|Weekly News Digest
April 30, 2012 — 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 ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.
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Scout—A New Free Alert System for Government Information
Sunlight Labs introduced Scout, a free alert system for the things you care about in state and national government. It covers Congress, regulations across the whole executive branch, and legislation in all 50 states. You can set up notifications for new things that match keyword searches. Or, if you find a particular bill you want to keep up with, Scout can notify you whenever anything interesting happens to it—or is about to. Notifications are available via email, SMS, RSS, and JSON. Scout is in beta, and the developers are hoping to get community feedback.
Scout was developed by Sunlight Labs and data comes from a variety of sources.
- Bills in Congress: Bill text is provided by GPO, and most other information on bills comes from GovTrack, through THOMAS. Information from THOMAS and GPO is delayed by about one day and covers 2009 to the present.
- Notices of when a bill is scheduled for floor debate come from the House Republican Majority Leader, and Senate Democratic Caucus. This information is usually published a few days in advance and can change rapidly.
- Speeches in Congress: Speeches from the Congressional Record are provided by Capitol Words, a Sunlight Foundation project that analyzes word usage in Congress.
- The Congressional Record is published by GPO once each morning and covers 1996 to the present.
- State Bills: Information on state legislation comes from Open States, a Sunlight Foundation project that publishes data on state legislative activity for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. This data originates from the official websites of the 50 state legislatures, and is published at various times throughout the day, depending on the state.
- Federal Regulations: Regulatory information is provided by the Federal Register. It is published throughout the day and covers 2009 to the present.
Sunlight Labs is part of the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that is focused on digitization of government data and making tools and websites to make it easily accessible. Sunlight Labs is an open source community of thousands dedicated to using technology to transform government. It focuses on transparency—the idea that government can be more effective, more honest, and more accountable when it makes data about its process, operations, and influences available to the public. Its work revolves around opening up government data of all forms. Paid staff of Sunlight Labs are employees of the Sunlight Foundation, a 501c(3) non-partisan, non-profit organization.
Source: Sunlight Labs
ebrary Announces New Ebook Solution for Medical Libraries
ebrary, a ProQuest business that has developed a new strategic approach to ebook acquisition based on three steps: Transition, Diversify, and Streamline, announced a solution specifically for medical libraries that includes new packs in Nursing & Allied Health, Medicine, and Psychology & Social Work. The new, discounted packs include essential ebooks from publishers such as Informa Healthcare, F.A. Davis Company, and Oxford University Press that are purchased outright under a perpetual archive model.
By combining the packs with other models including subscription, patron-driven acquisition, and short-term loan, medical libraries can achieve the greatest return on their ebook investment. Medical libraries can order titles directly from ebrary, or they may streamline the ordering process through ebrary partners such as YBP.
“As many medical libraries are facing budget challenges, and there is greater demand among researchers, strategic ebook acquisition is becoming a necessity,” said Kevin Sayar, president and general manager of ebrary. “To affordably acquire a breadth and depth of quality e-books, medical libraries can now take advantage of multiple acquisition models. In many cases, diversifying models will be the only way to keep pace with the growing number of books that are being published electronically.”
CrossRef Launches CrossMark Update Identification Service
CrossRef, a not-for-profit membership association of publishers, launched the CrossMark update identification service. The CrossMark system will alert researchers to important changes that may occur to published scholarly content and will highlight important publication record information. The CrossMark service has been piloted by several CrossRef member publishers for the past year.
Clicking on the CrossMark logo launches a pop-up box that provides status information, for example, that the document is up-to-date, or that it has a correction, update, retraction, or other change that could affect the interpretation or crediting of the work. It also provides a permanent link, via the CrossRef Digital Object Identifier (DOI), to both the publisher-maintained version of the content and the update. Another tab in the box can include optional publication record information, which is nonbibliographic data that is useful for the reader. It may include information on peer review, publication history, funding disclosures, links to associated datasets, or rights.
The cost of the CrossMark system will be borne by the CrossRef participating publishers, with the result that the status and publication record information will be openly available to readers, libraries, and any organization that might find the data useful. Almost 20,000 documents from 21 journals have live CrossMark logos on their websites, and working logos will be added to these journals’ PDF files shortly. Of those documents, 290 have noted updates.
The publishers who have implemented CrossMark to date include a diverse representation of CrossRef members: small international open access publishers, large commercial publishers, established society publishers, and university presses. The following publishers have live CrossMark links on their sites:
- Elsevier Science
- International Union for Crystallography
- Oxford University Press
- The Royal Society
- Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
Several additional members of the CrossMark pilot group, including Wiley-Blackwell and IEEE, are also working on their implementations. A gallery of examples is available on the CrossMark website.
Ancestry.com Inc. to Acquire Archives.com
Ancestry.com Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Archives.com, a family history website, for about $100 million in cash and assumed liabilities. This transaction will enable Ancestry.com to add a differentiated service targeted to a complementary segment of the growing family history category. In addition, Ancestry.com will welcome a team of engineers, digital marketers, and family history innovators into the Ancestry.com fold and gain access to a proprietary technology platform that has supported Archives.com’s rapid growth.
