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Weekly News Digest

September 29, 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.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

SirsiDynix Updates Analytics Package for Librarians

SirsiDynix (www.sirsidynix.com) officially announced the release of SirsiDynix Director’s Station 4.8.1, a full-featured analytics package created specifically for library professionals. The product provides customized, unique views of an institution’s activities and operations, helping directors analyze trends, pinpoint problem areas, and identify opportunities.

In response to customer input, Director’s Station now offers these enhancements: 

  • Flexible Charts and Tables—Display subtotals when members are removed from the row; select multiple values for filtering in the dimension pool; resize, reorder, and sort columns—in both the All Measures reports and drill-downs; use multivalue and multithreshold meters. 
  • User-friendly Administration—Enjoy simple and user-friendly cube security settings. 
  • Numerous Cube Enhancements—Choose from additional dimensions (bill, checkout, user, item) for each library type; view additional measures for users associated with the base cube element (such as patrons with bills, etc.); utilize other cube-specific dimensions and measures such as shadowed titles, call number, and copies; drill down into top 500 searches and properly sorted shelflists. 
  • Enhanced Printing—Print directly to PDF with charts and grids; create password-secured documents and control whether to print, copy, paste, or take screen shots. 
  • Flexible Site Configurations—Configure user address elements for each site to allow greater individuality and flexibility. 
  • Plentiful Fiscal Year Options—Choose from 12 fiscal year dimensions in activity, checkins, and checkouts (historical). 
  • Group Libraries—Choose up to five library categories for grouping libraries together as defined by each site. 
  • Regional Analytics—Analyze data by patron region at the state and city level. 
  • Private Checkouts—Privatize checkouts, if desired, to prevent tracing of users based on their checkouts and renewals. 
  • Faster Processing—Get history and statistics data faster through improved ETL processing. 
  • Detailed End-User Online Help—Give users detailed online help, including specific information about dimensions, measures, and drill-downs.

The new version of Director’s Station utilizes Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SwiftKnowledge 8.1 and runs on Windows 2003 in either a 64 bit or 32 bit environment. Both the Enterprise and Standard Editions of SQL 2005 are supported, depending on the size of the data. Director’s Station 4.8.1 is compatible with SirsiDynix Symphony 3.2, Symphony 3.2.1, and Unicorn GL3.1.

Source: SirsiDynix

EPA Reopens Regional and Headquarters Libraries

On Oct. 1, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; www.epa.gov) announced that Region 5 had reopened its library in Chicago on Sept. 30. In a press release, EPA stated "The re-opening of regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City and the library at Headquarters will help the Agency better share information. Also, all EPA libraries received additional funding for equipment, staffing, or materials to further enhance the public’s access to environmental information."

Region 5 in Chicago, Region 6 in Dallas, Region 7 in Kansas City, and the EPA Headquarters and Chemical Libraries in Washington, D.C., had been closed to walk-in access. For background information, see the Mar. 17, 2008, NewsBreak by Barbie E. Keiser, "EPA Library Closures: Management Incompetence or Something More Sinister?" http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=41260.

EPA had submitted its "National Library Network Report to Congress" (www.epa.gov/libraries/documents/Library_Report_to_Congress.pdf) on March 26, 2008, as directed in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the FY 2008 consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764). In the report, EPA committed to re-establish physical libraries in EPA Regions 5, 6, and 7, as well as the Headquarters and Chemical libraries by Sept. 30, 2008, to complement existing library services.

In developing plans to strengthen EPA’s library network, the agency talked with internal library professionals, EPA employee unions, library professional associations, and a Library of Congress advisory committee focusing on federal libraries. In addition to the congressional mandate to restore services, the EPA had faced a firestorm of opposition from scientific and library organizations.

Following the reopening announcement, Special Library Association (SLA) CEO Janice R. Lachance stated, "SLA, with assistance from our vocal members around the world and other allied library associations, remained vigilant in pushing the EPA to reexamine a short-sighted move that placed public health at risk. We are pleased with the direction EPA is now taking with its information network."

Information about library locations, hours of operations, and available services can be found at www.epa.gov/libraries. In a notice published Sept. 24 in the Federal Register (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-22468.htm), the agency stated: "All libraries will be staffed by a professional librarian to provide services to the public and EPA staff via phone, e-mail, or in person. The libraries will provide access for a minimum of 24 hours over four days per week on a walk-in basis or by appointment. All libraries will provide core information services of reference/research assistance and interlibrary loan/document delivery."

Source: EPA

Msnbc.com Launches Debate Video Player

Msnbc.com launched its exclusive "debate video player" on the day of the first debate between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Available at www.politics.msnbc.com, it allows consumers to watch the full debate and at any time skip ahead to a specific topic by selecting one of 20 keywords available. When consumers click on a keyword, the timeline reveals the various points during the debate when those phrases were spoken by the candidates. Users can then explore the issues in context of the larger debate and also read analysis provided by NBC News. Msnbc.com says it is the only news provider offering this advanced video experience.

