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Weekly News Digest

March 7, 2019 — 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.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

OCLC Debuts List of Top 100 Most Widely Available Novels in Libraries

OCLC rolled out The Library 100: Top Novels of All Time, a list of the 100 novels that are most widely available in all types of libraries (in various versions, editions, and translations). Don Quixote comes in at number one. The ranking is based on data from WorldCat, which aggregates information from 18,000-plus library collections around the world to cover more than 447 million titles.

“Of course, the list of top novels emphasizes classics,” says Skip Prichard, OCLC’s president and CEO, “and so reflects dominant cultural views over the years about the canon and its formation. Librarians are aware of this and are more mindful than ever of the need to think critically about their collections. Librarians are actively seeking out and preserving overlooked, minority and marginalized perspectives.”

For more information, read the press release and Prichard’s blog post.

What's Up With the NFAIS-NISO Merger

by Dave Shumaker

The National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have announced plans to merge, contingent on approval by the NFAIS membership. Deanna Marcum, president of the NFAIS board of directors, characterized the merger as the culmination of discussions begun last summer, which will enable the combined organization to serve its members more effectively during a time of rapid change. In a membership conference call, NISO executive director Todd Carpenter described its potential as “transformative.”

The two groups have much in common, and opportunities for synergy are clear. Both are institutional membership organizations, drawing libraries, publishers, and vendors of information systems and services. NISO, with its 80 voting and 135 nonvoting members, focuses primarily on developing standards. It is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and represents the U.S. on six International Organization for Standardization technical committees. NFAIS, with 44 voting members, is the smaller of the two partners. Its strengths have been in providing opportunities for industry participants to network and share common interests. (To perpetuate these strengths, the partners announced that NFAIS’ annual conference will continue, along with the Miles Conrad Award.)

The combination of NFAIS’ programming with NISO’s implementation orientation promises to benefit a variety of common interests. These include ontologies, metadata structures, the RA21 initiative, and information analytics.

The NFAIS membership vote was scheduled to be concluded in February, and if approved, the merger will take effect June 30.

The University of California Breaks Ties With Elsevier

Lindsay Ellis reports for The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The University of California system is calling it quits with Elsevier, one of the biggest academic publishers in the world, after months of contract negotiations.”

She continues, “The announcement that the 10-campus system would cancel its Elsevier subscriptions represents a win for open-access advocates. And it may signal to other academic libraries that pay millions of dollars in subscriptions to large journal publishers that a retreat from those costly mass subscriptions is workable.” However, it may pose a challenge for professors: “As they conduct their research, faculty members read articles that are often published behind the paywalls of subscription-based journals. Without access to those articles through a university library, their work could suffer.”

For more information, read the article.

Exact Editions Offers All Issues of Catholic Journal The Tablet

Exact Editions has digitally preserved all issues of The Tablet, a British, Catholic weekly journal that dates from 1840. It covers areas such as current events, politics, social issues, and the arts and is available on the web and iOS and Android devices for institutions and individuals.

This “archive serves as an important ever-expanding historical record that transcends its affiliation with the Catholic Church in terms of academic value,” according to the press release.

For more information, read the press release.

ALA and the Library of Congress Support the Puerto Rico Center for the Book

Loida Garcia-Febo, ALA’s president, “joined library leaders at the Puerto Rico Center for the Book to participate in a discussion entitled Read to Heal and Transform Lives, a local effort to provide library services to battered girls and adolescents in Puerto Rico,” according to a press release. It was the first in a series of events hosted by the center, which was established in early 2019 by the University of Puerto Rico’s Graduate School of Information Sciences and the Library Sciences and Informatics Library. As the 53rd affiliate center of the Library of Congress, it will offer authors colloquia, workshops, reading festivals, and contests, among other events aiming to explore how books are written and made.

