This article relies too much on references to primary sources. From its founding as a producer of microfilm products and then as an electronic publisher, the company has grown through acquisitions. Total content, including dissertations and theses, ebooks, newspapers, periodicals, historical collections, governmental and cultural archives and other aggregated databases is estimated at over 125 billion digital pages.
Content is accessed most commonly through library Internet gateways. The current chief executive officer is Matti Shem Tov. Bowker provides bibliographic information management solutions to publishers, libraries and booksellers, and is the ISBN Agency for the United States. Dialog is an online information service with more than 1. 4 billion unique records curated for corporate, business and government researchers, with a focus on pharmaceutical, engineering and patent research.
University of Michigan, founded the company as University Microfilms in 1938, preserving works from the British Museum on microfilm. Power also noticed a niche market in dissertations publishing. Students were often forced to publish their own works in order to finish their doctoral degree.
Dissertations could be published more cheaply as microfilm than as books. 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”.