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Weekly News Digest

February 11, 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.

Elsevier Works With California EMS Authority to Give COVID-19 Training to Nurses

Elsevier announced that it is working with the State of California Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Authority to offer an online training program on COVID-19 to registered nurses in California. The 2-day curriculum was created with the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and “is designed to help registered nurses enhance their clinical reasoning skills and knowledge by utilizing the latest evidence-based practices and data on the novel coronavirus.”

“We are honored to work with the State of California Emergency Medical Services Authority and AACN to deliver this important COVID-19 online training for nurses,” says John Danaher, president of clinical solutions at Elsevier. “Every day, we are working to support our healthcare workers in addressing this public health crisis by providing the clinical tools and trusted information they need to care for patients.”

For more information, read the press release.

OverDrive Offers Curated Lists for Discovering Black Authors

OverDrive’s marketing and communications specialist, Jill Grunenwald, shared curated ebook and audiobook lists for librarians in conjunction with Black History Month. “The truth is, 28 days isn’t enough,” she notes. “We should be reading, promoting, and supporting these books and authors every single day. And while much of the focus of Black History Month is centered on the history of African Americans, it is equally important that we recognize and reckon with what it currently means to be Black in America while also highlighting the joy that can be found in books written by Black authors.”

The lists (login required to view) include African American Romance, Black LGBTQ+ Authors and Characters, Conversations on Race, Racism, & Resistance, YA Books that spotlight #BlackJoy, Books That Showcase Black Talent, and Books by Black Authors Everyone Should Read.

For more information, read the blog post.

Reese Witherspoon's Book Club Launches an App

Fast Company’s Stephanie Mehta reports the following in “Exclusive: Reese Witherspoon’s Wildly Popular Book Club Is Now an App”:

Actress and Hello Sunshine founder Reese Witherspoon is seeking to broaden the reach of her popular book club, built largely on Instagram, with a new mobile app that will allow in-app purchases of books and exclusive merchandise. …

Hello Sunshine can forge a deep relationship with readers via the app, and through the platform users will be able to search for Witherspoon’s recommendations, more easily buy books from their favorite retailers, and, eventually, purchase exclusive items. (All Hello Sunshine profits from sales will support The Readership, a new company initiative that aims to promote literacy and diverse authors.)

The app also will host virtual events and book talks.

For more information, read the article.

'Why 2021 Is Setting Up to Be a Pivotal Year for Digital Content in Libraries' by Sari Feldman

Sari Feldman writes the following for Publishers Weekly:

As with virtually every aspect of library activity today, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the digital content market. A year ago, tensions were flaring as many of the major publishers imposed new restrictions on library e-book lending—most prominently, Macmillan’s controversial embargo on new release e-books in libraries.

But when the pandemic hit last March, things changed. Macmillan abruptly rescinded its embargo, a welcome move, and many more publishers moved to increase flexibility in licensing to help library budget dollars go further. For example, Penguin Random House now offers one-year licenses for e-books and digital audio at a 50% prorated price, and HarperCollins has added more titles to its cost-per-circulation model as well as price discounts on an additional selection of frontlist and backlist titles.

Publishers have also helped libraries respond to the extraordinary increase in demand for digital programming by offering extended blanket permissions to record and host online readings. These permissions have enabled more read-aloud story times and live reader services for children in schools and public libraries. They have also served to highlight the importance of these vital programs and reinforced the library’s role as a vital learning institution. …

In 2021, libraries will almost certainly require more flexibility from publishers. The pandemic has had a serious impact on local budgets. And with many schools and public libraries remaining closed or offering only limited services, demand for digital resources will remain high.

For more information, read the article.

Clarivate Rolls Out 'Data Categorization: Understanding Choices and Outcomes' Report

Clarivate’s Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) published a report, “Data Categorization: Understanding Choices and Outcomes,” which discusses “the organization of information in the global scientific community” and puts forth “a flexible new data-driven approach to citation-based classification” that is based on research data in the Web of Science. It highlights technology developed with the academic scientometrics team at Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies. In addition, the report “outlines existing research categorical systems from around the world and the analytical consequences of applying them to national and institutional data” and “promotes the need for good practice in data management to improve knowledge, competency and confidence and to ensure the responsible use of research metrics.”

For more information, read the press release.

