|Weekly News Digest
February 17, 2009 — 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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CCH Offers Free Access to Federal, State Rules on Layoffs, Plant Closings
Because of the crisis in the global economy, employers are being forced to reduce staffing levels or cease operations. Employers who are not careful will face multiple legal-compliance issues. Moreover, with every economic downturn comes an increase in employment litigation: As employees lose their jobs, they have nothing to lose by suing their employers. But when companies resort to laying off employees or closing facilities, they don’t need to make even more trouble for themselves by breaking the law, urges CCH, a provider of labor and employment law information and services and part of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business (http://hr.cch.com). To help employment attorneys and HR professionals comply with federal and state laws regarding plant closings and large layoffs, CCH is providing free access through March 31, 2009, to its proprietary content via State and Federal Employment Law Compare, with Smart Chart functionality, an easy-to-use online tool that provides quick answers to a wide range of employment law issues.
To use the comparison Smart Chart for "Plant Closings, Layoffs and WARN Laws," go to http://hr.cch.com/layoffs or http://corporatecounsel.cch.com/layoffs. Smart Charts let users find answers easily, as well as instantly compare information across multiple jurisdictions. Users simply select a topic, such as "Penalties" under WARN laws, from expandable menus, and then choose one or more desired jurisdictions. A Smart Chart pops up with quick answers and links to the full text of relevant statutes and regulations. The data can be displayed in comprehensive chart format or in a matrix format for rapid side-by-side comparisons between jurisdictions. Smart Charts are easy to export to Microsoft Word or Excel.
The complete set of Smart Charts for State Employment Law Compare allows researchers to produce charts on 45 major topics and more than 300 subtopics, from Access to Personnel Files to Wage Payment, with coverage for federal law and all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Source: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
New Collaborative Online Medical Encyclopedia Launches
The Medpedia Project announced the public launch of the beta version of a technology platform for the worldwide health community. Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, Berkeley School of Public Health, University of Michigan Medical School, and other leading global health organizations are contributing in various ways to Medpedia. The goal of The Medpedia Project is to create a new model of the way the world will assemble, maintain, critique, and access medical knowledge. It will, over time, be a repository of up-to-date, unbiased medical information, contributed and maintained by health experts around the world, and freely available to everyone.
This release of the Medpedia Platform includes three interrelated services: a collaborative knowledgebase (medical encyclopedia); a professional network and directory for health professionals and organizations; and communities of interest in which medical professionals and nonprofessionals can share information about conditions, treatments, lifestyle choices, etc. This free resource is available now at www.medpedia.com.
The Medpedia collaborative knowledgebase provides medical professionals and organizations with a central place to record their knowledge and to receive national and international recognition and visibility for their expertise. Since the announcement of The Medpedia Project in July 2008, more than 110 organizations have contributed or pledged more than 7,000 pages of content to the knowledgebase, and thousands of people have become a part of the community.
While only physicians and Ph.D.s in a biomedical/health field can edit the Medpedia knowledgebase directly, and only health and medical professionals are to use the professional network, consumers have an important role to play in the evolving model of Medpedia. They can suggest changes to the article pages, and they can participate in communities of interest.
The Medpedia Project and Medpedia are maintained by Medpedia, Inc, which is funded and managed by Ooga Labs (www.oogalabs.com), a technology greenhouse in San Francisco. The articles created on Medpedia are freely licensable under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL; www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) unless otherwise noted.
Source: The Medpedia Project
Inmagic Series on Building a Business Case for Social Knowledge Networks
The Inmagic blog (http://inmagicinc.blogspot.com) has begun to post a nine-part series of articles that will highlight how the unique implementation of social technologies with a knowledge management solution can result in measurable cost reductions, increased operational efficiencies, and improved collaboration. The introductory post, "Building the Business Case for Social Knowledge Networks," previews the upcoming posts by Inmagic’s director of product marketing John Callan, including a close look at the processes and areas that cost-effectively improve the bottom line.
The series is titled How to Cost Justify Your Social Knowledge Network Needs. The article lineup will present the following:
Part 1—Increase productivity by socializing more: How this counter-intuitive thinking can make workers more effective
Part 2—Socialize for savings: Examining the ROI of implementing social knowledge networks
Part 3—When good organizations use bad content: The importance of weeding out poor-quality content to reduce operational costs
Part 4—The community will set you free: How tapping community wisdom speeds knowledge discovery
Part 5—Losing the man, not the manpower: Using SKNs (social knowledge networks) to keep knowledge retention and productivity levels high when weathering work force shortages
Part 6—Productivity is power: A deeper ROI analysis, based on productivity gains
Part 7—Dude, where’s my data? SKNs can consolidate and organize it all in one place
Part 8—Knowledge, a more perfect union: Centralizing knowledge is one for all, and all for one
Part 9—The SKN evangelist’s checklist: The most important points to make when advocating SKNs
Source: Inmagic, Inc.
