|Weekly News Digest
August 30, 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.
Text-to-Speech Support Added to All EBSCOhost Databases
EBSCO Publishing has added text-to-speech (read aloud) support to EBSCOhost databases, including its major school and public library databases, by embedding Texthelp Systems’ SpeechStream toolbar—a valuable benefit provided at no additional cost to the user. Users will be able to take advantage of this new feature with any full-text articles available in HTML.
Text-to-speech support, already featured in EBSCO’s English Language Learner Reference Center, allows users to read along while a human-sounding voice speaks the text on the screen. The support toolbar provides significant assistance to those for whom text-to-speech capabilities are highly valued such as English Language Learners, users with low vision, slight physical and/or learning disabilities, as well as ebook and PDA users.
Texthelp Systems is a provider of literacy and language support technology for online learning. Recent studies have shown that students using Texthelp’s literacy support tools demonstrated significant improvements in both reading comprehension and writing performance. The president of Texthelp Systems, Jack Dolan, says SpeechStream delivers high quality reading support via the web to improve access to information. “With the ever increasing demand to provide all users access to electronic resources when and where they need them, our partnership with EBSCO allows us to deliver the literacy support tools these users require.”
Utilizing the text-to-speech feature via the EBSCOhost platform provides many advantages. Users have the ability to read-aloud by selected text, sentence, paragraph, or continuous reading with dual color synchronous highlighting (highlighting of the passage being read with a second color highlighting the specific word being read aloud at that moment). User control of read-aloud personalizes the learning experience for each user. Users can control reading speed as well as select between three different high-quality voices—American, British, or Australian. These options also enable teachers and professionals to incorporate the features as a tool for teaching English and reading.
Source: EBSCO Publishing
BNA Releases the First of Its New Resource Centers
BNA (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.) launched the first of a series of new practice area platforms, integrating the full breadth of its industry leading news, analysis, and reference content in one place. BNA Labor & Employment Law Resource Center is available now and serves as an easy-to-use, single point of access for BNA’s exclusive content.
Known for its thought leadership and analysis, BNA offers a new platform with access to content by topic, with enhanced search tools providing instant access to relevant information. A full line of additional practice area Resource Centers are in development, with the Intellectual Property Law Resource Center next, launching early in the Fall.
The Center brings together BNA news, reference libraries, practice tools and forms, with a continuous flow of expert analysis from experienced reporters, editorial staff, and many influential and respected attorneys. A major feature of BNA’s new Resource Centers is the BNA Insights series. This new series of articles and videos provides a continuous forum for leading practitioners to pinpoint crucial legal, regulatory, and business trends and developments.
ebrary Offers CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles
ebrary has partnered with the review source CHOICE to offer digital editions of more than 1,000 of CHOICE’s recent Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT). Published annually, the CHOICE OAT list represents the top 10% of more than 7,000 academic books, electronic media, and internet resources reviewed by CHOICE that year.
Spanning all academic subject areas including business & economics, education, history, language & literature, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sciences, ebrary’s CHOICE selection features leading publishers including Cambridge University Press, Duke University Press, Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge, University of California Press, University of Chicago Press, Wiley, and Yale University Press. The titles may be previewed at http://site.ebrary.com/lib/choicetitles.
Founded in 1964, CHOICE is the premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and internet resources of interest to those in higher education. Each year CHOICE publishes more than 7,000 concise, critical, expert reviews of new scholarly books and electronic sources in fields spanning the entire college curriculum. More than 35,000 librarians, faculty, and key decision makers rely on Choice magazine and Choice Reviews Online for collection development and scholarly research. CHOICE is a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.
Hooverís Adds More Email Addresses and Morningstar Equity Research Reports
Hoover’s, Inc. unveiled significant new enhancements to its business information platform, including the addition of 3 million new email addresses through Hoover’s ConnectMail and approximately 1,800 Morningstar Equity Research Reports. Continuing an ongoing evolution that began with the launch of the new Hoover’s platform in March 2010, these enhancements and added functionality give sales and marketing professionals expanded industry insight and more ways to connect with key decision makers and influencers.
Hoover’s has teamed with top industry providers to add more than three million new email addresses to its Hoover’s ConnectMail tool. This gives Hoover’s customers direct access to influencers, middle managers and others who regularly drive purchasing decisions. With this addition, customers now have access to more than 10 million email addresses through Hoover’s ConnectMail to build more targeted lists for direct marketing campaigns.
