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Weekly News Digest

February 5, 2007 — 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.

ProQuest Announces Management Changes

The board of directors of ProQuest Co. (www.proquestcompany.com) and Alan Aldworth announced that they have mutually agreed that Aldworth will leave his position as ProQuest's chairman, president, and CEO, and as a director, effective immediately (Jan. 30). Richard Surratt, the company's chief financial officer (CFO) since 2005, will become ProQuest's president and CEO. David Asai, the company's controller since 2006, will become ProQuest's CFO. William E. Oberndorf, managing director of SPO Partners & Co., will become the chairman of ProQuest's board of directors. Ronald Klausner, who joined the company in 2003, will remain president of ProQuest Education and Voyager Expanded Learning.

The company said that Surratt has a capable finance team in place that is driving the company's financial restatement process. In August 2006, an independent Audit Committee concluded its investigation of the "accounting irregularities" revealed in February 2006. (See the NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=17326.) The New York Stock Exchange has informed the company that it will initiate suspension procedures if the company has not filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for 2005 by April 2, 2007.

ProQuest Co. is currently completing the sale of its Information and Learning division (PQIL; http://il.proquest.com) to Cambridge Information Group (CIG; www.cambridgeinformationgroup.com), which plans to create a new, privately held company (yet to be named) that merges the operations of PQIL and CSA (www.csa.com). (See the Dec. 26, 2006, NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=18853.) In October 2006, ProQuest Co. sold off its ProQuest Business Solutions unit. ProQuest Education is the remaining business unit of ProQuest Co.

Source: ProQuest Co.

Near-Time Service Lets Publishers Monetize Content

Near-Time, Inc. (www.near-time.com) announced the launch of a paid membership service, Near-Time Premium, a hosted service that provides the necessary tools to launch commercial publishing and collaborative marketplaces. Near-Time Premium provides a one-stop platform where publishers, authors, and service organizations can easily set up a Weblog or wiki, publish their content, share files, interact with clients and readers, and charge subscription fees. Users are free to decide what they want to charge for subscription plans.

Complete with integrated wiki- and Weblog-authoring tools, and file-sharing and task-management capabilities, groups can use the service to foster rich environments for commercial interaction. The platform offers a range of tools to support and build customers' brands via a broad range of tools for customizing the look and feel of collaborative spaces as well as domain name mapping. As a hosted platform, no hardware is required and ecommerce services are built-in and turnkey. Customers focus on the content and the communities, while Near-Time provides a secure service infrastructure.

Near-Time Premium spaces can be private, semiprivate, or public. Users are free to decide which content to monetize and which to make publicly available. Roles and permissions services enable users to set different levels of interactive relationships at different price points. Near-Time spaces can be configured to offer members complete interaction, limited authoring and editing capabilities, or to simply allow members to read and comment on content. From collaborating with experts on wikis to merely charging a reader to access premium content and files, users can create as many premium spaces as they would likeóeach with different interaction and economic models.

Source: Near-Time, Inc.

WebJunction Offers Web Conferencing Service for Libraries

WebJunction (http://webjunction.org) is offering a new Web conferencing service for libraries called Live Space. WebJunction said the service combines robust and feature-rich, yet easy-to-use, technology with the training and support to use it successfully. For the first year, it can only accept a limited number of Live Space Partners, on a first come/first served basis. In the future, it hopes to be able to accommodate all who are interested in the service. Through the combination of collective purchasing and WebJunction subsidizing technology costs, WebJunction is able to offer 1 year of unlimited access for $2,000 per organization.

Live Space uses Horizon Wimba's Live Classroom (www.horizonwimba.com), an accessible, cross-platform, virtual classroom and meeting space that offers the following features:

  • Voice over IP with an integrated telephone bridge option
  • A clean, easy-to-use interface
  • Small or no download (requires users to have Java)
  • Public and private text chat
  • Polling and Quizzing
  • Desktop sharing that includes remote control capability
  • E-board sharing with full annotation tools
  • Breakout rooms
  • Session recording that captures all activity, including public chat
  • Section 508-compliant with closed captioning and screen reader accessibility

WebJunction is an online community portal for library staff. WebJunction is now supported in part by OCLC, by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, by its partners in state library agencies and other library service organizations, and by the library community.

Source: WebJunction



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