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Weekly News Digest

January 20, 2015 — 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 ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

NEH and Mellon Foundation Subsidize Ebook Conversions

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation partnered for the Humanities Open Book Program, a joint pilot grant program that plans to facilitate the conversion of out-of-print books in the humanities into freely accessible ebooks.

According to the NEH, the majority of academic books in history, literature, philosophy, art, music, and other humanities fields published in the past 100 years are out of print, and thus unavailable to teachers, students, and general readers. With this grant program, the organizations’ goal is to republish these titles so anyone in the world can download them under a Creative Commons license.

To be chosen for the program, academic presses, scholarly societies, museums, and other institutions can submit proposals to the NEH with a list of their previously published humanities titles (among other information) by June 10, 2015. The NEH and the Mellon Foundation will award grants so the suitable books can be converted into EPUB format, allowing for fully searchable, reflowable text; the ability to adjust font sizes; and compatibility with most mobile devices and e-readers.

Source: National Endowment for the Humanities

Annual NFAIS Conference Focuses on the User Experience

The National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) will hold its annual conference from Feb. 22 to 24, 2015, in at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va. Registration is now open.

“In the context of new modes of scholarship that are not well-served by a traditional book/journal mindset, NFAIS member organizations are focusing on how best to bring together the appropriate elements of software, content, and human capital to satisfy the needs of the end user. … [T]he information community, which serves research and scholarship, is engineering more pragmatic and useful information resources and services. Come learn how,” says Jill O’Neill, NFAIS’ director of professional development.

This year’s theme (Anticipating Demand: The User Experience as Driver) will inform sessions such as Emerging Workflow Tools Aimed at Researchers; Interacting With Systems, Delivery, and Access to Content; and Satisfying Demand: Impact on Policy. Kalev Leetaru, founder of GDELT, will give the keynote speech (“The User of the Future: Reimagining How We Think About Information”), which will explore future users’ concept of information, how they will interact with and consume it, and how today’s information services can adapt and evolve. The preliminary program is available on the conference website.

At the conference, EBSCO Industries’ president and CEO Tim Collins will receive the 2015 Miles Conrad Award. It honors achievements in fostering the growth of the information services industry, which Collins has done by helping to grow EBSCO Industries into one of the largest private companies in the U.S. He will deliver the annual Miles Conrad Memorial Lecture on his experiences in building EBSCO Information Services and his predictions for the future.

Source: National Federation of Advanced Information Services

Taylor & Francis Group Wants to Hear Library Voices

Taylor & Francis Group plans to host a series of case studies that will explore the experiences of librarians around the world. Called Library Voices, this project aims to answer questions such as “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in a library in another country?” Taylor & Francis Group will collect libraries’ stories as a way to share practices and experiences that can benefit libraries.

Libraries interested in being featured in Library Voices should contact Taylor & Francis Group at

Source: Taylor & Francis Group

Knovel Quick Search for Autodesk Inventor Helps Engineers' Workflows

Elsevier launched Knovel Quick Search for Autodesk Inventor, a cloud-based search app that builds reference information into engineers’ daily workflows. They can access Knovel’s extensive, vetted resources on technical information from within the Inventor environment to resolve questions during the design and simulation process. The app also offers design guidelines and best practices for during the design and validation process.

“Integrating Knovel with industry-standard engineering software such as Autodesk Inventor enables a level of efficiency in an engineer’s workflow not previously available on the market,” says Achuth Rao, Elsevier’s VP of product strategy and new product development. “Knovel Quick Search for Autodesk Inventor provides engineers with information and advanced problem solving tools from within their existing processes and tools.”

The app is based on Knovel’s APIs and is available for Inventor and Knovel users to download from the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.

Source: Elsevier Offers Commentary on CES 2015

Streaming Media, an Information Today, Inc. company, covered the 2015 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in a series of articles for its website. The following are some highlights reported by Troy Dreier, senior associate editor of
  • Search and discovery continue to be “a major pain point” for viewers, who don’t have a unified streaming content experience. “Service providers want to own the customer and own the experience, so they don’t want consumers going directly to their content and bypassing the interface,” notes Dreier. 
  • Chris Wagner, executive VP of marketplace strategy for NeuLion, talked about the new features for sports viewers—they can choose how they watch games (via home feed, away feed, or other cameras placed around an arena)—and how serialized entertainment such as Game of Thrones might be able to use this concept by introducing interactive elements (e.g., revisiting a key scene or catching up on missed episodes).
  • Roku announced partnerships with connected TV providers to offer sets with built-in Roku interfaces. It will also team with Netflix for 4K ultra-HD videos.
  • “Netflix will add HDR to its video in 2015, and will begin a Recommended TV Program to endorse sets that make online viewing easy,” reports Dreier.
  • Veygo, a French infrastructure company, helps rightsholders launch over-the-top subscription video services. It plans to offer a personalization engine for analyzing customers’ behaviors in real time, a customer satisfaction tool, and other new features by June. “Veygo helps reduce upfront cost and complexity, so customers can focus on negotiating rights and marketing their products,” Dreier writes.
  • Giraffic, a video acceleration company, will extend its technology (for streaming high-resolution video over low-bandwidth connections) to mobile devices. Samsung adopted its software for its 2014 line of connected TVs and Blu-ray players.


New Reprints Desk Widget Acts as Research Aid

Reprints Desk announced the release of its Article Galaxy Widget, a free, browser-based tool that helps researchers find lowest-cost access to full-text STM articles indexed by 50-plus sources such as PubMed, Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Web of Science, and Scopus.

All Reprints Desk customers in research-intensive industries can now use the widget while they are viewing any website referencing published journal articles. The widget standardizes the search and presentation of these articles and sources content from existing journal subscriptions, open access options, tokens, past single-article document purchases, or time-limited rentals. It then filters the results by source type, shows pricing, and identifies related articles—all without leaving the user’s discovery environment.

“[N]avigating multiple full-text sources and various paywalls is a time-consuming, cumbersome and often frustrating process for researchers, especially when dealing with multiple citations,” says Todd Everett, Reprints Desk’s director of emerging technology. “Our Article Galaxy Widget represents a breakthrough technology that removes these difficulties. … By providing a single, standardized method for all content purchases, the widget also generates cost savings by identifying when it is more economical to subscribe to a journal or platform rather than rely upon single document downloads.”

Source: Reprints Desk

Amazon Web Services Announces New Wind Power Source

Amazon Web Services (AWS) partnered with Pattern Energy Group LP (“Pattern Development”) to support the construction and operation of a 150-megawatt wind farm in Indiana. The Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) is expected to generate about 500,000 megawatt hours of wind power each year (beginning in January 2016) to help power current and future AWS cloud data centers.

AWS has a long-term plan to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its entire global infrastructure. It is taking steps toward that goal by working with Pattern Development, a leader in developing renewable energy and transmission assets, including wind power.

“Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will bring a new source of clean energy to the electric grid where we currently operate a large number of datacenters and have ongoing expansion plans to support our growing customer base,” says Jerry Hunter, VP of infrastructure at AWS.

Source: Amazon

ProQuest Adds to Its British Periodicals Database

ProQuest is working on a new set of digital primary sources from the first half of the 20th century for British Periodicals Collection III, which will be complete in April 2015. It features periodicals that cover themes such as empire and decolonization, first-wave feminism, and consumer society. With more than 850,000 pages, the collection will display works of literature, art, and political opinion as well as other pieces that are of significance to 20th-century research. And the periodicals will be digitized cover-to-cover, so they will include material such as ads and obituaries.

“ProQuest’s goal is to continually enable new research insights by making important primary sources more widely accessible and easier to search,” says Susan Bokern, ProQuest’s VP of information solutions. “With this collection, we’re advancing the work of scholars studying early twentieth century culture—a time of great change that’s richly documented in these pages.”

Source: ProQuest

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