In addition, Hoover’s has added more than 1,700 Morningstar Equity Research Reports, giving marketers, researchers, and sales executives more knowledge about the companies they are dealing with. These reports include Morningstar’s renowned “Bulls Say/Bears Say” analysis and commentary to help Hoover’s customers have smarter conversations and maintain a consultative relationship with their prospects and clients. Researchers can combine Morningstar’s in-depth analysis with Hoover’s industry and company information to draw more insightful conclusions.
Additional platform enhancements include new downloadable data points for more granular targeting—Owns/Rents, County, Import/Export, Latitude/Longitude, Manufacturing Indicator, and Square Footage. These data points allow customers who are targeting prospects in commercial real estate or facilities services, for example, to determine the commercial and geographic footprint of prospect businesses and streamline territory management. These enhancements help customers to better pre-qualify their prospects. The download ability lets them easily integrate the information within their CRM systems for easy use.
IBM and the EU Collaborate on Digitization of Historic European Texts
IBM and the European Union (EU) have unveiled a new initiative called IMPACT (IMProving ACcess to Text). The project seeks to provide technology that will enable highly-accurate digitization of rare and culturally significant historical texts on a massive scale. It will use “crowd computing” to verify and correct OCRed text.
The latest move is seen to expand the research collaboration of the EU and IBM, which now includes more than two dozen national libraries, research institutes, universities, and companies across Europe. Unlike past digitization projects where the result has been static, online libraries of texts, this unique wide-scale effort will offer new tools and best practices to institutions across Europe that will enable them to efficiently and accurately continue to produce quality digital replicas of historically significant texts and make them widely available, editable and searchable online.
Funded by the EU, IMPACT's research combines the power of new innovative web-enabled adaptive optical character recognition (OCR) software with crowd computing technology—a fast growing concept designed around individuals, or crowds, enhancing a process or product by sharing their knowledge and expertise to dramatically improve its quality and efficiency. Combined, these technologies will allow institutions for the first time to adapt digitization to the idiosyncrasies of old fonts, anomalies and even vocabularies—while reducing error rates by 35% and substitution rates by 75%.
While today’s OCR engines perform well with modern printed texts, the faded ink, age, and unusual shapes of older typefaces can lower recognition rates by up to 50% and require massive manual post-production review. Consequently, for large-scale projects such as this, the efficiency of post-production review of digitized text is crucial.
At the core of the digitization project lies a new, unique collaborative correction system, designed by IBM researchers, that makes it simple and convenient for large groups of volunteers spread over the continent to verify the accuracy of processed texts and correct recognition mistakes using an online web system. Moreover, inherent in the system is the ability to learn from its recognition errors, and adapt automatically to the specific font’s characters.
SAGE Competes Migration to Next Generation SAGE Journals Online
SAGE announced that, with the support of HighWire 2.0 (H20) technology, it has completed the migration of its more than 560 journals to the next generation of SAGE Journals Online. To mark the successful migration, SAGE is offering a 6 week free trial to SAGE Journals Online from Sept. 1 until Oct. 15. Some enhancements included with this latest iteration of SAGE Journals Online include advanced search across more than 50 disciplines, pop-up previews of article abstracts, and the ability to hide certain features (such as author affiliations and related links) from view.
To ensure that the migration caused minimal disruption to access, this upgrade was scheduled to coincide with academic summer recess. Access control for institutions and individuals were not affected by the migration. Administrative features and access to usage reports will also remain the same.
The core of this change is infrastructural and “behind the scenes.” The H2O infrastructure is designed to cooperate with emerging web services and technologies, as well as to comply with proven industry standards for content delivery. Because the system architecture seamlessly accommodates content structured in different ways, H2O is designed not only to accommodate the latest technology, but also to anticipate the technology of the future.
A major goal of the platform upgrade was to improve the user experience and keep readers in context as they conduct research. The new interface is based upon a flexible three-column design that makes features available without taking attention away from the substantive article content. Features most closely associated with the manuscript pages are placed closest to it. For full-text journals, full citations pop up when you hover over reference numbers within the text of an article. For all journals, keywords are now hyperlinked and perform quick searches of that term within all content in that journal.
Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor