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Weekly News Digest

June 8, 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 ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Chegg Introduces a New Content-Sharing Platform for Educators

Chegg launched Uversity, a platform that allows educators and faculty members (from the U.S., for now) to share their supplemental content (study notes, videos, practice tests, etc.) with Chegg learners. It will augment the Chegg Study service, which is used globally. Once educators are verified and accepted onto Uversity, they can upload their content in a variety of formats, and Chegg matches it to students’ needs. The plan is to allow sharing among the educators themselves as well as to students. The press release notes, “Educators will be compensated for their content contributions and will retain ownership of their intellectual property rights and give Chegg certain limited exclusive licenses.”

For more information, read the press release.

OCLC Adds an OA Database to FirstSearch

OCLC’s FirstSearch introduced the Open Access Content database, which will help researchers find exclusively OA resources from a variety of content providers, including BMC, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), JSTOR, OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks), and PLOS. The database is now part of all active FirstSearch accounts for no additional charge. Library staffers can manage their access via their FirstSearch administrative settings.

The press release states, “The new database is the latest example of OCLC’s work with governing bodies, publishers, aggregators, libraries, and the communities they serve to enhance the visibility and accessibility of open content by prioritizing open collections in OCLC services for optimal discovery and access.”

For more information, read the press release.

'… Publishing’s Cancel Culture Debate Boils Over' by Alison Flood

Alison Flood writes the following for The Guardian:

In the liberal industry of publishing, the tension that exists between profit and morality is nothing new. … But the debate over what should be published has reached a fever pitch. Publishing staff who feel uncomfortable about working on certain titles are speaking out more often and more loudly, through open letters and on social media. In April, more than 200 employees at S&S in the US asked their employer to pull out of a seven-figure book deal with former vice president Mike Pence. Authors, too, have withdrawn titles when their publishers sign writers they disagree with; Roxane Gay pulled out of a book deal with S&S in 2017 over its decision to publish “alt-right” provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, as did Ronan Farrow when his publisher Hachette announced it would publish a memoir by his estranged father, Woody Allen. Pankaj Mishra recently revealed he had written to his publisher, Penguin Random House India, to ask it to reconsider reissuing a book by prime minister Narendra Modi during the country’s Covid-19 crisis.

Sometimes the pressure works. … Sometimes it doesn’t. … Publishers today are teetering on a tightrope. Which voices should they amplify with a publishing deal—those their staff agree with, or those with an audience who agree with them? How far does an author have to go before their views are deemed unpublishable? What about when the personal views of an author, say JK Rowling, are condemned and staff object to working on her next children’s book? Where to draw the line? …

[S]peaking to publishing staff for this article—particularly those at the big conglomerates, and more junior staff worried for their jobs—most are wary of speaking on the record. … ‘Everyone is very guarded around this subject and inclined to speak with incredible care,’ one head of PR says. ‘These days, it’s all too easy to earn yourself the unshakable label of “bigot”. Also, too many areas of discussion feel like they’re off limits—which should hardly be the case in an industry that disseminates ideas.’

For more information, read the article.

CCC Rolls Out Certificate Course for Education Stakeholders

Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) introduced Copyright Essentials for K-12, an online, self-paced certificate course offering guidance to U.S. school districts, education technology companies, curriculum developers, and custom publishers. It “addresses legal matters related to the use of copyrighted content in schools [and] covers the foundation of U.S. copyright law including relevant exceptions such as fair use and the TEACH Act and is designed to help participants feel more confident as they develop, or consider adopting, copyrighted instructional materials for K-12 education.”

The fee is $99 per person (group rates are available), and participants need not have prior experience with copyright law.

For more information, read the press release.

Springer Nature and LYRASIS to Produce OA Books Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Springer Nature signed an agreement with LYRASIS to enter into a sponsoring partnership for the publication of a suite of OA books covering climate change, equity, peace, and justice—areas that support the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Springer Nature is already publishing works related to the SDGs with its dedicated SDG series. The new OA books will be published under a CC BY 4.0 license by Springer Nature imprints Springer and Palgrave Macmillan and will be freely available on SpringerLink.

