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Weekly News Digest

November 15, 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.

'Under Pressure, Pa. Prisons Repeal Restrictive Book Policy' by Samantha Melamed

Samantha Melamed writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer, “The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections—which in September announced it would put a halt to book donation programs and mail-order books and publications—has revised its policy, allowing book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center.”

Jodi Lincoln, who works with a book donation program in Pennsylvania, says that public pressure may have played a prominent role in getting the Department of Corrections (DOC) to change its policy.

Melamed continues, “The prohibition was part of a wide-ranging security crackdown meant to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons. … Under that policy, the DOC limited book orders to a catalog of 8,500 e-books that was plagued by high prices and vast gaps in its coverage. …”

Now, says corrections secretary John Wetzel, “This policy update allows inmates to have direct contact with book donation organizations through a security processing center and ensures that publications will not be used as a path by which drugs are introduced into our facilities. …”

Melamed writes, “The new policy also allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center … where staff will screen books. … It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog. … Lincoln said the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the DOC will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials.”

For more information, read the article.

EveryLibrary's Midterms Takeaways for Libraries

EveryLibrary’s executive director, John Chrastka, shares “EveryLibrary’s 10 Takeaways for Libraries from the 2018 Midterms.” They include the following:
  • While library districts and municipalities regularly put dedicated library bonds on the ballot, many states and some cities and counties will put ‘general obligation’, or GOBonds, on the ballot for infrastructure. On the Midterms, places as different as Mesa, AZ, Orem, UT, South Burlington, VT, Nueces County, TX, and Campbell, CA put multi-purpose bonds that included library projects along with police, roads, museums, or even sewers on their ballots. But many other cities, counties, and states took the political risk of putting up a ‘General Obligation Bond Election’ without including libraries. While we don’t expect libraries to be in … all of them, but if transit, streets and sanitation, parks and recreation, museums, and economic or community development are on the project list and libraries are not, we have a problem.
  • We all know that a district’s education priorities are set by their [school] boards. … But we cannot honestly comment on how a single one of those newly elected (or re-elected) local school board members think about how school library programs and school librarians fit into the educational priorities and district budgets. It’s because we did not ask them before the election. Most library advocacy trainings tend to focus on ways to chat with them after they are elected. Here at EveryLibrary, we would like to inject school library programs and the idea of certified school librarians into the next campaign cycle.
  • Unlike in 2016 when national anti-tax and anti-government groups like the Americans for Prosperity came out directly against libraries on the ballot, the 2018 Midterms and Primaries saw more locally-originated opposition. But what we saw from the local anti-tax and anti-government people follows the same “M.O.” every election cycle: 1) they say that they love the library and that their opposition isn’t about “the library”, it’s about “bad taxes”; 2) they build a fiscal strawman about the budget or building project, facts be damned; 3) they then question the integrity of ‘this board’ or of ‘certain librarians’ as [managers and] public servants; and, 4) they back-channel to their supporters about the ‘kind of people’ who use the library.
  • What we know from working on nearly 100 library Election Days is that there is often a disconnect between how librarians describe library services and how local communities listen politically, socially, and civically. … Voters across the country want to hear from their library leaders about the mission and vision you have for putting smart tax money to work in language that they understand even if that language is conservative in nature. Values like children growing up successful in livable, thriving, and prosperous communities are a universal value. We want to help library leaders identify, cultivate, and empower potential supporters who share those values.

For more information, read the blog post.

ProQuest Involves Customers in Product Development

ProQuest launched Idea Exchange, a new online community for its OASIS (Online Acquisitions and Selection Information System) or LibCentral customers. They can propose ideas and vote or comment on others’ ideas, and ProQuest will monitor the submissions. The ideas with the most votes will be reviewed by ProQuest leadership for possible implementation, and customers will be kept up-to-date on the progress.

“Customers are one of our best sources for new product ideas,” says Rich Belanger, SVP and general manager of ProQuest Books. “The Idea Exchange is a simple, informal channel we can use to communicate with [customers] … and give them a stronger voice in product development.”

For more information, read the press release.

IGI Global Joins Forces With ORCID for Use of ORCID iD

IGI Global integrated with ORCID, allowing editors, contributors, and reviewers to connect their ORCID iD (Open Researcher and Contributor ID)—or create one—in order to increase their research works’ visibility. They can manage the display of their research activities from a central location and ensure they receive proper credit for their content.

According to the press release, “When an IGI Global contributor publishes a book, journal, chapter, article, or conducts review activities for journals, IGI Global will collect the ORCID iD of members to verify the identity of the iD, tying the published work or journal manuscript review to the individual. In addition, to ensure a user-friendly process, authentication is provided within IGI Global’s submission system, the eEditorial Discovery System, and also on the IGI Global Online Bookstore. Additionally, the unique iD will be displayed next to the individual’s name in print and electronic publications.”

For more information, read the press release.

Net Neutrality After the Midterms

Kate Patrick writes for Inside Sources that “now that Democrats have won the House, tech experts both for and against net neutrality rules are unsure how the net neutrality debate will pan out, and they don’t expect any net neutrality bill to gain traction in Congress.”

