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Weekly News Digest

November 18, 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.

'Cybersecurity Remains a Critical Issue That Universities Must Face' by Heidi Fraser-Krauss

Jisc CEO Heidi Fraser-Krauss writes the following for The Campus, part of Times Higher Education:

It’s no surprise that our latest cybersecurity survey shows that universities cite ransomware as the top threat this year. There’s been a huge spike in this type of attack against our sector, with the number of incidents in the first half of 2021 surpassing the total in all of 2020. It’s fair to say that it’s no longer a question of whether an institution will face a cyberattack, but when.

Jisc and partner agencies including the National Cyber Security Centre have, for some time, been advising tertiary education providers on how to defend themselves. …

It’s vital that we work together to reduce risk and strengthen security, and it’s essential that senior leaders get involved. … Vice-chancellors and boards are responsible for ensuring there is protection in place for the cyberspaces within their institutions, but our survey suggests that not all senior leaders are as engaged as they need to be. …

There is no silver bullet for this issue. Reducing the risk is multilayered and requires a range of interventions. We need ongoing government support for critical infrastructure, financial investment from the sector in specialist staff and services and leadership from senior teams to create the conditions to enable change to happen within their institutions.

For more information, read the article.

Clarivate Rolls Out Its 2021 List of Highly Cited Researchers

Clarivate released its annual list of highly cited researchers for 2021. Drawing on data and analysis done by the team at Clarivate’s Institute for Scientific Information, it identifies 6,602 researchers from 70-plus countries and regions who have had multiple highly cited papers during the past decade. Their publications rank in the top 1% of citations in their field and publication year in the Web of Science. Findings from the list include the following:
  • The United States is the institutional home for 2,622 of the Highly Cited Researchers in 2021, which amounts to 39.7%, down from 43.3% in 2018. While there has been a decline in the number of U.S.-based Highly Cited Researchers, there can be no doubt that the U.S. still leads the world in research influence. Of all papers indexed in the Web of Science for 2010 to 2020 the percentage with a U.S.-based author was 24.7%.
  • Mainland China is second this year, with 935 Highly Cited Researchers, or 14.2%, up from 7.9% in 2018. In four years, Mainland China has nearly doubled its share of the Highly Cited Researchers population.
  • The United Kingdom, with 492 researchers or 7.5%, comes in third. This is a particularly high number of researchers at the very top of their fields in terms of citation impact, given that the United Kingdom has a population 1/5 the size of the United States and 1/20 the size of Mainland China.
  • Australia has narrowly overtaken Germany at fourth, with 332 researchers, and the Netherlands is sixth, with 207 researchers—remarkable for countries of 25 million and 17 million, respectively, versus Germany’s 83 million. They also place above Canada, France, Spain and Switzerland in the top 10.
  • For the first time, researchers from Bangladesh, Kuwait, Mauritius, Morocco and the Republic of Georgia are included on the list this year.

For more information, read the press release.

ALA Supports Revised Library of Congress Subject Headings

ALA released a statement in praise of “the Library of Congress’s decision to update the cataloging subject headings ‘Aliens’ and ‘Illegal aliens.’ The Policy and Standards Division of the Library of Congress, which maintains Library of Congress Subject Headings, announced the decision to replace the terms with new subject headings ‘Noncitizens’ and ‘Illegal immigration’ at its regularly scheduled meeting on November 12.”

Patty Wong, ALA’s president, added, “We are pleased that the Library of Congress is replacing these subject headings, which are both outdated and dehumanizing. This update better reflects common terminology and respects library users and library workers from all backgrounds.”

For more information, read the press release.

Storytel to Acquire Audiobooks.com

Storytel, a Swedish audiobook streaming company, is buying Audiobooks.com from KKR. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to be finalized by the end of December 2021. “Storytel’s acquisition of Audiobooks.com lays the foundations for the company’s expansion into English-language markets and underlines its pronounced growth strategy to launch into large and established audio markets," Storytel notes. The company currently has 1.7 million subscribers in 25 markets. Audiobooks.com is available in 150-plus countries and is a leader in the U.S. audiobook market.

For more information, read the press release.

EveryLibrary Starts Petition to Help End Book Banning in the U.S.

