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Weekly News Digest

February 6, 2020 — 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.

LucideaCore Products Get Annotations Feature

Lucidea rolled out a new Annotation feature for all of its LucideaCore products. Administrators can use it to mark up images with multiple annotations and allow for comments, all of which are searchable. Argus and ArchivEra users will find it especially beneficial for doing museum conservation work.

According to the press release, “The Annotation screen renders an image of the object, and when there is something to note, e.g., (in a museum or archives) small dents, water damage, and so on, there are options to circle it and label it using radio buttons to select rectangles and circles that can be resized. The colors can be changed so that the annotation shows up well against the image background.”

For more information, read the press release.

B&N Stumbles With Plan for 'Diverse' Covers of Classic Titles

Barnes & Noble announced, and then quickly unannounced, that in honor of Black History Month, it partnered with Penguin Random House to release a “collection of classic books with new culturally diverse covers” at its Fifth Avenue, New York, location. The 12 titles in the collection—including Moby Dick, The Secret Garden, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Treasure Island, and Frankenstein—have covers that are “designed to ensure the recognition, representation, and inclusion of various multiethnic backgrounds reflected across the country. [They] are a part of a new initiative to champion diversity in literature.”

The backlash explaining why this is a terrible idea was swift and pointed, and led Barnes & Noble to “suspend the initiative,” effective immediately. Click on each tweet below to see more about the feedback Barnes & Noble has been getting.

ARL Shares Information on Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2020

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announced that Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2020 will be Feb. 24–28. It “is a time to promote and discuss the opportunities presented, celebrate successful stories, and explain the doctrines” associated with fair use (U.S.) and fair dealing (Canada and other jurisdictions). ARL suggests the following ways to participate:
  • Write a blog post.
  • Publish an op-ed.
  • Host a live panel at your campus, institution, or organization.
  • Host a webcast or webinar.
  • Create a video.
  • Publicize fair use/dealing on social media using the hashtag #fairuseweek. (On Twitter, you can also follow and tag @fairuseweek.)
  • Write to your member of Congress highlighting the importance of fair use and how you, your members, or institution/organization rely on fair use.
  • Create resources or share existing resources. (See for a great collection of resources developed during past Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week celebrations.)

For more information, read the news item.

Cengage and McGraw-Hill Extend Merger Agreement Amid Delay

Lindsay McKenzie writes for Inside Higher Ed, “Publishers McGraw-Hill Education and Cengage … announced they are extending their merger agreement. The agreement was due to expire Feb. 1 if the two companies had not merged by that date. The agreement has now been extended to May 1.” The U.S. Department of Justice is still deciding whether to approve the merger, and other countries’ authorities have “raised concerns about the deal.”

Additionally, “several [U.S.] consumer advocacy groups have criticized the potential merger, which they say could raise prices for students. College bookstores have also opposed the deal. A spokesperson for both companies refuted these concerns, saying the merger ‘will allow us to offer students even more value and more affordable textbooks and course materials.’” 

For more information, read the article.

ALA Speaks Out Against Recent Altered Photos in Archives

ALA published a statement “in response to reports that trusted cultural institutions have altered or excluded photographs from exhibits that included protest signs unflattering to our current administration.” It states:

The American Library Association has long affirmed that any alteration, deletion, or editing of materials held by a library or archives, when done for the purpose of avoiding controversy or concealing the truth, is an act of censorship that is inconsistent with ALA’s core values. We call on all institutions and those who work for them to resist such censorship in conformity with ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and its Interpretation on the Expurgation of Library Resources, and express our deep concern about recent claims that historic photographs have been altered or excluded by libraries and institutions charged with preserving these materials.

For more information, read the press release.

University of California Provides Update on Publisher Negotiations

The University of California (UC)–Davis provided an update on its negotiations with Elsevier and other publishers. In addition, a “UC-wide poll is underway to gauge the impact of the loss of immediate access to current Elsevier publishing content via ScienceDirect.”

There is a full webpage at UC–Davis dedicated to the UC-Elsevier negotiations. The campus stakeholders “are hopeful … the publisher is ready to discuss deals that align with UC’s goals.”

