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Weekly News Digest

July 25, 2019 — 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.

Mobile Libraries Share Children's Books in Afghanistan

The National reports, “At only 27, Freshta Karim is the founder of Charmagz, an organisation that transforms buses into mobile libraries.

“They drive them around Kabul so that Afghanistan's youngest citizens can develop and foster a love for critical thought and reading. …

“Children are encouraged to drop by before or after school to read, play chess, learn and debate.”

For more information, read the article.

Audible's Captions Program Gets Pushback

Rachel Deahl and Jim Milliot write the following for Publishers Weekly (PW):

‘Outrageous’ and ‘copyright infringement’ were the first two (unsolicited) emails PW received from independent publishers when word of Audible’s new program to run text along side its audiobooks began to spread. The program, called Captions, which requires the company to transcribe audio to text, was highlighted in a story in USA Today with a headline touting that Audible is looking to let customers ‘“read” an audiobook while [they] listen.’ While the company disputes that description, saying Captions is not at all akin to the act of reading, publishers, literary agents, and organizations representing authors are skeptical. …

Declining to answer specific questions about whether Audible has the rights to display the text of works, the company insisted that publishers will better understand the program after its official launch in September.

For more information, read the article.

'Backlash Grows Against Unstaffed Libraries' by Jessica Murray

Jessica Murray writes for The Guardian, “East Finchley is one of about 150 libraries across the [U.K.] now using ‘open library’ technology to introduce unstaffed hours. This means you can access buildings, even if there are no library staff present, with your library card and a pin number and use self-service scanners to return and check out books.”

Essex County is also considering using this “technology after residents, backed by authors including David Baddiel and Jacqueline Wilsonsuccessfully campaigned against library closures earlier this month. Worcestershire county council announced last week it is also looking at self-service, unstaffed hours.” The practice does have “benefits, but some argue that a library without a librarian isn’t a library at all.”

For more information, read the article.

'Overcoming the Dangers of Virtual Private Networks' by Don Boxley Jr.

Don Boxley Jr. writes the following for DH2i:

Most consumers regard Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) as a credible means of securing their data transmissions and overall privacy. Few realize VPNs were initially designed to provide these benefits for on-premise settings, offering only limited efficacy on the assortment of mobile, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud technologies commonly used today.

In fact, in these environments it’s not uncommon for the perils of VPNs to outweigh their purported advantages. …

[A] concern for national security is just the latest in the long line of VPN problems in distributed settings including issues of privacy, enterprise security, and regulatory compliance.

For more information, read the blog post.

Pearson Goes All In on Digital Updates

Tony Wan writes the following for EdSurge:

The biggest education company in the world is moving away from a production model that has been one of the main drivers in the rising cost of textbooks.

[On July 15], Pearson announced it will adopt a ‘digital first’ approach to updating its higher ed course materials, meaning that any revisions or changes to textbook content will happen first in the digital version. This new development process goes into effect next year, when ‘we will have a substantial number of titles that we will apply this new model to,’ says Pearson CEO John Fallon. Eventually, all of the publisher’s 1,500 higher ed titles will follow suit over the next couple of years. …

This marks a significant departure from the traditional textbook product development cycle, in which titles are updated and reprinted about every two to three years.

For more information, read the article.

OverDrive Rolls Out a Solution for Lending More Waitlisted Titles

OverDrive introduced the Lucky Day feature, which “allows [public] libraries to designate digital copies of high-demand, waitlisted titles in their collection as immediately available for patrons. Participating libraries’ patrons can ‘skip-the-line’ and instantly find, borrow and read these titles on a first-come, first-served basis through the Libby app.” Libraries can access Lucky Day in OverDrive Marketplace and rename it, describe it, and set lending policies for it through curated lists in Libby.

For more information, read the press release. 

National Science Foundation Funds R&D on Identifying Reliable Scientific Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided scite with a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of nearly $225,000 to conduct R&D on the creation of “a deep learning platform that can evaluate the reliability of scientific claims by citation analysis. …

“scite uses state of the art technology in deep learning and natural language processing to develop a platform that helps its users determine if a scientific report has been independently confirmed.”

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” says Andrea Belz, division director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF.

For more information, read the press release.



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