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Weekly News Digest

November 19, 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.

business.com Unveils Resource Hubs to Help Small Businesses

business.com introduced four dedicated resource hubs that address topics important to small business owners: Finance, Human Resources, Marketing & Sales, and Technology. The hubs offer resource guides, product reviews, expert advice, and tips for navigating business challenges.

Finance covers topics such as how to get a business loan application approved and the best small business grants for minorities. Product and service reviews include credit card processors, merchant services, and business loans.

Human Resources covers topics such as conflict resolution, engaging a virtual workforce, and building diversity and inclusion into the core of a company. Product and service reviews include online payroll services and outsourcing services.

Marketing & Sales covers topics such as adapting a marketing plan and how social selling improves the sales process. Product and service reviews include email and text message marketing and CRM software.

Technology covers topics such as digitizing documents, electronic logging devices, and best practices for protecting an online store. Product and service reviews include business phone systems, document management software, and cloud storage and online backup services.

For more information, read the press release.

OCLC and Washington State University Partner to Offer Free Digital Stewardship Courses

OCLC’s WebJunction is teaming up with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation to develop a series of 10 free, online, on-demand training courses for tribal libraries, archives, museums, and small public libraries that cover digital stewardship and community-centered curation. The series is scheduled to launch in early 2022. It is supported by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant.

“Staff at tribal archives, libraries and museums [TALM] and at small, rural public libraries often do not have access to specific educational resources that could help them manage, preserve, and care for the unique and diverse cultural heritage materials they hold in their collections,” says Sharon Streams, WebJunction’s director. “These free online courses will provide training and resources to help TALM staff curate and digitize these significant collections so that they can be preserved for generations and tribal community members, as well as the public, can have increased and appropriate access to them.”

For more information, read the press release.

Clarivate Rolls Out Research Scorecard Report Ahead of G20 Summit

Clarivate’s Institute for Scientific Information released its annual G20 scorecard report, which uses the Web of Science to analyze the research performance of the world’s leading economies. It includes a visual comparative snapshot for each G20 nation (19 countries plus the European Union). This year’s report adds an analysis of contributions to COVID-19 research, showing that “G20 nations have been the most active participants in COVID-19 research, and it has been particularly relevant for the highly populated G20 member nations which also report some of the highest absolute number of reported cases: United States, India, Brazil and Russia.”

The report was published ahead of the 2020 G20 Summit, which will be held virtually Nov. 21–22. Key findings include the following:

  • In Australia output has doubled in a decade and continues to rise, driven by exceptional international collaboration.
  • In Germany investment is higher than EU neighbors. … Output per researcher is around G20 average. However, only 28% of researchers are female and Open Access is below G20 average.
  • In Indonesia research output is small and domestic output is only 20% of the total, but volume has trebled since 2010, in all disciplines.
  • There is consistently high Open Access across disciplines in South Africa and the country has the second highest frequency of female researchers (43%).
  • In the United States, although investment is high, output is declining, and output/researcher has fallen below the G20 average.

For more information, read the press release.

Urban Libraries Council Works Toward a New Service Model

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) joined forces with the Salt Lake City Public Library and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) to develop a Digital Navigators service model for helping “libraries address the new and intensified digital access barriers resulting from COVID-19.”

The organizations are piloting the model through September 2021. It “offers a replicable blueprint for meeting the digital needs of underserved community members via phone-based support services. This framework trains Digital Navigators—who can be either volunteers or professionals—to confidently assess digital needs over the phone and guide people to supports relevant to their specific experience level and situation.”

NDIA has online resources and is coordinating with other organizations that are developing their own versions of Digital Navigators. Salt Lake City Public Library will test the model “through partnered outreach to residents in three of Salt Lake City’s lower-income neighborhoods. The service areas include ZIP codes where reported COVID-19 rates have been among the highest in the county. Salt Lake City Public Library’s outreach will kick off in December 2020.”

For more information, read the news item.

Jisc Recommits to a Purchasing Scheme for Reducing Costs of Digital Collections

Jisc announced the relaunch of “a digital archival collection purchasing scheme that will help institutions reduce the cost of buying digital collections and archives from publishers and opens up the scheme to academic-related affiliates.” With the scheme, institutions can buy 90 products covering a wide range of subjects at discounted prices, from publishers such as JSTOR, Oxford University Press, Brill, De Gruyter, ProQuest, and Wiley. According to Jisc, “To date, 44 of 164 Jisc-affiliated higher education institutions have bought content through the scheme. Collectively, they have saved £670,000 [about $887,000] on 122 products.”

“We are delighted to expand the number of publishers on the group purchasing scheme, increasing the breadth of content available to our members,” says Karen Colbron, digital content manager at Jisc. “The scheme is based on the principle that the more products are bought per publisher by any institution, the lower the price for participants. The arrangement ensures price transparency across all products, eliminates annual platform fees and removes the burden of having to negotiate separately with each publisher.”

