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Weekly News Digest

July 15, 2021 — 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.

'Happy Birthday to the eBook!' by Todd A. Carpenter

Todd A. Carpenter, NISO’s executive director, writes the following for The Scholarly Kitchen:

Fifty years ago, on July 4, 1971, Michael S. Hart, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois, was given … access to the ARPANET. He was also given the freedom to do whatever he wanted with his ‘spare time’ on the network. … [He] typed up the text of a copy of the Declaration of Independence he had been given earlier that day at a grocery store and sought to distribute the file. He initially thought to email the file to everyone on the network (he narrowly missed being a pioneer in spam!), but the system prevented him from doing so. Instead, Hart posted the text file on the network and thereby launched what was to become Project Gutenberg. …

Certainly, Hart wasn’t the first to conceive of digital content, nor was he the first to post files for people to read. The difference was that he posted files for the pleasure of reading and for the value of sharing knowledge, not because it had a purpose per se. What he posted wasn’t a report, or data tables, or defense analysis, which were the primary purpose of the ARPANET at the time. Sharing content that most people could easily get access to in print form, wasn’t perceived as a valuable activity to anyone other than Hart. …

While [today] content might not be as freely available as Hart envisioned, the implications of the small file he posted just over 50 years ago continue to reverberate through the ages.

For more information, read the blog post.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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