Archives.com is owned and operated by Inflection LLC, a Silicon Valley-based technology company. Since Archives.com’s launch in January 2010, the site has rapidly grown to more than 380,000 paying subscribers who pay about $39.95 a year. Archives.com offers access to more than 2.1 billion historical records, including birth records, obituaries, immigration and passenger lists, historical newspapers, and U.S. and U.K. censuses.
Over the past 2 years, Archives.com has partnered with multiple well-known family history organizations that have helped build out Archives.com robust collection of family history records. Most recently, Archives.com partnered with the U.S. National Archives to provide free digital access to the recently released 1940 U.S. Federal Census.
Upon completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration of the HSR waiting period, Ancestry.com will continue to operate Archives.com separately retaining its brand and website. Multiple Inflection employees, including key product and engineering executives are expected to join the Ancestry.com team.
EBSCO Releases 39 New Ebook Subject Sets
EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) enhanced its book offering with the release of 39 new ebook Subject Sets. These sets provide libraries with convenient ways to begin or expand their ebook collections with current, reputable content from leading publishers.
The latest ebook Subject Set releases span key collection areas, including arts & humanities, business & economics, career & education, health & medical, personal growth & how-to, science & technology, and social sciences. In response to increased demand from libraries, EBSCO augmented its offerings in career & education, business & economics, and health & medical titles, while enhancing and expanding content in the key areas most sought after by library users.
Ebook Subject Sets are convenient, prepackaged sets of titles chosen to meet libraries’ needs for new content on popular, in-demand topics. EBSCO’s Collection Development Team of librarians uses tailored knowledge to create collections and Subject Sets for libraries. To date, EBSCO has created a total of 163 ebook subject sets—representing more than 2,500 titles. All Subject Sets from EBSCO include titles published within the past 2 years and have no title duplication among current or past Subject Set offerings.
eBooks on EBSCOhost offers nearly 300,000 ebooks and audiobooks. EBSCO proactively acquires new content in critical areas, based on the dynamic needs of libraries. EBSCO recently released EBSCOhost Collection Manager, a collection management tool that allows users to search, browse, build lists, and order ebooks quickly and easily. More information is available at www.ebscohost.com/ebooks/manage-order/ecm.
Source: EBSCO Publishing
Ebook Consumers Say Yes to Tablets, Says BISG Study
Ebook consumers’ preference for tablets is accelerating rapidly as dedicated e-readers drop in popularity, according to the Book Industry Study Group’s (BISG) closely watched "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" survey. The second installment in Volume Three of the study shows that, over the course of just 6 months, consumers’ “first choice” preference for dedicated e-readers, such as those from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, declined from 72% to 58%. Tablet devices are now the most preferred reading device for more than 24% of ebook buyers, up from less than 13% in August 2011. Further, the increase in tablet preference was not primarily for Apple’s iPad (which rose by more than 1%), but for non-Apple tablets—overwhelmingly from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These non-Apple devices increased from 5% to 14% over the same period.
The "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" study, powered by Bowker Market Research, points to a buoyant book market. Nearly 30% of respondents in the February 2012 survey reported an increase in money spent on books in all formats since they began acquiring ebooks, while nearly 50% reported an overall increase in the volume of titles purchased in any format. The numbers are even rosier for the ebook market: More than 62% of respondents reported an increase in dollars spent on ebooks, and more than 72% reported that they have increased the volume of e-titles they are buying. Some publishers are reporting that even when overall revenue has declined, profitability—particularly for ebooks—has increased.
In addition to “Power Buyers” (those who acquire ebooks at least weekly), this report looks at the behavior of “Casual Buyers,” who purchase one or two books a month. The study reveals that this second generation of ebook and e-reader adopters is catching up with Power Buyers in a number of ways. More than 27% of Casual Buyers now exclusively purchase ebooks rather than print, compared to 30% of Power Buyers. Further, Casual Buyers are only slightly more likely to play games (37% versus 35%) or watch video content (23% vs. 21%) on their devices. However, Casual Buyers lag significantly behind Power Buyers on the uptake of multifunction devices. Only half of Casual Buyers use a tablet regularly, compared to 83% of Power Buyers.
Since November 2009, "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" has been tracking the habits and preferences of print book consumers who say they have acquired an ebook or a dedicated e-reading device within the past 18 months. Volume Three is sponsored by Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, and Harlequin. In addition to quarterly PDF Summary Reports, Volume Three is published as a dynamic online report via Real-Time Reporting: a unique web-based tool set displaying the raw data derived from responses—drillable, sortable with on-demand accessibility.
The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the U.S. book industry's leading trade association for policy, standards, and research. Bowker is an affiliated business of ProQuest. In March 2012, Bowker merged the U.S.-based PubTrack Consumer brand with U.K.-based Book Marketing Limited (BML) under a new global brand named Bowker Market Research.
Source: Book Industry Study Group, Inc.
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