|Weekly News Digest
April 25, 2011 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.
CLICK HERE to view all of this week's Weekly News Digest items.
Flat World Knowledge Releases 'Make It Your Own' Platform for Textbooks
Flat World Knowledge, a publisher of free and open college textbooks for students, announced the release of a new platform called MIYO (Make It Your Own). The fully-automated system gives professors greater control over textbook content, and the ability, with one click, to make their modified book available to students free online or in multiple, low-cost digital and print formats.
MIYO (mee-oh) transforms a static textbook into an adaptable learning platform by combining a digital-first architecture with Flat World’s open licensing model that grants faculty the right to revise, remix and share its textbooks. The new system uses familiar drag-and-drop and click features that allow instructors to easily move or delete chapters and sections; upload Word and PDF documents; add notes and exercises; insert video and hyperlinks; edit sentences; and incorporate other content that is free to reuse under a Creative Commons open license.
Once a professor's changes are saved, MIYO automatically reformats and publishes the new version in multiple formats without any human intervention. Contributors’ edits are identified and highlighted. In future releases, instructors will have the ability to mix titles from Flat World's catalog. Planned for later this year, they will be able to make their derivatives available to faculty outside their institution.
Flat World’s open textbook model gives students the choice to read a free web-hosted book or buy low-cost formats that fit their learning style and budget. Softcover books, ebooks for the iPad or Kindle, audio books, print-it-yourself PDF downloads and interactive study aids are available for $40 or less at their bookstore or through the publisher. DRM-free (digital rights management) digital files can be freely transferred from device to device, and never expire, so students have access to their textbooks anytime, anywhere.
Instructors can edit from any browser, without downloading a proprietary editing tool, and instantly see how their changes will look when the book is printed, downloaded or viewed online. The edited books are then stored in an XML repository that allows for searching any part of the text in milliseconds, versus opening up an entire book file each time.
Contributors’ modifications are captured in a reportable format that provides authors with valuable feedback on how faculty and students are actually using their books. As a result, authors are better equipped to make changes to new editions. To date, nearly one third of Flat World's faculty adopters have customized their textbooks. The company expects that 50 percent or more will make use of MIYO during the next academic year.
Source: Flat World Knowledge
ProQuest’s Deep Indexing Technology Awarded Patent; Now Available on New ProQuest Platform
ProQuest has been awarded a patent for its Deep Indexing technology by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. ProQuest extracts and indexes data about graphic objects in journal literature to allow it to be searched as effectively as full text. Deep indexing was pioneered in CSA Illustrata, earning the sci-tech database multiple industry awards for giving researchers the ability to surface relevant information that would be missed by other search methods. Deep Indexing is now available in the all-new ProQuest platform, allowing the innovation to be used across a much broader range of data.
Marty Kahn, ProQuest CEO says, “The creation of a single, unified platform enables us to leverage this kind of innovation across the breadth of ProQuest content, rather than confining it to a handful of databases.”
ProQuest’s Deep Indexing creates metadata from the elements within illustrations so these graphics—including table, charts, photos, drawings, etc.—can be searched for relevant content. Before the debut of ProQuest’s new unified platform, the technology was available for scientific and technology journals. Deep Indexing now becomes one of the platform’s advanced content management tools that can be used across ProQuest data.
Migration to the new ProQuest platform is in full swing around the world, with hundreds of libraries up and running successfully. Built from the ground up, the new platform is based on years of extensive student observations, surveys of more than 6,000 end users, focus groups, and individual interviews, along with ongoing interactions with users, librarians, and faculty. Its core is a single platform for all content, offering a consolidated user experience.
Swets and Innovative Interfaces Link Up for Data Interchange
Swets, an information services company, and Innovative Interfaces, Inc. a library automation provider, announced that they have successfully established a range of electronic data interchange (EDI) connections between their proprietary systems, namely SwetWise and Millennium. These connections enable the rapid, automatic transfer of invoice, claim, and packing slip information between the two systems and eliminate the need to manually input and duplicate that data. This is designed to provide greater efficiency and convenience to all librarians utilizing the two systems.
With data automatically updated and visible in both systems, customers can receive, handle, and maintain all relevant claim and invoice data through their chosen interface. Libraries using Swets’ Consolidation Service and Innovative’s Serials eCheckin Server can additionally use the packing slip information provided by Swets to quickly check-in batches of journal issues, reducing their manual workload even further.
In the last quarter of 2010, ten new library EDI connections have been set-up between Swets and Millennium customers and further roll-out will take place during the course of 2011. Active cooperation is in place to support libraries with setting-up these connections between Swets and Millennium and both companies will partner in maintaining these connections to ensure that customers retain complete control of their data in the manner of their choosing.
Sources: Swets and Innovative Interfaces, Inc.
