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Weekly News Digest

January 5, 2009 — 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.

Nature Publishes PDF With 3D Interactive Images

Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd., announced that Nature ( gained an extra dimension with its first PDF containing a three-dimensional interactive figure. Published in the Jan. 1 issue, figures in a paper by Alyssa Goodman and colleagues enable Nature readers to view and rotate maps of molecular clouds.

The paper describes a new method for analyzing 3D maps of molecular clouds, shedding light on the role of gravity in star formation. The researchers borrowed technology from medical imaging to analyze data cubes of molecular clouds, where the x and y axes represent the plane of the sky, and the third dimension (z) is velocity.

The PDF of the article makes the most of recent versions of Adobe Acrobat Professional, which enables the creation of PDFs from 3D and computer-aided design (CAD) file formats. The resulting PDF retains the structure and detail of the 3D model. While the PDF can be viewed and printed as normal, a window is embedded in the PDF adding extra functionality. Click on the image in the PDF and a 3D toolbar appears across the top of the image, and the image becomes interactive. The tools provided allow the user to rotate the model, pan horizontally or vertically, zoom in or out, and isolate or hide individual parts. To use the interactive functionality on 3D PDFs, users need Adobe Reader 9.0 or a more recent release.

The need for 3D figures is well-understood in fields from medical imaging to structural biology, and Nature expects that authors from many scientific disciplines will soon take advantage of this functionality. Timo Hannay, publishing director of, says, "Developments in software capability and web functionality mean that scientific communication can be much richer and more dynamic than has been possible in the past. We will continue to make the most of these developments wherever we can to maximize our service to both authors and readers."

Source: Nature Publishing Group

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

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