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Weekly News Digest

April 24, 2018 — 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.

FlatWorld Provides Free-With-Purchase Homework Platform

College textbook publisher FlatWorld introduced FlatWorld Homework, an assignments platform that is available at no additional cost after the purchase of specific FlatWorld textbooks. (In fall 2018, the platform will be available for 16 of the publisher’s titles.) Instructors can manage the platform via their learning management system—it is compatible with Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, and Brightspace D2L—or use it as a standalone product. FlatWorld authors create the platform’s questions to match the textbook; their format can include graphs, fill-in-the-blank, and image labeling.

“Many college textbook publishers offer digital homework platforms, but what’s astounding is that just about all of them are charging students exorbitant prices for access, in addition to the incredibly high costs of the textbooks themselves,” says Alastair Adam, co-CEO of FlatWorld. “Our aim is to not only publish the most affordable high-quality college learning materials, but to offer a superb homework platform that complements our textbooks at no additional cost.”

For more information, read the press release.

Publishers Partner With ResearchGate to Improve Sharing of Scholarly Content

Springer Nature, Cambridge University Press, Thieme, and ResearchGate teamed up to make it easier to legally share academic journal articles on ResearchGate’s collaboration platform. The terms of their agreement include the following: The organizations will cooperate on educating researchers about their rights when sharing copyright-protected content, ResearchGate will continue to remove copyright-infringing content from its platform, and publishers will use ResearchGate to learn about how their content is used on the platform.

According to ResearchGate’s blog post, “The agreement ultimately involves publishers who want to help and support content sharing and believe that working with ResearchGate, the largest professional network for scientists and academics, is one of the important means to achieving this.”

For more information, read the blog post.

OverDrive and SirsiDynix Get Library Cards Into More Hands

OverDrive integrated its Instant Digital Card (IDC) service into SirsiDynix. IDC creates a digital library card in less than 30 seconds to give people access to ebooks and audiobooks through OverDrive’s websites and Libby app. Anyone who doesn’t have a library card can become a library patron without going to the library building.

According to OverDrive’s blog post, “Now, IDC is integrating with SirsiDynix to enable libraries who sign up for the service to provide new users with a full-access library card. This grants access not just to your OverDrive digital library, but to every service you offer straight away.” Users who register successfully are prequalified to have their patron record added to the library’s ILS, and the library fills in any other relevant information.

For more information, read the blog post.

Digital Science Rewards Blockchain Innovators

Digital Science announced the recipients of its one-time Blockchain Catalyst Grant for “any project implementing Blockchain in a scholarly or scientific context, especially those that addressed the dissemination of research,” according to the blog post. They are Hong Kong-based Datax, which is developing a data ecosystem for improving the quantity, quality, and diversity of datasets for artificial intelligence learning, and VIVO, an open source software project that aims to use blockchain to develop models of research value that are based on a diverse set of research outcomes and transactions.

For more information, read the blog post.

Innovative Celebrates Library Heroes

Innovative created a Library Heroes Series as part of its blog that highlights library staffers “who are going above and beyond to serve their communities and extend the role of the library to meet the needs of a changing culture.” The entries celebrate Alachua County Library in Florida, Cincinnati Library in Ohio, and Napa County Library in California.

Alachua County Library has Makerspaces in a Box, 22 boxes full of hands-on activities that circulate among the library’s 12 branches. These traveling makerspace kits are designed to serve its spread-out constituency. Library staffers take them to schools, apartment complexes, rural communities, and other places for the residents to use.

Emilio Estevez’s new movie about how libraries serve homeless people, The Public, was filmed at the central branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCHC). Kim Fender, the library’s executive director, says, “We decided to open PLCHC to Emilio and his film crew because it was a valuable opportunity to contribute to the public conversation about the role and mission of libraries as it pertains to serving all populations, including those who find themselves temporarily or chronically without shelter.” The library remained open during the day, and the movie was filmed mostly at night.

Napa County Library served as the primary public communications hub for those who were displaced due to the Northern California wildfires of October 2017. People were able to use its computers to contact loved ones and get access to weather alerts and insurance information, among other resources. Also, the library’s air filtration system allowed visitors to seek refuge from the contaminated air outside.

For more information, read the Alachua blog post, Cincinnati blog post, and Napa blog post.



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