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Weekly News Digest

March 17, 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.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'PBS Responds to Coronavirus Pandemic With Programming and Online Content to Keep Americans Informed and Support Families and Educators'

PBS announced that it will present “a collection of programs and resources with timely and relevant information on the spread of the virus. Content includes a new primetime program, CONFRONTING CORONAVIRUS: A PBS NEWSHOUR SPECIAL,which features interviews with officials and a virtual town hall with curated questions from across the nation; an upcoming documentary, FRONTLINE ‘Coronavirus Pandemic,’ on the government’s response to the outbreak; and a new episode of PBS Digital Studios’ IT’S OKAY TO BE SMART focused on the prevention of spreading germs.”

For more information and detailed programming descriptions, read the blog post.

COVID-19 NEWS: Academic Libraries Compile Lists of Companies Offering Free Resources

With more and more colleges and universities going online-only due to COVID-19, vendors are stepping up to support libraries during this difficult time. For example, Kanopy noted in an announcement that the company “recognizes that academic libraries are facing administrative and financial difficulties in light of the health and safety precautions associated with Covid-19. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the virus. One thing that remains unwavering is Kanopy’s commitment to helping our library partners get through this period.”

So how can you keep up with the many changes and opportunities for students and faculty (and the public at large) during this time? Many university libraries are tracking offers from companies and presenting them in tabular formats to make it easier for anyone to see what is available.

Here are three of the key lists that have been developed by libraries:

Feel free to check with your local colleges or email offers as more vendors work to help through this crisis by making their resources available to support libraries and learning.

—Nancy Herther, NewsBreaks author

COVID-19 NEWS: 'ALA Executive Director Tracie Hall Releases Statement on COVID-19'

On March 13, Tracie Hall, ALA’s executive director, said the following:

We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 developments. We know that in times of crisis, libraries of all kinds play invaluable roles in supporting their communities both in person and virtually. We are stewards of accurate information. We connect library users with local public health resources and services. Libraries can be key partners in empowering members of our community to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

ALA is continually updating this resource page for the library community about pandemic prevention, including guidance on disinfecting workplaces and what individual staff and their library users can do to reduce risk of contagion. …

Libraries should follow local health department and CDC guidelines about whether to remain open during the pandemic. …

Libraries and librarians are trusted information specialists, and we can play a role in not only slowing the spread of the disease but also the spread of misinformation. Point library users to vital websites like the World Health Organization, CDC, local public health websites, and other trusted sources. Consider putting up COVID-19 resources on your library’s home page (see, for example, Seattle Public Library’s digital response.) Ensure that library users and non-users alike know about the valuable resources libraries have to offer, such as support for teachers and students engaging in online instruction; access to hotspots, eBooks, subscriptions to online magazines and news sources; and curated lists to COVID-19 news and examples of best-practice responses.

For the rest of the statement, click here.

Macmillan Cancels Its Ebook Embargo; ALA Responds

Publishers Weekly (PW) reports, “In a surprise announcement today, Macmillan abandoned its controversial embargo on new release e-books in libraries, effective this week.” The article continues:

‘There are times in life when differences should be put aside,’ reads a brief memo from Macmillan CEO John Sargent addressed to librarians, authors, illustrators, and agents. ‘Effective on Friday (or whenever thereafter our wholesalers can effect the change), Macmillan will return to the library e-book pricing model that was in effect on October 31st, 2019. In addition, we will be lowering some e-book prices on a short term basis to help expand [libraries’] collections in these difficult times. Stay safe.’

A Macmillan spokesperson confirmed that the removal of the embargo covers all titles, including new release Tor titles (which were technically still under a ‘test’ embargo on October 31, 2019).

ALA’s director of public policy and government relations, Alan Inouye, issued a statement: “Equitable access to digital content is more important than ever as libraries continue to serve their communities amid rapidly changing circumstances. Macmillan’s return to its original lending terms signals a new starting point for all publishers to consider how they can work with libraries to ensure—and expand— access for all readers. ALA looks forward to working with publishers to make that happen.”

For more information, read the PW article and the ALA press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: ARL's 'The Contribution Research Libraries Are Making'

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) published a reflection on the way research libraries provide assistance in times of crisis. It states:

COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic for most of us. Research libraries have rapidly responded to the shifting needs of their communities and worked collectively to adapt, alongside public health officials, senior administrators, and city officials, as well as research communities. In our favor, technological advancements have made information more easily accessible than ever before, and global collaboration is already part of everyday research. …

Research libraries work with public policy and institutional decision-makers to ensure research integrity, open access, and intellectual property rights so that critical information is available as needed. For decades, ARL members have worked to provide equitable public access to trustworthy knowledge. …

As new knowledge about COVID-19 emerges and as the number of reported cases spreads, research libraries are partnering with scholars and with senior administrators in federal agencies, cities, and higher education to ensure their expertise and the information they provide is available. Particularly as students in the United States leave for spring break, as students in their final year continue with graduation plans, and as scholars and researchers necessarily continue their investigations or dive deeply into solving this emergency, research librarians and staff are quickly moving to optimize their services.

For more information, read the news item.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Coronavirus-Impacted Libraries Get Unlimited Access to Ebook Central Holdings'

ProQuest joined forces with 50-plus publishers “to support libraries in providing unlimited access to Ebook Central holdings for all patrons—at no extra charge. … ProQuest Ebook Central customers impacted by COVID-19 will get unlimited access to all owned titles from these publishers through mid-June. This means that all licenses—including single-user and three-user models—will automatically convert to unlimited access during that period, helping librarians bridge the gap for their patrons in this rapidly changing environment. The unlimited access also applies to additional titles purchased through mid-June.”

For more information and the list of participating publishers, read the blog post.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Resources From Gale on COVID-19'

Gale’s SVP and general manager, Paul Gazzolo, writes the following:

To support librarians and educators as they navigate a rapid shift to virtual learning and across many communities, the physical closure of libraries, we have launched a COVID-19 resource center. Though this online hub is quickly evolving, you can immediately start using and sharing, for free:

  • Interdisciplinary, curriculum-aligned resources to support online learning from pre-K through undergraduate
  • Live and on-demand training materials to help you optimize your existing resources
  • Professional development eBooks to help transition to and strengthen virtual learning
  • Authoritative Gale resources on health-related topics and global issues

For more information, read the blog post.

COVID-19 NEWS: PR Daily's 'Why COVID-19 Should Prompt Questions About Cybersecurity'

PR Daily notes the following:

For many employees, telework is not a new concept, but for entire organizations, this level of remote work is unprecedented. We are seeing companies update their policies to reflect the current landscape and ramp up contingency plans.

During this crisis, it’s essential that organizations do not overlook the importance of cybersecurity when establishing business continuity measures.

Telework opens up a whole new world of security vulnerabilities, especially for groups whose infrastructure was not built with significant remote access capabilities in mind. …

As cybercriminals continue to use the coronavirus as an opportunity for malicious cyber activity and more and more employees begin working from home, communicators must advocate for good cyber hygiene.

For more information, read the article.

Adam Matthew Publishes Digital Archive on Victorian Britain

Adam Matthew released Poverty, Philanthropy and Social Conditions in Victorian Britain, its newest primary source collection. The press release notes the following:

With material drawn from the British Library, the National Archives, UK and the Family Welfare Association Library housed at Senate House Library, UK, this unique collection offers insight and perspective on welfare reform and the social tensions surrounding poverty at the time.

Highlights include documents from the Charity Organisation Society concerning the work of leading Victorian social reformers, the periodicals of Settlement Houses at the forefront of the movement to integrate social classes, and official correspondence from Poor Law Assistant Commissioners and Inspectors which benefits from the application of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. Notable figures mentioned in documents and sources include Edwin Chadwick, Charles Booth, Octavia Hill, Thomas Malthus, Louisa Twining and Keir Hardie.

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'ASIS&T Authors Examine the Role of Information During a Global Health Crisis'

The Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) published “Global Health Crises Are Also Information Crises: A Call to Action,” which makes recommendations on these topics:
  • Misinformation/disinformation particularly during global health crises
  • Health literacy—including eHealth literacy
  • Information behavior during lock downs
  • Vulnerable populations—a case for accessible and usable solutions
  • Information dissemination, sharing, and integration among multiple forms of digital data
  • eHealth tools
  • Predictive methods
  • Digital archiving
  • Ethical considerations

In addition, ASIS&T created a discussion forum on its iConnect site “where members can exchange perspectives and research” relating to the current situation. 

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Elsevier Gives Full Access to Its Content on Its COVID-19 Information Center for PubMed Central Ö'

Elsevier announced that it “is making all its research and data content on its COVID-19 Information Center available to PubMed Central, the archive of biomedical and lifescience at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, and other publicly funded repositories globally, such as the WHO COVID database, for as long as needed while the public health emergency is ongoing. This additional access allows researchers to use artificial intelligence to keep up with the rapidly growing body of literature and identify trends as countries around the world address this global health crisis.”

For more information, read the press release.

RBmedia Acquires GraphicAudio for Enhanced Audiobook Production

RBmedia, “a global leader in spoken audio content and digital media distribution technology,” acquired GraphicAudio, which produces dramatized audio content that features “a full cast of actors, sound effects, and cinematic music.” It has more than 1,300 titles across 150 series in genres such as action/adventure, science fiction/fantasy, and westerns. Marvel and DC Comics have partnered with the company to produce titles.

“GraphicAudio’s unique ability to deliver high-quality, fully immersive audio experiences and original scripted works is unparalleled,” says Tom MacIsaac, RBmedia’s CEO. “Since RBmedia is the largest producer of audiobooks in the world, the combination of the two organizations will enable us to expand the application of this innovative audio storytelling approach and bring it to many partners and consumers globally.”

