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Weekly News Digest

May 6, 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.

Springer Nature Publishes Hybrid AI Literature Overviews Book

Springer Nature announced the following:

Following the publication of its first machine-generated book in 2019, Springer Nature has now deployed its AI expertise to create a new publication format which focuses on literature reviews. While the first book on lithium-ion batteries was entirely AI-based, this new format takes an innovative hybrid approach of blending human-machine interaction. The new product is a mixture of human-written text and machine-generated literature overviews, which sees an author putting these machine-generated reviews, created from a large set of previously published articles in Springer Nature journals, into book chapters and providing a scientific perspective.

Climate, Planetary and Evolutionary Sciences: A Machine-Generated Literature Overview, edited by Guido Visconti, is the first publication of this kind. Professor Guido Visconti devised a series of questions and keywords related to different aspects of climate studies, examining their most recent developments and their most practical applications. These were queried, discovered, collated and structured by the machine using AI clustering with the results presented in a series of book chapters for Prof Visconti to put into scientific context. This combined approach of human-machine interaction was able to reveal the complex and interdisciplinary nature of the climate, planetary and evolution sciences. Springer Nature is planning a further development of this new format and making human-machine collaboration part of its publishing experience.

For more information, read the press release.

 

Gale In Context: Elementary Now Features In-Platform Ebooks for Students

Gale has integrated its K–5 ebook content into Gale In Context: Elementary so that young users can easily navigate and access it on a familiar platform via the addition of a Books tab for better discoverability. The press release notes, “As students navigate an increasing number of digital platforms in remote and blended learning environments, it’s easy for them to get frustrated. This is especially true for young students who don’t currently have the digital expertise required to toggle between tools in search of the content they need. Gale In Context: Elementary’s new eBook integration streamlines the learning experience in a single platform, eliminating the need to open multiple tools to access Gale’s K-5 content.”

Gale In Context: Elementary also now has an improved book view experience, ReadSpeaker functionality in every ebook, and the ability to cross-search titles within the platform.

For more information, read the press release.

Spring Into Fitness: Koha Community Challenge Encourages Shared Exercising Throughout May

ByWater Solutions and koha-US are hosting the Spring Into Fitness: Koha Community Challenge fundraiser from May 1 to 31. Participants can sign up individually or as a team at RunSignup.com and choose to walk, jog, run, swim, bike, do yoga, hike, dance, or do other exercise to reach a personal goal. They can log their activities in miles or minutes and view other members’ results. The cost is $40 to receive a T-shirt, medal, completion certificate, and access to the online community or $10 to receive the certificate and online access. Proceeds will go to help the Koha Community and koha-US.

Anyone is welcome to register “to connect virtually and come together to celebrate open source and the open source community,” ByWater Solutions notes.

For more information, visit the webpage.

Open Access Button Rebrands as OA.Works

The Open Access Button changed its name and branding to OA.Works. (It now encompasses the free, open source tools ShareYourPaper, InstantILL, and OAButton.) The announcement on its blog states, “We have wonderful partnerships with librarians, and new tools in the pipeline. It’s time for our name to reflect the momentum and direction of our work. … Since the beginning we’ve been driven by the belief that open access works—so while our name is changing—who we are is not. We’re just updating our brand to reflect what we do, and what we hope to become.”

For more information, read the blog post.

Knowledge Unlatched Starts a New Funding Round

Knowledge Unlatched (KU) announced the eighth round of funding, stating the following:

It includes its legacy KU Select Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Books collection and several new collections developed in partnerships with renowned academic publishers and university presses, including University of Michigan Press, Amsterdam University Press, Central European University Press, and EDP Sciences.

KU is continuing the thematic approach to pledging in 2021, which means pledging libraries can select the appropriate collections based on their preferred subject areas (e.g., History, Politics, Communications, Linguistics, STEM). As in previous years, this year’s collections have been assessed and selected by librarians based on their relevance, including over 200 subject experts on the KU Selection Committee who have curated the content for KU Select HSS 2022 Books.

In addition, a new cooperation with Verfassungsblog extends KU’s OA activities into the medium of peer-reviewed blog posts in Constitutional Law and Politics, while KU’s Focus Collection offers a targeted collection of 20 cutting-edge new titles on Climate Change.

For more information, read the press release.

Kanopy Debuts New Collection for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Kanopy rolled out a new collection to celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, which is “[a]vailable to academic libraries under a variety of flexible acquisition models including PDA, firm order and perpetual access, and public libraries under a pay-per-use model. …” The press release states that these are “12 must-watch films, most of which are only available on Kanopy. The entire Asian Pacific American Heritage collection on Kanopy features 100 films.”