The European Library Updates Site
The European Library announced a new site release of www.theeuropeanlibrary.org, a free resource to discover learning and research materials, covering all subjects, from 38 national libraries across Europe. Originally developed as a central point of access to Europe’s library material, the website now combines multilingual search functionalities with several online exhibitions (www.theeuropeanlibrary.org/exhibition) and Web 2.0 tools.
The new portal incorporates many of the recommended enhancements from user-feedback studies. At the top of the list was more multilingual facilities. As a result, users can now navigate and scan more than 330 collections in their native language. Support materials including FAQs and a first-time user guide are available in 22 European languages.
Users can also enjoy the portal’s rich media offerings. The portal specializes in online exhibitions that showcase the collections of Europe’s national libraries. A new, exciting exhibition on the Napoleonic Wars has been launched to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the campaigns. More than 200 rarities were collected from the national libraries of Spain, Portugal, France, the U.K., Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Serbia. The exhibition shows unique material such as a French constitutional chart (1814), sketches of Francisco de Goya (1810), and military maps showing how Napoleon planned his attacks.
The European Library site is a service of the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) offering free, item-level access to the combined resources, books, magazines, journals, manuscripts, and sound and video archives (both digital and nondigital) from 38 of the 47 national libraries of Europe. Europeana.eu (www.europeana.eu)—formerly called European Digital Library or EDL—builds on the project management and technical expertise developed by The European Library (http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=51690).
Source: The European Library
WebJunction Offers Guide to Library Management Competencies
WebJunction, the online learning community for librarians and library staff, has released Library Management Competencies, a guide to courses and resources to help current and aspiring library managers be more successful in their work. Library Management Competencies, available at www.webjunction.org, includes links to related courses and dynamic resources that will help users build knowledge and skills and increase on-the-job effectiveness. By identifying the key aspects of managing a library and defining the associated knowledge, skills, and behaviors, library managers will be better able to tailor their personal learning plans to address any gaps in their skills sets.
All WebJunction courses and programs take place within the site’s unique social learning platform, where people come together around course work and content to gain the most interactive learning experience available to library staff anywhere on the web. WebJunction’s Library Management Competencies are the first set to be launched from the full Competency Index, an aggregate of competency statements that cover a broad spectrum of library practice and service. In the coming months, WebJunction will continue to roll out additional sections on the website, and it plans to produce the full index as a WebJunction publication later this year.
The effort to build the Library Management Competencies into this learning platform began in 2006 when WebJunction received a Library Skills Training grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant was intended to increase WebJunction’s capacity to meet library organization needs to continually develop staff members with essential skills for today’s libraries. As part of this grant, WebJunction staff members worked closely with the originators of many competency sets in the library field, as well as with a cadre of subject-matter-expert reviewers, to complete the full Competency Index. Library staff members can use the statements to identify skills they should have or want to develop, to create job descriptions, or to develop training programs.
In 2002, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded OCLC (www.oclc.org) a 3-year grant to build WebJunction as a portal for public libraries and other organizations that provide open access to information. WebJunction is supported in part by OCLC, grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (www.gatesfoundation.org) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (www.imls.gov), partners in state library agencies and other library systems and organizations, and by the library community. Launched in 2003, WebJunction is based in Seattle and Dublin, Ohio.
UKSG Augments The E-Resources Management Handbook
The UK Serials Group (UKSG) has recently published new chapters of The E-Resources Management Handbook, its open access guide to the issues and challenges facing those in the information community. The UKSG, comprising 500 member organizations, exists to encourage the exchange of ideas on printed and electronic serials and the process of scholarly communication.
Two of the new chapters follow the book’s original formula by providing analyses of specific areas of e-resource management. Louise Cole, senior information advisor (collections) at Kingston University gives up-to-date guidance for U.K. librarians relating to copyright in the digital age. Jo Cross, market research manager at Taylor & Francis, provides an introduction to impact factors that explains how the factors are calculated and the variables that need to be considered when evaluating them.
An additional five new chapters take the form of interviews with thought leaders from the information community:
- Stephen Abram, vice president, SirsiDynix
- Martin Marlow, vice president, Publisher Business Development & Marketing, Ingram Digital
- Peter McCracken, director of research, Serials Solutions
- Jim Mouw, assistant director, Technical & Electronic Services, University of Chicago
- Alison Mudditt, executive vice president, Higher Education Group, SAGE
The interviews are designed to summarize the current state of scholarly communications while providing a broad range of insights from professionals with differing perspectives and comprehensive experience into what the future may hold. Planned updates for 2009 include chapters on peer review, repositories, elearning, and the semantic web. Learn more or sign up for new chapter alerts at www.uksg.org/serials#handbook.
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