“I’m inspired by the possibility of libraries providing books and services that would help heal young girls who have experienced so much at a young age. [Our] discussion illustrates how libraries and library workers transform communities through mindfulness, wellness and reading. I am humbled to be part of this beautiful project and hope that our efforts will continue to assist those in Puerto Rico who look to libraries to better their lives through education and lifelong learning,” Garcia-Febo says.

For more information, read the press release.

W3C and the FIDO Alliance Announce Standard to Make the Web More Secure

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the FIDO Alliance announced that the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification has become an official web standard. Supported by various browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, WebAuthn is a browser and platform standard for simpler and stronger authentication. It “allows users to log into their internet accounts using their preferred device. Web services and apps can—and should—turn on this functionality to give their users the option to log in more easily via biometrics, mobile devices and/or FIDO security keys, and with much higher security over passwords alone,” according to the press release.

For more information, read the press release.

Clarivate Analytics Studies Impacts of Plan S Initiative

Clarivate Analytics’ Institute for Scientific Information released the second report in its Global Research series, “The Plan S Footprint: Implications for the Scholarly Publishing Landscape,” which uses Web of Science journal data to help pose questions for stakeholders in the research community. According to the blog post, the report “examines recent patterns of publications funded by Plan S supporters, exploring potential impacts on funders, subjects, countries, publishers, and journals.”

Findings lead to questions such as the following:

  • Some research areas have very few journals that are currently Plan S compliant. Without carefully paced transition to allow for the emergence of new titles, is there a risk of unusual constraints and disjunctions in publishing opportunities in affected subjects?
  • Citations are not a defining metric of quality, but might the restructuring of the spread of well-cited papers have unplanned contingent consequences?
  • The large publishers, with a diverse stable of titles, will be influential in discussions, but there are many small publishers, including those linked to learned societies, who publish an important part of the Plan S funded output in serials central to their discipline. Will transition be more difficult for them and, if so, can this be managed effectively but flexibly?

For more information, read the blog post.

ACS Leads the Charge to Address Sexual Harassment

To combat sexual and gender-based harassment and advance professional and ethical conduct, the American Chemical Society (ACS) joined forces with more than 50 other organizations to form the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine). “As awareness grows of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in academia, industry and other realms of science, ACS has taken steps to increase transparency and reform its policies surrounding this issue,” notes the press release, including creating a conduct policy for ACS meetings and covering sexual harassment in its Chemical & Engineering News magazine.

“Last year’s report by the National Academies entitled ‘Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’ articulated the breadth and depth of the problem impacting all STEMM disciplines,” says Mary Kirchhoff, ACS’s EVP for scientific advancement. “The American Chemical Society is pleased to participate as a member of the executive committee in advancing the work of the Societies Consortium.”

For more information, read the press release.

ByWater Solutions Expands Funding of Koha to Include New Position

ByWater Solutions is funding another Koha community position, which will be filled by Liz Rea. She has 10-plus years of experience with Koha implementations, development, and support, as well as staff-side usage.

“Support and participation in Koha’s development process is vital to its overall success. We are truly excited to be able [to] support the Koha community in such a tangible way. We believe in financially supporting the advanced technical skills in the Koha community in order to make and maintain Koha as the leader in [the] ILS industry,” says Brendan Gallagher, ByWater Solutions’ CEO.

For more information, read the news.

The American Museum of Natural History Celebrates 150th Anniversary

The American Museum of Natural History in New York is marking its 150th anniversary with a multiyear series of events, including programs, exhibitions, and projects. It will conclude the celebrations with the forthcoming opening of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation.

The first new exhibition is T. rex: The Ultimate Predator, opening in March 2019. It will feature a life-size model of the dinosaur that is the most scientifically accurate to date. In July, the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites will get revitalized, and in October, the museum will host a scientific conference about human genetics. Planned for 2020 are a new Space Show in the Hayden Planetarium (in January) and the re-opening of the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals (in the fall).

A new website,, which is now live, encourages people to submit stories, photos, and memories of their visits to the museum.

For more information, read the announcement.

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