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Weekly News Digest

March 22, 2012 — 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.

Two Dozen Bipartisan Co-Sponsors Add Their Support to FRPAA

Fresh on the heels of the well-attended Congressional briefing on the issue of public access to the results of taxpayer funded research on March 19, 2012, 24 new bipartisan co-sponsors have officially been added to the roster of supporters for H.R. 4004, The Federal Research Public Access Act. Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, reported on the briefing and the new co-sponsors.

The new co-sponsors join the bill’s original sponsors, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS). These new supporters reflect the consistently broad and bi-partisan appeal of this policy, which would ensure that taxpayers are guaranteed free, online access to articles reporting on the results research that their tax dollars have funded. 

This issue was explored in depth at a briefing on Capitol Hill, hosted by the office of Rep. Mike Doyle. The briefing featured two expert speakers. First, Dr. Neil Thakur, special assistant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) deputy director for extramural research and program manager for the NIH Public Access Policy, presented a thorough view of that agency's experience with their landmark Public Access policy. He noted that the NIH considers public access as central to their mission, and as a critical component in ensuring that the public’s investment in NIH-funded research is leveraged to its fullest. 

He was followed by Elliot Maxwell, program director of the Digital Connections Council of the Committee for Economic Development and author of the recent Kaufman Foundation for Entrepreneurship-funded report, The Future of Taxpayer-Funded Research: Who Will Control Access to the Results?" Maxwell presented a synopsis of the report focusing on the potential impacts of expanding the NIH Policy to other U.S. Federal science agencies. He explored the potential benefits this expansion might have on scientific productivity, economic growth, innovation, and national competitiveness.

About half of the 2-hour briefing was devoted to a lively Q&A session and in-depth discussion with attendees. The quality of the questions and passion behind the discussion was yet another strong signal that interest in this issue—and commitment to action on it—continues to grow.

Source: SPARC 

MapLight’s New Political Transparency Tool—Topic Pages

MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics, announced the launch of its newest transparency tool, Topic Pages, during Sunshine Week, March 11-17, 2012. The new tool allows journalists and citizens to search for and track bills by issue area in the U.S. Congress and in the California and Wisconsin State Legislatures. 

The tool combines all of MapLight’s research data related to a specific topic area, giving journalists and citizens a snapshot view of the latest legislative and campaign finance data relating to a given topic, for example, Technology and Communications or Environmental Protection.

MapLight’s Topic Pages highlights include the following:

  • MapLight’s latest research findings by issue area
  • Industry groups supporting or opposing issue specific legislation
  • Legislators who receive campaign contributions from interests associated with the issue area
  • Industry-specific bills with campaign contributions given by supporting and opposing interests

A widget of the Topic page can be embedded on a blog or website and the most recent activity surrounding the issue area will update automatically. You can also opt to receive this information via RSS feed.

MapLight, a political money tracker, allows users to gain unique insights into how campaign contributions affect policy so they can draw their own conclusions about how money influences our political system.

Source: MapLight

LexisNexis Acquires Law360

LexisNexis announced that it has acquired Portfolio Media, the parent company of Law360, an online provider of legal news and analysis for business lawyers, primarily in the U.S. Law360 publishes breaking news and analysis with a particular focus on high-stakes litigation across more than 30 practice areas. This content is distributed through online daily newsletters that are read by more than 100,000 law firm and business professionals, ranging from litigators, corporate counsel, and transactional attorneys to law librarians and legal administrators.

Law360 distinguishes itself through the unique combination of speedy delivery of more than 130 original legal news stories daily, the journalistic standards of its experienced editorial team, and its content generation platform that tracks in real-time dockets and regulatory filings - enabling reporters to break major developments in litigation, deal making, and legislation before anyone else.

Headquartered in New York City, Law360 was co-founded in 2004 by co-CEO Marius Meland and co-CEO Magnus Hoglund. They will continue to run the company as a stand-alone business, while leveraging the content and analytical resources and distribution of LexisNexis.

The acquisition of Law360 is part of the continuing LexisNexis commitment to provide critical legal and business content to help customers increase productivity and achieve better outcomes for their organizations and clients.

Source: LexisNexis

CourseSmart Launches Enhanced Reading Platform

CourseSmart, a provider of etextbooks and digital course materials, announced the launch of the New CourseSmart eTextbook Reader, an enhanced reading platform providing a greater overall user experience, new tools and viewing options. The first of many enhancements planned for 2012, the New CourseSmart Reader is evidence of CourseSmart’s commitment to continued innovation, ensuring that students and faculty have access to a superior digital reading experience on any device.

