NewsBank is a news database resource which provides archives of media publications as reference materials to libraries.
Author of the book Megatrends, John Naisbitt, founded NewsBank. The company was launched in 1972. NewsBank was then bought from Naisbitt by Daniel S. Jones, who subsequently became its president. Naisbitt left NewsBank in 1973.
In 1986 NewsBank had one-hundred employees in-house. Another one-hundred employees worked from home and would travel to the company's headquarters, bring back newspapers to their residence from there, and then come back to the company with indexed information on these publications. The company's headquarters in 1986 was in New Canaan, Connecticut. Chris Andrews was brought on in 1986 as Product Manager for CD-ROM. His job was to help the company transition from a paper format of delivery to libraries, to instead provide its indexes and full-text articles on CD-ROM format. The subscription price for this service initially was US$5,000 per library. Visitors to libraries with the new CD-ROM services found that their research time searching through the CD-ROM index instead of paper indexes was cut down from 30 minutes to five minutes. NewsBank used an arbitrary selection process for determining which news articles the company considered worthy for archiving; it based this on those that were not simply stories of regional interest and that were more widely appealing to a larger potential audience of future researchers.
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In 1992 NewsBank had difficulty providing its users with a method to search for information based upon a specific geographic position. Newspaper results were listed by subject matter first and then subsequently by location. At the time it indexed articles via microfiche from more than 400 media publications in the United States. The company announced in 1993 that it would provide a CD-ROM product indexing full-text of newspapers from 35 publications including The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 1994 NewsBank was the only company to provide access to an index to periodical literature in the subject of theater. The only method accessible at the time to researchers in the field was NewsBank's Review of the Arts: Performing Arts. NewsBank provided access to this service via CD-ROM. NewsBank started compiling the full-text of articles related to the local economy of geographic areas and providing this information via CD-ROM to its clients in 1994. The privately held company was cited by The Information Advisor as bringing in annual revenue of approximately $19 million, and employing a staff of 350 people. By 1998, NewsBank provided indexes via CD-ROM to newspaper articles from over 450 cities in the United States.
In 2000, NewsBank merged with Readex. With the closure of the merger, NewsBank had acquired one of the earliest organizations to archive microform in America. In 2001 NewsBank compiled the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Index and made it available via CD-ROM. NewsBank joined forces with Micromedia, Ltd., a division of IHS Canada, to help distribute its products in 2001. In 2004 NewsBank maintained archival access to hundreds of media references from the period of 1996 to current day. In 2005 NewsBank was structured in a pay-for-use format, with access differentiated for different types of users including public libraries, public schools, as well as higher education settings.
NewsBank reached an agreement in 2011 with The Daily Northwestern newspaper of Northwestern University to archive all of its historical publications. The task would archive more than 90,000 pages of total material from the school. It included a plan to archive not just The Daily Northwestern but also prior related publications from a time period of 1871 to 2000, and index this material so it could be keyword searchable on the Internet. Dan Jones, President and CEO of NewsBank, had a prior relationship with the university at the time, serving as University trustee and president-elect of the Northwestern Alumni Association.
In 2013 NewsBank provided users with its service Access World News — which Reference Skills for the School Librarian called the "world's largest full-text news database". According to the book Communication and Language Analysis in the Public Sphere, in 2014 NewsBank contained "over 990 news sources, with each state in the U.S. represented, as well as national publications, television and radio programs."
The 2004 book Reference Sources in History by Ronald H. Fritze, Brian E. Coutts, and Louis Andrew Vyhnanek wrote that: "NewsBank is one of the world's largest information providers." In her book Journalism: A Guide to the Reference Literature (2004), Jo A. Cates said: "NewsBank is a massive database, the NewsFile Collection alone providing access to full text articles in more than 500 newspapers, wire services, and broadcasts." The 2013 book Reference Skills for the School Librarian by authors Ann Marlow Riedling, Loretta Shake, and Cynthia Houston called NewsBank a "popular indexing series". They pointed out that NewsBank provided access to "an easy-to-search database of articles, activities, and lesson plans for the elementary and middle grades, covering key issues and events in every subject area."
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