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Weekly News Digest

July 16, 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.

Knight Foundation Studies Young Adults' Attitudes Toward the News

Knight Foundation released a new report, “Young Adults’ News Behaviors and Beliefs,” which shows “that a majority of young adults are concerned about the impact of news on democracy and unity in the country, expressing that news organizations might divide and polarize citizens,” according to the press release. The report is based on a survey of 1,660 adults ages 18–34, and 88% of them access news at least weekly (53% access the news every day). Key findings include the following:
  • Overall, 31 percent of young adults say that people of their race, or issues that affect people of their race, are rarely covered in their most-liked news sources. … Hispanics and African Americans are especially likely to say both their most- and least-liked source fail to regularly cover issues that affect them.
  • More than 60 percent of young adults use their favorite news source to decide which policies to support, and more than 50 percent do the same when deciding who should have their votes. Young African Americans are twice as likely to do this as young white Americans.
  • Democrats are especially likely to perceive an ideological slant to their most- and least-liked/favorite sources. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats see their favorite news source as liberal, while 36 percent of Republicans perceive their favorite news source as very or somewhat conservative.

For more information, read the press release.

U.S. Representatives Discuss Big Tech Companies

Barbara Ortutay and Matt O’Brien write for the Associated Press:

Companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon have long enjoyed nearly unbridled growth and a mythic stature. … But as they’ve grown more powerful, critics have also grown louder, questioning whether the companies stifle competition and innovation, and if their influence poses a danger to society. …

[A recent] panel of the House Judiciary Committee focused on whether it’s time for Congress to rein in these companies, which are among the largest on Earth by several measures. Central to that case is whether their business practices run afoul of century-old laws originally designed to combat railroad and oil monopolies. …

[F]ederal lawmakers focused on issues of potentially anticompetitive behavior by technology giants and expressed bipartisan skepticism over Facebook’s plan for a new digital currency.

For more information, read the article.

'AI Has an Answer to the Opioid Crisis' by Joel White

Joel White writes the following for Inside Sources:

Artificial intelligence—or AI—is quickly affecting every facet of our lives. …

What if we could bring this same disruptive force to bear in the fight against the devastating opioid epidemic, which continues to claim 130 lives each day in the United States alone?

Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medical Association released findings showing that machine learning—a type of AI—is actually better at predicting patients’ risk of an opioid overdose than other methods currently in use.

The study showed that machine-learning-based algorithms could better avoid targeting patients who were not truly at risk of misuse. …

For more information, read the article.

ALA Confronts Ebook Policy Changes

ALA’s Alan S. Inouye writes the following for American Libraries:

After several years of relative stability, the library trade ebook market is again shifting in disconcerting directions. … [T]he American Library Association (ALA) has ongoing concerns over library prices for ebooks and audiobooks.

Within the last few weeks, two of the largest trade publishers—Hachette Book Group (HBG) and Simon & Schuster (S&S)—made significant changes in their terms for libraries. These recent developments follow changes to the pricing model at Penguin Random House (PRH) last October, and the recent imposition of a 90-day embargo on selected digital audio titles by Blackstone Audio. …

Further changes are on the horizon. At this time, none of the Big Five employs an embargo, save for the ‘test’ that Macmillan instituted for its Tor imprint in July 2018, which ALA opposed. However, ALA is expecting Macmillan to make an announcement about its ebooks by the end of this summer.

For more information, read the blog post.

Accessible Archives Plans Webinar on Primary Sources

On Aug. 15, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. EDT, Accessible Archives, Inc. is hosting a webinar, Primary Sources Beyond History—Promoting Use Across the Disciplines, which “will offer librarians insight into how primary sources can be used in multiple disciplinary contexts, for teaching qualitative and quantitative research methods, and for diverse projects and research outputs,” according to the blog post.

The speakers will be Darby Orcutt (assistant head of collections and research strategy at North Carolina State University Libraries) and Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara (digital scholarship librarian and director for digital scholarship at the Center for Research Data & Digital Scholarship at the University of Colorado–Boulder).

For more information, read the blog post.

CivStart Aims to Help State and Local Governments Implement New Technologies

CivStart, the only accelerator for the state and local government market, launched with a group of early-, middle-, and late-stage startups. According to the press release, “These start-ups will go through an intensive product-development and mentoring program guided and led by notable leaders from established companies and state and local governments. By providing state and local government leaders’ guidance and input from the very beginning, CivStart will ensure that technology products don’t get made in a vacuum—that they serve the needs of our most vulnerable and underserved communities.”

“The state and local government market is incredibly difficult to navigate for young entrepreneurs hoping to make a difference in their communities,” says Jonathan Reichental, CivStart’s senior advisor. “Helping to bring their ideas and solutions to market can have enormous value. I've been impressed with CivStart, who want to help by facilitating meaningful connections, proving guidance and advice, and then, ultimately, helping to turn compelling solutions into viable, scalable solutions for state and local agencies."

For more information and the list of participating startups, read the press release.

CASE Act Gets Markup Session in the U.S. Senate

Porter Anderson writes for Publishing Perspectives, “The US Senate Committee on the Judiciary has a markup session scheduled for the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement [CASE] Act on Thursday (July 18). … In [a] letter to Senators Tillis, Durbin, Kennedy, Hirono, Shaheen, Udall, and Blackburn, the [Authors] Guild’s [Mary] Rasenberger—who from 2002 to 2006 was a policy planning advisor to the US Copyright Office—lays out the essential rationale for the CASE Act and its value to authors. …”

For more information, read the article.

GPO and National Archives Publish Digitized Presidential Papers

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) teamed up with the National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) to digitize volumes of the Public Papers of the Presidents for the works of President Herbert Hoover through President George H.W. Bush—except President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose papers had already been published privately before this series got started.

Each set of papers features a foreword by the president, public writings, addresses, remarks, and photographs. The papers from later in Bush’s term, as well as the presidents serving after him, are already available digitally. 

For more information, read the press release.

OpenAthens Refreshes Its Brand

OpenAthens has rebranded to better embody its “mission to make access to knowledge easy for [its] more than 2,600 customers and millions of end users across the globe. … From guiding product developments to continually improving its technical support and customer services, we remain committed to the evolution of the information industry and providing simple access to knowledge for the benefit of all.”

Jon Bentley, OpenAthens’ commercial director, says, “We are a service provider at our core and committed to helping our customers use single sign-on technology to support learning and research and all the [marvelous] things that can lead to. We think the all new and improved OpenAthens brand fully represents this ethos.”

For more information, read the news.

LYRASIS Releases Accessibility Survey Report

LYRASIS published “LYRASIS 2019 Accessibility Survey Report: Understanding the Landscape of Library Accessibility for Online Materials.” It aims “to better understand how (primarily academic) libraries within the United States are handling accessibility for their online content, and more specifically, where they stand in terms of policy and implementation.” Findings include the following:
  • Libraries are the most progressive in terms of accessibility when they maintain the most control over their content.
  • National policies and community technical guidelines on accessibility hold more prominence than local or institutional mandates.
  • Most accessibility training is self-initiated; more infrastructure is needed to train librarians in accessibility mandates and tools.

For more information, visit the website.

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