|Weekly News Digest
September 22, 2022 — 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.
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The Library of Congress Creates a Congress.gov API
Margaret Wood and Andrew Weber write the following for the Library of Congress’ In Custodia Legis blog:
Congress.gov is a fantastic source of legislative information, and a marvelous source for investigating specific legislation and exploring the legislative history of a bill. Congress.gov also contains large amounts of data and various users have expressed interest in having additional access to download this data. Certain entities or persons have ‘scraped’ the website over the years and the Government Publishing Office (GPO) has also offered bulk data downloads for some collections, but these have all been somewhat imperfect measures. However, today we are introducing the beta Congress.gov API which will provide access to accurate and structured congressional data. We are very excited about this release and a great deal of hard work has gone on behind the scenes this year to make this happen. …
The Congress.gov API will cover many of the Congress.gov collections out of the gate, including bills, amendments, summaries, Congress, members, the Congressional Record, committee reports, nominations, treaties, and House Communications. Over time we will be adding other Congress.gov collection endpoints, such as hearing transcripts and Senate Communications.
For more information, read the blog post.
Kudos and Impact Science Launch the Artificial Intelligence Knowledge Cooperative
Kudos announced the following:
Kudos, the platform for showcasing research, has today announced the launch of a new Showcase and associated outreach campaign to help the public, media, industry, policy makers, educators, and others understand the current and future role and capabilities of Artificial Intelligence. Kudos has set up the Artificial Intelligence Knowledge Cooperative with Impact Science, a part of Cactus Communications (CACTUS). Sponsors announced today include the Association for Computing Machinery, AIP Publishing, ASTM International and IOP Publishing.
Sponsors are selecting their most relevant, recent or significant AI content to be summarized by Impact Science’s professional science writers, and showcased and promoted by the communication experts at Kudos. Stories already live in the platform cover topics ranging from ‘smart industry’, which uses machine learning to streamline operations, to how neural networks are reducing the use of fossil fuels.
For more information, read the press release.
'Voter Perceptions of Book Bans and Censorship' From the EveryLibrary Institute
Nonprofit the EveryLibrary Institute commissions a public opinion poll of American voters in order to understand political support and opposition to book banning.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESept. 19, 2022
In anticipation of Banned Books Week, the EveryLibrary Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to understanding public support for libraries, commissioned a public opinion poll of American voters in order to understand political support and opposition to book banning.
The EveryLibrary Institute survey found that the overwhelming majority of voters strongly opposes book banning and, most significantly, that 75% of voters will consider book bans when voting for legislators in November. “Voters believe in the right to read and the right to be left alone to make their own choices about what to read,” says John Chrastka, executive director of the EveryLibrary Institute.
This public opinion poll was conducted as part of the EveryLibrary Institute’s research agenda on understanding the political environment around book banning. Throughout the previous 18 months, the EveryLibrary Institute has tracked a significant shift in attempts to ban books in schools and public libraries. The EveryLibrary Institute partnered with Dr. Tasslyn Magnusson, an independent researcher who has been tracking the networks, organizations, and individual actors leading book banning and book challenge efforts in our nation’s school libraries and public libraries. Dr. Magnussen has tracked over 1,500 books that have been challenged or banned in schools and public libraries. Likewise, the EveryLibrary Institute has been tracking dozens of pieces of legislation across a growing number of states. These various pieces of legislation attempt to limit access to books in school and public libraries, require severe regulation of educational databases, control what books Americans are allowed to read, and even look to incarcerate or fine librarians under obscenity laws.
The poll was conducted by Embold Research, a nonpartisan research firm. Embold surveyed 1,123 registered voters from August 31st to September 3rd with a margin of error of 3.4%. The survey examined the differences in beliefs among voters segmented by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and 2020 presidential vote.
Some of the key findings include:
- Nearly all American voters (92%) have heard at least something about book banning.
- Half of voters believe there is “absolutely no time when a book should be banned,” 41% think “there are rare times when it’s appropriate to ban books,” and just 8% think “there are many books that are inappropriate and should be banned.”
- 31% of Republicans think there is absolutely no time when a book should be banned.