The New CourseSmart Reader is available now and can be used with any browser that supports Adobe Flash Player. The New CourseSmart Reader has faster page loading times, streamlined navigation, and multi-level zooming capabilities. In addition to a new look and feel, users will have access to new tools and functionality to enhance the learning experience, including the following:

  • Notes Management: Ability to view all notes, highlights and annotations in a single location through the My Notes tab, turning annotations made in the margins into a streamlined study guide which can be printed or reviewed on a mobile device for a quick review before a test or exam
  • Highlighting: Capability to activate highlighting function with a single click and add notes to highlighted text
  • Bookmarking: Navigate to bookmark location with a single click and create bookmarks for specific pages
  • Search: Navigate between search results and book contents as well as view page content alongside the search results through the Search-In-Book function.

With the addition of the New CourseSmart Reader, CourseSmart now offers three reading experiences to ensure students have superior access to their digital course materials on any device they are using. The Classic CourseSmart Reader will continue to provide the reading experience that students and faculty have grown accustom to and the Accessible CourseSmart Reader remains the industry's most accessible platform, providing a reading experience specifically designed for use with screen readers.

CourseSmart, founded in 2007, is a venture supported by publishers, including Pearson, Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill Education, Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group (Macmillan), and John Wiley & Sons. CourseSmart provides services to four business segments: Online direct retail for students; indirect distribution of course materials to students through bookstores; online faculty textbook evaluation services; and institutional solutions for faculty and students that are integrated within campus technology ecosystems.

Source: CourseSmart

Gale Aims to Transform the Online Library Experience With Gateways

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, announced Gale Gateways, an innovative program for public libraries. Designed to represent the unique way in which a community interacts with its public library, Gale Gateways bring together thematic products and services to provide an organized approach to help patrons find and use information. Gale Gateways is designed to help libraries demonstrate their value and worth to their community and is said to be unlike anything else on the market.

“With Gale Gateways we wanted to recreate a patron’s in-library browsing experience ‘virtually,’ while also helping library staff better serve their patrons,” said Nader Qaimari, senior vice president, marketing, Cengage Learning. “Gale Gateways does this by bringing library users to an environment where resources can easily be discovered, providing relevance, meaning and transformative power. With Gateways, customers not only receive special pricing on a thematic grouping of online resources and eReference, but also value-add services including Gateway web, marketing and training/programming support.”

Web support includes the customizable Gateway web portal tool and search engine optimization. The Gateway portals can be linked from the library’s main website, are easy to configure and can link directly to any library resource—whether it be a Gale resource or not. Customization is a key feature of the portal tool, from content to logos, colors and text, librarians have full control of the Gateway look, as they are the ones that serve the community and know them best. Customers can give their Gateways any name, allowing them to tap into their current library branding if they choose, along with localizing their site with relevant community information.

Customized marketing materials, along with a new type of training/programming from Gale’s Customer Education Specialists, will extend the Gateway brand deep within a library community. Library staff training, direct to the public training, as well as templates and tools, will help staff create their own relevant community workshops around Gateway themes.

The themes of the first Gateways to be released include Business; Jobs & Career; Health & Wellness; Homework Help; and Home, Hobbies & Entertainment. Gale is working closely with customers to further explore all the possibilities within these first Gateways, as well as other themes to come. Feedback from current customers has been positive.

Source: Gale

New EBSCOhost Premium Channel in QUOSA System

EBSCO Publishing and QUOSA, an Elsevier company, have partnered to create an EBSCOhost Premium Channel in the QUOSA System. The partnership enables mutual customers to utilize EBSCOhost in conjunction with QUOSA’s powerful management tools to monitor scientific literature and manage related workflows.

With the new EBSCOhost Premium Channel, mutual customers will be able to use the full EBSCOhost search functionality to identify relevant articles and alerts, and save the full text or abstracts onto their desktops or into the QUOSA Virtual Library with a single click. The content is then immediately available in QUOSA in a copyright compliant manner for full-text searching, analysis, annotation, and report generation—ensuring maximum productivity when working with EBSCOhost content.

EBSCO understands the complex needs of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and is dedicated to improve its existing products through content additions, software functionality, and agreements such as the QUOSA partnership. Biomedical solutions for pharmaceuticals available from EBSCO include MEDLINE Complete, Academic Search R&D, DynaMed, and Biomedical Reference Collection.

Source: EBSCO



Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Deborah Poulson
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