Online research database ProQuest’s usual customers are libraries, universities and other large institutions that can afford to pay a lot for access. With its new cloud-based tool, Udini, it aims to make Internet research easy and affordable for everyday people without access to academic libraries — and builds in some Evernote- and Instapaper-inspired features.
Udini provides access to 150 million articles from 12,000 publications — including magazines, newspapers, trade journals, scholarly journals and wire feeds. Participating publishers include Springer, Nature Publishing Group, the Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, World Health Organization and Cambridge University Press. Users can also access ProQuest’s dissertation archive.
“Research libraries play a critical role in our knowledge economy, but not everyone who needs serious content is connected to a scholarly library. Research for these unaffiliated users is confusing and inefficient unless they know exactly what they’re looking for,” ProQuest SVP and GM Rich LaFauci said. “Premium information — when it’s accessible at all — is distributed behind many different paywalls all over the web. Udini curates and licenses high-quality content and makes it incredibly easy to discover, acquire and use.”
Most individual articles cost $0 to $3.99, with some “specialty materials” like books and dissertations $4.99 and up. Users can pay as they go or choose a “project pass,” $30 for 14 days with unlimited standard articles included and specialty articles 20 percent off, or a subscription for $30 a month.
As with Evernote, users can store articles and projects in Udini for free in a cloud-based personal, searachable library. They can store their own PDFs and other documents there along with any articles they buy from Udini. Taking a cue from services like Read It Later and Instapaper, Udini strips ads and banners from stored content to provide a “distraction-free” reading experience.