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Weekly News Digest

July 31, 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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ACSIís E-Government Satisfaction Index Shows Improvement

Citizen satisfaction with federal government websites ended a losing streak by improving for the first time in a year, according to the 2Q report of the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Government Satisfaction Index (www.theacsi.org). The index rose 0.7% to 72.9 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale. The study also found that increasing satisfaction drives citizens to use the web channel as a primary resource, which can save tax dollars by channeling citizen inquiries away from more expensive channels such as call centers.

According to the report, citizens who are satisfied with government websites are 84% more likely to use the web as a primary resource for information or to execute transactions. Satisfied citizens are also 82% more likely to recommend the website, and 56% are more likely to return to the site than dissatisfied citizens.

In aggregate, 45% of the websites rated in the Index increased their scores from last quarter, and 23 sites had superior scores of 80 or higher. The highest-scoring federal website continues to be Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/i1020), which scored 88. The site has been at the top of the Index in each quarterly report for an unprecedented 2 years.

Some government agencies are including online customer satisfaction in their vendor evaluation programs as an incentive for contractors to produce user-friendly websites. Recreation.gov, the National Park Service’s website for recreational reservations and information, had the biggest score increase of the index since last quarter (+13% to 72). By tying vendor performance to citizen satisfaction, Recreation.gov ensures that everyone involved in the site—both internal and external—shares a commitment to meeting the needs of citizens.

Search, navigation, and functionality continue to be areas that have the most impact on satisfaction, and therefore they are top priorities for improvement. Despite the increase in the overall index, satisfaction with egovernment websites still lags private sector ecommerce (81.6) and ebusiness (75.2) websites.

The ACSI is the only uniform, national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction with the quality of goods and services available in the United States. In 1999, the federal government selected ACSI to be a standard metric for measuring citizen satisfaction. The index is produced by the University of Michigan, in partnership with the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and CFI Group, an international consulting firm. ForeSee Results (www.foreseeresults.com) sponsors the ecommerce, ebusiness, and egovernment indexes.

Source: ForeSee Results

Cognition Launches SemanticMEDLINE

Cognition Technologies (www.cognition.com) has introduced SemanticMEDLINE (www.semanticmedline.com), a new free service that enables complex health and life science material to be rapidly and efficiently discovered with greater precision and completeness using natural language processing (NLP) technology. This marks the first time that users can employ a natural, conversational sentence structure to find the most complex studies within the MEDLINE data set—the 18 million article abstract database of complex health information published by the National Library of Medicine.

SemanticMEDLINE is powered by Cognition’s Semantic NLP technology, which incorporates word and phrase knowledge to comprehend the meaning and nuances of the English language. Cognition’s Semantic Map enables the search process to be based on meaning rather than statistical word pattern matching and, therefore, returns more complete and relevant results.

With traditional keyword search engines, such as those used by Google, Yahoo!, and others, finding the best medical research document within complex data sets, such as MEDLINE, is very difficult without the use of complex Boolean equations and a deep understanding of the many permutations of technical synonymy. Cognition’s SemanticMEDLINE has the ability to target and locate these types of data that are otherwise hidden in masses of information because of its comprehensive Semantic Map (particularly deep within the health sciences discipline) and its unique ability to "understand" the meaning behind words, phrases, and idioms.

Source: Cognition Technologies

Lawyers.com Adds Do-It-Yourself Legal Docs

LexisNexis (www.lexisnexis.com) announced that Lawyers.com, the online resource for consumers and small business professionals to find an attorney and legal information, has added access to a legal document service that combines do-it-yourself legal forms with online legal document review by real lawyers. The additions come as part of a larger transformation of Lawyers.com by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell that includes implementation of a variety of new interactive features. One of the key new capabilities is the Legal Document Services provided by RocketLawyer.com. This set of services enables users of Lawyers.com to save time by creating legal documents themselves.

More than just a legal forms site, RocketLawyer.com makes it easy to complete many personal and business legal matters at Lawyers.com. For example, individuals can use the service to set up a last will and testament, create a living will, produce a bill of sale, designate power of attorney, and more. Businesses can use the service to manage processes, such as setting up nondisclosure forms, creating service contracts and employee agreements, producing real estate leases, creating licensing agreements, and more.

