|Weekly News Digest
March 25, 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 ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.
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Controversial Healthcare Reform Bill and Debate Now Available on GPO’s Federal Digital System
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO; www.gpo.gov) has made the healthcare reform bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives available in electronic form. The House floor debate leading up to the passage of the bill can be found in the Congressional Record. The authentic, electronic versions are available on GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys). GPO authenticated the document by digital signature. This signature assures the public that the document has not been changed or altered. A digital signature, viewed through the GPO Seal of Authenticity, verifies the document's integrity and authenticity.
H.R. 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr3590ENR/pdf/BILLS-111hr3590ENR.pdf
H.R. 4872, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr4872EH/pdf/BILLS-111hr4872EH.pdf
Direct links to the Congressional Record containing the debate and vote:
FDsys (www.fdsys.gov) provides a one-stop site to authenticated, published government information. This system allows the GPO to receive information from federal agencies in all three branches of government and create a repository for permanent, public access. FDsys offers search capabilities for users such as searching by congressional committee, a member of Congress, keyword, and date.
The GPO is the federal government's primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published U.S. government information in all its forms. GPO makes government information available at no cost to the public through GPO's Federal Digital System and through partnerships with approximately 1,250 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program.
ebrary Launches Free Natural Disaster Research Center
ebrary (www.ebrary.com), a provider of digital content products and technologies, announced that it has created a free, publicly available research center featuring hundreds of important government documents related to natural disasters and extreme weather (http://site.ebrary.com/lib/disaster/home.action).
"Our hearts go out to all of the people who are suffering and experiencing hardships in light of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and others who have been impacted by the many natural disasters and extreme weather that occur in the world each year," said Christopher Warnock, CEO of ebrary. "To help make a difference, our employees gathered authoritative, public domain information from government websites, and using our system, created a highly interactive, searchable database. We hope that people around the world find this a valuable resource, and we encourage our customers to share this information with their students, employees, and patrons."
Using DASH! (Data Sharing, Fast) and other ebrary services, the ebrary staff was able to very quickly and easily aggregate PDF content and develop the new Natural Disaster and Extreme Weather Searchable Information Center. ebrary's new site is one of a series of research centers that the company's employees are building on topics that are important to them. Last November, ebrary staff created the H1N1 Searchable Information Center, which is freely available at http://h1n1.ebrary.com/home.action. The company plans to launch several additional sites this year and welcomes input and suggestions.
Summon Discovery Service Adds Database Recommender Feature
ProQuest's Serials Solutions (www.serialssolutions.com) has added a new feature to its Summon web-scale discovery service that leads searchers to specialized databases in a library's collection, beyond the indexed content of a library's books and articles. Now, a user's Summon search will return the specific books and articles that are relevant along with a list of recommended databases to consult for additional pertinent information.
"Database Recommender addresses an issue that plagues all discovery solutions, whether it's web-scale discovery or federated search or something in between: the inability to access all of the electronic content a library holds in a single search," said Jane Burke, senior vice president, Serials Solutions. "This database discovery function points users to specialized resources that can assist their research, whether they're indexed by Summon or not. By highlighting these sources for researchers, Summon is able to provide the best search experience possible, inspiring users to return to the library for every research task."
Through the Summon service, users are able to use a single entrance to a library's collections, searching all formats in one integrated and instant search. This latest feature showcases sources that don't lend themselves to be indexed by any service-such as dynamic or statistical databases-but make the library so well fitted to its academic community. In keeping with Summon's uncomplicated interface, recommendations are integrated in the results screen and a mouse click takes users to the resource's homepage.
Founded by a librarian for librarians in 2000, Serials Solutions is the global leader in e-resource access and management services (ERAMS) that serves more than 2,000 libraries of all sizes and types. The company introduced the Summon service to provide instant access to the full breadth of the library's collection through a single search. Rather than federated search, the Summon service is powered by a massive single index that enables subsecond searches and completely unbiased results.
Source: Serials Solutions
Judicial Conference Approves Public Access Improvements to PACER
The Judicial Conference of the United States has approved key steps to improve public access to federal courts by increasing the availability of court opinions by expanding the services and reducing the costs for users of the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER; http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov) system. At its biannual meeting in Washington, D.C., the Conference voted to do the following:
- Allow courts, at the discretion of the presiding judge, to make digital audio recordings of court hearings available online to the public through PACER, for $2.40 per audio file. Digital audio recording is used in most bankruptcy and district courts (where magistrate judges account for most of the usage). Previously, such access was possible only by obtaining a CD recording from a court clerk's office for $26.
- Adjust the Electronic Public Access fee schedule so that users are not billed unless they accrue charges of more than $10 of PACER usage in a quarterly billing cycle, in effect quadrupling the amount of data available without charge. Currently, users are not billed until their accounts total at least $10 in a 1-year period. The $10 fee waiver affects tens of thousands of PACER users. In fiscal year 2009, about 153,000 PACER account holders-nearly half of all active accounts- did not receive a bill. For that 12-month period, a quarterly waiver would have affected an additional 85,000 accounts- resulting in 75% of all active accounts not receiving bills.
- Approve a pilot in up to 12 courts to publish federal district and bankruptcy court opinions via the Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System (FDsys) so members of the public can more easily search across opinions and across courts.