Book Riot Celebrates School Librarians

In “It Takes a Village: How School Librarians Support Virtual Learning” for Book Riot, Mikkaka Overstreet writes, “[T]eachers are not alone in their efforts to provide supports to students and families. Across the country, library media specialists are finding innovative ways to support virtual learning. From sharing digital resources to collaborating on instruction, school librarians are stepping up to meet this new challenge.”

The article goes on to describe how school librarians have provided assistance with technology, supported both virtual and in-person instruction, ensured access to materials, and maintained a focus on equity.

For more information, read the article.

'Proposed Sec. 230 Rewrite Could Have Wide-Ranging Consequences' by Kate Cox

Kate Cox writes the following for Ars Technica:

A trio of Democratic Senators has taken this administration’s first stab at Section 230 reform with a new bill that would make platforms, including giants such as Facebook and Twitter, liable for certain limited categories of dangerous content. Unfortunately, although the bill’s authors try to thread a tricky needle carefully, critics warn that bad-faith actors could nonetheless easily weaponize the bill as written against both platforms and other users.

The bill (PDF), dubbed the SAFE TECH Act, seeks not to repeal Section 230 (as some Republicans have proposed) but instead to amend it with new definitions of speakers and new exceptions from the law’s infamous liability shield. …

Users would be able to file lawsuits for injunctive relief (i.e., a court order requiring someone to stop doing something) for unmoderated material that ‘is likely to cause irreparable harm.’ Basically, if someone is harassing you on Twitter, and every report to Twitter about the offending tweets is returned with a version of ‘this doesn’t violate our guidelines,’ you could in theory go to court to demand Twitter take the harassing posts down.

SAFE TECH also adds a litany of new exceptions to the section of the law that governs how it interacts with other laws, adding civil rights laws; antitrust laws; stalking, harassment, or intimidation laws; international human rights law; and wrongful death actions to the list of laws on which Sec. 230 has no effect. …

Several legal experts and lawmakers have warned that the changes in this draft bill could, if enacted, have wide-ranging and unintended consequences.

For more information, read the article.

N26 Studies Female Opportunity and Achievement in the Workplace

Mobile bank N26 unveiled The Female Opportunity Index 2021, the results of a study measuring female opportunity and achievement around the world, with a focus on women in STEM. The press release states the following:

As part of their mission to help people feel in control of their lives, and their finances, N26 commissioned the study to understand where they can champion change and make a difference by looking into workplace achievements, and the factors that drive female independence. While there is still much work to be done, the results celebrate the countries which are showing the greatest advancements in terms of equality and support for female achievement, while bringing attention to those who could be supporting working women better in 2021 and beyond.

The index began by selecting 100 countries around the world, across all continents, with comparable data on women in the workplace. To establish the level of gender parity from the highest positions of leadership, N26 calculated how many years a country has been governed by a woman since 1970, as well as the total number of women in governmental or parliamentary positions. Next, they looked at women in managerial positions, as well as data around female entrepreneurs in each country, to determine which nations help to foster the strongest female leadership opportunities and achievements. The research then turned to the number of women in the typically male-dominated arena of STEM, focusing not only on those studying, but the percentage of women actually working in that field after graduation.

The average salary and the gender wage gap were calculated for each country, along with other important metrics such as total days of maternity leave allowed in each country and workplace discrimination laws.

For more information and the country rankings, read the press release.

The Digital Reader Offers Update on the Amazon Ebook Lawsuit

Nate Hoffelder writes the following for The Digital Reader:

It took 3 weeks longer than I expected, but the Big Five Publishers have been named as co-defendants in the Amazon ebook price-fixing lawsuit. …

I just read the amended complaint and there’s still no evidence of a conspiracy. The filing does say that ‘Defendants did not act unilaterally or independently’, so clearly they are claiming there was a conspiracy, but there’s still nothing to back it up. …

While I would love to see these contracts broken and real competition restored to the marketplace, I just don’t see this case going anywhere.

For more information, read the blog post.

DCL Rolls Out Content Clarity Service for Publishers

Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) debuted Content Clarity, a service for scholarly publishers that “provides a deep analysis of a publisher’s entire corpus to identify obstacles in content structure that hinder discoverability.” It creates a report on various “clarity checks” such as missing DOIs or duplicate IDs.

“In the daily cycle to process and publish new research, the task of analyzing the current library can seem daunting but … the benefits of ensuring [that] all content published is properly optimized can have bottom line results,” says Brian Trombley, DCL’s national sales director. “Following a Content Clarity audit, DCL can programmatically clean up the files and enrich the content so it is optimized for modern platforms and researchers.”

For more information, read the press release. 



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