In addition to new capabilities from RocketLawyer.com, Lawyers.com has expanded its database of practice area articles and information for consumers and small business professionals to include the following: 

  • Life events—Helpful information on legal issues that arise in most peoples’ lives, such as divorce, starting a business, creating a will and more 
  • Community and interactive features—Interact with lawyers through community message boards, "Ask A Lawyer," scheduled online sessions to discuss specific legal issues, and more 
  • Videos—Clips from experts on common legal issues 
  • Blogs—Attorney insights on current key legal issues and trends 
  • On the Docket—Read questions other consumers and small businesses are asking and benefit from the answers

Source: LexisNexis

Google Opens Knol to the Public

Following months of testing, Google has now made its Knol product available to everyone (http://knol.google.com). The Knol project is a site that hosts many knols—units of knowledge— written about various subjects. Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects. A feature called "moderated collaboration" lets any reader make suggested edits to a knol, which the author may then choose to accept, reject, or modify before these contributions become visible to the public.

According to the announcement in the Official Google Blog (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/knol-is-open-to-everyone.html), "Knols include strong community tools which allow for many modes of interaction between readers and authors. People can submit comments, rate, or write a review of a knol. At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads from our AdSense program. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with a revenue share from the proceeds of those ad placements."

Google also announced an agreement with The New Yorker magazine which allows any author to add one cartoon per knol from The New Yorker’s extensive cartoon repository.

Google first announced Knol back in December 2007 (see our newsbreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=40548). It was available for invitation-only testing.

At this point, the Knol homepage lists some featured knols—on migraines, pediatric sports injuries, eclipses, and buttermilk pancakes—plus a seemingly random list of titles labeled "Plain old bag o’ knols." There is no organization or categorization. Clicking on a "Browse" link leads to another random list (http://knol.google.com/k/knol/directory-001#). Knols are reportedly findable through Google and other search engines.

Source: Google

The New York Times Co. Links Up With LinkedIn

NYTimes.com and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) announced a strategic relationship that will give LinkedIn members a more focused and personalized experience on the Business and Technology pages of NYTimes.com. This relationship pairs two online brands that share a professional and engaged audience. Through this relationship, advertisers will be able to extend their targeting capabilities to more Times readers than currently available through the NYTimes.com registration process.

Under the terms of the agreement, LinkedIn users will now have news relevant to their professional industries recommended to them on the Business and Technology pages of NYTimes.com. A targeted headline feature will highlight the five latest Times articles for LinkedIn members based on their nonpersonally identifiable attributes. For example, LinkedIn members who work in the energy sector will have the option to receive relevant, targeted Times stories that cover the energy business. Times readers will also be able to share and discuss stories with LinkedIn members in their networks. This feature will be incorporated into the share tool on all article pages of NYTimes.com.

This agreement upholds both companies’ commitment to protecting their members’ registration data. The nonpersonally identifiable data available to NYTimes.com from LinkedIn includes industry, job function, seniority, company size, gender, and geography. Neither LinkedIn nor NYTimes.com will share any personally identifiable information. Readers will have the option to opt-out of this program. More information on this program can be found at www.nytimes.com/linkedin and on the LinkedIn blog at http://blog.linkedin.com/blog/2008/07/the-new-york-ti.html.

Sources: The New York Times Co. (www.nytco.com) and LinkedIn

Scopus Adds More Preprint Research Abstracts

Scopus (www.info.scopus.com), the abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature from Elsevier (www.elsevier.com), announced that it has added "Articles-in-Press" (AiP), abstracts of accepted research papers published prior to being printed, from journals produced by Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers and Nature Publishing Group (NPG). In the fall, AiPs from BioMed Central and IEEE will also be available. Scopus previously offered access to AiPs from Elsevier and Springer that included 2,500 titles. This number will now rise to approximately 3,000.

Scopus AiP abstracts are citable and precede the final published, printed version by up to 4 months, significantly accelerating the knowledge discovery process for researchers. Researchers will gain access to the full text by linking from Scopus to the publishers’ digital library. This early access is designed to provide greater connectivity to the current state of research in a range of fields, as well as a more timely method for evaluating the output of authors and institutions. Since AiPs are posted online as either accepted manuscripts or online publications (according to each publisher’s release policy), they may still be subject to changes and/or corrections by the author or publisher. Scopus clearly labels AiPs as such so researchers are aware that an updated abstract will be made available once the papers are in print.

Source: Scopus



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