- 75% of voters will consider book banning when voting for legislators.
- 50% of voters find the legislation created to regulate Americans’ access to books most concerning.
- Voters have favorable feelings about their libraries (69%) and librarians (66%) and their schools (53%) and school librarians (62%).
- Only 18% of voters support banning books that focus on race and CRT, and only one-third support banning books that discuss sexuality.
In the past year EveryLibrary has seen a wave of new attacks on libraries and is working to directly address quite a few of them. Threats to librarians and their defense of free speech come in the wake of new attacks on educators across the country. Many librarians and educators are standing up to defend mainstream books that are the target of politically motivated challenges simply because they are written by authors of color, and/or present the experience or perspective of those from historically marginalized communities. Stories of the librarians and educators who are defending free speech and access to books can be seen on EveryLibrary’s page, “Stop Book Bans.”
It is clear from the polling results that voters appear to want to make their own choices about what to read and be free from attempts at government control, overreach, and legislative intervention. The survey shows that voters oppose banning books because of race, sexuality, and other content or viewpoint concerns. “It is heartening to see that this belief in the right to read—and voter support for school libraries and public libraries—transcend partisanship,” adds Chrastka. “With such high numbers of voters from all parties, persuasions, and backgrounds telling us that they support American’s right to read, it’s time for politicians to pay attention and stop their attacks on libraries.”
About EveryLibrary Institute
The EveryLibrary Institute is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to support libraries and librarians in the United States and abroad. We partner with allied organizations including foundations, philanthropic organizations, associations, non-profits, and academic institutions to enhance the perception of libraries and librarianship through direct engagement with the public.
About Embold Research
Embold Research is the nonpartisan, non-political unit of Change Research. Their team of data scientists and communications professionals with deep experience help leaders translate data into actionable insights.
John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary and the EveryLibrary Institute: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kosi Harris, Publicist: Kosiharrispr@gmail.com
'Celebrating SDG Action Week: New Resources From IFLA'
IFLA shared the following via its IFLA-L email list:
It is currently SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Action Week, a period of focus on the steps required in order to deliver on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda. To mark this, IFLA has launched a number of new materials, as well as a mailing list to keep in touch around our work in this area.
SDG Action Week takes place each year around the time of the United Nations’ General Assembly. Its goal is to focus attention—and pressure—on the world leaders meeting in New York, urging them to intensify their work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
While benefitting from the support of the United Nations, it is intended to be an event for all different types of [stakeholders] from around the world, including of course libraries!
IFLA has been engaged in work on the SDGs since before they were agreed in 2015. We have both worked to underline the importance of access to information to global leaders, but also the value and importance of the SDGs themselves to our own field.
Crucially, we have argued that as well as creating opportunities to form new connections and update perceptions of libraries within government, the SDGs provide a language we can use when advocating, as well as challenging us to think about our own contributions to development.
SDG Action week is therefore both an opportunity to make calls on government, and to mobilise ourselves!
To help with this, we have developed a new series of materials to support the field:
- An updated version of our Get Into SDG Action Week guide, adapted for 2022. This explains more about the week, how you can get involved, and how you can share your activities with others.
- A new slidedeck on the SDGs: this is intended to provide a basis for you when talking about the SDGs to colleagues, decision-makers or others. You can of course adapt it, including removing or adding slides, according to what is most helpful for you
- A template for our This Library Supports the SDGs poster with an updated link. This is intended to make it easier to carry out translations [into] your own language.
- A new SDGs mailing list. We will use this to share updates about the SDGs, and opportunities for you to get involved.
- A webinar, taking place from 12:00 to 13:30 UTC on 22 September (see what time this is for you), where we’ll be hearing from some of the librarians who came to New York in July from countries undertaking Voluntary National Reviews of their implementation of the SDGs
Unite Against Book Bans Releases White Paper on How Diverse Reading Improves Children's Development
ALA announced the following:
Access to books that represent a variety of cultures and viewpoints may boost a student’s development and well-being, according to a white paper from Unite Against Book Bans, an initiative of the American Library Association and several dozen national partners. The paper, ‘Empowered by Reading: The Benefits of Giving Youth Access to a Wide Variety of Reading Materials,’ kicks off Banned Books Week (September 18–24, 2022) to inform the public and policymakers of the threat that book challenges and bans pose to America’s education system and its communities.
