British Library’s collection of LGBTQ magazines digitised for ProQuest’s archive

Table top scanner digitisation
British Library’s comprehensive back catalogue of LGBTQ magazines digitised for ProQuest’s searchable database 
Published date:

"The British Library’s scanning services are excellent, producing high-quality images"

The problem

ProQuest produces thematic packages of content for resale to researchers around the world. For this project ProQuest wanted to digitise the archives of leading but often hard-to-find LGBTQ magazines and newsletters including Gay News, Gay Times and Diva.

Since the original publishers of these titles do not always have the full run of their magazine archives, ProQuest partnered with both the publishers and the British Library to source this content.

Selection of ProQuest LGBTQ Magazines Digitised by the British Library

The solution

As the Legal Deposit Library of the UK and custodians of a wealth of magazine and journal backlists the British Library can provide access to back issues that are unavailable elsewhere.

We were able to check through our catalogued collections and digitise the required articles and to fill any gaps in the LGBTQ Magazine Archive.

“As part of ProQuest’s goal of making rare and difficult to find material available to researchers worldwide, the British Library is an invaluable resource and a valued partner. This was never more the case than for ProQuest’s LGBT Magazine Archive, which provides researchers with access to socially significant material dating from recent years back to the 1950s.

Owing to the depth of its archives, the British Library was able to help ProQuest source over a dozen separate titles for this project, for some of which even the original publishers no longer had archival holdings. In addition to being a source for rare material, the British Library’s scanning services are excellent, producing high-quality images to the specifications we require, thereby enabling projects to move forward in a smooth and efficient way.

The combination of hard/impossible to find material and world-class scanning services the British Library offers helps ProQuest provide access to the most sought-after content for researchers, which is crucial to the success of this type of resource.” Paul Waldock, Acquisitions Specialist Lead UK at ProQuest

The outcome

The archives of 26 of the longest-running, most influential but sometimes hard-to-find, magazines are now incorporated in ProQuest’s LGBTQ Magazine Archive.

Issues are digitized cover-to-cover in full colour, ensuring that all content, even advertisements are included. Articles are indexed which allows researchers to search for specific content.

ProQuest’s archive includes Gay Times, which was digitised from the British Library collection, and along with its predecessor, Gay News, is the oldest still-published UK LGBTQ serial. Explore the British Library LGBTQ Histories collection.

Find out more about our partnership with ProQuest in our short Digitisation Services film.

Key points

  • This project aimed to create a searchable archive of major periodicals devoted to LGBT+ interests, dating from the 1950s through to recent years. It traces the history and evolution of LGBTQ history and culture, including legal contexts, health, lifestyle, politics, social attitudes, activism, gay rights, and arts/literature.
  • As the Legal Deposit Library of the UK the British Library can provide access to magazine back issues that are unavailable elsewhere.
  • ProQuest partner with the British Library and other content providers to enable access to a rich and varied archive.
  • As a secondary publisher, ProQuest thematically package and republish material such as magazine and journal articles.
  • Using this digitised content, ProQuest create digital databases for their customers including universities, academics and public libraries.

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British Library’s comprehensive back catalogue of LGBTQ magazines digitised for ProQuest’s searchable database