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Weekly News Digest

March 13, 2006 — 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.

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Librarians’ Internet Index Faces 50 Percent Budget Cut

Librarians' Internet Index (LII; announced it is facing a 50 percent budget cut to its primary funding as of July 1, 2006. Its primary funding is through the California State Library. LII reports that the funding cut will reduce its hours by nearly half, reduce the newsletter by half, eliminate the additional content it adds each week beyond the newsletter (typically another 10 to 30 Web sites), stop all technical development, eliminate new featured collections for 2006-2007, and reduce staff time for maintaining its existing collection of 18,000 trustworthy Web sites.

LII now averages 10 million hits per month, and it has at least 35,000 subscribers to the weekly newsletter (with many more RSS readers untallied). LII has no building; its staff members work from home. LII produces content specific to California, though 80 percent of its use comes from outside California, with 20 percent from international use. LII has thousands of high-quality, carefully vetted sites specific to California needs and interests. It also produced featured collections for California, covering topics such as the gubernatorial special election of 2004. LII also has a partnership with the state of Washington. This has broadened the LII content pool; it is a good pilot of services that LII could offer more broadly.

In light of the severity of the proposed budget cuts, LII is seeking funds from other sources, such as grants, foundations, and state libraries, and it is conducting a survey of its users on how to handle the reduction. LII stated on it site: "We have for long dreamed of a ‘National LII,' and this is an opportune time to approach other state libraries and see if they agree, and to solicit more general funding on our site."

Source: Librarians' Internet Index

EBSCO Publishing Introduces Literary Reference Center

With the goal of bringing together the top reference sources in the field of literary studies, EBSCO Publishing ( has created the Literary Reference Center. The new resource is a full-text database that combines information from major reference works, books, and literary journals, as well as original content from EBSCO Publishing. Literary Reference Center has been specifically designed for public libraries, secondary schools, junior/community colleges, and undergraduate research.

Literary Reference Center includes more than 10,000 plot summaries, synopses, and work overviews; 75,000 articles of literary criticism; 130,000 author biographies; full text of more than 300 literary journals; 500,000 book reviews; 25,000 classic and contemporary poems; more than 11,000 classic and contemporary short stories; full text of more than 7,500 classic novels (anticipated by fall 2006); 3,000-plus author interviews; and more than 1,000 images of key literary figures.

Of particular note, the database contains the Bloom Series of more than 500 books from Chelsea House Publishers edited by renowned literary critic Harold Bloom and all of MagillOnLiterature Plus from Salem Press, including the Masterplots series. Literary Reference Center includes reference works such as Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature, The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, and many others. It also includes hundreds of literary books and monographs from Taylor & Francis, ME Sharpe, Peter Lang, Oxford University Press, and many other publishers, as well as the complete contents of more than 275 major literary journals.

Source: EBSCO Publishing

RLG Announces ArchiveGrid

RLG (, the not-for-profit membership organization of more than 150 research institutions, announced ArchiveGrid, its new historical archive Web site. The subscription service (free through May because of a foundation grant) lets users search descriptions of collections (of physical objects like letters, records, etc.) from hundreds of libraries, museums, and archives from around the world.

ArchiveGrid is based on a former subscription-only product, RLG Archival Resources, but it's been completely revamped and expanded after extensive real-world testing. Historians, scholars, and genealogists all provided input into the new service. RLG said the new online service offers new and improved features for archival search methods that should appeal to a broad range of searchers, including those seeking primary source information on family and corporate histories, political papers, and historical records, from a worldwide database.

Source: ArchiveGrid

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