|Weekly News Digest
July 10, 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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RezEd: New Online Learning Hub for Virtual Worlds
Educators around the world are increasingly using 3D, persistent virtual environments as pedagogical tools in areas as diverse as science, art, and civic engagement. However, there has been no community of practice for practitioners across disciplines and platforms. Global Kids (www.globalkids.org) recently announced its efforts to create such a community and to invite participation to support RezEd: The Hub for Learning and Virtual Worlds. RezEd (www.rezed.org) is now available in beta. (It operates on the Ning social network platform, www.ning.com.)
With generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, RezEd is an online community for educators, parents, librarians, and others to get informed, connected, and inspired. The site leverages an array of participatory and social media tools. Each month it features interrelated podcasts, brief best practices, digital resources in the library, and featured blog posts and discussions. Through the month of July, RezEd focuses on nonschool uses of virtual worlds including museums, libraries, etc. This week’s discussion, "Library Services in Virtual Worlds" (www.rezed.org/profiles/blog/show?id=2047896%3ABlogPost%3A8135), is moderated by Lori Bell of the Alliance Virtual Library.
Community members can use RezEd in many ways, including the following:
- Share your voice in response to the featured discussion
- Listen to the twice-a-month podcast
- Read or contribute to the Best Practice reports
- Browse or contribute to the library
- Join a special interest group or create your own
- List an event or learn who is attending
- Read or report the latest news
- Meet new colleagues and read their personal blogs
- Add photos or videos
Readex Partners With CRL on World Newspaper Archive
Readex (www.readex.com), a division of NewsBank, inc. (www.newsbank.com), and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL; www.crl.edu) announced that they will create the world’s largest, fully searchable digital archive of international newspapers. The World Newspaper Archive is designed to provide students, teachers, and scholars with unprecedented access to historical newspapers published outside the U.S., advancing research and offering new insights across wide-ranging academic disciplines. The cooperative project will systematically digitize and deliver over the web the foreign newspapers held by CRL and other major newspaper repositories.
This uniquely comprehensive electronic resource will first offer Latin American newspapers published between 1805 and 1922 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and other countries. The initial Latin American series will offer approximately 35 titles, encompassing nearly 1 million pages. Further series will focus on historical newspapers published in Africa, South Asia, and other areas. Users will be able to seamlessly cross-search the World Newspaper Archive with America’s Historical Newspapers, including Early American Newspapers and Hispanic American Newspapers.
Participating members of CRL will enjoy permanent access to the World Newspaper Archive, while all others around the world will be offered access by Readex. Charter CRL participants now include Harvard University; McMaster University; New York Public Library; Princeton University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign; University of Texas; University of Washington; and Yale University.
PDF Format Becomes ISO Standard
The Portable Document Format (PDF), one of the most commonly used formats for electronic documents, is now accessible as an ISO International Standard, ISO 32000-1. This move follows a decision by Adobe Systems, Inc., original developer and copyright owner of the format, to relinquish control to ISO (International Organization for Standardization; www.iso.org), which is now in charge of publishing the specifications for the current version (1.7) and for updating and developing future versions.
ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: "As an ISO standard, we can ensure that this useful and widely popular format is easily available to all interested stakeholders. The standard will benefit both software developers and users by encouraging the propagation and dissemination of a common technology that cuts across systems and is designed for long term survival."
The new standard, ISO 32000-1, Document management–Portable document format –Part 1: PDF 1.7, is based on the PDF version 1.7 developed by Adobe. This International Standard supplies the essential information needed by developers of software that create PDF files (conforming writers), software that reads existing PDF files and interprets their contents for display and interaction (conforming readers), and PDF products that read and/or write PDF files for a variety of other purposes (conforming products). Future versions of the format will be published as subsequent parts of the standard by the ISO subcommittee in charge of its maintenance and development (SC 2, Application issues, of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 171, Document management applications). The standard is available for purchase through the ISO Store.