She continues:

A few days before the midterm elections, net neutrality supporters got a boost from the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) refusal to hear US Telecom’s appeal regarding the Obama administration’s 2015 net neutrality rules. Several think tanks called the denial … a win for net neutrality. …

SCOTUS’ refusal to hear the case means the 2015 rules may still be valid, even though the FCC repealed them last year. Whether or not those 2015 rules still stand will be decided in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in the Mozilla v. FCC case. And then there’s the United States v. California case, in which the Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing the state of California for overriding federal law and passing its own net neutrality rules.

Until those cases are decided, experts say, Democrats probably won’t try to legislate net neutrality. …

But it’s possible Democrats could pass a net neutrality bill through the House to force a debate on the topic and send a message to the voters focused on the issue–many of them young activists important to the party. Even if the bill eventually dies in the Senate or on Trump’s desk, the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Vice President for Policy Chris Calabrese said it could set the stage for future success.

For more information, read the article.

Social Media Helps Reporters Cover Crimes

Kevin Roose writes for The New York Times, “Typically, the first step in investigating a breaking news situation playing out on social media is to save and screenshot everything you can find. Social networks often act quickly to remove the pages of named suspects in high-profile crimes. And if you want to study these accounts, you need the raw material. …

“Sometimes, once you find one piece of a social media trail — say, a username or alias used on one website — you can use it to find other pieces. Other times, you hit a dead end. I have a small toolbox of apps and utilities I turn to in situations where I need to dig deeper into a given person’s social media presence. …

“People reveal themselves online, and social media is also increasingly where extremists are radicalized. In the context of a violent crime, it’s often much more useful to know which memes a suspect was posting on Facebook than where he worked, what kind of car he drove, or which bands he listened to. …

“Social media will never give a full measure of a person’s motivations. But as more people live more of their lives on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, it’s increasingly important to understand the contours of these networks, including the darker corners where violent behavior can take root.”

For more information, read the article.

SAGE Rolls Out Gathering Space for Social Sciences Mentors and Mentees

SAGE introduced MentorSpace, a hub on its MethodSpace social sciences community. MentorSpace “allows users to tap into the wisdom of those who have executed a specific aspect of the research process and want to share their knowledge with others,” according to the press release. Undergraduate, graduate, and post-doc students; researchers; instructors; and authors doing social and behavioral research can visit the hub to connect, share ideas, learn from colleagues, and network.

MentorSpace content includes the following:

  • Methods in Action”- posts that describe a specific technique or report on particular research efforts that explore the methodology or innovation used
  • What I learned about doing research”- posts that describe the circumstances surrounding a research effort including key obstacles and takeaways
  • Interviews - posts that examine problem solving in research, focusing on how to critically approach a problem and what steps to use

For more information, read the press release.

Google and The New York Times Partner to Digitize Historical Photos

Stephen Shankland writes for CNET, “Google’s computer brains are helping The New York Times turn a historic archive of more than 5 million photos into digital data that’ll appear in the newspaper’s features about history.” These photos date from the 1870s and include prints and contact sheets. Google’s AI tools will recognize printed or handwritten text that describes the photos and may also engage in object recognition.

Shankland notes that “AI’s image recognition can sort photos by who’s in them and can recognize landmarks and other subject matter. That’s great if you weren’t as diligent about labeling or filing them as newspaper photographers.” The New York Times plans to use the photos in a feature called Past Tense.

For more information, read the article.

OCLC Promotes Linked Data

Andrew K. Pace, executive director of technical research for OCLC, writes, “I’m naturally skeptical when libraries try to apply new technologies to long-solved problems, but I am now thoroughly convinced that the library needs linked data platforms. It’s one of our last chances to embark on innovations that we’ve known for a long time are not possible with the increasingly arcane and anachronistic MARC record.” He explores what doing linked data cataloging could mean for catalogers, special collections staffers, library administrators, and end users.

OCLC has a lot of “skin in this game,” he notes. “In January 2018, OCLC created a linked data Wikibase prototype, built to view, edit, and create linked data descriptions and relationships, and to reconcile data between legacy bibliographic information and linked data entities. … In a parallel effort, OCLC released its first production linked data service when CONTENTdm integrated the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) into its discovery service.”

OCLC Research plans to publish “reports on the realistic promise of linked data in libraries,” including a linked data survey and a look at the linked data landscape in the U.S. and Europe.

For more information, read the blog post.

Gartner Shares Internet of Things Trends

IT-Online reports on a Gartner study of the Internet of Things (IoT) trends that will affect digital business innovation from 2018 to 2023. For example, “by 2023, the average CIO will be responsible for more than three times as many endpoints as this year,” so they “should ensure they have the necessary skills and partners to support key emerging IoT trends and technologies. …”

AI is one of the major “trends that will enable new revenue streams and business models. … The technology landscape for AI is complex and will remain so through 2023, with many IT vendors investing heavily in AI, variants of AI coexisting, and new AI-based tolls and services emerging. Despite this complexity, it will be possible to achieve good results with AI in a wide range of IoT situations. As a result, CIOs must build an organisation with the tools and skills to exploit AI in their IoT strategy.”

Additionally, “As the IoT matures and becomes more widely deployed, a wide range of social, legal and ethical issues will grow in importance. These include ownership of data and the deductions made from it; algorithmic bias; privacy; and compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation.”

For coverage of the rest of the trends, read the news.

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