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Weekly News Digest

September 6, 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.

'Google Wants to Kill the URL' by Lily Hay Newman

According to an article in WIRED by Lily Hay Newman, “From popularizing auto-updates to aggressively promoting HTTPS web encryption, the Chrome security team likes to grapple with big, conceptual problems. That reach and influence can be divisive, though, and as Chrome looks ahead … the team is mulling its most controversial initiative yet: fundamentally rethinking URLs across the web.”

She notes that “over time, URLs have gotten more and more difficult to read and understand. As web functionality has expanded, URLs have increasingly become unintelligible strings of gibberish combining components from third-parties or being masked by link shorteners and redirect schemes.” Cybercriminals can easily “exploit the confusion.”

Chrome staffers tell Newman that they’re “divided on the best solution to propose. And the group won't offer any examples at this point of the types of schemes they are considering.

“The focus right now, they say, is on identifying all the ways people use URLs to try to find an alternative that will enhance security and identity integrity on the web while also adding convenience for everyday tasks like sharing links on mobile devices.”

For more information, read the article.

'Penguin Random House Dramatically Worsens License Terms for Library eBooks' by Nate Hoffelder

The Digital Reader commented on Penguin Random House’s new license terms for library ebooks, as reported by Publishers Weekly—it will offer a metered model (ebooks priced at up to $55 that expire after 2 years) instead of a perpetual-access model (higher-priced ebooks with access forever). As of Oct. 1, any previously purchased ebooks will remain perpetual access, and Penguin Random House is working on a program that will cater to academic libraries that still need perpetual-access copies.

Nate Hoffelder writes, “With first Macmillan and now Penguin Random House drastically changing the terms they license ebooks to libraries, 2018 is becoming the year that libraries got screwed by publishers.

“And what’s even more insulting is that [Penguin Random House] had the gall to claim that libraries actually wanted to pay $55 for an ebook that expired in two years.”

For more information, read the blog post.

Royal National Institute of Blind People Offers Free Access to Penguin Random House Books

Penguin Random House UK announced a partnership with the U.K.’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to provide books to blind and partially sighted readers. The company is participating in two RNIB programs, RNIB Bookshare and Talking Books.

RNIB Bookshare offers free books to print-disabled learners (mostly people at schools and universities). More than 25,000 Penguin Random House titles are available in the program now, with new books becoming available as they’re released.

Talking Books is a free library with 40,000 registered users who can listen to special audiobooks via CD or digital download. Penguin Random House is allowing RNIB to adapt all of its audiobooks for the service.

For more information, read the news.

Bing Search Engine Provides News Overviews

Microsoft’s Bing introduced a spotlight feature that shows overviews of news topics in Bing search results lists for major developing news stories. According to the blog post, “Spotlight shows users the latest headlines, a rundown of how the story has developed over time, and relevant social media posts from people around the web. Spotlight also shows diverse perspectives on a given topic so users can quickly get a well-rounded view on the topic before deciding what they want to go deeper on and read by clicking on any of the articles.” It is now available for Bing’s desktop and mobile sites in the U.S.

For more information, read the blog post.

Jisc Applauds Plan to Commit to Full OA by 2020

Jisc published an endorsement of cOAlition S, an initiative from 11 national research funding organizations—supported by the European Commission, including the European Research Council (ERC)—“to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. It is built around Plan S, which consists of one target and 10 principles.” The goal is to ensure that by Jan. 1, 2020, “scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.”

Liam Earney, the director of Jisc Collections, says, “This announcement is really positive, not only in removing hurdles for the research community, but for society as a whole. People will be able to access current research findings while they are still relevant, engaging the public in the UK’s leading higher education and research.

“We will be building on our existing work in these areas and continuing our dialogue with funders to apply our extensive knowledge of scholarly communications and the journal and library supply chains, and to discuss how national services such as Jisc MonitorCORE and RIOXX can contribute to national monitoring that is developed alongside UK OA policies.”

For more information, read the news.

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