During National Library Week, libraries across the country celebrated how they have the power to transform people’s lives (“National Library Week 2014: Lives Change @ Your Library”). The American Library Association (ALA) provided a press kit, while Twitter hosted discussions (under the hashtags #LivesChange, #NLW2014, and #Libraries). Publishers showed their love of libraries by handing out awards, opening online resources and databases to the public for the week, and holding photo contests.
The Edge Initiative, a strategic-planning and resource-allocation toolkit, is designed to help libraries demonstrate their value to their communities (“Give Your Library the Edge”). Using the Edge Toolkit, libraries can benchmark their services and compare them with others’ ratings in order to understand how to meet and exceed best practices.
“The Knight Foundation Welcomes Ideas to Strengthen Libraries’ Roles in the Digital Age” announced the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s latest Knight News Challenge: “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” The foundation wanted to discover what inspires people about libraries and how problems and opportunities could be addressed through the challenge. Watch for an announcement of the winners in early 2015.
The Libhub Initiative debuted in summer 2014 as a way to raise the visibility of online resources from libraries, archives, and museums (“The Libhub Initiative: Making Libraries More Visible”). It plans to help search engines find resources from these institutions by linking them at item level. “Weaving in library content will improve people’s ability to discover the resources on the open web by clicking on an item returned by a simple search and being taken back to a library’s catalog,” Keiser noted.
Gale, part of Cengage Learning, launched My Library Story, an online community where users can tell personal stories about how libraries have benefitted them (“Gale Wants to Know How Libraries Positively Impact Communities”). Gale’s goal in creating this haven for library lovers is to challenge the negative headlines about libraries by spreading awareness about the positive influences they have.
Steps Toward an Open Internet and a Transparent Government
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grappled with Net Neutrality—the principle that ISPs should enable equal access to all types of content across the internet, regardless of their sources. NewsBreaks tracked the developments in industry efforts to defend Net Neutrality, including the FCC’s proposal to change its policies so they align with an appeals court decision that the FCC can’t regulate broadband providers (“FCC Confronts Issues of Net Neutrality, Future of the Internet at Stake,” “FCC and IMLS Focus on Libraries, Broadband, and the Future of Net Neutrality,” and “FCC Open Internet Proposal Could End Net Neutrality”). With no end to the debate in sight, watch for more coverage of Net Neutrality in 2015.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was another government issue that received attention for attempted reforms to it (“Revising FOIA for Improved Access to Government Information” and “FOIA Reform Gets Key Senate Endorsement”). The FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 bill would make it easier and faster for people to make information requests of the government. As of December 2014, the bill passed in the Senate and was being held at the desk for floor consideration in the House of Representatives.
International legislation was a hot topic too. “European Law Works to Move Copyright Into the 21st Century” explored a European Court of Justice ruling on libraries’ ability to digitize works as a legitimate fair use exemption to European Union copyright law. “WIPO Considers Changes to Broadcasting Copyrights” laid out the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) work-in-progress Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations, with enforcement planned for 2015. The 80th IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) World Library and Information Congress introduced the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information, which calls on member states of the United Nations to commit to the post-2015 development agenda for promoting access to information (“The Lyon Declaration Tackles Information Access and Sustainable Development”).
Business as Usual—Or Not
With Cengage Learning implementing its bankruptcy-exit plan on April 1 after filing in June 2013 (“Cengage Learning Emerges From Bankruptcy”), all was quiet on the financial front until September, when Swets Information Services was declared bankrupt by a Dutch court (“Swets Declared Bankrupt; Expected to Sell Business in Parts”). In other news, two major acquisitions were featured in NewsBreaks: “Informa Acquires Elsevier Business Intelligence” and “Copyright Clearance Center Acquires Infotrieve.”
Other notable coverage included the introduction of new services and initiatives from a variety of information companies, such as “HathiTrust Doesn’t Monkey Around With Metadata Management,” “KNODE and Wiley Collaborate on Next-Generation Research Portal,” “Text Mining: Elsevier Releases New Terms for Academe,” “EBSCO Opens Masses of Content to Third-Party Discovery Services,” and “Library Automation Encourages Knowledge Management.”
The full list of NewsBreaks is searchable by keyword. For predictions about the year ahead, check out “What Trends May Come in 2015.”