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Weekly News Digest

June 18, 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.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Libraries Get Creative About Reopening as Budget Cuts Loom'

Cailin Crowe writes the following for Smart Cities Dive:

The San Antonio Public Library is one of many U.S. libraries grappling with how to provide essential services—like computer and internet access—amid cities’ reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is being done through the implementation of new health and safety protocols; phasing the reopening of operations; sanitizing materials; deep cleaning interiors and requiring social distancing for patrons. 

Libraries are also preparing to adjust budgets for what could be a dramatic reduction in funding in the next fiscal year. …

According to a May American [Library] Association survey, 62% of libraries are fully closed; 26% are open for curbside pickup; 11% have other limited access policies; and 1% are fully open. Thirty-seven percent of libraries said they anticipate reopening in June or July. 

The most urgent needs among patrons for the next six months are anticipated to be access to physical materials (64%), public access to computers and the internet (60%), and job search and government application support (60%). …

Social distancing guidelines, however, have made it difficult for librarians to aid patrons who lack sufficient computer skills. The Morton-James Library in Nebraska City, NE, which has a budget of roughly $1 million, made its computers available at the onset of the pandemic. But the library decided to cancel the service after about a month as some patrons required assistance that would impede social distancing guidelines, library director Donna Kruse told Smart Cities Dive. …

The City of Dallas, which anticipates a $25 million budget gap, has already furloughed 187 of its 400 library employees. Meanwhile, the City of San Antonio, which is currently in the budget development process for the next fiscal year, anticipates its budget to fall by $200 million

For more information, read the article.

'APA Urges Closer Partnerships Between Police, Behavioral Experts to Stem Racial Incidents'

The American Psychological Association (APA) is supporting “measures aimed at decreasing racial bias in policing and the criminal justice system, including a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds, involving psychologists in multidisciplinary teams to implement police reforms, and encouraging private/public partnerships between mental health organizations and local law enforcement.”

CEO and EVP Arthur C. Evans Jr. provided written testimony to the House Committee on the Judiciary saying the following:

Psychological research shows that a key factor shaping whether people obey the law is whether they trust the law and legal authorities. Studies of the police indicate that whether people break the law is more strongly shaped by whether people trust the police than by whether people believe that they are likely to be caught and punished if they break the law. Distrust also makes controlling crime increasingly difficult because it lowers the willingness of community members to help the police solve crimes or identify criminals.

Evans shared the changes APA recommends implementing in the criminal justice system and among police departments, including promoting community policing, investing in crisis intervention teams, and increasing the number of mental health professionals in law enforcement agencies.

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Temporary National Emergency Library to Close 2 Weeks Early '

The Internet Archive made the following statement (in part):

Within a few days of the announcement that libraries, schools and colleges across the nation would be closing due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we launched the temporary National Emergency Library [NEL] to provide books to support emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation during the closures. 

We have heard hundreds of stories from librarians, authors, parents, teachers, and students about how the NEL has filled an important gap during this crisis. …

Today [June 10] we are announcing the National Emergency Library will close on June 16th, rather than June 30th, returning to traditional controlled digital lending. We have learned that the vast majority of people use digitized books on the Internet Archive for a very short time. …

We moved up our schedule because, last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic. However, this lawsuit is not just about the temporary National Emergency Library. The complaint attacks the concept of any library owning and lending digital books, challenging the very idea of what a library is in the digital world. This lawsuit stands in contrast to some academic publishers who initially expressed concerns about the NEL, but ultimately decided to work with us to provide access to people cut off from their physical schools and libraries. We hope that similar cooperation is possible here, and the publishers call off their costly assault.

For more information, read the blog post. View additional context from The New York Times here.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'While Library Buildings Are Closed, Collaborative Digital Library Ensures Access to Books for Research, Study'

Jessica Aiwuyor writes the following for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL):

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures of college campuses this spring, faculty and students lost access to the printed books and journals in their libraries. Fortunately, a decade-long initiative by research libraries to scan and preserve these materials means many books and journals continue to be available for research and study during this online-only period.

