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Weekly News Digest

March 11, 2010 — 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.

InfoGROUP to Be Acquired by CCMP Capital

InfoGROUP (www.infogroup.com), a provider of data-driven and interactive resources for targeted sales, marketing, and research solutions, announced it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by affiliates of CCMP Capital Advisors, LLC (www.ccmpcapital.com) in a transaction with a total value of approximately $635 million, including the refinancing of InfoGROUP's outstanding indebtedness. CCMP plans to take InfoGROUP private after the deal is completed. InfoGROUP's shares currently trade on the Nasdaq market.

The agreement was unanimously approved by the InfoGROUP board of directors. Under the agreement, InfoGROUP shareholders will receive $8 in cash for each share of InfoGROUP common stock they hold. The transaction is anticipated to close early this summer, subject to the approval of InfoGROUP shareholders, regulatory approvals, and customary closing conditions.

Kevin O'Brien, CCMP capital managing director, says, "CCMP has extensive experience in direct marketing and business services. We believe our proprietary operating expertise together with targeted investments in people and systems can help Infogroup accelerate its drive toward higher value-added, ‘end-to-end' marketing services and extend its market leadership."

InfoGROUP, which is based in Omaha, Neb., and is formerly known as InfoUSA, owns more than 30 companies, including InfoUSA, OneSource, Salesgenie, Walter Karl, and Edith Roman, as well as email service provider Yesmail and demographic research company Opinion Research Corp.

Source: InfoGROUP

Alexander Street Press Jazzes Up Its Collections

Alexander Street Press (http://alexanderstreet.com) announced that its suite of Music Online streaming audio collections will triple in size over the next 9 months, growing from a current total of more than 250,000 recordings to more than 750,000 by the end of the year. In 2011, Alexander Street's plan is for Music Online to hit the milestone of 1 million recordings. The company also promises no price increases.

Individual streaming collections in Alexander Street's Music Online suite that will double or triple in size include Classical Music Library, Jazz Music Library, American Song, and Contemporary World Music. Libraries that subscribe to the entire suite of Music Online listening collections will have access to an additional 140,000 popular music recordings. The publisher also announced that recording stream quality will improve to 320Kbps, and that, soon, listening collections will be accessible via handheld mobile devices. None of these enhancements will result in a price increase. New, lower price points are available for Jazz Music Library, American Song, and Contemporary World Music, and all new subscriptions to these collections will come with unlimited access.

In partnership with the State University of New York-Binghamton's Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender, Alexander Street also announced that the online resource Women and Social Movements in the United States 1600-2000, Scholar's Edition, will be freely accessible for the month of March so that all librarians, students, instructors, and scholars can explore the site's rich collection of primary materials and teaching tools without passwords or fees (http://wass.alexanderstreet.com).

Alexander Street Press is an electronic publisher of online collections in the humanities, social sciences, performing arts, and music.

Source: Alexander Street Press

Safari Books Online Adds Bite-Sized Digital Learning Guides

Safari Books Online (www.safaribooksonline.com), the on-demand digital library for technology, digital media, and business professionals, announced that in 2010 it will be adding more than 700 titles to its Short Cuts category, which is aimed at providing concentrated information that allows professionals to find new ways to solve daily problems in seconds.

To address customers' needs for quick-to-digest relevant and focused information, Safari is expanding Short Cuts by offering Elements and Shorts from FT Press Delivers, the new electronic imprint from FT Press (www.ftpress.com), an imprint of Pearson Education. Both of these additions are focused on providing business lessons and skills training from leading business executives, writers, and thinkers in short, specifically focused essays. Access to Short Cuts, including Elements and Shorts, is included at no additional cost for Safari Books Online subscribers.

Short Cuts from Safari Books Online are exclusive short-topic works produced by leading authors on subjects that are either too early in their life cycle or too specific to have entire books dedicated to the topic. Short Cuts provide deep coverage of a specific topic, usually in fewer than 100 pages. Elements are the best elements of many books that are written on a particular topic, boiled down to approximately 4-8 pages in length. Shorts are new works written about a particular topic and typically are 16-20 pages in length. Shorts are published in partnership with New Word City (www.newwordcity.com).

View all Short Cuts available on Safari Books Online at http://bit.ly/cHyrLW.

Source: Safari Books Online

Two New Ebook Surveys Highlight Interesting Trends

Survey of Librarians

HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries, has released the full results of a fall 2009 survey of librarians on their attitudes and practices related to ebooks (http://highwire.stanford.edu/PR/HighWireEBookSurvey2010.pdf). The survey was conducted as part of HighWire's ongoing exploration of the fast-growing scholarly ebook market.

The results and accompanying analysis draw together the input of 138 librarians from 13 countries. The responses underscore the significant growth librarians expect in ebook acquisitions and point to their current preferences and possible trends in this evolving area. Through a series of interviews, surveys, and data collection activities throughout 2010, HighWire will continue to help its scholarly publisher customers understand the evolving needs of libraries and individual readers.

