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Weekly News Digest

May 2, 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.

LM Information Delivery Rolls Out the LibMetrix Analytics Tool

LM Information Delivery released LibMetrix, a usage analytics tool for helping libraries and information centers make collection decisions based on patron usage. It shows them a full overview of their collection on a single screen and facilitates the creation of customizable visualizations and reports. Results can be filtered based on custom time periods, cost per use, usage by department, and more.

“Whether librarians need to make budgetary decisions for renewals or provide usage reports and analytics to management, LibMetrix can help them identify what’s important to their users and help them make informed, data-driven decisions that save them time and money,” says Juan Carlos Martin, LM Information Delivery’s chief commercial officer.

For more information, read the press release.

Cengage to Merge With McGraw-Hill

Cengage and McGraw-Hill “entered into a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger on equal terms. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, will bring together two premier learning companies that will deliver significant benefits for students, educators, professionals and institutions worldwide,” according to the press release. The merger should be complete by early 2020, pending regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. Visit the companies’ joint website here.

“Combining our two companies and our complementary offerings will enable us to continue innovating. In this way we can continue to empower students and educators around the world with a wide choice of affordable, engaging course materials and advanced digital platforms to help them succeed throughout a lifetime of learning,” says Nana Banerjee, McGraw-Hill’s president and CEO.

“Together, we will usher in an era in which all students can afford the quality learning materials needed to succeed—regardless of their socioeconomic status or the institution they attend. Additionally, the combined company will have robust financial strength to invest in next-generation products, technology and services that create superior experiences and value for millions of students,” says Michael E. Hansen, Cengage’s CEO.

The combined company, expected to be called McGraw-Hill, will be run by Hansen, with Banerjee leading McGraw-Hill through the transition. According to the press release, “The combined company’s leadership team is expected to be comprised of members from both McGraw-Hill and Cengage and will be announced prior to close.”

For more information, read the press release.

Ex Libris Services Join Forces to Become the Central Discovery Index

Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, consolidated its Primo and Summon indexes into what it is calling the Central Discovery Index (CDI), a comprehensive content index that “will enrich users’ discovery experience across both flagship discovery services, enabling libraries to better support researchers’ needs through smart discovery services driven by artificial intelligence,” according to the press release. The CDI’s rollout will begin in Q3 2019.

The press release continues, “Aligned with the roadmaps of the Primo and Summon discovery services, the unified index will enable customers of both services to benefit from faster update cycles, improved content ingestion, enhanced relevance ranking, and one-time activation of content. The CDI will also be instrumental in the development of new user-centric services that will improve discovery and the access to library collections.”

For more information, read the press release.

Kudos Rolls Out a Proof-of-Concept Page for Kudos Pro

Kudos Pro will officially launch in summer 2019 as a platform “for planning, tracking and reporting on research engagement and impact activities.” The first public output of the platform, available now, is a project profile for the Physical Activity for Everyone project, led by the Good for Kids organization. According to Kudos, “This page, which acts as a showcase for the project and its research objects and outputs, includes a summary of what the program is about and why it is important, along with ‘behind-the-research’ perspectives from some of the researchers involved. Research outputs currently made more discoverable by the project profile include videos, slides, posters as well as publications.”

For more information, read the blog post.

Writefull Joins Digital Science

Digital Science added Writefull, an AI-based language platform, to its stable of companies. Writefull “suggests improvements to grammar and spelling, and to academic language usage, such as sentence structures in scientific writing, discipline-specific vocabulary, and appropriate word choice. These suggestions are based on real-world, context-specific usage rather than on a fixed set of grammatical rules,” according to the press release.

Writefull won a 2016 Digital Science Catalyst Grant, and it is Digital Science’s first significant investment in AI. Its deep learning models learn from billions of sentences of scientific literature.

For more information, read the press release.

Exact Editions Publishes Archive of ArabLit Quarterly

Exact Editions made the first two issues of the new ArabLit Quarterly available on its web, iOS, and Android platforms for individuals and institutions. According to the press release, “Each subsequent issue will add value to the ever-growing digital archive, rendering it an indispensable resource for scholars, students and enthusiasts of Arab literature around the world.”

The publication features “English translations of short stories and poetry originally penned by Arabic-language writers. Some of the prestigious writers that have [been] featured thus far include South Sudanese writer Stella Gaitano, Syrian short-story writer Zakariya Tamer and Palestinian poet Asmaa Azaizeh.”

For more information, read the press release.

Voice Search Is Now Mainstream

Matt Southern writes for SEJ (Search Engine Journal) that a “study from Microsoft on consumer adoption of voice technology in 2019 shows that most people are using voice search. … According to the report, 75% of households will have at least one smart speaker by 2020.” People use voice-enabled technology most often to perform searches; for example, 68% seek quick facts, 65% ask for directions, and 52% look up a product or service.

For more information, read the article.

W3C Publishes Its Latest Strategic Highlights

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released its W3C Strategic Highlights for spring 2019, “a comprehensive survey of the essential work W3C conducts to achieve a Web for All, and select recent work in many areas where the Web can solve arising problems for real people.” This work includes the following:
  • W3C chartered a Web Payment Security Interest Group to foster greater coordination and ultimately enhance the security and interoperability of Web payments.
  • Web & Networks: what is needed for the Web to take advantage of 5G, QUIC, and Edge Computing changing the topology of network-based services? We have started to flesh out a group charter in the wake of the W3C Web5G workshop in May 2018.

For more information, read the press release.

AlterEgo Wearable Facilitates Internet Access Through 'Internal Vocalizations'

Anne Quito writes for Quartz about MIT Media Lab’s Arnav Kapur, who “conducted a live public demo of AlterEgo, his wearable device that allows users to access the internet or any computing device without typing or using our voice.” Kapur explained that it works “by picking up the user’s internal vocalizations—normally undetectable neuromuscular signals from the tongue and the back of the palate—and translating them to computer commands. Signals are transmitted through a ‘sticker,’ as Kapur describes the silicone device, worn along the user’s neck and jawline, and the answers are fed through an ear piece.”

Quito continues, “Kapur showed a brief clip of an ALS patient using AlterEgo to vocalize his thoughts. ‘The hope is to deploy it for people who desperately need it in terms of a clinical application, but we’re also thinking about everyone,’ Kapur said. ‘It’s about augmenting ability—we’re thinking about building a general-purpose device. We look at it as the next personal computer.’”

For more information, read the article.

DPLA Recaps DPLAfest 2019

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) published a wrap-up of its DPLAfest event, featuring summaries of news and announcements (including a new ebooks partnership and the presentation of the Indie Author of the Year award), recordings of the three plenary sessions, mentions in various media outlets (such as American Libraries), slides and presentation materials from the sessions, photos, and special thanks to the event sponsors.

For more information, read the wrap-up.

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