For more information, read the press release.

Wiley Acquires Madgex to Expand Career Center Services

Wiley acquired Madgex, which provides “advanced job board software and career center services.” According to the press release, “Madgex has been a long-standing partner to Wiley starting with the company’s first career center service, the Wiley Job Network, in 2011. Since then, the expertise and software provided by Madgex have helped drive the evolution of Wiley’s recruitment services, connecting skilled professionals and researchers with open job opportunities. With Madgex’s innovative job board technology and career center services and Wiley’s expertise delivering value for societies and publishers, Wiley has become the only provider to offer full-service solutions, including technology and sales, for societies.”

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: OverDrive's 'No Cost and Low-Cost Ebook and Audiobook Collections for Your Community'

OverDrive posted an alert for public libraries stating the following:

As mentioned last week, due to COVID-19 we have been assembling no cost and low-cost digital book collections. Our goal is to supply catalogs of high-quality titles for readers of all ages. This is the first of a series of alerts that will be issued. We will update here and at OverDrive Marketplace as additional publishers confirm permissions and pricing for low or no cost collections. …

We are also reminding our partners of some proven best practices to maximize circs and trying to keep up with patron demand during this time:

  • Curate Simultaneous Use and Cost-Per-Circ content
  • Create a Lucky Day collection
  • Shop our Marketplace sales
  • Create an Always Available collection or room
  • No school? Encourage parents and kids to check out Read-Alongs
  • Raise your checkout and/or hold limit
  • Raise the default lending period if lower than 21 days
  • Suspend card blocks
  • Use social media to let your community know about Instant Digital Card
  • Don’t have IDC? Talk to your Account Manager to add it

For more information, read the alert.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Working From Home: Your Common Challenges and How to Tackle Them'

Steve Ranger writes the following for ZDNet:

There’s plenty that both staff and managers can do to make this period of working from home a better experience for everyone involved. And to really understand how to work remotely most effectively, it’s worth heeding the experience of people who’ve been doing it more regularly and for longer than most of us. …

Knowing where the problems with working from home can occur means we can be better prepared to avoid them ourselves during this period of unexpected WFH. Here’s a rundown of the biggest challenges [that have been] identified, with a few ideas for how to dodge them.

For more information and to see the challenges, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: '9 Strategies for Working Remotely During the Coronavirus'

Harvard Business Review is offering a free guide via Owler, “9 Strategies for Working Remotely During the Coronavirus,” which is designed to “help team members continue to collaborate effectively and meet deadlines.”

Owler notes, “This guide offers nine strategies for helping team members continue to collaborate effectively and meet deadlines. They involve spelling out the goals and roles repeatedly as circumstances require changes, making an extra effort to stay personally connected with people so they don’t feel disconnected and lonely, and acquainting team members with each other’s work environments and their constraints.”

For more information, read the announcement.

COVID-19 NEWS: ByWater Solutions' 'Preparing for Library Closures'

ByWater Solutions issued a guide for its customers on how to deal with library closures using Koha, sharing what libraries can do on their own and ways ByWater Solutions can help. Headings include Changes to Existing Checkouts, Automatic Renewal, Marking the Library Closed on the Calendar, System Preferences, and Notices.

For more information, read the news item.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'JoVE Offers Free Access to Extensive STEM Education Video Library to Aid Remote Teaching & Learning Ö'

JoVE is providing “free access to all its educational video content through June 15, 2020.” The content includes the following:
  • JoVE Core—a video textbook that isolates and visually presents core concepts in Biology and Social Psychology to improve learning comprehension. 
  • JoVE Science Education—a collection of simple, easy-to-understand video demonstrations in eight STEM fields
  • Lab Manualcomprehensive, curriculum focused videos for introductory biology lab courses

Those interested in these resources can fill out this form or email In addition, JoVE has created a Coronavirus Free Access Resource Center.

For more information, read the blog post.

COVID-19 NEWS: ITI's Computers in Libraries Is Postponed

Information Today, Inc. (ITI), NewsBreaks’ publisher, announced that its Computers in Libraries conference, which was scheduled for March 31–April 2, 2020, in Arlington, Va., has been postponed. ITI issued the following notice:

For the last several weeks, we have been monitoring the coronavirus outbreak hoping it was possible to hold Computers in Libraries 2020 on schedule and safely. However, with the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19 as well as recent developments within the last 24-hours, including the governor of Virginia declaring a state of emergency, Information Today, Inc. has decided to postpone the event. 

Out of an abundance of caution, we believe this is the best decision to ensure the health and safety of our community of attendees, speakers, and exhibitors, as well as our own staff. 

We are currently in discussions with the Hyatt Regency Crystal City to evaluate all available options to hold Computers in Libraries later this year. We expect these discussions to continue for the next few weeks and will reach out to all registered participants once a final decision has been made. 

For more information, read the notice.

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