|Weekly News Digest
June 20, 2013 — 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.
CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation Objects to W3C HTML5 Standards
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) proposed new HTML5 standards from its HTML working group, which drafted a report advocating digital rights management (DRM) on the open web. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit organization that defends the issues of free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights, replied to the proposal on its website, condemning the working group’s use of DRM as a way to prevent internet users from accessing important content.
The EFF explains that the working group’s proposal means end users will have their access controlled by the W3C’s decisions about DRM.
Its objection states that DRM “will (1) exclude an entire class of platform and user agents from full conformance with the HTML5 standard and the W3C’s vision of the Open Web; (2) encourage the reduction of the amount of content accessible to users via the Web; and (3) create serious future impediments to W3C’s core mission of promoting interoperability, voluntary standards compliance, and access for all.” The EFF dislikes the precedent that would be set by including such restrictions in new HTML5 standards.
The EFF intends to draw attention to the “unusual nature” of the standards, citing several examples of problems the foundation foresees:
- Clarifying "content protection": access control vs. encryption versus usage control
- Usage control poses insuperable challenges for implementation and interoperability
- Usage control is not necessary for the provision of commercial content
- Usage control restricts the user capabilities that created and sustain the web
- Usage control could have statutory implications for standards-making and technologists
- The mechanisms proposed here are likely to be a floor, not a ceiling
“Content protection” in this case means access control, content encryption, and DRM. The EFF cites previous standards such as HTTP, client certificates, and authentication standards as successes that are already in place. “All of these technologies define a notion of authorized and/or authenticated information to information, and provide mechanisms to enforce that notion,” but DRM and usage control “is a new step for W3C,” according to the report.
Usage control means that a device needs to restrict operation to conform to a given standard, and the device user cannot override it. The device allows a user access, not ownership. “End-user control is by definition impossible to implement on free/open source platforms where users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software they use. As a consequence, standards for usage control by their nature will always exclude free/open source platforms.”
The EFF believes that usage control is not necessary and suggests using licensing arrangements that do not have third-party usage controls, getting rid of the need for DRM: paywalls, watermarks, advertisement sponsors, and subscriptions. It cites the examples of musicians, newspapers, and writers who successfully sell their work on the web using current standards.
The web was “built through the innovation and ingenuity of its users and creators,” according to the EFF report. Adding usage control negates some of the basic practices of the web: hyperlinking, archiving, “thumbnailing,” and “web-spidering.”
The EFF writes that since the law, especially copyright law, enforces proper behavior, additional DRM is an affront to freedom of expression. “The W3C could find itself being used as a channel for copyright controls that could become mandatory obligations for ISPs to monitor and interfere with web traffic.”
If usage control is applied to certain content, “it is hard to see why W3C should not widen the same capabilities to all Web content,” further restricting access on a haphazard basis. The EFF worries where the line will be drawn. “The web would turn from being an open environment for all, to a nest of incompatible pages,” and by allowing usage control to become the standard of the web, the W3C takes the risk of expanding DRM to “an even wider range of media.”
The EFF notes: “We’re aware that [this proposal has] … already been controversial and debated publicly and within the W3C community, including within the working group itself. The issues are complex. We hope we can bring our experience working with standards groups … to help illuminate best practices for conveniently providing support for commercial content while still preserving our rights.”
Source: The Electronic Frontier Foundation
Gale-Smithsonian Partnershipís Magazine Archive Goes Live
Earlier this year, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, announced a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to create library and academic resources by digitizing some of the Smithsonian’s collections. The first product of that partnership, an archive for Air & Space magazine and Smithsonian magazine, was recently released. All back issues of the magazines are in digital form for the first time, and they are searchable using Gale’s graphing and term-clustering research tools.
Libraries can subscribe to Gale’s database to access the archive, allowing for cross-curricular and interdisciplinary opportunities for students and researchers.
The archive includes entire magazine issues complete with covers, advertisements, and images. The Smithsonian intends to provide access to all kinds of artifacts, and this archive is the first step in offering content that has never been available online. As the partnership continues, Gale plans to digitize more Smithsonian-owned materials such as books, personal papers, photographs, manuscripts, and other rare artifacts in its collection of 137 million objects.