The survey data was analyzed by Michael Newman, Stanford University's Head Biology Librarian, and the report presents his perspective on what his librarian colleagues had to say about ebooks. The report espouses some familiar and consistent themes:

  • Simplicity and ease of use seem more important than sophisticated end-user features.
  • Users tend to discover ebooks through both the library catalog and search engines.
  • While users prefer PDFs, format preference will likely change as technology changes.
  • DRM seems to hinder ebook use for library patrons; ability to print is essential.
  • The most popular business model for librarians is purchase with perpetual access.

Survey of Publishers

A recent survey by Aptara Corp. (www.aptaracorp.com) of more than 300 U.S. publishers across the trade, professional, and educational markets reveals that a significant percentage of publishers are missing the opportunity to capitalize on the increasing market momentum of ebooks (www.aptaracorp.com/images/pdf/Aptara_eBook_survey_1.pdf). The survey is the first in a series planned by Aptara to document the evolution of book publishing in the face of society's changing content consumption behaviors. The collection of data from a range of markets and participants is also intended to uncover the real impact of new media on publishers' operations.

This first survey has revealed two major findings:

  • Most publishers are selling ebooks through their own ecommerce sites and are missing the vast consumer audiences provided by major distribution channels.
  • Publishers are producing ebooks that cannot be read on most mobile devices, limiting the opportunities for wider consumption.

"It will take some time for the eBook market to shake out and for any one device or platform to be deemed dominant," predicts Dev Ganesan, president and CEO of Aptara. "For this reason alone, publishers need to recognize the importance of creating device-agnostic eBooks. This is precisely why we're helping our customers prepare content with a device-neutral production approach. It's the only way for publishers to have flexibility and future-proof their content for delivery to any device, platform, or new medium."

Other findings include the following:

  • 53% of publishers who responded are offering titles in ebook format.
  • 60% who do not currently offer ebooks plan to do so in the near future.
  • 65% of publishers are producing ebook versions of titles that are also offered in print.

Sources: HighWire Press and Aptara Corp.

EBSCO Acquires Chemical Hazard ResourceóExpert Publishing

EBSCO Publishing (www.ebscohost.com) has acquired Expert Publishing (ExPub; www.expub.com), a provider of up-to-date, decision-support chemical information for the global environmental health & safety (EH&S) community. ExPub databases provide access to millions of documents containing comprehensive human and/or environmental hazard data needed to manage the impact of chemicals in the workplace or on the environment. ExPub databases offer EBSCO a variety of options for enhancing existing databases and creating new resources, as well as offerings that are complementary to current EBSCOhost databases.

The global implications of recent changes in European chemical regulations, legislative and regulatory efforts in Congress to reform American chemical regulatory policies, and consumer fears about chemicals in consumer products-as evidenced by the recent BPA scare-emphasize the importance of having access to comprehensive and authoritative information on the potential hazards of chemicals.

ExPub provides more than 120 databases containing millions of documents from government and licensed sources covering more than 400,000 unique substances and accessible via 2.25 million chemical names and synonyms. Databases include ChemEXPERT, ReproEXPERT, ListEXPERT, DrugEXPERT, and MSDSonline.

Companies and agencies that use or regulate chemicals are able to access the latest, up-to-date documents on chemical hazards and toxicology. ExPub databases are designed for organizations that need to research and understand the human health hazards associated with chronic and acute exposures to chemicals in the workplace and in the environment. The databases can also be used by those responsible for developing chemical regulatory and trade policies and controls. In addition, the resources are of value to organizations tasked with homeland and facilities security and border control.

Source: EBSCO Publishing

Robot-Based Vending System to Extend Library Services

Evanced Solutions (www.evancedsolutions.com) will unveil a prototype of its new BranchAnywhere library vending system at the Public Library Association Conference, March 23-27 in Portland, Ore. The U.S.-designed and -manufactured system will allow libraries to provide books and audiovisual materials in convenient locations without the space and cost associated with constructing a traditional library branch or building.

The new library vending system will be powered by an industrial multiaxis robot typically used in manufacturing plants. The robot will deliver library materials to patrons from storage shelves in the machine. It also reshelves those same materials to the machine when returned by the patron for check-out by the next person.

"We chose a robot as the heart of the machine because they are much more robust and reliable than other solutions. It's the perfect low-maintenance answer for this application," says Evanced CEO Todd Cutler.

The machine will be able to hold books of various sizes (including picture books and large hardcover books) in addition to DVDs and other audiovisual materials. It will operate 24/7 with little to no staff intervention, and it connects to the most common library catalog systems.

Evanced partnered with two other Indiana-based companies to deliver this new product-Central Technology, a producer of library self-check kiosks, and Biehle Systems, an industrial machine systems company. The machines, which will be manufactured at Biehle's plant in southern Indiana, will be available the second half of 2010.

Source: Evanced Solutions



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