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Weekly News Digest

May 14, 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.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

OverDrive Professional Offers a Catalog for Corporate, Academic, and Law Libraries

OverDrive launched a new division, OverDrive Professional, for corporate, academic, and law libraries. “From course curriculum titles to supporting college students in their remote learning, to making professional development titles available to your employees no matter where they are, OverDrive Professional recognizes your organization’s unique reading needs and is here to help. … This is especially important during this time when students are finishing out their last few weeks of spring semester off-campus and employees across the country have pivoted to working from home.” Content comes from publishers such as Springer, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Princeton University Press, and Cengage.

For more information, read the news item.

COVID-19 NEWS: ALA Spearheads a Request to Congress for Library Funding

ALA released a letter signed by a coalition of more than 30 business, government, and education leaders that asks Congress to offer emergency aid to libraries impacted by COVID-19. The press release notes, “Libraries have suffered thousands of furloughs or layoffs due to COVID-19, according to the letter. Without federal assistance, more job losses are possible in the months ahead. The fiscal effects may impact future budgets, even as some areas begin to re-open and demand grows for library services.”

“These leaders from diverse sectors know that libraries are essential to America’s recovery,” says Wanda Brown, ALA’s president. “As communities plan for reopening, it would be counterproductive not to have libraries fully staffed and ready to help their communities recover.”

For more information, read the press release.  

'The "New Normal" Agenda for Librarianship' by R. David Lankes

R. David Lankes writes the following on his site:

This cannot be about trying to predict where things are going to shake out and then running to show our value in that world. It has to be about librarians fighting for social change based on our fundamental and enduring values. There is no doubt that the ‘how’ of libraries will change. I feel now (prepare for another cliché) more than ever the ‘why cannot.’

I will also emphasize that this is an agenda for the impact libraries should seek collectively. That is, it is not an agenda for how we run or operate libraries (though there will be obvious impacts). This is an agenda for libraries to work toward … a new normal in our communities. How we get there (open access, improved working [conditions] for library workers, new standards for library science education, etc.) is vital and important, but I feel separate.

As one example, we must lobby and work toward universal broadband. This comes from our enduring value of access to information. Yet the pandemic has shown us that the way libraries to this point have worked for universal access, that is by being internet points of connection with WiFi in our facilities or loaning out cellular hotspots is no longer enough. We have to leave our buildings and ensure real national resources and policy is in place so our provision of the internet in the library is completely irrelevant. A big change to how, but not to why.

For more information and to see the rest of Lankes’ agenda, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'BiblioCommons Launches New Features to Support Libraries in an Online-Only Environment'

BiblioCommons made updates across its platform to support libraries that are serving their communities from online. They include the following:
  • A new Online Resources template [on BiblioWeb], supporting the ability of libraries to use page builder to more easily and effectively promote the library’s online resources with images and visually appealing webpages. Just like all templates, libraries can add, edit and delete modules to give the page their own look-and-feel. …
  • BiblioEvents now supports the ability for staff to list an event’s location as virtual and not require an address. 
  • The ‘Access online’ filter is now pre-applied to all user searches [in BiblioCore], giving patrons immediate visibility of titles they’re able to borrow online without needing to wade through physical formats not currently available while the buildings are closed to the public. Library staff can control this option easily via the Library Administration panel, and turn it off when they are ready to re-open. Patrons can easily unapply the filter, if they want to browse the physical collections.

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: Thomson Reuters and NAMLE Teach How to Spot Misinformation

Thomson Reuters and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) joined forces to give teachers “classroom resources that will inspire relevant and rich discussion about media literacy. As part of these efforts, we are offering a podcast titled Slowing the Infodemic: How to Spot COVID-19 Misinformation [listen here or read the transcript here], as well as a companion short video [watch here or read the transcript here], infographic [view here], and classroom guide [view here] to teach media literacy skills through inquiry based learning. Using these resources, students will gain knowledge about the origin of common information we accept as fact, their role in accepting knowledge without inquiry, the process used by professional journalists to verify information, and the skills necessary to think critically about the media messages around them.”

