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Weekly News Digest

May 12, 2008 — 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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Altarama Acquires Docutekís Virtual Reference Librarian plus Business

Altarama Information Systems ( announced that it has acquired the VRLplus business from the Docutek division ( of SirsiDynix, Inc. ( The Virtual Reference Librarian plus (VRLplus) system is used to provide live reference services over the web by more than 200 academic, public, special, and school libraries, and consortia in North American, Europe, and Australasia. It provides a web portal that invites online chat and a management system that ensures that multiple library staff members can deliver an online reference service with all the required chat, file sharing, and cobrowsing functions.

Altarama, a provider of digital reference tools, has already assumed day-to-day responsibility for customer support and product development, aided by former Docutek technical experts. Altarama’s flagship product, RefTracker, is a tool for managing and responding to all of the requests that come into a library. Altarama plans to embed some of its RefTracker functionality to enhance the current staff experience in reporting problems, administering surveys, and handling offline completion with greater control. It will also begin a consultation process with its new customers about priorities in addressing the cobrowsing issues as well as examining opportunities to integrate tools such as instant messaging (IM), text messaging, VoIP, and webinar software. The company sees VRLplus as a perfect add-on to RefTracker, and it plans to utilize its queuing engine to provide new ways of delivering online reference services.

Source: Altarama Information Systems

ProQuest Hospital Collection Makes Its Debut

ProQuest ( unveiled its new ProQuest Hospital Collection, which has five health and medicine databases and includes full-text articles from 2,100 medical journals. ProQuest Hospital Collection is designed to centralize access to discovery and advisory tools for the practice and business of healthcare.

Databases include ProQuest Health and Medical Complete; ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Source, covering nursing, allied health, and alternative and complementary medicine, including full-text, evidence-based nursing resources; and ProQuest Psychology Journals, which deliver full text from leading psychology and psychosomatic publications. Two additional databases expand the information needs that the ProQuest Hospital Collection can serve: ProQuest Health Management delivers resources for professional healthcare administrators and those managing the business of healthcare, while ProQuest Family Health covers an array of subjects of interest to the hospital patient including sports injuries, women’s health, food and nutrition, eye care, and dentistry.

Source: ProQuest

Yahoo! and McAfee Launch Safe Search Feature

Yahoo!, Inc. (  and McAfee, Inc. ( announced a partnership to deliver a safer web search experience through Yahoo! Search. Just launched in beta, the new SearchScan feature by Yahoo! Search, powered by the McAfee SiteAdvisor technology, provides always-on alerts to users for "risky" sites with security concerns such as spyware, adware, and other malicious software that can infect and damage a user’s PC. SearchScan also identifies sites that have shown bad email practices, flooding user in-boxes with spammy emails.

SearchScan is available for Yahoo! Search users in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain. The McAfee/Yahoo! partnership is a multiyear, global agreement with additional elements, including bringing Yahoo! Search to McAfee users in the next few months.

By integrating McAfee’s technology into Yahoo! Search, sites that may harm the user’s computer just by visiting them will be eliminated from appearing in Yahoo! Search results. SearchScan also alerts users to potentially risky sites with a red warning sign in search results, allowing users to proceed with caution. During this beta period, SearchScan displays McAfee alerts optimal for the Yahoo! Search user and does not include all McAfee SiteAdvisor red ratings.

Source: Yahoo!, Inc.

Ex Libris Announces the Release of Primo Version 2.0

Ex Libris Group ( announced the general release of version 2.0 of its Primo discovery and delivery solution. Version 2.0 offers enhanced searching capabilities, including the ability to search in very large collections; improved usability and accessibility of the user interface; and easier system configuration and customization.

A range of European and Asian interface languages have been added to enhance the user experience for the growing number of Primo customers in Europe and Asia. Searching improvements include the following: improved exact-title searching; additional linguistic algorithms and dictionaries; optimized ranking of grouped (FRBRized) records; the identification of frequently misspelled words; enhancements to the "did you mean" mechanism, which "learns" search phrases based on past user queries; and the presentation of results ordered by popularity.

In adherence to the Ex Libris open platform strategy, Primo now includes an application programming interface (API) for 50 services. This API facilitates the customization of Primo and enables customers to develop code extensions that can be shared with other members of the Primo community. A new component enables Primo to leverage the search engines of other repositories and to display results retrieved from these repositories along with local results. Furthermore, the results obtained through the "Deep Search" component are ranked by relevance and displayed using faceted categorization.

Source: Ex Libris Group

Microsoft Launches WorldWide Telescope

Microsoft Corp. ( officially launched the public beta of its WorldWide Telescope, which is now available at WorldWide Telescope is a web application that brings together imagery from the best ground- and space-based observatories across the world to allow people to easily explore the night sky through their computers.

WorldWide Telescope, created with Microsoft’s high-performance Visual Experience Engine, enables seamless panning and zooming across the night sky, blending terabytes of images, data, and stories from multiple sources over the internet into a media-rich, immersive experience. Microsoft Research formed close ties with members of the academic, education, and scientific communities to make WorldWide Telescope a reality. NASA, along with other organizations, coordinated with Microsoft Research to provide the imagery, provide feedback on the application from a scientific point of view, and help turn WorldWide Telescope into a rich learning application.

WorldWide Telescope includes a rich set of collections of the deep sky objects including constellations, the solar system, images from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, the Spitzer Space Telescope, Sky Surveys, the Messier Catalog, named stars, and more. A number of expert-created guided tours of the sky, objects in space, and collections of celestial objects are built into WorldWide Telescope. Users can create their own tours and share them with others.

Source: Microsoft Corp.

EBSCO Adds Change Reports to Its A-to-Z Locator Tool

EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO; recently upgraded its EBSCO A-to-Z web-based resource locator tool with the addition of a Knowledge Base Change Reports feature, which, among other benefits, allows librarians to instantly see which titles have been added or removed from their aggregated full-text databases.

EBSCO A-to-Z is designed to offer the effective management of online titles from individual ejournals, ejournal packages, ebook packages, and aggregated full-text databases. The new Knowledge Base change reports enable library staff members to more easily identify content changes to their collections at large. Also, with the added ability to view titles affected by EBSCO A-to-Z’s automatic update of titles in databases and fixed packages, customers can now more efficiently administer their EBSCO A-to-Z lists when changes are necessary. Library staff members can also use the Knowledge Base change reports as a resource when preparing collection awareness announcements that reveal newly accessible titles to end users.

The new Knowledge Base change reports can be downloaded in multiple file formats allowing EBSCO A-to-Z customers to efficiently update their catalogs and other content products. EBSCO A-to-Z customers can also access recorded demonstrations within their A-to-Z Administrator sites as well as register for complimentary online training at

Source: EBSCO Information Services

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