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Weekly News Digest

December 17, 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.

OverDrive Education's Top Downloads for 2020

OverDrive Education revealed the top K–12 ebook and audiobook downloads for 2020 based on data from 38,000 schools in 71 countries. The ebooks on the worldwide list include series such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Smile, and Big Nate, as well as titles such as The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The audiobooks include The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

For the rest of the list and more information, read the blog post.

'Apple Presents App Store Best of 2020 Winners'

Apple announced its App Store Best of 2020 winners, choosing 15 apps and games that were “essential” for life in 2020. Criteria included “high quality, creative design, usability, and innovative technology,” as well as “positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance.”

The following are a few of the winners:

  • iPhone App of the Year: Wakeout!, developed by Andres Canella
  • iPad App of the Year: Zoom
  • Mac App of the Year: Fantastical, developed by Flexibits
  • Apple TV App of the Year: Disney+
  • Apple Watch App of the Year: Endel

For the rest of the winners and more information, read the news item.

'Amazon Publishing in Talks to Offer E-Books to Public Libraries' by Andrew Albanese

Andrew Albanese reports the following for Publishers Weekly (PW):

In what came as a surprise to many librarians and industry observers, a report in The Hill this week revealed that the nonprofit Digital Public Library of America has been in discussions with Amazon Publishing on a potential deal to make Amazon’s e-book content available in public libraries. And in a call with PW, DPLA officials confirmed that a deal could be done soon.

[DPLA’s Michele] Kimpton told PW that talks with Amazon have been ongoing since spring, adding that the discussions have gone well and that the parties were making ‘good progress.’ …

Such an agreement would be a major breakthrough in the library e-book market. Amazon currently does not make its digital content available to libraries under any terms—an exclusion that librarians have loudly criticized for years. …

In a statement provided to PW, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed that Amazon Publishing is ‘in active discussions’ with the Digital Public Library of America and that the company expects to begin ‘testing a number of different models’ in early 2021.

For more information, read the article.

Yewno Discover Introduces News Content

Yewno added news content to its Yewno Discover research platform. It offers millions of scholarly books and articles, as well as other content, from academic publishers and now provides more than 40 free-to-read, fully accessible, mainstream news sources that will add recent context and relevancy to the platform’s results.

“Because scholarly content holds its value over time, past studies, research and observations regain new value within the framework of current events,” says Ruth Pickering, Yewno’s COO. “When seeking to go deeper and learn more about today’s news, the ability to understand and see context from other sources enhances understanding. The two are symbiotic, which is why we’ve integrated news to enrich our research ecosystem.”

For more information, read the press release.

'Global Outlook for Open Access'

Christopher Kenneally writes the following for Copyright Clearance Center (CCC):

The walls surrounding research and scholarship have largely fallen, razed by the coronavirus pandemic. Today, the general public avidly follows developments in research related to COVID-19. And the range of concerns goes well beyond virology or epidemiology.

Mike Taylor, Head of Metrics Development for Digital Science, explained in May for CCC’s Beyond the Book podcast that, ‘this is one virus, but it’s a phenomenon in 12, 13, 14 different fields. We might think of this as purely a medical issue, but, there are all sorts of things going on here.

‘We’re seeing people talking about urban planning, tourism and travel, communication, and public health policy,’ Taylor said. ‘Understanding that and understanding how we listen to research is really interesting.’

At the recent STM Online Conference, presenters considered the current state and future prospects of Open Access publishing in ways especially fitting for 2020.

For more information, read the blog post.

ProQuest Enhances TDM Studio With a Visualization Interface

ProQuest’s TDM Studio introduced a new visualization interface that allows researchers with no coding experience to do text and data mining (TDM). It will help students across all academic disciplines analyze large datasets to find trends and patterns. Visualizations can be created in just minutes, and an interactive display feature shows changes over time and in specific geographic locations.

Marco Duranti, senior history lecturer at the University of Sydney, which has been piloting the visualization features, says, “The tool transformed how my students and I approached our exploration of human rights controversies in a historical perspective. It illuminated not only the transformational impact of data science on our field, but also the value of combining computational analyses with traditional humanities approaches.”

For more information, read the press release.

BiblioCommons Announces Free Registration for Its Library Conference

BiblioCommons’ biennial public library conference, BiblioCon ’21, to be held virtually Feb. 24–25, 2021, will have complimentary registration for all public library staffers. It will feature interactive sessions, networking events, and more as part of three tracks: Marketing & Strategy, Public Service Online, and BiblioCommons Deep Dive.

The first two tracks “will provide concrete tools and ideas on how to amplify staff voices, deliver relevant online interactions, optimize new service models, and enhance readers’ advisory.” The last track “will give attendees the chance to plunge into the BiblioCommons suite of products and learn hands-on tips on how to transform a library’s catalog, website, events, mobile apps, and marketing communications into an engaging online experience.”

For more information, read the press release.

Exploring the State of Print Publishing

Media Voices’ Peter Houston, from the What’s New in Publishing site, published “There May Be Silver Linings, but Print’s Long-Term Future Still Looks Distinctly Cloudy” as part of its “Media Moments 2020” report. The article states the following:

Print, the publishing platform that will not die. Not even a global pandemic can finish it off. Covid-19 restrictions chased more than a few titles out of print in 2020, some into a digital only future, others into history.

But the monotony of a screen-heavy work-life imbalance pushed real-world print back into the spotlight and people have been subscribing to (some) print publications in record numbers.

That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Publishers kept going with WFH workflows cobbled together from Zoom, Slack and Dropbox, but when the lockdowns hit, print faced the perfect storm.

It’s hard to make a publication if your printing press is locked down; to deliver a publication if your distribution network is locked down; to sell a publication if your retail outlets are locked down. And if your advertisers have locked down their budgets, you’re in for some challenging times.

For more information, read the article.

More Bill Status Bulk Data Is Available via govinfo

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) joined forces with the Library of Congress (LC), the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives to release 10 additional years of bill status XML bulk data from 2003 to 2012 on govinfo’s bulk data repository. (Data from 2013 to 2020 is already available.) Bill status information is created by the LC and Congress and tracks the activities and status steps for each legislative measure.

“One of the Library’s most important jobs is to provide the legislative branch and members of the public with an easy-to-use, authoritative source for up-to-date legislative information, which we know today as Congress.gov,” says Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “To meet that responsibility, the Library, GPO, the House, and the Senate share more than data—we share a deep dedication to making official government information as accessible to all Americans as possible. We’re so grateful to GPO for this additional decade of historic legislative information Americans can now explore for themselves.”

For more information, read the press release.



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