The 12-film collection includes Slaying the Dragon, Princess Kaiulani, Meet the Patels, The Farewell, and Bitter Melon. Per the press release, “These films are all directed by Asian Pacific Americans, and Asian Pacific Americans are the stars of the shows.”

For more information, read the press release.

'Centrality of W3C as the Web Accelerates to Meet Society's Growing Needs' by Jeff Jaffe

Jeff Jaffe writes the following in a blog post for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):

[W]e are releasing to the public the April 2021 edition of the W3C Strategic Highlights, our semi-annual report about the tremendous work to enhance, grow and strengthen the Web platform. This document focuses on progress in key areas of the web, how the Web Consortium meets the needs of industry and society as a whole.

[The end of April] marks the anniversary of the release of the World Wide Web into the public domain, for general use, and at no cost, on 30 April 1993 by CERN. This quiet gesture, advocated by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, has had implications beyond what anyone imagined at that time. …

The W3C Community has helped weave a Web that empowers all of us to expand our potential as humans. W3C global web standards are the building blocks for more than a billion web sites, trillions of dollars of online commerce, and myriad transformative phenomena. …

If there was ever a question about the mission of the Web Consortium to build a web that works for all of humanity—the last 14 months have brought our calling into absolute clarity. We are proud that the Web Consortium’s work has been essential to the ways in which our world has met the challenge of the past year of crisis and in providing solutions for what will come next.

For more information, read the blog post.

'What Does Book Publishing Stand For?' by Alex Shephard

Alex Shephard writes the following for The New Republic:

Speaking to PEN America in 2018, then, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy [said], ‘It is all the more important to reassert our core belief that free speech, the actual discussion and debate of ideas is … the right of every citizen in our society.… When it comes to the right of unfettered discourse we should not, we cannot, accept dissent-quashing tyranny from any side of the political spectrum.’

But even as Reidy was speaking those words, this story was already fraying. In the background was the backlash that followed Simon & Schuster’s brief, disastrous dalliance with Milo Yiannapoulos. In 2021, with staff revolts in response to Simon & Schuster’s signing of Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway to multimillion-dollar deals—and general angst about publishing former Trump administration officials—the story has collapsed altogether. …

There may be an ideological component to publishing Pence and Conway, but it has nothing to do with ideas. It has to do with fetishizing ideological diversity, in which publishing garbage books from prominent Republicans is an end in and of itself. These deals only underline what’s been increasingly obvious for decades now: The commitment to free speech and intellectual diversity is a fig leaf, held up to defend often dubious decisions that are rooted in financial concerns, rather than intellectual or moral ones. If you are building a case for ‘ideological diversity’ and are basing it on books by Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway, you have already lost.

For more information, read the article.

'Where Should You Buy Your Books?' by Dani Blum

Dani Blum writes the following for The New York Times:

The last year has seen expanded options for buying books online, as more bookstores have developed websites, and e-commerce sites like Bookshop.org gain traction. But massive retailers like Amazon continue to dominate the bookselling business, and readers may be torn between the desire to support local bookstores and the convenience and price of online delivery giants. …

For those who want to discover and support new writers, rather than waiting for splashy releases, independent bookstores tend to be a better option. …

If you can’t order directly from a bookstore, e-commerce sites like IndieBound and Bookshop.org allow you to purchase from independents, which receive a cut of the profits. …

And if you do buy from Amazon, pre-ordering books can be helpful for writers, said Kate McKean, vice president at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency—particularly since Amazon tends to send more data to publishers about pre-orders, which can indicate a book’s popularity.

For more information, read the article.

U.S. Book Show Supports Literacy Programming at Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Publishers Weekly’s U.S. Book Show, to be held virtually May 25–27, will donate a portion of its proceeds to Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support its literacy programming. “Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s literacy and academic support programs include Summer Brain Gain, which runs for one month this summer as a virtual program featuring authors of a children’s picture book, a middle grade title and a YA book,” the press release notes. “Local Boys & Girls Clubs—Club leaders and members—are invited to attend the virtual U.S. Book Show at no cost, including keynote speeches, author conversations, Editors’ Picks panels, meet-the author events and more than 140 exhibitor booths.”

In addition, “A videotaped short piece will be played on May 27, 2021 at the opening of Day 3 of the show, which is dedicated to children’s books, to promote and build awareness of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s support of literacy and education.”

For more information, read the press release.



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