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Weekly News Digest

January 21, 2020 — 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.

EveryLibrary Plans a Rally for Philadelphia School Librarians on Jan. 24

EveryLibrary and the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) are hosting the Rally to Restore Philadelphia School Librarians ahead of the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Philadelphia. With the aim of calling for the “restoration of school librarian positions in Philadelphia city schools and in districts around the state,” it will be held on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. EST in front of the School District of Philadelphia Administration Building (440 N. Broad St.).

There are currently “fewer than 8 school librarians in the district for its more than 200,000 students and over 300 schools, making it the worst librarian to student ratio in the nation. Pennsylvania ranks as the 6th worst state for school librarian losses since 2009-2010. Only 30% of Pennsylvania school districts have full-time librarians in each of their buildings.”

For more information, read the press release.

Cengage Unlimited Adds an Etextbook Option

Beginning in August 2020, Cengage will offer an etextbook option within Cengage Unlimited—called Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks—that provides students with access to 14,000-plus ebooks, study tools, and other resources for $69.99 per semester. Students can also access college success and career support materials (such as activities to help with resume-building, financial literacy, and time management) for free with this subscription.

“It is designed to support students who need additional options that fit their learning needs and budgets, yet don’t need a full Cengage Unlimited subscription that includes online homework access codes,” says Michael E. Hansen, Cengage’s CEO. “And it’s accessed via the subscription model that students have overwhelmingly embraced in other areas of their lives.”

New as of January 2020 is the Cengage Mobile App for iOS and Android devices, which allows students to access their Cengage etextbooks offline and use organizational tools and study materials.

For more information, read the press release.

ReadersFirst Shares a Financial Impact Analysis of the Macmillan Boycott

ReadersFirst (RF) published an article, “Is the Macmillan Boycott Working?” Two library staffers whose libraries are no longer buying Macmillan ebooks “have collaborated on a financial impact analysis of the boycott thus far and asked to publish it with RF.” It states, in part:

As of the date of publication, 79 library systems and consortia have ceased to purchase Macmillan eBooks in protest of their new sales policy, which limits library eLending. These libraries represent 1,163 locations in 28 states, and serve 47.9 million people, which is equivalent to the total population of California plus the population of New York City. …

[T]he boycotting libraries are making a difference, creating an 83% loss in revenue instead of an 8.5% gain. If about one in 10 library systems cease to purchase Macmillan eBooks, they will offset the gains Macmillan hoped to make and ensure that its revenue is flat. For every library that boycotts after that, Macmillan will see a net loss on the embargo strategy. …

In the meantime, we are looking at the results of the boycott to determine impact to patrons. … [W]e conclude that readers who normally would have discovered Macmillan books are discovering Macmillan’s competitor authors instead. …

In our opinion, a national outcry from a valuable customer is reason enough alone [for] Macmillan to drop the embargo. However, it appears willing to gamble that despite libraries’ frustrations, we will continue to pay the bills. The boycotting libraries have said no, and we invite other libraries to join us. Collectively, we can ensure that embargoes are too expensive for any publisher to implement.

For more information, read the article.

W3C to Hold Workshop on Web & Machine Learning in Berlin

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is planning the Workshop on Web & Machine Learning from March 24 to 25, 2020, in Berlin. Hosted by Microsoft, the workshop’s primary goal is “to bring together providers of Machine Learning tools and frameworks with Web platform practitioners to enrich the Open Web Platform with better foundations for machine learning.” Attendance is free for invited participants and is open to the public, regardless of W3C membership. Registration is due by Feb. 21, 2020.

To learn about the workshop’s secondary goals and expected discussion topics, read the news item.

DPLA Compiles Impeachment Papers Into a Free Ebook

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) released The Impeachment Papers, a free ebook comprising 38 documents related to the impeachment of the current president (read it in your browser here). The documents include witness testimony and subpoenas, as well as additions to the preliminary version of the ebook that was released in December, such as the report from the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

DPLA notes, “[O]pen and convenient access to accurate information allows for an informed public and is an essential service that is core to the role libraries have played in democratic societies for generations. As such, the publication of this book is a non-partisan effort that is provided without analysis or editorial perspective.”