Major corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions use PDF to streamline their operations by replacing paper documentation with electronic exchange. Already, more than 2,000 PDF product developers use this standard for their products, and billons of PDF files are in existence today.
SirsiDynix Enterprise Portal Solution and SchoolRooms Improved
SirsiDynix (www.sirsidynix.com) announced the release of Enterprise Portal Solution (EPS) and SchoolRooms Version 2.2.2, offering improved performance, stability, and security. Users will have the ability to link Z39.50 search results to the native OPAC in multilibrary settings. Z39.50 functionality has also been updated to handle Unimarc. Version 2.2.2 is now available to current and new users of SirsiDynix Enterprise Portal and the SchoolRooms online K–12 exploration, discovery, and learning portal.
SirsiDynix Enterprise Portal Solution provides a single interface to all the high-quality information, resources, and services offered by a library or consortium. The product offers enhanced searching capabilities, consolidating searching of library catalogs, electronic databases, the internet, and more into a single, simple search. SirsiDynix Enterprise Portal Solution also features SirsiDynix Rooms Builder, a content management platform that allows creation of content in virtual rooms, arranged according to a site’s defined taxonomy of popular subject areas, supporting addition of relevant and current information and links in each room.
SchoolRooms is a website designed to help students explore, discover, and learn, and it also features resources for parents and teachers. SchoolRooms integrates thousands of pages of multimedia content, web links, other resources, and powerful search capabilities—all organized around the K–12 curriculum. In subject-oriented "virtual rooms" of hand-selected content, SchoolRooms visitors find the relevant resources and knowledge that meet their needs, whether for writing a research paper, understanding new concepts, or delving deeper into an area of special interest. The SchoolRooms parent guide is a tool parents can use to help their children learn outside the classroom.
SwetsWise Primes for Subscription Renewals With Release 5.1
Swets (www.swets.com) announced the successful launch of SwetsWise Release 5.1, which implements a host of additional features and functionalities into SwetsWise Subscriptions, the subscriptions management and procurement service and the core focus of the SwetsWise portfolio.
The main feature of SwetsWise 5.1 is the inclusion of bulk renewal functionality. This will allow customers to manage their entire renewal process online, following existing renewal workflows and procedures, while reducing the amount of work they have to invest in this process. It will also provide the customer with the information needed to stay in complete control of the status of all their renewal subscriptions, including cancellation restrictions and upgrade options.
The other new features of Release 5.1 include the following:
- Cancellation Restrictions Tracking
- Improved Alerting Capabilities
- Shibboleth Authentication Support
Missouri Launches Collaborative Historical Search Portal
Missouri has launched a free collaborative search portal that integrates millions of historical documents from the state’s local libraries, universities, and cultural institutions in a single web gateway. Powered by Deep Web Technologies’ Explorit Research Accelerator (www.deepwebtech.com), Missouri Digital Heritage (www.missouridigitalheritage.com) is designed to further Missourians’ access to information about the history of people and places in the state.
The site includes multiple types of documents, including photographs and other digitized primary sources, such as historical documents, in nearly 20 different "collections." These collections—from Agriculture to Women—allow users to quickly explore hot topical areas. To access them, Deep Web Technologies developed a federated search that is able to search all types of databases, deliver all types of documents, and evolve quickly to include new content and content partners. The search engine also allows sites with limited technology resources to participate since there’s no need to index data.
In addition to varying content, Missouri Digital Heritage supports a broad spectrum of historians—including novice genealogists—which drove the design of the search engine. Searches on Missouri Digital Heritage return every result, contrary to standard federated searches, which limit results to the most relevant.
The Missouri Secretary of State’s office houses both the state archives and state library. Much of the content is hosted directly from these collections. The Missouri state archives is the official repository for state documents of permanent historic value and is the definitive source of information on Missouri state and governmental history. The state library provides hundreds of grants per year through LSTA (Library Services & Technology Act) funds distributed by the federal Institute of Museum & Library Services. Many collections included in the Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative are made possible through this grant program.
Source: Deep Web Technologies
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