity in the world, and for each day that I am hopeful and happy. (I’m working toward being grateful for the days I am not those things.) I am thankful every day for my daughter, and for her wisdom and compassion. She certainly helps me in the hopefulness and happiness departments.”—Michelle Sneiderman

“I’m thankful for good health, a growing family (more grandchildren!!!) and beautiful Florida weather. I am also extremely thankful for a Chicago Cubs World Series Championship!”—Kathy Starzyk

“I am thankful for good health, good people, good food, good books, and good days.”—Jeff Wyman

What are you thankful for? Share with us! Comment below or tweet us using #ProQuest.

We Are ProQuest: Tom Mason

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 Editor Tom Mason!

Tom Mason
eLibrary Editor, Louisville, KY

Tell me a little about your life and work history before coming to ProQuest.

I grew up in a small town in southern Kentucky. I graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Mass Communications degree and a minor in Economics. I worked on a farm. I was in the U.S. Navy for a while. I worked as a photographer’s assistant, and I worked at a large bakery for about a year.

How did you come to work at ProQuest?

I was looking for a way in which to use my degree. I knew a bit about Data Courier, so I applied.  (Note: When I began my career in 1991, the office in Louisville was called UMI/Data Courier.  In 2001, the name changed to ProQuest.) My first job was as a Copy Editor working on the ABI product. I then became an Editor. Then an Editorial Coordinator, and now I work as an editor in eLibrary.

What is your current position, and what are some of your job responsibilities?

As an Editor in eLibrary, I create and edit Research Topics; I correlate topics to state educational standards and Common Core standards; and I add files and help maintain our Topic Tree. I write blogs occasionally. I also help maintain the History Study Center product.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

The great people I work with. I also enjoy the research I do on an almost daily basis. I research a wide range of topics, which I find very interesting.

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

I like to read. I very much enjoy throwing baseball, and I have a large baseball card collection. I do a lot of walking. I have two cats that I somewhat enjoy.

What might others be surprised to learn about you?

I have been through the Panama Canal (Hot!) and the Straits of Magellan (Cold!).

We Are ProQuest: Amy Shaw

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 ProQuest Editor Amy Shaw.

What are some of your job responsibilities?

I am an Editor II in the Boca Raton, Florida, office for ProQuest’s Content Operations–Student Publishing, where I work on two products in the K-12 arena: SIRS Issues Researcher and eLibrary.

Vitality Contest

Amy Shaw (left) and Sales Rep. Patty Morrison look at their scores for a ProQuest Vitality exercise challenge held in the Boca Raton office in 2012.
(Credit: Christie Riegelhaupt)

My eLibrary work involves co-leading the Social Studies Team with Jim Zelli to create and maintain the Research Topic pages. Our team is a virtual team as we work out of different locations in Florida and Kentucky. (My co-lead, Jim, works out of the Louisville office.)

On the SIRS Issues Researcher side, I work with many other editors to create and maintain new Leading Issues. I oversee the issues in the following areas: civil rights and liberties; economics, business and law; and society and world politics.

What I love about creating these products are the interaction we have with our customers. Many of our new Research Topics and Leading Issues were created based on customer input from media specialists and teachers.

What do you like most about working at ProQuest?

I like ProQuest because there is no excuse to be bored working here. ProQuest is always challenging its employees to take risks, innovate and build new skills.

One way ProQuest helps employees build new skills is by providing training and development tools. For example, they offer unlimited access to an online library of training material to help anyone learn software, design and business skills. They also offer an Employee Education Assistance program that reimburses employees for tuition, lab, course registration fees and textbooks at accredited colleges, universities or technical schools.

And here is another reason I like about working at ProQuest: its culture. I read an article today about how this one major company was run into the ground because its CEO pitted employees against each other and in so doing created a culture of fear and mistrust. ProQuest is the exact opposite of this. One of the things that I enjoy here is that the atmosphere is conducive to collaboration and sharing of ideas and skills.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Every weekend, I look forward to taking sunrise beach walks with a few dear friends of mine. We walk about six miles, and then have a delicious breakfast.

