In the 1980s, UMI began producing CD-ROMs that stored databases of periodicals abstracts and indexes. At a time when modem connections were slow and expensive, it was more efficient to mail database CD-ROMs regularly to subscribing libraries, who installed the discs on dedicated PCs. The ProQuest brand name was first used for databases on CD-ROM. An online service called ProQuest Direct was launched in 1995; its name was later shortened to just ProQuest.  The bibliographic databases are mainly sold to schools, universities and libraries.
ProQuest is committed to empowering researchers and librarians around the world. Its innovative information content and technologies increase the productivity of students, scholars, professionals and the libraries that serve them. Through partnerships with content holders, ProQuest preserves rich, vast and varied information – whether historical archives or today’s scientific breakthroughs – and packages it with digital technologies that enhance its discovery, sharing and management. For academic, corporate, government, school and public libraries, as well as professional researchers, ProQuest provides services that enable strategic acquisition, management and discovery of information collections.