Examining research conducted by experts in literacy, education, child development, and related fields, the paper underscores the benefits of providing children and youth with a wide variety of developmentally-appropriate reading materials, such as improvements in critical thinking skills and reading comprehension, as well as enhanced understanding and empathy.
For more information, read the press release and the white paper.
CCC Rolls Out the OA Agreement Intelligence Solution
CCC announced the following:
CCC, a leading provider of Open Access (OA) workflow solutions, has launched OA Agreement Intelligence, the only agreement modeling solution that enables publishers to prepare, build, and analyze their OA data so that they can create and communicate sustainable and transparent agreements with their partners. The solution combines sophisticated data preprocessing with easy-to-use analysis and export capabilities. …
OA Agreement Intelligence helps publishers achieve scalability, sustainability, and transparency goals for institutional agreements. Pilot participants cited a range of benefits including time savings associated with manual data clean-up, leveraging automated affiliation enrichment through CCC’s recently acquired Ringgold data, accelerating the creation of agreement offers, adjusting deal parameters in real-time to drive customer satisfaction, and gaining strategic insights into historical OA business.
For more information, read the press release.
'American Library Association Releases Preliminary Data on 2022 Book Bans'
ALA announced the following:
Eight months into 2022, the number of attempts to ban or restrict library resources in schools, universities and public libraries, is on track to exceed record counts from 2021, according to preliminary data released today by the American Library Association (ALA) in advance of Banned Books Week (Sept. 18–24).
Between January 1 and August 31, 2022, ALA documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources, and 1,651 unique titles were targeted. In 2021, ALA reported 729 attempts to censor library resources, targeting 1,597 books, which represented the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling these lists more than 20 years ago.
Additionally, more than 70 percent of the 681 attempts to restrict library resources targeted multiple titles. In the past, the vast majority of challenges to library resources only sought to remove or restrict a single book. …
Libraries nationwide will highlight increased censorship of books during this year’s Banned Books Week. Extensive programming during the week will bring together authors, librarians and scholars to share perspectives on censorship and resources to support library workers.
For more information, read the press release.
'Top Resources for National Hispanic Heritage Month' From EBSCO Information Services
EBSCO Information Services shared the following on the EBSCOpost blog:
National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
To help schools, libraries and organizations celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve curated a collection of digital resources to support teaching, learning and readers’ advisory. In addition, librarians will find links to free promotional Hispanic Heritage Month resources.
For more information about the digital resources—websites; primary sources; books, magazines, and newspapers; databases; and promotional materials—read the blog post.
'Revised Principles of Transparency and Best Practice Released' From OASPA
Bernie Folan announced for OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association) that a “revised version of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing has been released by four key scholarly publishing organizations”: the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and OASPA.
The fourth edition of the Principles represents a collective effort between the four organizations to align the principles with today’s scholarly publishing landscape. The last update was in 2018, and the scholarly publishing landscape has changed. Guidance is provided on the information that should be made available on websites, peer review, access, author fees and publication ethics. The principles also cover ownership and management, copyright and licensing, and editorial policies. They stress the need for inclusivity in scholarly publishing and emphasize that editorial decisions should be based on merit and not affected by factors such as the origins of the manuscript and the nationality, political beliefs or religion of the author.
For more information, read the news item.
Clarivate Shares Its 2022 Citation Laureates
Clarivate “named 20 world-class researchers from four countries as Citation Laureates. These are researchers whose work is deemed to be ‘of Nobel class’, as demonstrated by analysis carried out by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), part of Clarivate.” This year’s laureates researched topics such as breast and ovarian cancer, flexible “electronic skin,” and the economics of happiness and well-being. By country, 14 laureates are based in the U.S., three are based in Japan, two are based in the U.K., and one is based in Germany. Clarivate notes, “To date, 64 Citation Laureates listed in the Hall of Citation Laureates have gone on to receive a Nobel Prize.”
For more information and the full list of 2022 Citation Laureates, read the press release.
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