I also enjoy reading anything and everything by Neil Gaiman and China Mieville and watching sci fi marathons (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Japanese monster movies), especially if there is homemade pizza involved, and most especially if it involves the kind one of my friends makes with pineapple and hot peppers.

And I like supporting my friends in music and arts by going to their plays, art exhibits and concerts.

If Only My Tree Had Legs

If Only My Tree Had Legs
By Amy Shaw

You are a published children’s book writer.  What have you published and are you working on any projects now?

I’ve published 10 talking picture books, including Who Wants to Be Friends with a Cactopus?, Moperella, and If Only My Tree Had Legs, through MeeGenius. And, currently I am collaborating on two projects: one is an early reader story with a former colleague who now lives in another state and another is a fantasy novel with a friend who lives in another country.

Tell me more about your transnational collaboration.

Last fall, I made a friend online who is currently living in Bucharest, Romania, and we are now collaborating on a novel. As he doesn’t know English well, he has to translate everything I send him into Romanian–using Google translate–before adding his parts, retranslating it back into English and sending it back to me. He does all of this on an old iPad, which–with the small keyboard–is almost as difficult as trying to type it into a phone. Because he is coming at the story from an actor’s perspective, he brings authenticity to the characters’ dialog and emotions and makes the action scenes pop.  The whole experience has been incredible–and full of challenges–for both of us, and we have become very close friends. Once we finish our novel, we are thinking of writing a story about the process we went through in creating our story.

And now, since he is helping me make my dream come true as a novelist, I want to help him make his dream come true as an actor. He is in the process of putting a play together in Bucharest, and I want to try to find sponsors for it, which is something I’ve never tried to do before. My friend and I also want to try to help with rescuing some of the estimated 60,000 stray dogs that roam Bucharest. So, if we can combine both things–the play and rescuing dogs–that would be awesome.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

If I could live anywhere, it would be Hampstead Village in London, England, because of its artistic, musical and literary associations. Authors who made their home in Hampstead include notables such as A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh), T.S. Eliot and George Orwell.  I would take a dip in the swimming ponds in the ancient parkland of Hampstead Heath, watch groundbreaking plays at the Hampstead Theatre and pay a visit to nearby Highgate Cemetery, where my all-time favorite author, Douglas Adams, of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is buried.

We Are ProQuest: Jeff Wyman

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 ProQuest Editor Jeff Wyman.

Joining ProQuest in March 2013, Jeff brings a different perspective to the Boca Raton editorial team. He works on everything from SIRS Issues Researcher, WebSelect and eLibrary to writing for the “Share This” blog and conducting market research. Moving to Florida in 2010 from New England, he misses cool air, cloudy skies, and snow, reiterating inclement weather is his favorite.  What else does he miss? His family and New England’s authentic fried seafood, particularly fried clams.

Jeff Wyman -- Photo credit: ProQuest Editor Jaclyn Rosansky

Jeff Wyman
Photo credit: ProQuest Editor Jaclyn Rosansky

How did you come to work at ProQuest?

It was one of life’s kismet moments. I had no immediate intention of leaving my last job, but I came across an ad online for this position.  The job description matched my personal and professional interests perfectly.

What is your educational/professional background?

I have a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from UMASS-Lowell.  I am a humanities junkie, and this degree afforded me flexibility to create my own curriculum without committing to one subject.  I have a Master of Arts in Writing and Literature from Rivier College, a small liberal arts college in Nashua, New Hampshire.  This degree helped me hone my critical thinking and writing skills.

Before this job, I spent most of my working life in health care, specifically pharmacy.  I was a pharmacy technician and a biller.  I was never passionate about health care, but the field offered flexible hours, decent pay, and forced me to work the science and math part of my brain.  Most importantly, it afforded me the ability to pay for college.

What do you like most about working at ProQuest?

This job has blurred the lines between my personal and professional life.  Time at work often doesn’t feel like work because I enjoy what I do so much.  And much of what I read on my personal time informs my work.  My personal interests and my professional life complement one another.

Do you have any unique skills you would like to share?

I have laser sharp focus, which I guess can be considered a skill!  I can work on a task for hours straight and completely lose myself in my work.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Reading, writing, running, drinking coffee, and experiencing nature.

If you weren’t working at ProQuest, what would be your dream job?

My dream job would be to make a living off of my poetry.  I’d buy a mini house in the woods and work there.  I’d read, write, guzzle coffee, pace, take long walks, and nap–but not necessarily in that order!  Oh, and I’d probably go back to school.

What changes do you foresee for the future of education and technology?

There is a lot of talk about more technology in the classroom, but I am interested in how technology and education can bridge more organically.  Simply introducing technology into the classroom without any plan or forethought has proven ineffective.  We need to apply technology in the classroom meaningfully.  I look forward to the days when technology and education are no longer discussed as two separate entities.  Technology is a tool just like pencils and textbooks were when I was in school.  Education is a philosophy.  But change is often slow and painful and always easier said than done.

What is your proudest accomplishment outside of work?

Going to college has always been a huge source of pride for me.  I stumbled when I initially went to college because I felt like I had to go, so I ended up quitting.  Once I got to a place in my life where I wanted to go, everything changed.  College has added so much meaning and depth to my life.  For one, I discovered and nurtured my poetic voice in college.  It was difficult work, but it was also the best thing I have ever done for myself personally.  There’s a lot of focus on college as career training, and that is important.  But we also need to find meaning in what we do.  If I approached college as simply a stepping stone to a good job and high pay, I would have never finished my degree.

The Human Element

When students try to do research by surfing the open web, they will find plenty of results–too many, in fact. Most are commercial, some are of questionable authority, and many are outdated. How do they sort through it all and determine what is relevant, credible, and appropriate? ProQuest student products have the answer: The Human Element.

ProQuest editors do the searching first, selecting all the best and most relevant resources for student products such as SIRS Issues Researcher and SIRS Discoverer. Editors compile content from more than 1,800 global full-text, statistical, web, and multimedia sources. Included are primary sources, graphics, statistics, reference sources, viewpoints, and web sites to support student research, study, and homework in key curricula subjects. Every SIRS resource has been carefully reviewed to ensure its relevancy, credibility, curricular applicability, appropriateness to students, and alignment to standards like the Common Core.

Learn how ProQuest editors help researchers make the grade every day through the 5-minute animated video The Human Element.

CultureGrams — FAQ: Who Writes CultureGrams?

Who Writes CultureGrams?

Each World Edition report is written by a native or long-term resident of the country in coordination with a CultureGrams editor. Writers are selected for their education, knowledge of a national language, experience with different regions and socioeconomic groups, recent residency in the country, and access to current information. Once an acceptable draft is prepared, independent reviewers (also natives or long-term residents) with similar qualifications but varying backgrounds provide additional perspectives and insights before the new text is submitted to a CultureGrams editor for final editing and publication.

The Kids Edition reports are written by CultureGrams editors, but with extensive input from reviewers. These contributors meet the same qualifications as the World Edition writers. The Provinces Edition reports are also written by CultureGrams editors and reviewed by Canadian historians. The States Edition reports are written by CultureGrams editors and reviewed by state historians.

Find the answers to this and other similar questions on the CultureGrams FAQ page.

–Angie Thompson

eLibrary gets the JOB done!

K12 teachers, and the librarians who collaborate with them, are seeking current and authoritative information on occupations, to support a common assignment in US schools. eLibrary has that information and the ProQuest editorial team even organizes it in visually compelling and time-saving Research Topics. There are nearly eighty Research Topics offering carefully curated and vetted eLibrary content about the most commonly-researched occupations. Perform a search on “Firefighter” and the Research Topic offering current, relevant content about firefighters appears above the results list.  

But, how does a teacher or librarian quickly demonstrate to a student patron the breadth and depth of our Research Topic coverage of this range of occupations? Until now, it wasn’t easy.  

ProQuest editors have come through again, solving this dilemma by creating a ProQuest Essentials Topic Guide for the topic of Careers. Think of it as an Research Topic directory of Research Topics. Users can easily find this meta-document by performing a query on “career”, “careers”, “list of careers” or “career list.” Or you can browse the alphabetical list of Essential Pages under the letter “P”.

For more about eLibrary’s Research Topics, formerly known as Essential Pages, take a look at this informative overview.

–Larry Wilkner