For more information, read the news item.

Clarivate Analytics Acquires the Healthcare Industry Analytics Company Decision Resources Group

Clarivate Analytics announced a definitive agreement to acquire Decision Resources Group (DRG), which will expand its portfolio of life sciences services and solutions. According to the press release, “DRG specializes in enabling the world’s leading pharma, biotech and medical technology companies to achieve commercial success in complex health markets with the creation of effective patient-centric commercial strategies. Together, DRG and Clarivate will be well-positioned in the $19 billion Life Sciences analytics market, which currently is enjoying double-digit growth, to support customers across the entire drug, device and medical technology lifecycle from research to outcome. The combined business will offer a one-stop shop for Life Sciences customers, helping them to improve the commercialization of life-changing therapies.”

For more information, read the press release.

'The National Archives Edited a Women's March Picture to Be Less Critical of Trump' by Catherine Kim

Catherine Kim writes for Vox, “The National Archives is facing criticism for editing an image of the 2017 Women’s March in order to make it less ‘political’—and for making the photo less critical of President Donald Trump to do so.” The institution admitted “that it had blurred signs that were critical of Donald Trump, blotting out the name of the president at least four times.” It also blurred signs that had words related to women’s anatomy.

Kim notes, “Archives spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman told The Washington Post that the organization decided to alter the images to avoid controversy, considering the current political climate. … Of course, as observers like historian Marama Whyte have pointed out, by censoring the image, the Archives have created a political controversy over the accurate preservation of historical records and the appropriateness of a federal agency erasing criticism of a leader.”

For more information, read the article.

ACS Launches JACS Au OA Journal

The Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) introduced its newest OA journal, JACS Au (with “Au” pronounced as “gold”). “The fully open access journal will allow for the rapid dissemination of cutting-edge, high-impact research across the breadth of chemistry and all related areas intersecting with chemistry.” It complements the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), but will have a fully independent editorial team. Submissions will open in summer 2020.

JACS Au will strengthen the Society’s position as the science publisher delivering the most-trusted, most-cited and most-read journals in the field, while also supporting the research community seeking to publish their work in a fully open access journal,” says James Milne, acting president of the ACS Publications Division.

For more information, read the press release.

EBSCO Discovery Service Shares Its Road Map of Future Developments

EBSCO Information Services published a blog post on the evolution of EBSCO Discovery Service, explaining that “EBSCO is excited to unveil a series of enhancements, new capabilities and interface designs that will be delivered over the coming 12 months and beyond to improve users’ experiences.” The post explores some developments that are in the works and principles that are always kept in mind when making improvements, including better accessibility, more social authentication options, greater personalization, a privacy-first approach, improved search capability, and more multilingual support.

The post notes, “The plan here is to roll out the new interface to customers based on readiness, which will depend on your configuration and current profiles. In order to make the transition simple, different customers will gain access at different times. Libraries will have simultaneous access to the existing EDS UI [user interface] and the new EDS UI to be able to become familiar with new features and to provide feedback. Because the new UI will be populated from existing EDS profile configurations, there is NO migration—just a smooth, natural transition.”

For more information, read the blog post.

'Audible Settles With Publishers in Audible Caption Lawsuit' by Nate Hoffelder

Nate Hoffelder reports the following for The Digital Reader:

Remember that lawsuit from last August over Audible’s new captioning feature, the feature that everyone [in] publishing was soooo absolutely certain was infringing on copyright?

Well, the publishers didn’t win the injunction they wanted, or the summary judgement that many assumed would occur, but it has come to a close—in a settlement. …

This was a curious case. I was just about the only one following the case that wasn’t convinced it was a slamdunk for the seven publisher plaintiffs. Instead, I thought this case had an excellent chance of following in the footsteps of Google Books and expanding fair use. Like Google Books, Audible Captions was a transformative use that did not replace any existing format, so it seemed to me that Audible could win this case on its merits.

As the case dragged on for months with no ruling or injunction, it seemed I was right. And [the] way the judge pressured both sites to work out a compromise suggested that this was not nearly as clear cut as some would think.

For more information, read the blog post.



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