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Weekly News Digest

August 6, 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. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

'Libraries Are Fighting to Preserve Your Right to Borrow E-Books' by Jessamyn West

Jessamyn West writes for CNN that Macmillan Publishers’ new ebook-lending policy “represents yet another insult to libraries. For the first two months after a Macmillan book is published, a library can only buy one copy, at a discount. After eight weeks, they can purchase ‘expiring’ e-book copies which need to be re-purchased after two years or 52 lends. As publishers struggle with the continuing shake-up of their business models, and work to find practical approaches to managing digital content in a marketplace overwhelmingly dominated by Amazon, libraries are being portrayed as a problem, not a solution. Libraries agree there’s a problem—but we know it’s not us.”

For more information, read the article.

Libby's Lack of Accessibility Features

Kelly Ford writes on the blog Kelly’s Corner, “OverDrive is as far as I know the largest player in making eBooks available to libraries. In many ways they provide a quality service but I’d encourage every librarian to fully understand the bargain you are making when you use OverDrive.”

For example, users of screen-reading technology get the following message when they open the Libby app: “Welcome to Libby! This is a secret message for screen readers. We are working to improve your experience with this app. In the meantime, our OverDrive app is more accessible. You can find it in the app store. We thank you for your patience.”

Ford notes, “Libby is hardly a new app at this point and it should have been accessible from the start in the first place. This message has been present to the best of my knowledge for close to two years now. My own requests to OverDrive asking for any updates have gone without any meaningful response on multiple occasions.”

For more information, read the blog post.

CCC Enhances RightFind With Semantic Enrichment

Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) made updates to the RightFind content workflow solution. According to the press release, “The latest release advances functionality customers have come to rely on by expanding the power of semantic enrichment to the collaboration capabilities in RightFind. With this release, it becomes the first and only content workflow tool to use semantic enrichment to improve the precision of search alerts, ensuring relevant literature is not overlooked. Users can filter on key concepts, automatically tagging documents with relevant terms.”

For more information, read the press release.

LexisNexis Photo Contest Showcases the Dangers of Climate Change

Hannah Thompson shares the following:

LexisNexis recently partnered with Obelisk Support to tackle climate change with the first ever Global Law photography competition. The competition saw lawyers, law students and legal professionals submit photos to highlight the urgent need for joining the fight against climate change. The images represented what each entrant felt climate change meant to them on a personal level and were judged on how they best illustrated its impact on our planet.

The winner, runner up and highly commended were announced at a celebratory event hosted by LexisNexis, with the competition and event [raising] funds and awareness for ClientEarth, an environmental law NGO.

The competition … was won by Hogan Lovells senior associate Magdalena Bakowska, with a photograph showing aridification in the Namib desert, Namibia. The Law Society’s ‘Back to Law ambassador’ Camilla Bindra-Jones took runner up with an image of three dead birds, arranged together on stones, aiming to highlight the high number of bird deaths due to extreme weather patterns caused by global warming. The images can be seen on the Law Gazette.

For more information, read the blog post.

'Political Tension at Google Is Only Getting Worse' by Shirin Ghaffary

Shirin Ghaffary writes the following for Recode:

Google has had a challenging year. The company is already beleaguered by external scrutiny and criticism from politicians and the public over how it moderates content on its platforms. It’s facing an antitrust probe. And at the same time, it’s struggling internally to deal with rising tensions with both its liberal and conservative employees.

… [I]n an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a former Google engineer, Kevin Cernekee, accused Google of firing him for expressing his conservative political beliefs at work and claimed the company fosters a culture of politically biased bullying. While Google said it fired him for misusing company equipment, Cernekee’s claims have provided new fodder for conservative commentators and Republican legislators who have long made unsupported accusations that Google and other tech giants are liberal havens that discriminate against conservative ideology.

Cernekee’s accusations have also reignited a debate among Google’s workforce over freedom of speech that began in 2017, when the company fired former engineer James Damore for publishing a memo arguing that women were less biologically suited than men to work in tech.

For more information, read the article.

'The Radical Transformation of the Textbook' by Brian Barrett

Brian Barrett writes the following for WIRED:

For several decades, textbook publishers followed the same basic model: Pitch a hefty tome of knowledge to faculty for inclusion in lesson plans; charge students an equally hefty sum; revise and update its content as needed every few years. Repeat. But the last several years have seen a shift at colleges and universities—one that has more recently turned tectonic.

In a way, the evolution of the textbook has mirrored that in every other industry. Ownership has given way to rentals, and analog to digital. Within the broad strokes of that transition, though, lie divergent ideas about not just what learning should look like in the 21st century but how affordable to make it.

For more information, read the article.

EBSCO Teams Up With Arkivum for Better Long-Term Access and Discoverability

EBSCO Information Services and Arkivum entered into “a strategic partnership to expand value to institutions by making their research data, institutional records and digital assets usable, accessible and optimized for the long-term. The partnership will leverage EBSCO’s SaaS-based portfolio, including EBSCO Discovery Service™ (EDS), and Arkivum Perpetua, an integrated long-term data management solution used by some of the world’s most prestigious institutions.”

Arkivum Perpetua will integrate with EDS to make content more discoverable and accessible across the combined solution. Staffers, researchers, and students can use it as a one-stop shop for finding archival content (via EDS) and viewing and using it (via Arkivum Perpetua).

For more information, read the press release.

ArtPI Uses AI to Analyze Art Collections

Sudipto Ghosh writes the following for AiThority:

ArtPI is a new interface or API driven by artificial intelligence that’s poised to transform the way art gets discovered, displayed, and sold. It promises to transform art discovery the way Shazam transformed music discovery. 

Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation was one of the first institutions to adapt ArtPI.

The Barnes first analyzed its extensive collection, which includes a great number of impressionist works. The first round of AI-powered analysis by different computer vision platforms generated some unexpected results: In one instance, the content of the museum’s Renoirs was labeled as stuffed animals. However, once the museum’s works were inputted to ArtPI, some remarkable connections emerged. 

ArtPI detects features and patterns using overarching visual style characteristics based on art theory and history. Built from the ground up specifically for art and drawing on centuries of artworks, ArtPI can find visually similar works, label styles, and eras, recognize subject matter and artist and find connections within a large collection. 

For more information, read the article.

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