|Weekly News Digest
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ProQuest Launches The Cecil Papers
An intimate look at the inner workings of Elizabethan and Jacobean England goes worldwide this month when ProQuest launches The Cecil Papers for the web. The 30,000 startlingly clear digital images virtually recreate documents gathered by William Cecil, Lord Burghley and his son Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury, two of Elizabeth I’s closest advisers.
Thanks to an agreement between the Library and Archives of Hatfield House, the 400 year-old home of Britain’s Marquess of Salisbury, and information technology firm ProQuest, an expert in digitization of rare documents, web users can view state papers, political memoranda, legal documents, and treaties as well as hand-drawn maps, tables, and letters that will transport them into the day-to-day of events such as the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot, and the imprisonment and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.
“The Cecil Papers are fascinating to a wide range of readers—from professional historians to the merely curious—but it’s very important to understand the impact this broadened access will have on serious research in this area,” said Dan Burnstone, vice president of publishing at ProQuest. “Digitization of these papers strips away the filters of opinion so that scholars can look at original works and draw their own conclusions. We may see the emergence of entirely new interpretations of some of the most riveting chapters in British history.”
Until now, The Cecil Papers were available for viewing only to visitors of Hatfield House, located just outside London, where they have been housed since the 16th century, or through two ageing microfilm versions. Digitization dramatically expands access for scholars, accelerating research opportunities. While ProQuest will provide the technological expertise, subscribing libraries will provide the access point, incorporating The Cecil Papers into their digital collections and making them available through their internet gateways. The National University of Ireland is among the very first libraries to provide access.
Gale to Digitize McMaster Universityís Holocaust and Resistance Collections
Gale, part of Cengage Learning, and McMaster University announced an agreement for Gale to digitize McMaster University’s collection of materials related to the Holocaust, propaganda and the Jewish underground resistance movement during the Second World War. The Holocaust collection covers the period between 1933 and 1945, when millions of people were imprisoned and died in Nazi concentration camps throughout Europe.
Nearly 2,000 poignant letters in several different languages from or to prisoners in Dachau, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz, as well as in Gestapo prisons and POW camps, comprise much of the collection’s material. In many instances there are 20 letters or more written by the same prisoner, an uncommon feature in such a collection when often only a single letter survives. There is also a diary of the Nazi evacuation from Ravensbrück (women’s concentration camp) as well as a hand-fashioned recipe book which prisoners exchanged among themselves. This collection also includes books, posters, magazines, newspapers, and air-drop leaflets.
In addition, Gale will digitize materials from the Jewish underground resistance collection, including documents from the personal collection of David Diamant, a Jewish communist and committed member of the underground resistance during World War II. The documents, which are mainly in French and Yiddish, deal primarily with the Jewish segment of the French underground resistance, with many of the documents originating from communist groups and some from Polish groups. Documents on prisoners and deportations, as well as songs and poems from prisoners are included.
Gale began digitizing this collection in November and expects to make the first part available to customers as part of Gale’s Archives Unbound starting in spring 2011.
Macmillan Announces Release of Digital Science
Macmillan Publishers Ltd. announced the launch of Digital Science, a new division of the company and a new kind of scientific information enterprise. Digital Science will focus on providing software tools and services to scientists, managers, and funders with the ultimate aim of making research more productive through the use of technology.
The activities of Digital Science build on the editorial and technological capabilities of its sister company, Nature Publishing Group (NPG), but will focus on technology-based solutions for research rather than scientific content. The Digital Science team brings together a wide range of expertise in science and technology, and is led by Timo Hannay, former publishing director of nature.com.
The new business combines in-house product design and software development capabilities with external expertise from a range of partners, including academic research groups, start-up businesses and established companies. Currently announced commercial partners include SureChem, BioData and Symplectic.
SureChem, Inc. is a scientific text-mining company that specializes in automatically extracting chemical information from large content collections. Its web portal provides a quick, cost-effective means to search the world's patents for chemical structures and names. Its technology is also used to annotate chemical terms in the scientific journals hosted on nature.com. The company was acquired by Macmillan in December 2009 and it is now part of Digital Science.
BioData, Ltd. provides laboratory management systems for bench scientists and lab administrators. Digital Science acquired an equity stake in BioData in December 2010.
Symplectic creates tools “written by academics for academics.” The focus of the company’s flagship product “Elements” is to help researchers save time in a culture of increasing administrative demands and, as a side-effect, provides institutions with high quality data on their research. Digital Science acquired an equity stake in Symplectic in December 2010.
