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Weekly News Digest

November 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.

'Recommended Podcasts About Libraries and Librarians' by Romeo Rosales

At Book Riot, Romeo Rosales rounds up podcasts about librarianship that he enjoys, saying that listening to them “is truly a great way for me to stay up-to-date on current library trends, technology, programming and basically all things libraries.” He features American LibrariesDewey Decibel, The New York Public Library’s The Librarian Is In, and Public Libraries Online’s FYI: The Public Libraries Podcast.

For more information, read the article.

'Harvard Opens Up Its Massive Caselaw Access Project' by Mike Masnick

Mike Masnick writes that about 3 years ago, Techdirt covered “the launch of an ambitious project by Harvard Law School to scan all federal and state court cases and get them online (for free) in a machine readable format (not just PDFs!), with open APIs for anyone to use. And [now] officially launched, with 6.4 million cases, some going back as far as 1658. There are still some limitations—some placed on the project by its funding partner, Ravel, which was acquired by LexisNexis last year (though, the structure of the deal will mean some of these restrictions will likely decrease over time).”

He notes that the Caselaw Access Project (CAP; aka is focusing on “providing this setup as a tool for others to build on, rather than as a straight up interface for anyone to use. As it stands, you can either access data via the site’s API, or by doing bulk downloads. Of course, the bulk downloads are, unfortunately, part of what’s limited by the Ravel/LexisNexis data … [but] individual users can download up to 500 cases per day. … The site has launched with four sample applications that are all pretty cool.”

For more information, read the article.

'2018 Election Night for Libraries' by John Chrastka

EveryLibrary has compiled a list of the elections for new or renewed library funding, building projects, and library governance that it has been tracking. Executive director John Chrastka writes that of the 66 elections with reportable information, “48 (72%) passed their measures; 13 (20%) failed in their attempt, including both statewide education measures; and 4 (6%) remain ‘too close to call’ as of this writing. These results look significantly less positive for libraries than the 2017 elections were and are more in line with recent averages.” For the most up-to-date reporting, follow @everylibrary and #votelibraries on Twitter.

For more information and to view the unofficial list of elections’ outcomes, read the post.

ProQuest Introduces the Rialto Selection and Acquisition Solution

ProQuest and Ex Libris are developing Rialto, a new solution that aims to bring together the selection and acquisition processes for academic libraries. They will gain access to benchmark analytics, recommendations, and a comprehensive content marketplace (books, ebooks, videos, etc.) from a variety of sources. Rialto will be built on the Ex Libris Alma platform.

There are 10 universities—from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.—that are helping with Rialto’s creation, including Boston University, Northeastern University, San Jose State University, the University of Windsor, and the University of Edinburgh. In early 2019, ProQuest will begin recruiting universities in Australia and New Zealand.

For more information, read the press release.

The Department of Justice Rolls Out Resources on Hate Crimes

The Department of Justice “released an update on hate crimes and announced the launch of a new comprehensive hate crimes website designed to provide a centralized portal for the Department’s hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other related organizations and individuals. The resources include training materials, technical assistance, videos, research reports, statistics, and other helpful information from all of the Department components working on hate crimes.” In the past 10 years, the department has charged 300-plus people with hate crimes, and in FY2018 alone, it charged 27 people with hate crimes.

For more information, read the press release.

CLOCKSS Safeguards Its Preserved Content for Future Generations

CLOCKSS is working on formalizing its Succession Plan, which will ensure that the scholarly content it hosts will continue to be preserved for use by researchers, librarians, and publishers. It notes, “Four of CLOCKSS’s twelve library nodes have agreed to continue to preserve the digital content that is preserved in CLOCKSS, if the organization were to cease to exist. In that unlikely event, Stanford Libraries (U.S.), Humboldt University (Germany), the University of Edinburgh (U.K.), and the University of Alberta Libraries (Canada) would take over the responsibility and the organization for running the LOCKSS software across the CLOCKSS content, to continue preservation for the future.”

The CLOCKSS board (comprising 12 academic libraries and 12 academic publishers) has endorsed the Succession Plan.

For more information, read the news.

'Restricting Books for Prisoners Harms Everyone Ö' by Holly Genovese

Holly Genovese writes for Electric Literature, “In September, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced that all free book donations to incarcerated people in Pennsylvania state facilities would be banned. This ban was created alongside stringent mail search policies, in a purported effort to prevent drugs from entering prison. The Department of Corrections has argued that book donations are the primary vehicle for drugs entering prison, though there is very little evidence of this phenomenon. In fact it is a pretext for denying books deemed contentious to prisoners and profiting off their desire to read.”

She continues, “This ban has come at a time when the Department of Corrections is pushing new e-book readers on incarcerated people, which cost 150 dollars, a high cost that few incarcerated people can afford. … Approximately 8,500 books are available for incarcerated people to purchase, after they have already invested in the e-reader itself.”

Some of the books are expensive, such as books by Charlotte Bronte that can cost up to $20.99, although they are in the public domain. “This policy is designed to exploit for profit incarcerated people’s desire for books and knowledge, as well as severely curtailing available reading material in prisons. … Books represent vocational, educational, cultural, sexual, and philosophical freedom to incarcerated people living in prison. To the [Department of Corrections], this is more threatening than drugs.”

For more information, read the article.

'Can Diverse Books Save Us? Ö' by Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka writes for School Library Journal (SLJ), “Finding the right book for the right reader is a constant goal of librarianship, but the import of diverse books is bringing new meaning to that effort.” A recent SLJ survey finds that 81% of respondents feel that it is “a priority to bring books reflecting diverse cultures and perspectives to the[ir] children and community. …” Diverse collections are “defined as books with protagonists and experiences that feature underrepresented ethnicities, disabilities, cultural or religious backgrounds, gender nonconformity, or LGBTQIA+ orientations. …

“Some libraries have adopted diverse content as part of the institutional mission. About half of all respondents (54 percent of public libraries and 50 percent of school libraries) have inclusive collection development goals stemming from their administration or district. …

“But a significant driver here is individual conviction—of the 1,156 survey respondents (school and public librarians serving children and teens in the United States and Canada), 72 percent told SLJ they consider it a personal goal to create a diverse collection.”

For more information, read the article.

FlatWorld Adds Thinkwell Math Content to Its Catalog

FlatWorld signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Thinkwell to integrate college algebra, trigonometry, and precalculus videos and digital and print textbooks into FlatWorld’s catalog of learning materials (textbooks, PowerPoint lecture slides, instructional and practice videos, test banks, etc.). These Thinkwell math courses will be available via FlatWorld starting in the spring 2019 semester.

Thinkwell’s math courses were created by Edward B. Burger, president of Southwestern University. He says, “I’m delighted to be associated with FlatWorld, a publisher on the right side of the affordability issue. … A large part of my career has been dedicated to creating course materials that truly help foster student engagement, learning, and intellectual growth. In the coming years, I am hopeful that my work will play an increased role in helping to educate the world’s next generation of mathematicians, engineers, scientists, and wise creative thinkers.”

For more information, read the news.

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