|Weekly News Digest
December 20, 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.
CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.
The Open University Launches Futurelearn to Offer Free Online Courses
Students from the U.K. and around the world will have free access to some of the country’s top universities thanks to Futurelearn Ltd, an entirely new company being launched by The Open University (OU). The universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick have all signed up to join Futurelearn.
Futurelearn will be independent but majority-owned by the OU. It aims to do the following:
- Bring together a range of free, open, online courses from leading U.K. universities, that will be clear, simple to use and accessible
- Draw on the OU’s expertise in delivering distance learning and pioneering open education resources to underpin a unified, coherent offer from all of its partners
- Increase accessibility to higher education (HE) for students across the U.K. and in the rest of the world
Futurelearn has been warmly welcomed by U.K. government. The Minister for Universities and Science responsible for higher education in England, David Willetts, said, “The U.K. must be at the forefront of developments in education technology. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) present an opportunity for us to widen access to, and meet the global demand for, higher education….Futurelearn has the potential to put the U.K. at the heart of the technology for learning agenda by revolutionising conventional models of formal education. New online delivery tools will also create incredible opportunities for U.K. entrepreneurs to reach world markets by harnessing technology and innovation in the field of education.”
The University has recruited one of the key architects of the development of BBC Online, Simon Nelson, to head up the company as Launch CEO. Nelson spent 14 years at the Corporation where he helped set up iPlayer and its forerunner Radio Player and led all digital activities, initially for its radio division and then across all television content.
JISC welcomed the news: “This announcement by the Open University is an important step in allowing U.K. education to be at the forefront of the next generation of MOOCs—helping to build an online community for learners.”
Source: The Open University
Baker & Taylor and Findaway World Launch Acoustik Audiobooks
Baker & Taylor announced the launch of a new mobile platform that allows consumers to buy and download digital audiobooks on their Apple and Android devices. Currently, Acoustik is live at selected retailers and is coming soon for libraries. The free app is powered by Findaway World, LLC, an industry leader in audiobook distribution. Acoustik currently provides consumers access to nearly 40,000 titles from a wide range of publishers, and a streamlined, intuitive way of downloading and listening to their favorite content anytime, anywhere.
“The release of Acoustik is an important milestone in giving consumers, retailers and publishers more choices in the delivery of audio content,” says David Cully, president of Baker & Taylor Retail Markets. “Digital audio is growing rapidly. Developed by one of the leaders in audio content, this platform, along with the strong partnerships Baker & Taylor has forged, will allow more great content to be available at the fingertips of consumers, who are very eager for it.”
While available now in selected retail outlets, Baker & Taylor and Findaway World also plan to launch Acoustik as part of the Axis 360 digital media platform for libraries and their patrons.
Acoustik is available for download, at no charge, on iPhones and iPads through Apple’s App Store and on Android devices through Google Play (formerly Android Market). Find information on Acoustik’s features, highlighted titles, and more at www.acoustik.com.
Source: Baker & Taylor
Summon Service to Index Content From German Publishers
Serials Solutions, a ProQuest business, announced that the company is working with several German publishers to index their scholarly content in the Summon discovery service. This German-language content is among the most widely subscribed to by academic institutions in Germany, as well as many libraries worldwide, and includes resources covering law, life sciences, and the humanities.
Content to be indexed from five leading publishers includes the following:
- Makrolog Content Management AG will make the contents of its Recht für Deutschland database available for indexing in the Summon service. The largest collection of German law gazettes, it includes a historical collection, federal collection and a complete German regional/state collection. Recht für Deutschland also contains the entire body of European Law.
- Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH will allow full-text indexing of their 12 legal journals, which offer extensive coverage of topics within environmental law among other legal specialties.
- Schweizerbart Science Publishers and Borntraeger Science Publishers, two affiliated publishing houses, will provide metadata from their collections of German-language life-science journals. Combined, this rich collection comprises several dozen titles.
- Georg Olms Verlag AG will include the content from their Olms Online resource in the Summon service. Olms Online includes more than 400 volumes spanning German literature, literary studies, philosophical works, and other subjects in the humanities. These works are reprints augmented with new scholarly content such as introductions, afterwords, notes, and indexes. Moving forward, all new single publications from the publisher’s 2013 catalog will be included as well.
- Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht will allow indexing of their 30 German-language journals and all ebooks. With a focus on theology and religion, psychology, history and other humanities, they publish approximately 250 new titles annually.
Working with these publishers, Serials Solutions continues its commitment to make the work of German scholars more discoverable, for the benefit of institutions in Germany and researchers using the Summon service around the world. The Summon service offers search and relevancy that is optimized for German-language content which delivers more precision for native language researchers than traditional databases and other discovery services. The Summon service is used by more than 500 libraries in more than 40 countries.
Source: Serials Solutions
OhioLINK Chooses EBSCO to Provide Discovery Layer
The Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) and its Library Advisory Council selected EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) to provide EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) as a shared service to OhioLINK libraries. The agreement with EBSCO will offer member libraries a powerful tool to improve searches for patrons.
“Currently the vast resources of the consortium are in separate silos of content, and it can be very difficult for our users to discover the wealth of resources that OhioLINK and their local academic libraries provide,” said Gwen Evans, executive director of OhioLINK. “Making EBSCO Discovery Service available to the students and faculty in participating Ohio institutions will allow them to navigate seamlessly across all the resources available to them—it is discovery and access on a scale impossible to provide in more traditional ways.”
EBSCO Publishing President Tim Collins says the agreement allows each OhioLINK institution to build the discovery service it needs. “OhioLINK is providing its member libraries with a tremendous opportunity to incorporate EBSCO Discovery Service into their libraries to expand access to their collections and ultimately provide a search experience that is as unique as each library’s collection,” he said.
The term “discovery layer” refers to the benefit library patrons get when search results are combined from various sources (books, print journals, electronic journals, ebooks, electronic theses and dissertations, etc.) and shown in one display that gives the number of relevant results among those disparate sources. In simple terms, users get a single search box discovery tool that searches across all databases and catalogs. In this way, items not normally presented in search results get “discovered” by library patrons.
Source: EBSCO Publishing
Thomson Reuters Relaunches Bibliometric Resource—ScienceWatch.com
The IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters announced the relaunch of ScienceWatch.com, an open, web-based resource dedicated to scientific metrics and research performance analysis. Since 1989, ScienceWatch has provided the scientific community and media professionals with data and commentary on the people, places, and topics in the forefront of science. With its new design, this valuable resource will now also provide its users with a customized experience.
The newly relaunched website has incorporated an innovative tagging system to differentiate content and optimize search results. ScienceWatch leverages data from Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge and is home to some of Thomson Reuters most popular open access resources, including its Global Research Reports, Citation Laureates (predicted Nobel Prize winners), and Sci-Bytes, a close look at trending research topics and rising scientific professionals. Other features include exclusive data and commentary by some of the top experts in their fields on the topics driving emerging scientific trends and research fronts.
“For the past 23 years, ScienceWatch has been dedicated to demonstrating the power of bibliometrics by using its feature stories to provide a unique view of the research landscape,” says Keith MacGregor, executive vice president of Thomson Reuters. “We are pleased with the additional capabilities ScienceWatch offers viewers and its focus on the important role of research evaluation and assessment. This new environment will further support users in strategic decision making.”
ScienceWatch also serves as a valuable data resource for media professionals, helping journalists explore and quantify key trends in scientific research, funding, and policy, as well as patent and drug pipeline information. Another new feature will be quarterly email alerts to keep media professionals informed of the latest trends in scientific research.
Source: Thomson Reuters
RSC Acquires The Merck Index
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) announced that The Merck Index will join the publishing portfolio of the Society. In buying the rights to the iconic reference book, the RSC gains a globally used reference tool with a 120-year history. The RSC already plans significant development of The Merck Index online, and it will continue to develop and update The Merck Index to provide a valuable, trusted, and relevant resource for scientists and researchers. In the agreement with Merck, the Royal Society of Chemistry will take over publication by launching the 15th edition, due out in April. The new edition has been extensively revised and updated.
James Milne, RSC Publishing executive director said: “The Merck Index is a quality product with a peerless pedigree but, being familiar to the scientific community worldwide, it is also emblematic of our organisation’s rapidly-expanding international presence and influence.”
The single-volume encyclopaedia—also known as “Chemistry’s Constant Companion,” and first published in 1889—is about to publish its 15th edition. It has been considered the standard chemistry reference work for generations of professionals and has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.
Source: Royal Society of Chemistry
Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor