|Weekly News Digest
December 5, 2013 — 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.
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Internet Security Providers Team Up
Akamai, a cloud-based security platform, announced its acquisition of Prolexic Technologies, a provider of cloud-based security solutions for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The transaction, which will close during the first half of 2014, gives customers access to a comprehensive portfolio of security solutions.
Organizations must secure their web properties and protect their internet protocol (IP) applications such as email, file transfer, and VPN (virtual private network) across their data centers. The two companies will combine services for enterprise protection: Akamai defends websites and applications against DDoS and other attacks, and Prolexic Technologies uses its DDoS mitigation solutions with security operations expertise to defend data centers and enterprise IP applications.
“We believe that Prolexic’s solutions and team will help us achieve our goal of making the Internet fast, reliable, and secure,” says Tom Leighton, Akamai’s CEO.
Search Engine Adds Context to Web Queries
The Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence (ISCE) launched EPI-Search, a service it calls the internet’s first virtual reference librarian. EPI-Search is designed to provide the contextual expertise of reference librarians who have been replaced by internet searches.
In EPI-Search, users copy and paste the full text of an article or draft (50–10,000 words) into the search box. The service returns a list of recommended further readings from ISCE’s 1,300-title collection and links to other specialty searches on related topics.
“You don’t have to figure out what the keywords are, we do it for you,” says Michael Lissack, ISCE’s executive director. “For researchers, knowing where to find access to specialized written works has taken on an even more vital role as more general keyword-based searches have become the dominant paradigm.”
Queries geared toward systems, philosophy, cognitive science, and social science will receive the most relevant results from ISCE. Lissack believes that general search engines do not provide researchers with the proper context for these subject areas, but EPI-Search can.
ISCE partnered with specialty vendors Contegra Systems, Coginov, and AlchemyAPI to offer EPI-Search, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services.
Source: Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence
University Creates Big Data Graduate Program
WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) in Massachusetts has a new graduate degree program in data science that is designed to produce professionals who can manage Big Data. This interdisciplinary program officially begins with the fall 2014 semester, but students may now enroll in existing courses for the program.
WPI saw a growing demand for professionals who can analyze massive data sets and distill their value to help organizations. According to a report from McKinsey Co., there is currently a shortage of 140,000–190,000 people with analytical expertise in the U.S. workforce, and there will be a need for 1.5 million more Big Data managers and analysts.
“The data bonanza and the growing use of data analytics in business, education, and government has created a need for a new breed of professionals, called data scientists, who have expertise in such specialized areas as machine learning, statistical modelling, data warehousing, predictive modeling, and large-scale database architecture and management,” says Elke Rundensteiner, professor of computer science and director of the new program.
There are only a few similar programs in the country. WPI’s program is offered by faculty members in the computer science and mathematical sciences departments as well as the business school. Students graduating from the program earn an M.S. (by completing 33 credits and a capstone project or thesis) or a graduate certificate (by completing 18 credits).
Subjects covered in the program include data mining, Big Data algorithms, and data visualization. Students work with a sponsoring organization, faculty member, or industrial partner to apply classroom teachings to real-world issues.
Frontiers Debuts New OA Journal
Frontiers, part of Nature Publishing Group, added Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution to its open access (OA) Frontiers in … journal series.
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution features research in evolutionary biology, ecosystem and systems ecology, macroecology, phylogenetics, and conservation. Specialty sections include Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology, Evolutionary and Population Genetics, and Interdisciplinary Climate Studies. Its mission is to “bring all relevant Ecology and Evolution areas together on a single platform.”
All of Frontiers’ articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY), which allows researchers to share, copy, and distribute content as long as they credit the authors.
Intota Assessment Streamlines Library Analytics
Serials Solutions, a ProQuest company, released the first production service from its Intota cloud-based library services platform: Intota Assessment gives libraries a total picture of their monographs and serials in electronic and print formats so they can make data-driven decisions about collection development. It includes a suite of business intelligence tools and also automates data ingestion.
Information about usage comes from a library’s historic circulation data, Bowker’s Books In Print and Resources for College Libraries, and Serials Solutions’ Ulrich’s knowledgebase, combining the data into one solution. There are dozens of report options and multiple data views, including cost per use, cost by subject, and peer analysis.
“Intota Assessment knocks down the data silos,” according to Tim Bowersox, librarian at the State University of New York–Geneseo, an Intota development partner. “Data that has traditionally been housed in separate silos is available on a single screen. We now have the ability to evaluate usage based on a number of critical data points—but it’s presented in a way that makes evaluation and de-selection much simpler and more accurate.”
LexisNexis Increases Legal Ebook Access
LexisNexis signed an agreement with Follett Higher Education Group to offer more ebook access to law students and professors. Follett joins LexisNexis’ stable of ebookstore partners in offering students codes for LexisNexis ebooks in Follett’s brick-and-mortar stores and online at efollett.com. Students redeem their purchased codes and download the ebooks at the LexisNexis Store.
“Today’s law students were born digital and eBooks are simply ‘books’ to them, and that is why our strategy is to meet and exceed their expectations in the media format they want,” says Susan Slisz, LexisNexis’ VP of research. “Law professors are also embracing eBooks and increasingly need a fast and reliable way to find and review eBook titles for possible inclusion in their class curriculum.”
To meet this need, LexisNexis launched the LexisNexis Digital Library for Professor Review Copies. While browsing the LexisNexis Digital Library of more than 1,900 legal titles, students can check out ebooks for their mobile devices from LexisNexis’ distribution partner OverDrive (where they can also search the OverDrive Marketplace for content) or read ebooks in their web browsers. With LexisNexis Digital Library for Professor Review Copies, law school professors have restricted access to the core collection of LexisNexis law school etextbooks, study aids, and teachers’ manuals for review.
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