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Weekly News Digest

July 17, 2018 — 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.

ALA Introduces New Workplace Wellness Resource

ALA re-launched the ALA-APA (Allied Professional Association) Wellness site, which offers health resources for library workers in all types of organizations. “Originally created under ALA Past President Loriene Roy’s 2007-2008 Circle of Wellness Initiative, the Workplace Wellness website contained information regarding seven dimensions of wellness, covering emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, spiritual and social wellness.”

This effort was spearheaded by current ALA president Loida Garcia-Febo and the ALA Workplace Wellness Advisory Committee. The site now features topics in the area of financial wellness and suggestions for further reading and outside sources. 

For more information, read the press release.

Cengage Offers More OERs

Cengage will contribute Creative Commons-licensed narrative content for three openly licensed textbooks and learning objectives and assessments for 12 course areas as OERs available to download from its website. Some content is editable without a login or purchase, while the assessments are editable with an instructor login.

In fall 2018, Cengage’s OpenNow suite of technology-enhanced OER products for general education will be available for general use. In January 2019, it will be available with a subscription to Cengage Unlimited.

For more information, read the press release.

'Who's Welcome Here?' by Barbara Fister

On the Library Babel Fish blog, Barbara Fister writes, “[W]hen the American Library Association adopted a revision to a statement about how intellectual freedom applies to meeting rooms it created a storm of discussion and anger. …”

She continues:

Intellectual freedom means librarians strive to represent all perspectives and resist censorship that’s based on partisan or doctrinal disapproval or bias against a work’s creator. …

There are a variety of ways this value plays out in libraries, and one of them is how you decide who gets to use public meeting rooms. …

Who are we to deny Nazis, white supremacists, or the local chapter of Attack the People We Think Are Scum from sharing their ideas in these public spaces? How else will we understand their perspectives and have civil debate? The problem, of course, is that a person who a group considers scum might see a poster for that event and think ‘there are going to be people in the library who want to attack me. I’d better avoid it.’ Or a library employee who is in the category scum (according to that group) may well feel understandably vulnerable as people get together in their workplace to decide the best way to dispose of her. …

I might have some books on the shelves that explain their thinking, but gathering in the library to promote hate? That’s a nope. Ironically, while some of the defense of the ‘hate groups’ inclusion seems to be ‘it’s only words,’ librarians also believe words are powerful; you can’t have it both ways.

For more information, read the blog post.

U.K. Tech Organizations Warn of Negative Brexit Consequences

Steve Ranger writes for ZDNet, “As the [U.K.] government outlines its plans for a Brexit trade agreement with the European Union, tech companies are worried that they may be left out in the cold by the deal.” He continues:

Prime Minister Theresa May is championing her vision of how Brexit will look. Under this, the UK will generally follow EU rules and regulations concerning goods, although the UK wants to reserve the right not to go along with European rules for all goods.

For services, the UK government hopes to have more flexibility to set its own rules—even though, importantly, it acknowledges that this will mean the UK won't have as much access to European markets as it does now.

But tech industry body techUK has already warned that if the final Brexit deal sees the UK effectively outside of the Single Market for services, this would put the UK’s digital economy at a serious disadvantage compared to their European competitors.

For more information, read the article.

Wellcome and Springer Nature Introduce Pilot for Making Research Datasets Available

Wellcome and Springer Nature are embarking on a pilot to help researchers by making research datasets discoverable and available to the wider research community. Open to “datasets underpinning research articles from Wellcome-funded studies and from researchers at Wellcome-funded institutes,” the pilot will run over 6 to 12 months, and Wellcome will “support the costs associated with its funded researchers using Springer Nature’s Research Data Support services for an initial fixed number of datasets.” Additionally, “Data can be associated with a submission or publication to any peer-reviewed journal, and is not limited to Springer Nature journals; authors will remain in control of their data, including choice of Creative Commons license which ensure datasets are open access and available for re-use.”

For more information, read the press release.

ALA Focuses on International Relations

Loida Garcia-Febo, ALA’s new president, announced a slate of programs and tools designed to reach out to the organization’s international members. They include free webinars, opportunities for engagement with librarians from various countries, and initiatives to increase awareness of international topics impacting the library profession. Garcia-Febo will work with the ALA International Relations Advisory Committee, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and the ALA International Relations Office.

“International members are valuable to ALA. We have a great number of international members and we want to engage them more in ALA’s programs and initiatives. We will expand ‘I am ALA’ to highlight an ALA International Member each month. My goal is to encourage and welcome International members to apply for opportunities available to their colleagues in the United States,” Garcia-Febo says.

For more information, read the press release.

Adam Matthew Launches Collection on Gender

Adam Matthew released a new digital primary source collection, Gender: Identity and Social Change, which features 3 centuries worth of materials (from three continents) that document developments in gender roles and relations. Researchers can use it to study topics such as women’s suffrage, feminism, employment, education, the body, the family, and politics.

For more information, read the news.

Thomson Reuters Rolls Out Westlaw Edge for Legal Research

Thomson Reuters developed a new legal research platform, Westlaw Edge. It uses advanced AI to drive searching and analytics, giving legal professionals “exclusive new warnings for law that is no longer valid, unrivaled litigation analytics, and sophisticated new research tools” that facilitate faster and more accurate results. As the new version of Westlaw, the platform represents Thomson Reuters’ “largest investment in AI since 2010 and was developed with attorneys and technologists at the Thomson Reuters Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing. …” Features include warnings for invalid or questionable law, KeyCite Overruling Risk symbols, the WestSearch Plus search engine, integrated litigation analytics, and a Statutes Compare tool.

For more information, read the press release.

ScienceOpen and the Microbiology Society Promote Cross-Disciplinary Research

ScienceOpen partnered with the Microbiology Society to determine new ways to showcase cross-disciplinary research. According to the press release:

The ScienceOpen discovery environment provides state-of-the-art technological infrastructure to promote exciting new initiatives from the Society’s journals.

Interdisciplinarity is key for the Microbiology Society in reaching a wide range of researchers, from microbiologists, clinicians, epidemiologists, social scientists and policymakers to physicists, chemists and engineers. In line with their mission to advance the understanding and impact of microbiology by connecting communities worldwide, the Society is exploring new ways to package digital information, from pop-up journals to mini-review formats, to bring diverse researchers together to solve global problems. …

Tasha Mellins-Cohen, Director of Publishing at the Microbiology Society, believes ‘As publishers, we have to reach out to researchers on the platforms they use, rather than expecting them to come to us. ScienceOpen offers us an opportunity to do that.’

For more information, read the press release.

Education Companies and UMBC Study Student Success

Blackboard, VitalSource, and the University of Maryland–Baltimore County (UMBC) released the results of a study, “Improving Student Risk Predictions.” It finds that “engagement with digital learning tools can better predict student success than incoming GPA.” And “students at UMBC who are highly engaged with digital learning tools were 200% more likely to pass their courses than less active students. Specifically, incoming C students with low engagement had a 37% likelihood of passing a class while similar students exhibiting the highest level of engagement with Blackboard Learn and/or VitalSource had a more than 90% likelihood of passing a class.”

For more information, read the press release.

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