The company, formerly known as Gale Research and the Gale Group, is active in research and educational publishing for public, academic, and school libraries, and businesses. The company is known for its full-text magazine and newspaper databases, InfoTrac, and other online databases subscribed by libraries, as well as multi-volume reference works, especially in the areas of religion, history, and social science.
Founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1954 by Frederick Gale Ruffner, the company was acquired by the Thomson Corporation (as a part of the Thomson Learning division) in 1985 before its 2007 sale to Cengage.
In 1999, Thomson Gale acquired Macmillan Reference USA (including Scribner's Reference, Thorndike Press, Schirmer, Twayne Publishers, and G. K. Hall) from Pearson (which had acquired it from Simon & Schuster in 1998; Macmillan USA was purchased by Simon & Schuster in 1994). In 2000 it acquired the Munich-based K. G. Saur Verlag, but then sold it to Walter de Gruyter in 2006.
On October 25, 2006 Thomson Corporation announced that it intended to wholly divest the Thomson Learning division, because, in the words of Thomson CEO Richard Harrington, "it does not fit with our long-term strategic vision". Thomson has said that it expected this sale to generate approximately $5 billion. Thomson Learning was bought by a private equity consortium consisting of Apax Partners and OMERS Capital Partners for $7.75 billion and the name was changed from Thomson Learning to Cengage Learning on July 24, 2007.
Patrick C. Sommers was president of Gale from October 22, 2007, until he retired in 2010.
Gale produces hundreds of products, such as Academic OneFile, Biography and Genealogy Master Index, General OneFile, General Reference Center, Sabin Americana (based on Sabin's Bibliotheca Americana), and World History Collection.
Gale print imprints include the reference brands Primary Source Media, Scholarly Resources Inc., Schirmer Reference, St. James Press, The TAFT Group and Twayne Publishers, among others. Five Star Publishing is Gale's fiction imprint, with hundreds of books in print in the Western, Romance, Mystery and Science Fiction & Fantasy genres. Gale also sells into the K–12 market with several imprints, including U·X·L, Greenhaven Press, KidHaven Press, Lucent Books, and others. Gale also owns large print publishers Christian Large Print and Wheeler Publishing.
BGMI is a throwback to another era
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