As for other publishers, “UC is in cordial negotiations with Wiley and Springer Nature to renew contracts that expired Dec. 31.” In addition, the university signed its first agreements with a society publisher and a native OA publisher. And “UC’s first transformative open access agreement, with Cambridge University Press, is now fully in effect.”

For more information and the rest of the deals updates, read the news item.

W3C Publishes Media User Experience Working Drafts

The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Media Working Group released the first public working drafts of the following specifications:
  • Media Capabilities defines APIs to allow websites to make an optimal decision for decoding, encoding, and rendering when picking media content for the user.
  • Picture-in-Picture allows websites to create a floating video window always on top of other windows so that users may continue consuming media while they interact with other content sites or applications on their device.
  • The Media Session Standard enables web developers to show customized media metadata on platform UI [user interface], customize available platform media controls, and access platform media keys such as hardware keys found on keyboards, headsets, remote controls, and software keys found in notification areas and on lock screens of mobile devices.

For more information, read the news item.

'It Wasn't Just the National Archives. The Library of Congress Also Balked at a Women's March Photo.' by Joe Heim

Joe Heim writes for The Washington Post, “The Library of Congress [LC] abandoned plans last year to showcase a mural-size photograph of demonstrators at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington because of concerns it would be perceived as critical of President Trump, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.”

Heim continues:

The library’s decision is the second-known instance of a federal government institution acting to prevent images it determined to be critical of Trump from being shown to the public. The National Archives said two weeks ago it made a mistake when it blurred out anti-Trump signs from a large photograph, also of the 2017 Women’s March but by a different photographer, that it displayed at the entrance of its exhibit on the history of women’s suffrage in the United States. The Archives has since removed the altered image and replaced it with the original. …

According to [LC spokesperson April] Slayton, the library’s exhibition team decided instead to use an image from the Women’s March in Houston that ‘represents the contemporary women’s movement without the vulgar language included in the original image.’ The largest visible sign in the replacement photo says, ‘Fight Like A Girl.’ …

‘People at these institutions were clearly scrambling to present a revisionist view of the Women’s March that wouldn’t get them in trouble with the current administration,’ Rinku Sen, co-president of the Women’s March board of directors, said in an email. ‘But, let us be clear: removing the anti-Trump references from images or choosing an image without such a reference obscures the fact that the Women’s March was a pointed oppositional action, not just a sweet expression of women’s empowerment. Public institutions have a responsibility to present us accurately.’

For more information, read the article.

'How Museums Are Deepening Their Commitments to Native American Perspectives'

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation published a blog post touting its role in helping to “diversify the pipeline of future cultural heritage and museum professionals; ensure that cultural heritage preservation is approached with care and expertise that increasingly centers Native communities and traditions; and ensure the passage of those traditions across generations.”

The post continues:

The Heard [Museum in Arizona] and PEM [Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts] fellowships are two examples [described in this post] among a group of Mellon grants to museums in the US with collections of Native American art. The Foundation has supported the re-installation of the Hall of Native North America at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago; a full-time Native Arts curatorial position at the Denver Art Museum; and undergraduate curriculum development for a concentration in Native American and Indigenous studies at Brown University, in Providence, among other initiatives. …

While the number of Native American museums and cultural centers has tripled over the past 30 years, there remains a dearth of curators, directors, and others in leadership roles who identify as Native American.

For more information, read the blog post.

Apple News Provides a Comprehensive U.S. Presidential Election Guide

The Apple News app introduced special coverage of the 2020 U.S. presidential election from all political viewpoints, including real-time election results for each state primary, a national map tracking candidate wins by state, and a delegate tracker for candidates’ progress toward a nomination. There is a guide to each presidential candidate, featuring biographies, notable moments and quotes, current positions on key issues, and recent media coverage. Additional resources include primers on topics such as foreign affairs, income inequality, immigration, and healthcare and a news literacy guide that aims to help readers identify misinformation online.

The curated content comes from dozens of trusted news sources, such as NBC News, CNN, FiveThirtyEight, Fox News, ProPublica, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Reuters.

For more information, read the press release.

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