EveryLibrary shared an update on censorship measures in libraries and urges everyone to sign its petition to lawmakers. “Librarians around the United States are facing measures that mean that they may soon find themselves under attack for stocking books against racism and about the lives and experiences of LGBT Americans,” EveryLibrary notes. It calls out the following states:
  • In Texas, school librarians are facing an increased workload as a result of an order to survey their collections for titles deemed potentially dangerous.
  • In Wyoming, a recent violent public outcry forced library staff to cancel a program for children. … Many have called for the removal of books that they disagree with accompanied by criminal charges and arrests for librarians found to be in noncompliance.
  • In Indiana, a bill that would punish schools and public libraries for sharing ‘harmful material’ with minors, was withdrawn before its final reading in the Senate by the author of the bill, Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville.

View the petition, titled Don’t Ban Books in the United States, here. “Government should not get to dictate reading material that is available in libraries,” says John Chrastka, EveryLibrary’s executive director. “We’re encouraging the people who are alarmed by these recent acts of legislation to sign our petition. Our lawmakers must hear from the voters that they support freedom of speech in libraries.”

For more information, read the press release.

Spotify to Acquire Findaway

Sarah Perez writes the following for TechCrunch:

In an effort to expand beyond music, Spotify has been investing hundreds of millions to build out its podcasts business. Now the company has set its sights on another form of audio, with [the] acquisition of digital audiobook distributor Findaway.

Spotify declined to share the financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory review and approval. …

Spotify is bringing in Findaway’s full team of around 150, it says, and then plans to build on Findaway’s existing investments in the audio industry. It also plans to bring expanded access to audiobooks to Spotify’s 381 million monthly active users.

For more information, read the article.

Insightful Science Has Acquired LabArchives

Matt Dunie, president, CEO, and co-founder of LabArchives, writes the following:

We have recently announced that LabArchives has been acquired by Insightful Science. What does that mean?

Insightful Science is a portfolio of software products that include GraphPad Prism, SnapGene, Geneious Prime, Dotmatics, FCS Express, and nQuery. As you can see, LabArchives is in great company with these leading scientific software solutions. Together, the combined company, including LabArchives, forms the world’s largest cloud-based scientific R&D platform with millions of users and thousands of customers worldwide. …

Together with Insightful Science, we can accelerate transformation far beyond what we could have achieved on our own. Ultimately this will create more value for … our customers, and for science. …

Insightful Science plans to invest heavily in the continued extraordinary growth of LabArchives so we can better serve our existing customers, expand our core products, and introduce new end-to-end workflow capabilities.

For more information and to view the original press release, read the article.

EFF Unveils New Podcast, How to Fix the Internet

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, launched the first season of the podcast How to Fix the Internet. It features “conversations that can plot a pathway out of today’s tech dystopias,” including on topics such as “ways out of the big tech lock-in, protecting our connected devices, and keeping texts and emails safe from prying eyes. …”

The hosts are EFF team members Cindy Cohn, executive director, and Danny O’Brien, special advisor. Guests will include comedian Marc Maron, cybersecurity expert Tarah Wheeler, and Harlan Yu, the executive director of technology justice nonprofit Upturn.

“We can’t create a better world unless we can envision it, and these conversations are needed to help us see how the world will look when technology better supports, protects, and empowers users,” says Cohn.

For more information, read the press release.

DPLA Provides Update on Its Talks With Audible

Micah May, director of ebook services at the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), issued a letter to the public discussing DPLA’s talks with Audible. He writes: 

As part of our efforts to expand access to ebooks and audiobooks, we are currently in talks with Audible about making audiobooks available to libraries through Palace Marketplace (formerly the DPLA Exchange).

We are in the process of working through details about exactly which titles will be available and when, but we can share that we are working toward titles being available in Palace Marketplace in the first quarter of next year, with titles added on a rolling basis. We expect that titles will be available via a variety of licensing models, similar to the deal we announced with Amazon Publishing earlier this year.

For more information, read the letter.

The Internet Archive Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Tom Foremski writes the following for ZDNet:

The San Francisco-based Internet Archive celebrates 25 years preserving the history of the internet, TV, and radio broadcasts. It is currently storing 475 billion web pages, 28 million scans of books and texts, and 14 million audio recordings—adding up to 30 petabytes of data and beyond.

The Internet Archive has collected writings from more than one hundred million people so far. …

There is currently a two-to-one matching offer for donations to the nonprofit organization. … 

The Internet Archive is currently fighting a legal challenge from four large publishers over its ability to lend out more digital copies of a book than it has physical copies. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is helping with a legal defense. 

For more information, read the article.



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