In another development, the U.S. Party/Case Index, a tool that enables users to locate a case across the federal courts, will be deployed under the new name PACER Case Locator. The previous version has been running in its current format since September 1999 and currently receives more than 200,000 searches daily. The new version includes additional search capabilities and result formats.
As mandated by Congress, electronic access to court information is funded through reasonable user fees, not through taxes paid by the general public. Last year, PACER received more than 360 million requests for electronic access to information from the more than 33 million federal cases that have documents online. The Electronic Public Access fee revenue is used exclusively to fund program expenses and enhancements that increase public access to the courts. As a result, PACER is a very economical service: The charge for accessing filings, other than opinions, is just 8 cents per page, with a maximum charge of $2.40 regardless of the length of a document. At federal courthouses, public access terminals provide free PACER access to view filings in that court, as well as economical printouts (priced at 10 cents per page). The charge for copies from the paper case file in the clerk's office was-and remains-50 cents a page.
All court opinions are available through PACER free of charge, and that will not change. The Judiciary is conducting a comprehensive assessment of its Electronic Public Access Program services to identify potential enhancements to existing services and new public access services that can be provided to litigants, the bar, and the public. The results of that assessment will be available by July 2010.
The Judicial Conference is the policymaking body for the federal court system. The Chief Justice serves as its presiding officer. It is comprised of the chief judges of the 13 courts of appeals, a district judge from each of the 12 geographic circuits, and the chief judge of the Court of International Trade. The conference meets twice a year to consider administrative and policy issues affecting the court system and to make recommendations to Congress concerning legislation involving the Judicial Branch
Source: Judicial Conference
AIP Journals Launch on Scitation C³ Platform
The American Institute of Physics (AIP; www.aip.org) announced the migration of its 12 archival journals to its Scitation C³ next-generation hosting platform. All Scitation publications will migrate to the C³ platform in the coming months. Central to the implementation is an agile development environment utilizing a new Mark Logic content server and Polopoly web content management system. AIP says the new journal sites have significantly reduced discovery and reading time due to exposing content components in the XML.
Key to the new design is a new object browser, which allows subscribers to view all tables and figures in an article directly from the abstract view, where the majority of researchers begin their interactions with an article. Other objects from within the full-article XML, such as the article's acknowledgement section and an article outline based on the article's section structure, surface on the page, providing quick access to the article's content.
Scitation C³ also features a new, interactive full-article HTML rendering, including greatly improved visual presentation of inline math. In-context links to actionable references, figures, and tables save researchers from wasting time navigating around the document. Another interactive feature includes the ability to highlight any term within an article to produce a list of related content.
To further facilitate fast discoverability, AIP journals now allow users to create "Smart ToCs," enabling the user to tailor the listing to his/her interests, harvest citations, preview abstracts with a mouse click, and hide content that isn't relevant.
AIP has also added greater utility to the search functions of its journal pages, with more options and better controls to explore returned content with faceted results based on article type, topic, author, keyword, PACS, journal, and publication year. Faceted search helps researchers find information quickly by presenting them with a set of filters to refine search results.
AIP's Scitation publishing platform hosts 2 million articles from more than 200 scholarly publications for 28 learned society publishers, in fields including physics, chemistry, geosciences, engineering, acoustics, and other sciences.
Source: American Institute of Physics
Gale Databases Coming to WorldCat Local
OCLC (www.oclc.org) and Gale, a part of Cengage Learning (www.gale.cengage.com), have signed an agreement to index Gale's flagship full-text periodical databases in WorldCat Local to provide single-search access to users that subscribe to both services. The agreement calls for OCLC to centrally index the metadata of Gale's Academic OneFile and General OneFile databases to provide WorldCat Local users a direct link to the abstracts and articles in these popular, authoritative resources. The two databases contain some 100 million records each that connect to millions of full-text articles in both HTML and PDF from peer-reviewed journals, newspapers, and magazines, as well as thousands of podcasts and transcripts.
The result is that Gale's high-quality content will be more visible to library patrons through WorldCat Local, and searchers will no longer need to log in to multiple interfaces or navigate numerous results sets to find and get to the information they need. One of Gale's objectives is to reach users wherever they do their research and connect them to high-quality content and resources their libraries hold. This partnership will expand its efforts to accomplish that goal.
Gale joins a growing list of OCLC econtent partners that have agreed to have their databases indexed in WorldCat Local. These institutions are collaborating on a global scale to ensure that library users can find and access the valuable, authoritative content in their local libraries, in regional libraries, and through the OCLC network of WorldCat libraries worldwide. Today, more than 100 databases, 420 million article records, and numerous digital library collections, including Google Book Search and HathiTrust, are combined with the 170 million items cataloged in WorldCat to provide libraries using WorldCat Local a growing index that represents the combined print, electronic, and digital collections of the OCLC membership.
WorldCat Local is the service that combines the cooperative power of OCLC member libraries worldwide with the ability to use WorldCat.org as a solution for local discovery and delivery services. WorldCat Local provides a powerful discovery environment that includes a locally branded webpage and a single search box, and it presents localized results first while at the same time allowing the user to search the entire WorldCat database.
Source: Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, and OCLC
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