This exclusive video feature will also be available to consumers for the vice presidential debate. In the near future, consumers will have the ability to embed the debate video player on their websites and blogs. Msnbc.com was the first major network news site to offer embeddable video to consumers to post on their blogs and websites.

Based in Redmond, Wash., msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and NBC Universal.

Source: Msnbc.com

iRex Launches New Digital Readers for Business Professionals

Netherlands-based iRex Technologies (www.irextechnologies.com) has launched the iRex 1000 series Digital Reader. With its 10.2" Electronic Paper display, it is aimed at business professionals, while the previously introduced iRex iLiad with an 8.1" display was aimed at consumers. The 1000 series will offer three products within the range—from the DR1000 base version equipped with a USB connector ($649) through the DR1000 S equipped with a stylus for writing ($749) to the DR1000 SW with stylus, plus WIFI and Bluetooth connectivity ($849; not yet available).

The iRex 1000 series is designed to offer superior functionality and a unique 10.2" screen size to allow easy reading and referencing of documents from A4 PowerPoint presentations to sophisticated PDF files and from HTML to TXT and JPEG. Increased memory ensures that users can be confident that the device will hold any and all documents they require.

Weighing less than 570 grams and only 1.2cm deep, the 1000 series is an open system that synchronizes easily with the PC and is able to read all common formats. The large display has 16 gray tones, and storage capacity is delivered via a changeable 1GB SD card. The universal mini-USB connector can be used for transferring files as well as uploading, and content can be easily transferred from the internet. The chargeable built in Lithium-ion battery has sufficient power to last for several days.

iRex Technologies BV has been instrumental in pushing the frontiers of digital reading since 2001 when its team developed the electronic paper display for the Sony Librié, the first commercially available e-reader launched in 2004. iRex Technologies was formed in 2005 as a spinoff company from Royal Philips Electronics.

Source: iRex Technologies BV

Technorati Releases 2008 State of the Blogosphere Report

Technorati’s 2008 State of the Blogosphere report has been released at www.technorati.com/blogging/state-of-the-blogosphere. The report includes blogger demographics, motivations, tools used, and implications for brands.

Since 2004, Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere reports have analyzed the trends around blogs and blogging. For the 2008 study, the company wanted to go beyond the numbers to deliver insights into bloggers and the state of blogging today. In addition to analyzing the data from the Technorati Index, for the first time, it surveyed bloggers to understand the role of blogging in their lives; tools, time, and resources used for their blogs; and how blogging has impacted them personally, professionally, and financially.

Blogging is a truly global phenomenon: Technorati tracked blogs in 81 languages in June 2008, and bloggers responded to the survey from 66 countries across six continents. Bloggers have been at it an average of 3 years and are collectively creating close to 1 million posts every day. Blogs have representation in top 10 website lists across all key categories and have become integral to the media ecosystem.

Bloggers are not a homogenous group: Personal, professional, and corporate bloggers all have differing goals and cover an average of five topics within each blog. On average, bloggers use five different techniques to drive traffic to their blog. They’re using an average of seven publishing tools on their blog and four distinct metrics for measuring success. Blogging is having an incredibly positive impact on their lives, with bloggers receiving speaking or publishing opportunities, career advancement, and personal satisfaction. The majority of personal bloggers do it for fun. Twenty percent are currently making some money blogging, and another 42% hope to make money on their blog in the future. The majority of corporate and professional bloggers have seen a positive impact as a result of their blogs. Half are better-known in their industry, and one in four has used their blog as a resume enhancement.

Source: Technorati

Zinio Offers a Free 'Read Green Initiative'

Zinio launched The Read Green Initiative to the public. This program is designed to increase the consumer awareness and use of digital reading alternatives. Many prominent magazine publishers have teamed up with Zinio to offer up to 50 million free annual subscriptions to the digital versions of more than 200 publications at www.goreadgreen.com. Free subscriptions are limited to one per person.

The Read Green Initiative was inspired by a growing number of efforts to improve the environmental performance of magazines. These include increasing the recycling of magazines, improving newsstand efficiency, and using more environmentally friendly paper. The company says its research has shown that one of the main reasons consumers enjoy reading digital magazines is because they feel like they are doing something good for the environment.

A limited number of the publishers’ magazines will be available on www.goreadgreen.com at no cost. Visitors can also buy a subscription to these digital titles and more on The Read Green Initiative site. A portion of the proceeds for all sales made will be redeemed in exchange for eco-unit credits that will contribute to the greening of school and university campuses, through the planting of trees, to commemorate Earth Day 2009. The full suite of Zinio publications will still be available for sale at www.zinio.com.

Zinio is a provider of digital publishing products and services. Zinio offers publishers new circulation and revenue growth opportunities through its offerings from marketing programs that include customer acquisition, retention, and cross-promotion to seamless production services, a robust ecommerce engine, and extensive digital delivery, circulation, and fulfillment services.

Source: Zinio, LLC



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