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Weekly News Digest

March 13, 2006 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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Librarians’ Internet Index Faces 50 Percent Budget Cut

Librarians' Internet Index (LII; announced it is facing a 50 percent budget cut to its primary funding as of July 1, 2006. Its primary funding is through the California State Library. LII reports that the funding cut will reduce its hours by nearly half, reduce the newsletter by half, eliminate the additional content it adds each week beyond the newsletter (typically another 10 to 30 Web sites), stop all technical development, eliminate new featured collections for 2006-2007, and reduce staff time for maintaining its existing collection of 18,000 trustworthy Web sites.

LII now averages 10 million hits per month, and it has at least 35,000 subscribers to the weekly newsletter (with many more RSS readers untallied). LII has no building; its staff members work from home. LII produces content specific to California, though 80 percent of its use comes from outside California, with 20 percent from international use. LII has thousands of high-quality, carefully vetted sites specific to California needs and interests. It also produced featured collections for California, covering topics such as the gubernatorial special election of 2004. LII also has a partnership with the state of Washington. This has broadened the LII content pool; it is a good pilot of services that LII could offer more broadly.

In light of the severity of the proposed budget cuts, LII is seeking funds from other sources, such as grants, foundations, and state libraries, and it is conducting a survey of its users on how to handle the reduction. LII stated on it site: "We have for long dreamed of a ‘National LII,' and this is an opportune time to approach other state libraries and see if they agree, and to solicit more general funding on our site."

Source: Librarians' Internet Index

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