For immediate release

Berkeley Electronic Press Teams with ProQuest to Unveil New Electronic Dissertation Submission Program

ProQuest Company's (NYSE: PQE) Information and Learning unit, in conjunction with The Berkeley Electronic Press, today announced the development of a Web-based application for the submission, review, and approval of electronic theses and dissertations. The application, which will be made available to graduate schools, is expected to improve and speed the dissertation publishing process for graduate students, faculty, and graduate schools.

Through its UMI® Dissertation Publishing program, ProQuest publishes more than 50,000 dissertations and master's theses each year and offers full text copies of more than one million dissertations dating from the 19th century forward. Some 3,000 (or 5%) dissertations submitted for publication in 2002 were in electronic format, and that number is expected to increase significantly in the next few years.

"This is a major step toward the development of comprehensive dissertation authoring tools and services," said Dan Arbour, Executive Director and Vice President of ProQuest's UMI division. "We believe this new system will allow for greater efficiencies in the dissertation publishing process. It facilitates communication among the graduate students, faculty, and scholars, and provides a consistent medium and process."

The new system allows a graduate student to upload his or her approved dissertation into the publishing system, where it is automatically reformatted into Adobe PDF and sent directly to the graduate school. There, the document is reviewed for compliance with graduate school policy and format. Using an administrative tool, the graduate school reviewer can accept the document or request formatting revisions. The author is automatically notified by email of the actions taken.

Once the dissertation is accepted, the document and all relevant data are delivered to UMI Dissertation Publishing and to the university library for expedited processing, cataloguing, and posting. The new automated system is expected to substantially improve the publication process.

The backend technology to support this new process was developed entirely by The Berkeley Electronic Press. "We are pleased to support ProQuest in their efforts to streamline the dissertation process," said Robert Cooter, co-founder of The Berkeley Electronic Press. "This system will enable theses and dissertations to be processed and disseminated in a much more efficient manner, saving time for students, professors, and administrators."

The service is available now and is being rolled out to graduate schools throughout the next year. Graduate schools interested in signing up may contact ProQuest at electronic_submissions@il.proquest.com. UMI continues to accept dissertations for publication in print format.

About ProQuest Company

ProQuest Company (NYSE: PQE) was born of Bell & Howell Company's two highly respected information access businesses. Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., ProQuest Company is a leader in e-learning and e-publishing. For its customers in the academic, library, automotive, and powersports industries, the company provides access to a body of content that is unmatched in breadth and depth. Additional information on ProQuest Company can be found at www.proquestcompany.com.

ProQuest Information and Learning is a world leader in collecting, organizing, and distributing information worldwide to researchers, faculty, and students in libraries and schools. Known widely for its strength in business and economics, general-reference, humanities, social sciences, and STM content, the company develops premium databases comprising periodicals, newspapers, dissertations, out-of-print books, and other scholarly information from more than 8,500 publishers worldwide. Users access the information through the ProQuest® Web-based online information system, Chadwyck-Healey™ electronic and microform resources, UMI® microform and print reference products, and XanEdu™ online faculty and student resources. For more information about ProQuest Information and Learning, visit www.il.proquest.com.

About bepress

Founded by professors in 1999, bepress exists to serve academia. We deliver scholarly communications and publishing services for academic institutions, empowering their communities to showcase and share their works for maximum impact. Through our services bepress seeks to link communities of scholars, listen to their needs, and provide solutions to support emerging academic missions and goals.

Bepress is the provider of Digital Commons, the leading hosted institutional repository software platform. Digital Commons is a suite of tools and services that enables institutions to manage, display, and publish scholarship to the web in a beautiful, highly visible showcase. Digital Commons offers the features of a traditional IR as well as professional-grade publishing software, management tools, and individual faculty and researcher pages to promote and disseminate scholarship and serve academia.

With Digital Commons, universities can collect, preserve, and make visible all of their intellectual output, including pre-prints, working papers, journal articles, dissertations, master's theses, conference proceedings, presentations, creative works, and a wide variety of other content types.