ZyLAB Introduces eDiscovery System to Search Audio
ZyLAB, an eDiscovery and information management technology company, announced the release of its ZyLAB Audio Search Bundle, a desktop software product used to quickly identify relevant audio clips from multimedia files and from ubiquitous business tools such as fixed-line telephone, VOIP, mobile, and specialist platforms like Skype or MSN Live. The software enables technical and non-technical users involved in legal disputes, forensics, law enforcement, and lawful data interception to search, review, and analyze audio data with the same ease as more traditional forms of Electronically Stored Information (ESI).
“For the Enron case, nearly a dozen FBI analysts spent 3 months transcribing 2,800 hours of audio so they could search for key phrases in the transcript,” recalls Johannes C. Scholtes, chairman and chief strategy officer for ZyLAB. “With the ZyLAB Audio Search Bundle available today, they could perform those same searches directly on the audio files – not a speech-to-text transcript – within about 5 minutes and instantly replay the segments to verify their relevance.”
Written text, such as transcripts from audio recordings, cannot fully convey intent, nuance, or emotion that are only discernable by human listeners. Additionally, speech-to-text technology is generally limited to dictionary entries. In contrast, the ZyLAB Audio Search Bundle transforms audio recordings into a phonetic representation of the way in which words are pronounced so that investigators can search for dictionary terms, but also proper names, company names, or brands without the need to “re-ingest” the data.
With the ZyLAB Audio Search Bundle, forensic investigators and attorneys can identify and collect audio recordings from various sources with far greater efficiency and effectiveness than was ever possible with manual processing. The software supports multiple search techniques simultaneously, such as Boolean and wildcard, leading to greater accuracy and relevance of results. The fast, iterative search helps to reduce the size of the data set and the costs for review.
The ZyLAB Audio Search Bundle supports all industry-standard audio formats, including G711, GSM6.10, MP3 and WMA, as well as the audio component of video files. The bundle uses a fraction of the hardware required by traditional solutions and complements existing toolsets and processes, extending the capability and reach of investigators. This optional bundle is available with the ZyLAB eDiscovery & Production System, which is fully aligned with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), or any other ZyLAB system.
Text Creation Partnership Makes 18th-Century Texts Freely Available to the Public
The University of Michigan Library announced the opening to the public of 2,231 searchable keyed-text editions of books from Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), published by Gale, part of Cengage Learning. ECCO is an important research database that includes every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the U.K. during the 18th century, along with thousands of important works from the Americas. ECCO contains more than 32 million pages of text and over 205,000 individual volumes, all fully searchable.
The Text Creation Partnership (TCP) produced the 2,231 keyed texts in collaboration with Gale, which provided page images for keying and is permitting the release of the keyed texts in support of the library’s commitment to the creation of open access cultural heritage archives. Any interested person can request copies of this digital corpus in two formats: plaintext files, and TEI-encoded sgml/xml files. TCP is currently working on making these texts publicly accessible through the interfaces hosted by the TCP.
The TCP is a partnership between the University of Michigan and Oxford University, which since 1999 has collaborated with scholars, commercial publishers, and university libraries to produce scholar-ready (that is, TEI-compliant, SGML/XML enhanced) text editions of works from digital image collections, including ECCO, Early English Books Online (EEBO) from ProQuest, and Evans Early American Imprint from Readex. More than 125 libraries participate in the TCP, as does the Joint Information Systems (JISC), which represents many British libraries and educational institutions.
The TCP has also just published 4,180 texts from the second phase of its EEBO project, having already converted 25,355 books in its first phase, leaving 39,000 yet to be keyed and encoded. For a limited period, the EEBO-TCP digital editions are available only to subscribers—10 years from their initial release—as per TCP’s agreement with the publisher. Eventually all TCP-created titles will be freely available to scholars, researchers, and readers everywhere under the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark (PDM).
Source: University of Michigan Library
NIH Launches New Resource on Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health has unveiled a new online resource, designed to give healthcare providers easy access to evidence-based information on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This new resource seeks to provide health care providers with the tools necessary to learn about the various CAM practices and products and be better able to discuss the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine with their patients.
The portal on the NCCAM website at nccam.nih.gov is tailored to fit the needs of all health care providers, including physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and CAM providers. It includes information on the safety and efficacy of a range of common health practices that lie outside of mainstream medicine—natural products, such as dietary supplements, herbs, and probiotics, as well as mind-body practices such as meditation, chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage.
This resource was developed based on a series of NCCAM-sponsored focus groups where health care providers identified the need for an evidence-based, one-stop place to help answer their patients’ questions on CAM. With this need in mind, NCCAM developed a resource that provides reliable, objective, and evidenced-based information on CAM, including:
- links to relevant clinical practice guidelines
- safety and effectiveness information
- links to systematic reviews
- summaries of research studies
- scientific literature searches
- programs for continuing education credit
- patient fact sheets
- NCCAM’s Time to Talk tool kit on communicating about CAM
Paula J. Hane
Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks editor