Celeste Feather, senior director for content and scholarly communication initiatives at LYRASIS, says, “We are excited to establish the LYRASIS UN Sustainability Development Goal Book Publishing Fund that allows our members to support the production and dissemination of knowledge to readers around the world. As we collaborate to address the global challenges outlined in the SDGs, students, teachers, researchers, and global citizens need access to the latest research to further progress. This new program offers an opportunity for every library to engage and support book publishing on these important topics that academic institutions are addressing through teaching and research.”

For more information, read the press release.

LexisNexis Legal & Professional Unveils New Competitive Intelligence Solution

LexisNexis Legal & Professional rolled out Nexis for Competitive Intelligence, an end-to-end solution that allows users to search, compare, and analyze key business indicators such as news and company and intellectual property information. They can track trends, visualize comparisons with the competition, and share their findings with stakeholders to inform their strategy, market research, R&D, and investment decisions. Visualizations come in the form of charts and graphs, and information can be snipped, pinned, and annotated for added context.

“Nexis for Competitive Intelligence is the research and analysis tool your competitors hope you don’t have,” says Todd Larsen, president of Nexis Solutions. “It is the only competitive intelligence platform that allows professionals to immediately see a side-by-side comparison, perform deep research that they can save and use later, and build some of that analysis into their workflow. … By investing in this space, we’re making it much easier for our customers to get the answers and insights they’re looking for.”

For more information, read the press release.

Ex Libris Enhances Esploro With Smart Harvesting AI

Ex Libris announced the following:

[C]ustomers of the Ex Libris Esploro research information management solution can now use the Esploro Smart Harvesting AI capabilities. With this technology, institutions automatically capture the research output of affiliated scholars and enrich the metadata associated with the output. As a result, Esploro customers can easily expand their research information hub, keep it up to date, and improve the discoverability of research publications while significantly reducing the administrative burden on researchers and librarians.

Smart Harvesting AI uses machine learning to match authors with their works. Research output and data are captured from the Ex Libris Central Discovery Index, ORCID, and national repositories. Institutions using Esploro can run Smart Harvesting AI on a regular schedule or on an ad hoc basis.

For more information, read the press release.

An Update From OverDrive on ARPA Funding

OverDrive reports the following on its blog:

Recently, we shared information about how libraries can use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase digital books. … ARPA funds enable U.S. libraries to provide pandemic response and relief to their communities with materials and services from June 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022 (16 months). …

To help your library utilize ARPA funding for digital content, we have also created new tools and workflows in OverDrive Marketplace that enable you to order, track, and report on digital content purchased with these funds.

The post goes on to summarize the relevant lending models—including one copy/one user, cost per circ, and simultaneous use—and provide recommended next steps for libraries.

For more information, read the blog post.

The Library of Congress Appoints a Leader for Its Digital Innovation Lab

The Library of Congress (LC) named Nicole Saylor as chief of its Digital Innovation Lab, a newly created position established to oversee the LC’s work with digital collections and the application of technology to collections and services. She and her team will explore how the LC can find new ways to connect with researchers, artists, and members of the public. The Digital Innovation Lab started in 2017; its initiatives include Citizen DJNewspaper Navigator, and By the People, as well as the Innovator in Residence program.

The position is part of the Digital Strategy Directorate in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Saylor comes from the American Folklife Center at the LC, where she was director of the Archive of Folk Culture.

For more information, read the blog post.

Taylor & Francis Enters Into Read and Publish Agreement With CzechELib

Taylor & Francis signed a transformative read and publish OA agreement with CzechELib, allowing the 18 member institutions to publish their work OA in more than 2,000 Taylor & Francis journals. In addition, 50% of their previous output will be made OA in 2021, with 100% made OA by 2022, and the institutions can access content published on a subscription basis. 

“Our first Read and Publish agreement with CzechELib is designed to support research while we work through a transition to an open environment,” says Carolyn Kirby, Taylor & Francis’ open access business development director. “The ‘Read’ portion of this deal allows researchers and students to access a wide range of journal content. The ‘Publish’ element means that researchers can publish their work open access immediately and in a more streamlined and optimized way.”  

Jirí Jirát, head of the licensing and administrative unit at CzechELib, says, “Through our Read and Publish deal with Taylor & Francis Group, 18 Institutions now have access to significantly more journal content and our researchers have more publishing options, raising the global visibility of their work without additional financial barriers.” 

For more information, read the press release.



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