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Weekly News Digest

September 13, 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.

Renew Publishing Consultants Studies Scholarly Publishing

Renew Publishing Consultants unveiled two research reports: “How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications” and “A Landscape Review of Streaming Media in Scholarly Publishing: Where Are We Now and Where to Next?

“How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications” presents the results of a study of more than 10,000 people who work and study across all sectors, subject disciplines, and regions. It shows that about 60% of the time, people read articles from “free” resources, and about 5% of downloads from wealthy nations come from Sci-Hub. They find articles often via abstracting-and-indexing databases and academic search engines such as Google Scholar, but 55% of the time, article finds come from social media, emails, alerts, and other resources.

“A Landscape Review of Streaming Media in Scholarly Publishing” comes from interviews with 25 organizations that are involved in scholarly communication on their uses of video and audio, including their challenges, successes, and measurement of ROI. Video is most useful for demonstrations, showing behavioral studies, promotion through social media, and summaries of complex information. Audio is most useful for building rapport and community.

For more information, read the press release.

GPO Releases This Year's Congressional Directory

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) rolled out its official digital directory of the 115th Congress. According to the press release, “More than just a guide to Members, committees, and officials of the 115th Congress, the Congressional Directory is the only document issued by Congress that shows the overall organization of the two chambers and their committees, offices, and support organizations.” It also features historical statistics and information on the following:
  • The Capitol buildings and grounds
  • Legislative branch agencies
  • Executive branch departments and agencies
  • U.S. courts
  • International organizations and foreign diplomatic offices in the U.S.
  • Members of the congressional press, radio, and television galleries

For more information, read the press release.

'Evolution in the Library Ebook Market' by Alan S. Inouye

Alan S. Inouye, public policy director for ALA’s Washington Office, writes in American Libraries that the ebook lending “news from Penguin Random House (PRH) represents a new and major development in the library ebook market. Unlike the terrible shift in lending policy announced in July by Tor and Macmillan Publishers, PRH’s change is neutral or even a bit positive for US libraries, although the impact on any specific library will depend on its circumstances.”

Inouye notes that an “important conclusion from this change is that PRH has renewed its commitment to libraries. The company has been talking to librarians and evaluating the market. In changing its business model, PRH plans to remain fully engaged with the library market in a respectful and productive way—something that the American Library Association (ALA) urges library advocates to emphasize in communications to other publishers.”

For more information, read the article.

EfficientIP Studies Cyberthreats in Higher Education

EfficientIP released its “2018 Global DNS Threat Report,” which finds “that the higher education sector ranks as one of the worst business sectors to handle potential cyber threats. The report details that almost three quarters of institutions (73%) took three days or more to apply a patch after notification. The report also highlights the cost per DNS [domain name system]-based attack soared 68% to $690,000 in the Education sector last year.”

The company notes, “The consequences of unsecured [Internet of Things] devices on a campus network can vary, from a hacker hijacking them in order to launch DDoS attacks, to a proactive shutdown of services in order to protect the overall network from intruders. It’s paramount that universities review how they identify, analyze and block DNS-based threats—otherwise, they will remain vulnerable and a potential target.”

For more information and a list of best practices for protecting sensitive data, read the press release.

PLA Sets 2018-2022 Strategic Plan

The Public Library Association (PLA) introduced its strategic plan for 2018 through 2022, which “describes the association’s core purpose, core values, and vision for future success while also identifying goal areas where PLA will direct its energy and resources over the next several years.”

The goal areas are as follows:

  • Transformation
  • Leadership
  • Advocacy & Awareness
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice (EDISJ)
  • Organizational Excellence

The plan’s key deliverables include the following:

  • Increasing awareness of, and access to, the fundamental types of literacy skills people need to achieve success in the 21st century;
  • Augmenting the number of libraries using meaningful and actionable measurements to understand and expand their impact on the community;
  • Supporting public library staff in shifting from a library-centered approach to a community-centered approach toward service delivery; and
  • Equipping its members with the resources to advocate and apply EDISJ principles in their libraries and communities.

For more information, read the press release.

'To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library' by Eric Klinenberg

Eric Klinenberg writes in The New York Times, “In recent years, declines in the circulation of bound books in some parts of the country have led prominent critics to argue that libraries are no longer serving their historical function. … But the problem that libraries face today isn’t irrelevance. Indeed, in New York and many other cities, library circulation, program attendance and average hours spent visiting are up. The real problem that libraries face is that so many people are using them, and for such a wide variety of purposes, that library systems and their employees are overwhelmed.”

He continues, “Libraries are being disparaged and neglected at precisely the moment when they are most valued and necessary. Why the disconnect? In part it’s because the founding principle of the public library—that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage—is out of sync with the market logic that dominates our world. But it’s also because so few influential people understand the expansive role that libraries play in modern communities.”

For more information, read the article.

'Open Access--The Movie' by Richard Poynder

In Nature, OA movement chronicler Richard Poynder reviews the movie Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, which he calls “an advocacy film.” He continues, “Its intention seems to be to persuade viewers that the paywalls that restrict access to journal content online are an unnecessary hangover from the print era, and now serve only to perpetuate the excessive profits that legacy publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature make from the public purse.

“The film makes a convincing case that the paywall system creates problems — and that universal open access (OA) to scholarly articles would be better for society. But it fails to adequately explore the thorny challenges that arise with OA publishing.”

For more information, read the article.

Library of Congress Creates Educational Apps for Students

The Library of Congress worked with educational organizations to develop a new set of web and mobile apps about Congress and civics for use in K–12 classrooms. They feature primary sources from U.S. history that help students address complex questions.

The apps are:

  • DBQuest, developed by iCivics. DBQuest teaches history and civics through the use of primary source documents and evidence-based learning. It offers a platform, accessible on mobile devices, that reinforces evidence-based reasoning and document-based questioning by teaching students to identify and evaluate evidence, contextualize information and write sound supporting arguments.
  • Case Maker, developed by Bean Creative. Case Maker is a customizable system for inquiry-based learning for K-12 students using primary sources from the Library of Congress. Modeled after the “observe, reflect, question” framework, developed under the Teaching with Primary Sources program, Case Maker guides students to challenge a question, collect evidence and make a case.

For more information, read the press release.

MyScienceWork Adds New Content

Three new publishers—VGTU Press, Singapore Bilingual Publishing Co., and Synergy Publishers—have agreed to index their publications in the MyScienceWork database. They will be free for all researchers to access.

VGTU Press covers subjects such as aviation, business and management, and engineering structures and technologies. Singapore Bilingual Publishing Co.  has content in fields such as medicine, architecture, engineering, and educational theory. Synergy Publishers features subjects such as educational theory and management, finance research, and modern electronic technology.

“We are very pleased to increase the number of publications for our research community. Our content is becoming more and more multidisciplinary,” says Virginie Simon, MyScienceWork’s CEO and co-founder.

For more information, read the press release.

'Reviving the Role of CRS in Congressional Oversight' by Steven Aftergood

In a blog post for the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Steven Aftergood provides commentary on a paper by former Congressional Research Service (CRS) analyst Kevin R. Kosar (“The Atrophying of the Congressional Research Service’s Role in Supporting Committee Oversight”). Kosar notes that CRS used to help Congress with its oversight efforts, including the Watergate investigation, but its role declined over time “due to various factors, most of which were out of its control. Congress changed. Congressional committees, particularly in the House of Representatives, lost capacity, and hyper-partisanism turned much oversight into political point-scoring rather than an exercise in governing that required expert assistance.” However, “CRS does not have to passively accept this fate,” Kosar told Aftergood via email.

For more information, read the blog post.

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