|Weekly News Digest
August 15, 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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Skype Available on iPad
Skype, a peer-to-peer voice service, released the Skype for iPad app. The new offering allows iPad users to make two-way video calls, use instant message, view contacts, search recent conversations, and send SMS messages. The app works on iPad1 devices. Apple offers video calls on its iPad2 tablets. Available for downloading at Apple’s iTunes App Store for free, the Skype for iPad app lets users make and/or receive free Skype-to-Skype video calls from their iPads to an array of internet-connected devices over Wi-Fi or 3G.
Skype’s first iPad-optimized app offers a number of key features designed specifically for the iPad, including taking advantage of the device’s large screen for video calls that deliver up to VGA quality video (640x480) at 15 frames per second. In addition, users can connect via video call on the iPad with even more Skype contacts, as it is compatible with a host of other Skype applications, including: Skype for iPhone, Skype for Mac, Skype for Windows PC, Skype for Android, Skype on HDTVs, and many more.
Skype for iPad also takes advantage of the iPad’s larger screen with an updated contacts view, which displays Skype contacts as large avatars in a grid layout. Users can also more easily find and resume recent conversations and calls through an updated history window.
In addition to video calling, Skype for iPad allows users to place and receive Skype-to-Skype voice calls, as well as send IMs and SMS text messages, plus make calls to landlines and mobile phones at Skype’s calling rates.
Skype for iPad works on iPads updated with the most recent iOS firmware. Two-way video calling is available on the iPad 2. Users of the original iPad are able to receive video during Skype-to-Skype calls. They can still make Skype voice calls and IM with users running Skype on other devices.
ProQuest Uncovers More Treasures from European Rare Book Libraries
Early European Books, ProQuest’s program to digitize the archives of landmark European libraries, has taken another leap forward with its latest release, expanding the number and range of rare early modern books available through the online service. Debuting now are the first installments of digitized books from the National Library of the Netherlands and further content from the National Central Library of Florence. The number of digitized books—now more than 6,500—will grow rapidly throughout the balance of 2011 and into 2012 as more libraries join the program. Digitization has already begun at the Wellcome Library in London, and works from this renowned collection of medical and scientific books will be added to the database in the fall.
Although the National Central Library of Florence is well known for its excellent holdings of Italian literary and religious texts and early editions of the classics, this release also includes many important examples of printing from the German-speaking towns that pioneered printing in the 15th century. Books with extensive woodcut illustrations, such as Johannes Angelus’s astrological work Astrolabium (Augsburg, 1488) and the first Latin translation of Sebastian Brant’s well-known allegory The Ship of Fools (Stultifera navis, Strasbourg, 1497) join the works of important early printers such as Anton Koberger of Nürnberg and Peter Drach of Speyer.
The collection from Florence includes works printed throughout Western Europe. The texts from the Netherlands give an insight into this crucial period in which the Dutch Republic was formed and grew to be a major world power.
Inspired by ProQuest’s flagship Early English Books Online, the aim of Early European Books is to build a comprehensive library of European printed books from the birth of printing in the 1450s to the year 1700. This long-term project will grow over the years by digitizing the entire rare book holdings of Europe’s major national and specialist research libraries.
Subscription Model Introduced for MediaNews Group Online Newspapers in Five States
MediaNews Group, Inc. announced that it is launching a digital subscription model for about two dozen of its affiliate newspapers in California (10 papers), Massachusetts (2), New Mexico (6), Pennsylvania (6), and Vermont (2). This digital paywall allows free access to a limited amount of content on a monthly basis and then readers will be asked to subscribe to full access to their local news site. This digital subscription will be available in all markets starting Aug. 15, 2011.
Digital-only subscriptions will be available to those who are not currently print subscribers for $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year. Current print subscribers may extend their subscription to include full digital access for an additional $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year.
All readers of the designated subscription sites will have free access to the home page, classifieds, obituaries, and announcements section at all times. In addition, readers will have five free pages of editorial content per month available before being asked to subscribe.
MediaNews Group, the second largest newspaper company in the U.S. as measured by circulation, and its affiliated companies publish 57 daily newspapers and approximately 100 non-daily publications in 11 states. Its media division maintains more than 75 websites for its daily newspapers.
Source: MediaNews Group, Inc.
EBSCONET Offers Real-Time Access to EBSCO A-to-Z e-Holdings Data
EBSCO announced that users of EBSCONET’s Subscription Management service now have instant access to complete holdings details for titles in their EBSCO A-to-Z collections. When viewing a title on EBSCONET, librarians can now see the library’s complete holdings for that title, as managed in the EBSCO A-to-Z listing service.
The visibility of complete collection holdings information allows librarians to make more informed collection development decisions. The display will show each of the library’s sources for that title, along with the coverage associated with each source—all available in real time through the EBSCO Integrated Knowledge Base. This new feature, in addition to the extensive title details EBSCONET already provides—available formats and purchasing options, access and registration information, license details, and more—enhances librarians’ decision-making about their ejournal and epackage subscriptions.
Free iPad App Accesses IT White Papers on IDG Connect
International Data Group (IDG) Connect created a new iPad app to give users full access to its global IT white paper library. This application is free to download through Apple’s iTunes store and enables users to search more than 6,000 PDFs and save them to their own personal bookshelf.
Developed by IDG Connect and Oracle, this new application is easy to operate. New users need to complete a short registration form to get started. Once signed up they will be taken straight to their own customized bookshelf, where they can use the search bar to find content from IDG Connect’s full library of IT and business titles and save any papers they want to keep. Returning users simply need to enter their email address to access their bookshelf.
The application includes a vendor branded iZone, sponsored by Oracle. These give vendors the chance to make their papers, videos, analyst reports and other materials easily accessible on a bespoke, branded area within the application.
Source: IDG Connect
BookLamp Beta Testing Book Recommendation Service ala Pandora
BookLamp.org matches readers to books through an analysis of writing styles, similar to the way that Pandora.com matches music lovers to new music. BookLamp allows you to find books with a similar level of tone, tense, perspective, action, description, and dialogue—while at the same time allowing you to specify details such as ... half the length. It’s impervious to outside influences, such as advertising, that impact socially driven recommendation systems and isn’t reliant on a large user base to work.
The beta site seeks user input as to future strategies. For example, its website asks, “Is there interest in seeing BookLamp become a function service? Should we seek venture capital or partner with a company that has a book database? Do we open source the project?” To answer these questions and other input, it has forums in place.
The site goes live tomorrow on Aug. 16, 2011. It already has redesign plans in place that will affect interface, look-and-feel, database, and algorithms.
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