HathiTrust Digital Library, a nonprofit collaborative of academic and research libraries, preserves digitized versions of printed books, journals, and other publications. It provides computational access to all of the scanned materials for scholarly research, as well as offering reading access ‘to the fullest extent allowable by US copyright law.’ Of the 17 million items in the library, about 6.5 million volumes are in the public domain and available to all users in the United States.

On March 31, 2020, the collaborative rolled out an Emergency Temporary Access Service that makes it possible for member library patrons to read digital materials in HathiTrust that correspond to physical materials held by their own library. Students and faculty at participating institutions can log in to HathiTrust Digital Library and check out copyrighted books for online reading through renewable one-hour loans. …

‘As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts access to our physical books, we are seeing a strong return on donor and campus investments in the Library’s initiative to digitize materials in our print collections,’ said Virginia Steel, UCLA’s university librarian. ‘We have steadily worked over the past decade to be remote-ready, and this includes forming strategic partnerships with organizations such as HathiTrust.’

For more information, read the news item.

ProQuest Updates Its Platform to Improve Discoverability of Library Resources

ProQuest announced that it “is improving the accessibility of subscription and open access content on its award-winning platform with a series of enhancements designed to boost research, teaching and learning outcomes. … These enhancements are a major step toward improving discoverability, simplifying access for distance learning, and driving more users to their library’s subscribed content.” Now available automatically for ProQuest users, they include the following:
  • A new starting point for research: Now, users can begin their search from the open web by visiting Through their search results, they’ll be delivered straight to the resources their library subscribes to.
  • New preview feature: Users can search, find and preview the content of nearly a billion ProQuest documents directly from the open web for better discoverability.
  • Broader discovery of open access content: Researchers can access an ever-expanding universe of scholarly full-text open access sources directly—all indexed and delivered with the same level of quality and precision as ProQuest’s subscription content.

“We know that many users, especially undergraduates, start their search on the open web,” says Chris Burghardt, ProQuest’s VP of product management. “These enhancements increase access points and expose students, faculty and researchers to their library’s resources, ensuring that they never miss what they’re looking for.”

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: Academic Libraries Will Be 'Changed, Changed Utterly'

Christopher Cox writes the following for Inside Higher Ed:

With discussions now occurring about reopening campuses, academic libraries face a paradigm shift. Instead of returning to normal, librarians will be returning to a ‘new normal’—one where in-person classes and service interactions may be impossible or no longer preferred, where collections in physical format may be a barrier to access, and where collaborative study is shunned in favor of social distancing in buildings that can only safely house half the people they used to. How can we leverage this crisis to create new and innovative collections and services to improve our campus communities?

[Here] are some of my predictions, based on trend analysis, of how the landscape of academic libraries may change in terms of collections, services, spaces and operations, in hopes they inspire new thinking and continued dialogue.

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Libraries Are Needed More Than Ever. But Many Aren't Sure How to Reopen '

Kameel Stanley writes the following for USA TODAY:

Just 37% of libraries plan to reopen by July, according to a recently released survey from the American Library Association. Nearly half of the nation’s libraries—47%—do not have plans to reopen their doors to the public anytime soon, according to the association, which surveyed 3,800 libraries from all 50 states in May. 

Librarians and library patrons say it is an especially difficult time for libraries to be closed, with many school systems closed to students who might not have internet access at home and more than 44.2 million Americans filing jobless claims, many of whom would normally be able to seek assistance at their local library branch.

‘We all think of nurses and doctors as the first responders during the pandemic. And I would say that that’s absolutely true. They are the first responders—on health,’ said Susan Benton, head of the research-focused Urban Libraries Council. ‘Public libraries are the first responders on the recovery.’ …

The first phase is likely to be a restart of book lending that’s curbside or contactless. Next, there could be limited in-person browsing and building visits. Third, there will likely be more open access to visit, meet and congregate within buildings.

Most libraries say they’re planning to step up cleaning and require masks by staff and the public.

‘I won’t pretend that we aren’t apprehensive about aspects of this. We are. But we have to bear in mind how much the library means to a number of people,’ said Waller McGuire, CEO of St. Louis City Public Library. ‘I know that we’re not a hospital and we’re not a grocery, but we’re a vital service.’ …

By the middle of June, five of the St. Louis’ libraries will open portions of their buildings for limited browsing. Less than 20 people will be allowed inside at one time, and there will be a 15-minute limit. 