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: Reopening Libraries in Denmark

Christian Lauersen writes the following on The Library Lab blog:

It feels both liberating, important and right to be reopening libraries slowly in Denmark at this time but also alerting and with a huge amount of respect for the situation and the safety of staff and citizens—that is our main priority. … I will as detailed as possible try to explain how we went about balancing safety with the reopening of some library services. …

I’ve described our actions of closing down in the blog post ‘Coronavirus and libraries: Staying safe and staying relevant’. … I collected a lot of [information about services] in the blog post ‘Never let a serious crisis go to waste”: Libraries transforming in the age of Corona’. …

I can not underline enough how important it is to involve staff in solutions like this—those are often the ones with the most practical know-how when it comes to core library business and it is them who will be in the front line when we roll the solutions out so they should have a big [say] in how it is done.

For more information, read the blog post.

ResearchGate and Wiley Enter Into a Cooperation Agreement

ResearchGate and Wiley are joining forces for a cooperation agreement that allows them “to explore ways in which Wiley and ResearchGate can collaborate to better support the needs of researchers through ResearchGate’s collaboration platform. Wiley and ResearchGate are committed to the protection of intellectual property rights for authors and publishers; and through this partnership, both companies will continue to support principled sharing of content while facilitating the discovery of and access to high-quality scholarly content for researchers.”

They intend to do the following:

  • Experiment with new models of journal article discovery to better serve the companies’ shared objective of advancing research communication and collaboration
  • Develop and share insights about the usage of Wiley content on the platform
  • Collaborate on educating users about their rights in relation to copyright-protected content by providing clear and relevant information about how and when they may share their journal articles on the network
  • Work to promptly identify and address any copyright-infringing public sharing of Wiley content on the ResearchGate platform

For more information, read the blog post.

'Millions of Historic Newspaper Images Get the Machine Learning Treatment at the Library of Congress' by Devin Coldewey

Devin Coldewey writes the following for TechCrunch:

A new effort from the Library of Congress has digitized and organized photos and illustrations from centuries of news using state of the art machine learning.

Led by Ben Lee, a researcher from the University of Washington occupying the Library’s “Innovator in Residence” position, the Newspaper Navigator collects and surfaces data from images from some 16 million pages of newspapers throughout American history. …

Using the initial human-powered work of outlining images and captions as training data, they built an AI agent that could do so on its own. After the usual tweaking and optimizing, they set it loose on the full Chronicling America database of newspaper scans.

‘It ran for 19 days nonstop—definitely the largest computing job I’ve ever run,’ said Lee. But the results are remarkable: millions of images spanning three centuries (from 1789 to 1963) and organized with metadata pulled from their own captions. The team describes their work in a paper you can read here.

For more information, read the article.

Thomson Reuters Versus ROSS Intelligence

Bob Ambrogi writes for LawSites, “In what could be a Goliath v. David legal battle, legal research giant Thomson Reuters has filed a lawsuit against legal research startup ROSS Intelligence alleging that it surreptitiously stole content from Westlaw to build its own competing legal research product.”

In an update, he continues, “ROSS says it had no need or desire to obtain Westlaw’s copyrighted material—releasing documents which it says prove this—and it suggests that the lawsuit is an anticompetitive tactic to prevent ROSS from obtaining new funding or merging with another company.”

For more information, read “Thomson Reuters Sues ROSS Intelligence Claiming Theft of Proprietary Data” and “ROSS Comes Out Swinging, Vows to Fight Thomson Reuters’ Lawsuit Alleging Data Theft.”

Annual Reviews Converts Select Journals to OA

Annual Reviews transferred the 2020 volume of the Annual Review of Political Science to OA, with all articles published under a CC BY license. In addition, back volumes dating from 1998 are freely available. Annual Reviews is in the middle of a pilot program for Subscribe to Open. The Annual Review of Cancer Biology and the Annual Review of Public Health were made OA as part of this program earlier in 2020.

According to the press release, “Subscribe to Open is a solution for sustainable open access publishing that provides an alternative to article processing charges (APCs), the mechanism used by most open access journals. It uses existing library relationships and subscription purchases to convert gated journals to open access. Institutions simply continue to subscribe—there are no additional processes—and as long as subscription revenues are maintained, the year’s volume is published open access and the back volumes are made freely available.”

For more information, read the press release.

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