For more information, read the news item.

NISO Convenes Working Group on Journal Article Versions

NISO (National Information Standards Organization) Voting Members approved a new work item that updates the organization’s Recommended Practice on journal article versions (JAV). A NISO Working Group is getting set up and will begin work in early 2021.

NISO notes, “The NISO JAV working group will define a set of terms for each of the different versions of content [e.g., preprints versus final versions] that are published, as well as a recommendation for whether separate DOIs should be assigned to them. They will address questions such as: Should there be a single DOI for an article, regardless of version? Different DOIs for each version? How are the identifiers connected and used? How do we define a version? As with all NISO output, the group’s draft recommendations will be shared for public comment before publication.”

For more information, read the press release.

New Survey of American Political Culture Paints a Grim Picture

The University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture published “Democracy in Dark Times,” a report based on the latest entry in its Survey of American Political Culture series. The report represents the survey responses of 2,205 American adults of various races. Findings include the following:
  • Before the election, over half of Americans (56%) believed this election would be the most corrupt in US history. This view was held almost as much by Biden supporters (54%) as by Trump supporters (60%), and by Independents (54%) and Democrats (57%) as by Republicans (62%).
  • Although political polarization and divisiveness are considered a very serious threat to America by 71% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans, both sides frequently view the other with contempt. Trump supporters view Trump's opponents as misguided and misinformed (72%), socialist (72%), closed-minded (71%), intolerant (67%), and arrogant and pretentious (63%). Biden supporters view Trump supporters as closed-minded (89%), misguided and misinformed (89%), intolerant (86%), racist (83%), and religious hypocrites (80%).

The report’s authors conclude, “Without strong and creative institutional leadership, these problems will continue to undermine the substance and process of democratic life, irrespective of who is elected. Winning certainly matters in a competitive political environment where important policies affecting millions of people are concerned, but winning is neither everything nor the only thing when it comes to sustaining a vital liberal democracy.”

For more information, read the press release.

University College London Tool Identifies Fake News Sites as They Crop Up

Researchers at University College London and other institutions teamed up to make “a machine learning tool that identifies new domains created to promote false information so that they can be stopped before the ‘fake news’ can be spread through social media and online channels.” They published a working paper, “Real-Time Prediction of Online False Information Purveyors and Their Characteristics,” to explain their work.

The tool is an “early detection system [designed] to highlight domains that were most likely to be bad actors. Details contained in the registration information, for example, whether the registering party is kept private, are used to identify the sites. … By applying a machine-learning model to domain registration data, the tool was able to correctly identify 92 percent of the false information domains and 96.2 percent of the non-false information domains set up in relation to the 2016 US election before they started operations.”

The working paper’s authors “propose that their tool should be used to help regulators, platforms, and policy makers proceed with an escalated process in order to increase monitoring, send warnings or sanction them, and decide ultimately, whether they should be shut down. The academics behind the research also call for social media companies to invest more effort and money into addressing this problem which is largely facilitated by their platforms.”

For more information, read the press release.

EBSCO and PowerSchool Make It Easier to Organize Educational Resources

EBSCO Information Services partnered with PowerSchool, a provider of K–12 education technology solutions, “to facilitate easy access and inclusion in course programming for teachers and students via EBSCOed powered by Stacks.”

The press release notes the following:

The EBSCOed portal serves as a single access point to all approved educational resources across the state or within a school district’s community. The portal, powered by EBSCO’s web-based content management system Stacks, makes it possible for schools to aggregate and streamline access to all of their digital resources in a single personalized experience that is interoperable with other popular tools. EBSCO is collaborating with PowerSchool to integrate Schoology Learning, PowerSchool’s learning management system, with Stacks. Schoology Learning combines everything needed for teaching and learning in one place, and is designed to help schools and districts improve student performance while enabling equity and access for every student, at home, at school, or anywhere in between.

For more information, read the press release.

'Joe Biden Won. Here's What Higher Ed Can Expect.' by Michael Vasquez

Michael Vasquez writes the following for The Chronicle of Higher Education:

In sharp contrast to President Trump, whose administration spent much of the past four years actively attacking higher education, Biden—whose wife, Jill, is a longtime community-college educator—has signaled his support for the sector. His extensive Plan for Education Beyond High School promises to ‘strengthen college as a reliable pathway to the middle class.’

Before expanding Americans’ access to higher ed, however, Biden must first rescue a system beset by pandemic-induced crises that threaten to consume it. Deep financial problems stemming from enrollment drops and increased instructional expenses have forced thousands of layoffs and left an unknown number of colleges teetering on the brink of failure. Biden has called for a sevenfold increase in coronavirus testing—a plan that would provide vital health information to colleges eager to return students and professors to classrooms.

Vasquez explores the areas that the president-elect could tackle during his administration, such as campus sexual assault, student debt, international students, and for-profit colleges.

For more information, read the article.



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