‘I know that everyone is anxious to return to a familiar, comfortable world, but we’re just not there yet,’ McGuire said.

For more information, read the article.

Kudos Teams With Impact Science for Multimedia Research Resources

Kudos joined forces with Impact Science, a CACTUS brand, to “help researchers—and other stakeholders such as research project managers and communications leads—with creating and disseminating research summaries in high-engagement formats such as videos, infographics, visual abstracts, and smart posters.” Their partnership “further expands the support that Kudos can offer researchers, adding a comprehensive menu of services that covers editorial support, multimedia production, media outreach, social media, digital marketing, and impact training and consultancy.”

“The movement towards new ways of communicating research is accelerating, particularly as we now grapple with a fast-changing environment, where multiple stakeholder understanding and collaboration is needed. Impact Science and Kudos are closely aligned in their ambitions for expanding the formats and channels researchers use to improve the visibility of their work, and to grow their network,” says Melinda Kenneway, Kudos’ CEO.

For more information, read the blog post.

Springer Nature Signs Important OA Deal With the University of California

Springer Nature and the University of California entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for a transformative OA agreement—the largest one in North America to date and Springer Nature’s first in the U.S. Springer Nature notes, “The agreement will accelerate OA research in the US and make US-funded research more visible, usable, reusable and reproducible around the world more quickly. It will enable all UC researchers to publish OA in Springer Nature’s portfolio of over 2200 hybrid journals as well as in over 500 Springer Nature fully OA journals, including those in the BMC portfolio. It also provides reading access to all journals in the Springer portfolio which represents over 1000 additional new titles, delivering benefits to librarians and researchers.”

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Google Maps Rolls Out COVID-19 Transit Alerts'

Aimee Chanthadavong reports the following for ZDNet:

Google has rolled out a number of new transit features aimed at helping users travel safely via car or public transport as countries begin to reopen following closures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the latest release of the Google Maps on Android and iOS, Google Map users will receive alerts about whether travel will be affected by any COVID-19 restrictions, such as the requirement to wear a mask on public transport or if there are COVID-19 checkpoints or restrictions along the driving route.

‘Getting from A to B can be more complicated these days. Because of COVID-19, it’s increasingly important to know how crowded a train station might be at a particular time or whether the bus is running on a limited schedule,’ Google Maps product management director Ramesh Nagarajan wrote in a blog post.

‘Having this information before and during your trip is critical for both essential workers who need to safely navigate to work and will become more important for everyone as countries around the world begin to reopen.’

For more information, read the article.

MIT Abandons OA Negotiations With Elsevier

MIT announced the following:

Standing by its commitment to provide equitable and open access to scholarship, MIT has ended negotiations with Elsevier for a new journals contract. Elsevier was not able to present a proposal that aligned with the principles of the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts

Developed by the MIT Libraries in collaboration with the Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research and the Committee on the Library System in October 2019, the MIT Framework is grounded in the conviction that openly sharing research and educational materials is key to the Institute’s mission of advancing knowledge and bringing that knowledge to bear on the world’s greatest challenges. It affirms the overarching principle that control of scholarship and its dissemination should reside with scholars and their institutions, and aims to ensure that scholarly research outputs are openly and equitably available to the broadest possible audience, while also providing valued services to the MIT community. 

‘I am disappointed that we were not able to reach a contract with Elsevier that honors the principles of the MIT Framework, but I am proud knowing that the MIT community—as well as hundreds of colleagues across the country—stand by the importance of these principles for advancing the public good and the progress of science,’ said Chris Bourg, director of the MIT Libraries. ‘In the face of these unprecedented global challenges, equitable and open access to knowledge is more critical than ever.’ …

‘We hope to be able to resume productive negotiations if and when Elsevier is able to provide a contract that reflects our community’s needs and values and advances MIT’s mission,’ said Bourg. ‘In the meantime, we will continue to use the framework to pursue new paths to achieving open access to knowledge.’

For more information, read the press release.

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