Source: Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
European Commission Debuts OpenAIRE
The European Commission (EC) has launched OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe) at the University of Ghent in Belgium. Through this, it is expected that EU researchers, businesses, and citizens will have free and open access to EU-funded research papers.
Some 2.5 million research articles are published in 25,000 peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings worldwide every year. Currently, just 15% - 20% of these articles are available in Open Access repositories or Open Access journals. The rest are only accessible through pay per read schemes or by paying for a subscription to the publication. The EU-funded OpenAIRE infrastructure could eventually open up access to all scientific papers and data produced by researchers funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), including scientists receiving grants through the European Research Council (ERC), and beyond. Since FP7 started in 2007, some 10,000 projects have been funded.
Under the terms of their FP7 grants, researchers who receive EU funding in the fields of health, energy, environment, information and communication technology, research infrastructures, social sciences, humanities, and science in society should deposit the full texts of their research publications in an open access repository, to be made permanently available worldwide. This is around 20% of all projects funded by FP7. Researchers in other fields could also opt to make their texts available in the open access repository.
The project could also lead to new ways of indexing, annotating, ordering, and linking research results—and new methods to automate all this. This could trigger the development of new services on top of the information infrastructure which OpenAIRE provides. The project is running a helpdesk in 27 European countries, consisting of a network of experts and a portal of tools helping researchers to make their articles available online.
OpenAIRE originates from a European Commission pilot initiative on open access, launched in August 2008. Projects funded under FP7 are requested to deposit peer-reviewed papers in online repositories and to provide open access within 6 or 12 months after publication depending on the thematic area.
It complements other EU-funded research infrastructures such as GÉANT, which provides European scientists with a high speed research network, and PRACE, which develops supercomputing capacity for highly demanding applications. Results and reports of EU funded research can also be found on CORDIS, the Community Research and Development Information Service
Source: The European Commission
OCLC Adds Content Accessible Through WorldCat Local
Library users can now find more than 700 million items through the WorldCat Local service as the OCLC cooperative expands agreements with content providers to make more content in a variety of formats accessible to users. In addition to the 200 million records contributed by OCLC member libraries worldwide, 500 million items from leading publishers, aggregators, and mass digitization efforts are also now accessible through WorldCat Local.
OCLC has recently added content to WorldCat Local from EBSCO; Gale, part of Cengage Learning; Modern Language Association; ProQuest; and the U.S. Department of Energy. There are now more than 400 million articles, 170 million books, 10 million ebooks, and 1,100 databases accessible through the WorldCat Local service.
Additional agreements have been signed with ABC-CLIO, American Psychological Association, Association for Computing Machinery, BioMed Central, BioOne, Cambridge University Press, Emerald, IGI Global, Sabinet, Sage, Taylor & Francis, and World Bank Publications.
OCLC has added databases accessible through the WorldCat Local central index, which delivers an enhanced user experience because searches will immediately retrieve records indexed within the WorldCat Local service. Other databases are accessible through a quick, remote WorldCat Local single search that is integrated into a single set of results.
In addition to new content, OCLC continues to add new features and functionality to WorldCat Local. OCLC recently added direct links to full-text articles and open access objects from the brief results in WorldCat Local and WorldCat.org. This new feature is enhanced by the new WorldCat knowledge base functionality that combines data about libraries’ electronic content with linking features that enable access to the content.
A new mobile view in beta form is now available for both WorldCat Local and “quick start” libraries. The new mobile view for WorldCat Local is optimized for the Apple iOS and Android platforms, but any smartphone browser, including Windows 7 Mobile and Blackberry is supported.
Springer Introduces Free Analytics ToolóRealtime.springer.com
Springer has launched a free analytics tool that allows users to analyze use of Springer’s online content. Realtime.springer.com aggregates the raw data on downloads of Springer journal articles and book chapters in real time from all over the world, and displays them in a variety of interactive visualizations such as, a map showing where the downloads are coming from, a constantly updating keyword tag cloud, and a visualization of total downloads. In addition, a search feature shows a chart of the downloads and the ‘Top Five Most Downloaded’ list for every journal or book.
The results provide book authors and journal editors with information on how intensively their content is used. They gain insight into what topics are trending at the moment, and which areas of the world are currently looking at what type of topics in Springer books and journals. Librarians get a clear overview of where Springer content is used in the many fields.
Realtime.springer.com currently receives input from the information platform SpringerLink with nearly five million documents from about 41,000 ebooks, 1,160 book series, 2,524 journals, and 173 e-reference works. Additionally, the tool receives feeds from the SpringerImages database with more than 2.7 million images and from SpringerProtocols, the database of reproducible laboratory protocols in the life and biomedical sciences.
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