University Microfilms International
University Microfilms International or UMI, was founded in the 1930s by Eugene Power in Ann Arbor. By June 1938, Power worked in two rented rooms from a downtown Ann Arbor funeral parlor, specializing in microphotography to preserve library collections. This was the foundation of University Microfilms International and ProQuest.
Soon after, Power "proposed filming dissertations", which provided "graduate students with an economical alternative to offset printing as a means of meeting their doctoral publication requirements". Currently, the majority of educational institutions in North America publish their doctoral dissertations through UMI.
By 1989, "UMI went back to its World War II roots by establishing a Preservation Division dedicated to capturing and preserving intellectual content being lost to material deterioration."
In 1995, UMI made selected databases available online without charge, which was the origins of ProQuest Online Information Service.
The idea of universal adoption of microfilm publication of doctoral dissertations was furthered considerably by two articles researched and written by a then recent recipient of the doctorate in History at Stanford University. Vaughn Davis Bornet seized on the idea and published "Doctoral Dissertations and the Stream of Scholarship" and "Microfilm Publication of Doctoral Dissertations."
- ProQuest "About Us" page
- College and University. October, 1952, pp. 11-30
- Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. Autumn, 1953. pp. 503-513.