|Weekly News Digest
February 17, 2011 — 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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Apple Launches Subscriptions on the App Store
Apple, Inc. announced a new subscription service available to all publishers of content-based apps on the App Store, including magazines, newspapers, video, music, etc. This is the same digital subscription billing service that Apple recently launched with News Corp.’s “The Daily” app.
Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App Store billing system that has been used to buy billions of apps and In-App Purchases. Publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly, or yearly). Then with one-click, customers pick the length of subscription and are automatically charged based on their chosen length of commitment (weekly, monthly, etc.). Customers can review and manage all of their subscriptions from their personal account page, including canceling the automatic renewal of a subscription. Apple processes all payments, keeping the same 30 percent share that it does now for other In-App Purchases.
Publishers who use Apple’s subscription service in their app can also leverage other methods for acquiring digital subscribers outside of the app. For example, publishers can sell digital subscriptions on their websites, or can choose to provide free access to existing subscribers. Since Apple is not involved in these transactions, there is no revenue sharing or exchange of customer information with Apple. Publishers must provide their own authentication process inside the app for subscribers that have signed up outside of the app. However, Apple does require that if a publisher chooses to sell a digital subscription separately outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to customers who wish to subscribe from within the app. In addition, publishers may no longer provide links in their apps (to a website, for example) which allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside of the app.
[Editor’s Note: For an interesting commentary on this development, see the blog post: “NewspaperDirect Offers a Strategy to Publishers Wrestling with Apple Tax.”
U.S. Department of Energyís ScienceCinema Accesses Searchable Videos
Scientific videos for R&D from the Department of Energy (DOE) are now searchable through Science Cinema. Jeffrey Salmon, deputy director for resource management with the DOE Office of Science, said, “Video, animation, visualization, and other forms of multimedia are now widely used to record, share, and collaborate in science. Because of the U.S. Department of Energy’s central role in science, we are also at the center of technology for collecting and disseminating this new media. ScienceCinema’s pioneering search and retrieval capability provides the public with a way to quickly access and view our multimedia-based R&D information.”
The audio indexing and speech recognition technology underlying the innovative service comes from Microsoft Research and is known as MAVIS (Microsoft Research Audio Video Indexing System). The video files are produced by the DOE National Laboratories and other DOE research facilities. When users search for specific scientific words and phrases of interest, precise snippets of the video in which the search terms were spoken will appear along with a timeline. Users can then select a snippet or a segment along the timeline to begin playing the video at the exact point in the video where the words were spoken. The timeline is synced with transcripts of the targeted portion of video.
ScienceCinema was produced, in part, as a proof of concept to demonstrate the value of speech recognition in the complex vocabulary of science. While the launch of the video database will include an initial 1,000 hours of content, it will continue to grow.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy
Springer eBooks Now Available in the Google eBookstore
Springer ebooks are now available in the Google eBookstore. Google currently holds the biggest collection of Springer ebooks with more than 52,000, which is a combination of physically scanned books published prior to 2006 and PDF file submissions since 2006. Springer adds 4,000 newly published titles per year. This service will initially only be available for international customers. A platform for the German-speaking markets will follow in due course.
Springer eBooks are also available on Amazon for the Kindle, and in the near future Barnes & Noble for the NookStudy.com platform, Kobo Books, Baker & Taylor BLIO, Entourage, and Apple’s iBooks, which is now receiving books in the free and open ebook format EPUB. Springer will soon also deliver books in EPUB format to Amazon for the Kindle.
“Springer has a device-neutral view with respect to eReaders and will work with partners who can bring our content closer to the end-users,” said Ray Colón, Director eProduct Management, Springer. “A large percentage of Springer content is image, equation, and table based and used in education and research so the user experience is crucial to our end customer. We look forward to working with partners who can bring us closer to our end-users via their devices and platforms.”
ScienceCinema Offers Searchable Videos from U.S. DOE
Scientific videos highlighting the most exciting research and development sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are now available through ScienceCinema. The multimedia search tool was launched Feb. 8 as part of a one-day workshop, “Multimedia and Visualization Innovations for Science,” jointly hosted by Microsoft and the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI), held in Redmond, Wash.
ScienceCinema uses innovative, state-of-the-art audio indexing and speech recognition technology from Microsoft Research to allow users to quickly find video files produced by the DOE National Laboratories and other DOE research facilities. When users search for specific scientific words and phrases of interest to them, precise snippets of the video where the specific search term was spoken will appear along with a timeline. Users can then select a snippet or a segment along the timeline to begin playing the video at the exact point in the video where the words were spoken. The timeline is synced with transcripts of the targeted portion of video.
It is anticipated that scientific videos, animations, interactive visualizations, and other multimedia will become an increasingly prominent form of scientific communications. ScienceCinema was produced, in part, as a proof of concept to demonstrate the value of speech recognition in the complex vocabulary of science. While the launch of the video database will include an initial 1,000 hours of content, it will continue to grow as new DOE R&D-related videos are produced.
ScienceCinema was developed by the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) in partnership with Microsoft Research. OSTI, within the Office of Science, is responsible for broadly disseminating and preserving the Energy Department’s scientific output. Microsoft Research provides the audio indexing technology for ScienceCinema as part of the Microsoft Research Audio Video Indexing System (MAVIS) project. MAVIS is a set of software components that use speech recognition technology to enable searching of digitized spoken content. More information about MAVIS and the technology can be viewed at the MAVIS project page.
Paratextís ReferenceUniverse to Add Links to Wiley Major Reference Works
Paratext will integrate thousands of links to more than 125 major reference works on Wiley Online Library. Launched last summer, the Wiley Online Library carries content published by Wiley-Blackwell, including Wiley-VCH.
Eileen Dolan, director of market development at Wiley-Blackwell, said, “This new partnership will ensure that award-winning reference titles such as Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Engineering, Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, and the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences are even more discoverable.”
Eric M. Calaluca, president and CEO of Paratext, added, “The addition of content from Wiley’s major reference works builds upon the inclusion of links to another Wiley resource, Blackwell Reference Online, early in 2010.”
Mobile Access to USA TODAY Digital Content Available Through Microsoft Tagging
USA TODAY launched the use of Microsoft Tags in the newspaper. The newspaper will feature at least one Tag in each print section daily. Readers can scan the Tag with their mobile devices for direct access to videos and online content. The Tags will provide readers with access to daily photo galleries and the latest financial news and sports scores, as well as other video and digital features.
“This initiative is part of our goal to bring together our digital and print platforms to provide our readers easier access to special features from the newspaper. We are proud to be one of the first U.S. newspapers to offer these daily to readers as well as to advertisers who can also take advantage of this new feature,” said Dave Hunke, president and publisher of USA TODAY.
Microsoft Tag is a mobile 2D bar code that lets users connect offline materials to the digital world. Readers can go to http://gettag.mobi on their mobile devices to download the free Microsoft Tag reader application.
Source: USA TODAY
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