|Weekly News Digest
April 30, 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.
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NOAA Lab Opens 3-D Earth Site in Second Life
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA; www.noaa.gov), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has developed a government-sponsored earth science "island" in the rapidly growing online world of Second Life, a 3-D virtual world built and owned entirely by its residents, according to creator Linden Lab of San Francisco. NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab (ESRL) developed the site for users to have the experiences in the virtual world they may not have in the physical world and to learn about the cutting-edge science that NOAA conducts regularly.
Soar through a hurricane on the wing of a research aircraft, rise gently through the atmosphere atop a weather balloon, or search for a hidden underwater cave on a side trip from an NOAA submersible. These and other virtual adventures are attracting large numbers of "avatars," or virtual selves, to the new site. Of the first few thousands of visitors, 35 percent said they had not previously heard of the U.S. agency.
As the technology becomes more sophisticated, scientists may eventually collaborate on research, hold virtual meetings, and give public presentations in the auditorium, according to ESRL’s Eric Hackathorn, who developed the island with Second Life design company Aimee Weber Studios. He is developing metrics for observing traffic patterns while guaranteeing privacy rights for the avatars and their real-life selves.
The site is dubbed "Meteora," a Greek word meaning "things suspended in the air"—or, in scientists’ terms, atmospheric phenomena. The first climate change scenario illustrates a warming world with melting glaciers and rising sea levels. A virtual beach demonstrates how to recognize the onset of a tsunami, and eventually the site may enhance public awareness of riptides, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. Science on a Sphere, an earlier NOAA invention, makes its 3-D virtual debut with four examples of its 80-plus visualizations of planetary data, including a mesmerizing view of nighttime lights around the globe and a 3-D panorama of ocean, sea, and lake depths. In the future, the sphere may sport its full view of Mars, a storm-after-storm replay of the 2005 hurricane season, and animations of global warming.
More information on how to access this virtual world is available at NOAA’s Second Life Web site: www.esrl.noaa.gov/outreach/sl.Source: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Elsevier Enhances ScienceDirect
Elsevier (www.elsevier.com), the STM publisher, announced that it has added several new features to ScienceDirect in its latest release. These include the following:
- Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds—For search results, citations, and new articles, as well as more than 300 preselected topics
- Cited By in Scopus—Links to specific citations in Scopus, the abstract and citation database
- Live Chat—Online, real-time instant messaging technical support service available 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday
- Inward linking simplification—Increased support of the OpenURL standard
Later this year, 4,000 ebooks will be added. Covering a range of scientific disciplines, including those published under the Pergamon and Academic Press imprints, these additional titles will be fully integrated with the existing books and journals on the platform. More than 50 books will be added each month following the 2007 launch.
Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC; www.copyright.com), a provider of copyright licensing solutions, announced that Elsevier has selected CCC’s Rightslink service for the online ordering of copyright permissions. Rightslink will enable Elsevier journal subscribers to order permissions directly through ScienceDirect.
In addition, following the launch of ScienceDirect ArticleChoice to the corporate market in 2005 and to the government market in August 2006, Elsevier is now offering the same flexible access option to academic customers. ScienceDirect ArticleChoice allows a customer to access journal, handbook, and book series articles that are outside their current portfolio. Articles can be purchased in bundles (100, 200, and 500) and are available as required.
ScienceDirect (www.sciencedirect.com), Elsevier’s major full-text platform, offers more than 8 million articles online from more than 2,000 peer-reviewed journals published in 24 fields of science. More than 1 billion articles have been downloaded on ScienceDirect by scientists, teachers, and researchers since its launch in 1999.Sources: Elsevier and Copyright Clearance Center
FAST Provides End-to-End Platform for Media Companies
Fast Search & Transfer (FAST; www.fastsearch.com), a provider of search technologies and services, unveiled FASTMedia, an end-to-end business platform for media companies. Developed in partnership with more than several dozens of top media companies from diverse markets—broadcast, newspapers, publishing, and cable—FASTMedia provides media companies with a broad set of tools for leveraging content, serving their communities, and monetizing their sites to better compete in the digital marketplace. It pulls together a number of recently improved FAST product offerings into a full platform.
FASTMedia comprises a set of modules based on the foundation of the FAST ESP and FAST Adaptive Information Warehouse (AIW):
Source: Fast Search & Transfer
- FAST AdMomentum: A private-label solution for developing independent contextual advertising networks. This has been in beta for several months but is now generally available.
- FAST Multimedia Miner: Enables media companies to leverage multimedia assets in adaptive, personalized customer-facing environments. This is a new version.
- FAST Featured Content: Enables media companies to provide search-driven content merchandizing. New tools make this an easier process. This was formerly accomplished with programming.
- FAST Unity: Enables media companies to provide federated content and search-driven portal experiences. New tools make this an easier process. This was formerly accomplished with programming.
- FAST MSP: Provides media companies with mobile search and personalization.
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