Source: Cengage Learning
EBSCO Discovery Service Adds Al Manhal Metadata
EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) added Arabic content service provider Al Manhal’s ebooks, ejournals, e-reports, and e-dissertations databases to its collection.
Al Manhal’s databases contain peer-reviewed and copyright-protected publications from 205 Arabic publishers for use by academics, researchers, and library patrons. The databases feature full-text searching, contextual linking, highlighting and annotating, personal bookshelves, automatic citations, and MARC21 records.
Al Manhal concentrates on 10 subject areas: political science and international relations, business and economics, social sciences, law, language and literature, history, geography and biography, Islamic jurisprudence, Islam and other disciplines, and specialized Islamic and education sciences.
Al Manhal ejournals from Arabic universities, research institutes, and scientific societies cover topics in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, technology, and medicine.
The e-reports are daily aggregated regional news and weekly or monthly analyses of regional politics, economy, and security.
Since Al Manhal’s metadata is now searchable in EDS, its 68,157 publications will be indexed with dozens of other information resources that EDS offers.
Source: EBSCO Information Services
SydneyPLUS and Affiliates Combine to Form Lucidea
SydneyPLUS and its affiliates merged on June 10 to create Lucidea, a knowledge management (KM) software and solutions company with more than 2,300 clients worldwide. Lucidea will provide solutions to corporations, law firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, museums, and archives.
Lucidea is composed of SydneyPLUS, a developer that focuses on enterprise-level KM applications; Inmagic, a developer of KM, knowledge repository, and library automation products; Cuadra Associates, Inc.’s STAR program of KM software for multiple collection types; Questor’s ARGUS software suite for collections management, portal, and mobile app solutions; LawPort, a legal industry web foundation, portal, and KM application suite; LookUp Precision, a legal cost recovery and tracking system resource; and Incite Software Solutions, a developer of high-security email and management solutions.
All of the companies’ products will use the same names and have the same features, now with support from Lucidea. Many Lucidea customers use products from a variety of these companies, and Lucidea will offer “off-the-shelf integration” between several products, according to Phillip Green, Lucidea COO. The merger will allow the company to “explore additional integration options where it makes sense and to meet our customers’ needs.”
“Given the synergies among our products … we decided to merge into a single company with an integrated, cross-functional leadership team,” says Ron Aspe, Lucidea CEO. Instead of working with scattered management teams, the Lucidea corporate structure will be able to combine resources for more effective product development, marketing efforts, and implementation services, as well as opportunities to gain more customers.
Scout Analytics Debuts Renewal Performance Management Solution
Scout Analytics, Inc., a provider of cloud-based recurring revenue management solutions for subscription-based businesses, recently launched the industry’s first closed-loop solution for renewal performance management. Scout Analytics’ products “enable information services, media publishing, and software-as-a-service companies to leverage usage data to maximize customer lifetime value,” according to its website. The solution uses data to predict renewal revenue opportunities that reduce churn, improve yield, and enhance performance.
The solution’s features—a Renewal Performance Dashboard, Renewal Performance Calculator, and Renewal Performance Analysis—allow businesses to manage a closed-loop renewal process: It takes sales and marketing teams from revenue identification to decision making on renewal revenue opportunities.
The Dashboard shows a color-coded recurring revenue report over time and allows for performance tracking in real time. It also shows predictive analytics created by monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and churn statistics.
Subscription-based businesses rely on customer data more than other businesses, so investing in analytics can help them create better budgets and bring in more revenue. The Calculator, which powers the Dashboard, figures out renewals’ impact to MRR and classifies customer subscriptions as up-sells, down-sells, or cancellations.
The Analysis links renewal predictions with resolutions for renewal revenue improvement.
Source: Scout Analytics, Inc.
Thomson Innovation Acquires Full-Text Australian Patent Records
Thomson Innovation, the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, now includes the full text of patents from Australia: innovation (petty) and granted patents and applications. This addition gives intellectual property (IP) professionals a new avenue for finding partners and monitoring innovation.
One of Thomson Innovation’s goals is to offer an English-language, single-source solution for IP needs around the world, and it plans to partner with more countries throughout the year. The Derwent World Patents Index search platform in Thomson Innovation contains patent and abstract materials from 50 countries, including Japan, Korea, China, and now Australia. English translations of records from Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia were also recently added.
Source: Thomson Reuters
Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor