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Weekly News Digest

December 12, 2017 — 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.

ARL Expresses Disapproval of IFLA Conference Site

On Dec. 6, ARL Communications published the following statement:

Research libraries are committed to such foundational values of the library profession as diversity, inclusion, equity, access to information, free expression, privacy, and social justice.

Upholding these core values, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is deeply concerned about the selection of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as the site of the 2018 International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress (WLIC).

ARL’s concern with Malaysia as a WLIC site is twofold. First is the danger that attendance would pose to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, or intersex (LGBTQI). Malaysian law prescribes extensive, punitive actions for sexual activity by LGBTQI people, including lashing and up to 20 years imprisonment. Moreover, these penalties may be compounded in certain jurisdictions that have more fundamentalist religious laws in place. In addition, the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, is a vocal opponent of civil rights for LGBTQI individuals. The Association fears the safety of WLIC participants who identify as LGBTQI may be compromised due to the laws and political climate in Malaysia.

Second, the Malaysian government endorses and engages in censorship and does not honor confidentiality. Both freedom of expression and respect of confidentiality will be necessary to productive discussions at the upcoming WLIC. The potential dampening effect of censorship and lack of confidentiality should concern all WLIC 2018 participants.

To read the rest of the statement, view the press release.

ProQuest Shares Concerns About Non-English-Language Content in Academic Libraries

ProQuest released survey results showing that “[a]cademic libraries are struggling to meet a rising demand for non-English language content”—more than one-third of the 170-plus North American librarians surveyed are “falling short in making these resources available to students, faculty and researchers.” According to the press release, key findings include the following:
  • Budget and expertise are common hurdles North American libraries face in meeting users’ needs for non-English language content. Libraries struggle to justify the expense of content that will be used by a small number of users and unless they have the relevant language skills, they find it challenging to select materials that address researchers’ needs.
  • The greatest unmet content needs are in Chinese, Arabic and Spanish languages.
  • Technological shortfalls hinder users’ access to non-English language materials. Librarians commented that researchers struggle with “unreliable formats and downloads” as well as the lack of “language interface to do searches.” Content can be “lost in a sea of English, on English-only platforms, with English-only licensing agreements.”

For more information, read the press release.

EBSCO and ATLA Update Religion and Theology Resources

EBSCO Information Services and the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) launched ATLA Serials (ATLAS) PLUS and updated their ATLA Religion Database (RDB), which are both available on EBSCOhost. ATLAS PLUS has more than 425 full-text journals in the fields of religion and theology, including full-text content in 16 languages from 30-plus countries. ATLA RDB is merging with the ATLA Catholic Periodical and Literature Index (CPLI), which features more than 500,000 additional records on Catholicism.

For more information, read the press release.

Thomson Reuters Publishes New Perspectives on Brexit

The Thomson Reuters Tax and Accounting Division surveyed 150 CFOs in the U.K. and Europe to find that “Brexit is now impacting the strategic planning of 40% of businesses; this represents an increase of almost 10%” since the previous CFO Brexit Survey this past summer. According to the press release announcing the autumn report, “It asks what impact Brexit has had, or will have, in the following areas: company expansion; investment; headcount; relocation; and compliance.” This survey shows that “at 35%, there is almost no change in the number of companies who anticipate decreasing the number of their employees in the UK; the Summer … figure was 30%. Similarly, there is only a slight increase (from 4-9%) of those considering relocating their headquarters from the UK as a result of Brexit.”

For more information, read the press release.

Finally, Marvel Comics Are Available on hoopla digital

hoopla digital signed an agreement with Marvel Entertainment to bring 250-plus Marvel collections and graphic novels to the hoopla platform for public libraries. It includes stories about Thor, Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and the X-Men—characters who have been part of the massive Marvel movie machine—as well as The Runaways, who are featured in a new show on Hulu.

“Through this agreement, we are building a digital home for comic book fans where they can find all their favorite characters and have instant access to hundreds of acclaimed works—all with a library card. No collection would be complete without the iconic work of Marvel Entertainment,” says Jeff Jankowski, founder and owner of hoopla digital.

For more information, read the press release.

IFLA Responds to ARL Criticism

On Dec. 11, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) submitted the following statement:

Libraries, and the services they offer, are built on values. IFLA, as the global voice of libraries, has always taken a strong position in favour of fundamental freedoms, and in promoting the principles of access, empowerment, and non-discrimination.

From the annual World Library and Information Congress to the day-to-day work of our members around the globe, the library community defends and promotes these principles. The literate, informed and participatory societies that we seek to create depend on free expression and access to information through high quality library services, open for all.

This is both a necessary, and an ongoing effort. We do not currently live in a world where our values are universally shared. But we are not powerless.

The World Library and Information Congress offers a unique opportunity to drive progress. Through bringing together the world’s library and information professionals for a free exchange of ideas, views and practices, it empowers our members in host countries and their wider regions. Ultimately, it is library users, from local communities to international institutions, who benefit from the knowledge, skills and passion that participants bring home with them.

When identifying venues for the Congress, IFLA is faced with a choice between a simple boycott and the chance to engage with progressive voices around the world in support of our values and services. IFLA will, where possible, seize the opportunity to promote constructive and productive dialogue, and maximise the possibilities for all to participate.

To read the rest of the statement, view the press release.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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