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Weekly News Digest

January 7, 2021 — 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.

ALA Reports the Federal Funds Allocated for Library Services

ALA released a statement saying that the organization “welcomed the eighth consecutive increase in federal fiscal year (FY) appropriations to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The regular FY 2021 budget bill, passed on December 21 alongside the $900 billion Emergency Covid Relief spending package, includes an additional $5 million for IMLS, including $2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act.”

In addition, “The Library Services and Technology Act received $197.5 million of the overall $257 million IMLS budget, with an increase of $2 million directed to the Grants to States program. The FY 2021 appropriations bill includes increases for other line items important to libraries,” including $28 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program, $167.5 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), $757.3 million for the Library of Congress, and $377 million for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

“Federal support for libraries is not only a wise investment in times of crisis: sustained funding can build capacity to meet community needs in the long run,” says Julius C. Jefferson Jr., ALA’s president. “At the same time, I won’t hide ALA’s disappointment that there is no direct funding for America’s libraries in the new emergency relief package. ALA stands firmly behind libraries’ need for additional resources.”

For more information, read the press release.

EveryLibrary Encourages Early Vaccination of Library Workers

EveryLibrary asserts that “library workers in public libraries and academic libraries are essential and should be included in state and local Phase 1b or Phase 1c vaccine distribution plans to protect staff and minimize risk to patrons and users. School librarians are included in plans for the education community and should continue to be prioritized.”

This statement comes after Dec. 22 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that “does not include most librarians and library workers as either Phase 1b or Phase 1c priorities for vaccinations.”

EveryLibrary continues, “With the approval of both the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines, the focus has now shifted to state and local health departments for implementation of their vaccination plans. Because we recognize that the Guidance from the CDC is not an order, we are calling on state and local health officials to correct the omission of librarians and library workers. …”

For more information, read the article.

Wiley Acquires OA Publisher Hindawi

Wiley acquired Hindawi Ltd., an OA publisher of scientific research, for $298 million. According to the press release, “The acquisition of Hindawi significantly increases Wiley’s position as a global leader in research by adding quality, scale and growth to the company’s open access publishing program.”

“The acquisition of Hindawi enables Wiley to move farther and faster toward our goal of meeting the world’s urgent and escalating need for new knowledge,” says Brian Napack, Wiley’s president and CEO. “Hindawi is a true pioneer in the industry, empowering researchers with a fully digital, user-friendly publishing process that gets their life-changing, peer-reviewed discoveries out into the world faster and more efficiently.”

Hindawi has more than 200 peer-reviewed STM journals; the acquisition doubles Wiley’s gold OA journal portfolio. Paul Peters, Hindawi’s CEO, will continue to lead the company.

For more information, read the press release, as well as Wiley SVP and chief product officer Jay Flynn’s exclusive comments to Publishing Perspectives.

Kanopy Kids Adds Educational Videos From Sesame Workshop and Highlights

Kanopy Kids now offers a dozen Spanish-language videos from Sesame Workshop and 30 films from Highlights, bringing the collection to more than 1,500 educational videos that are age-appropriate and allow for parental controls. They cover STEM as well as history topics.

“In light of the pandemic, it is now more important than ever to help budget-strapped schools provide the online educational resources that students need to learn remotely,” says Kevin Sayar, Kanopy’s CEO. “We are proud to partner with public libraries and important creators like Sesame Workshop and Highlights to bring educational, thought inspiring films to children, parents and teachers around the globe.”

For more information, read the news item.

'Knowledge Graphs as Belief System Encapsulations' by Babis Marmanis

Babis Marmanis, CTO and VP of Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), writes the following about CCC’s knowledge graph:

As everyone rushed to combat COVID, we at CCC also wanted to contribute what we could. By leveraging our data and technology, we developed a knowledge graph to help publishers address the problem of identifying suitable candidates for peer reviews in the COVID space.  …

Our graph relies on a dataset that consists of published scientific articles in virology with special attention to coronaviruses including SARS, MERS, and SAR-CoV-2. We used bibliographic citation metadata for articles listed by LitCovid, CORD-19, and other sources. All in all, we processed over 120,000 articles.

Our thinking was fairly straightforward, if we can show the various authors, their associated literature, their collaborators (co-authors), and some general characterization of the field of their study, then a match between an arriving manuscript and an appropriate reviewer could be readily made. However, even with such a limited set of data there are plenty of questions to answer and a significant degree of uncertainty to deal with. …

Our view at CCC is that building a knowledge graph system, essentially, means building a belief system for your business.

A system that can understand the intent of your users in various circumstances, and provide the power of knowledge to employees, and end-users alike, at the right place, and at the right time. …

For more information, read the blog post.



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