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Weekly News Digest

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

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

TLC Integrates Syndetics Unbound Into its Library Management Software

As of the latest release of Library•Solution, the Library Corp. (TLC) is incorporating ProQuest’s Syndetics Unbound catalog enrichment resource into the software “with a deliberate and unique integration, leveraging the enriched elements for both patron discovery and staff usability.” LS2 PAC, the integrated discovery layer in Library•Solution, “will begin incorporating Syndetics Unbound content with an additional multi-tiered subscription service. … TLC has ensured that … the content supports the existing design and functionality of the catalog—as opposed to being displayed in one central location.” Syndetics Unbound subscribers can view additional Unbound content inside the LS2 Cataloging feature before a record is saved locally.

“The exposed content within LS2 Cataloging allows staff to review a title’s content before the record is saved to the database and displayed to their borrowers,” says Sarah Simmons, a TLC product manager. “We then went further, providing staff with functionality that allows them to report missing or incorrect content directly to Syndetics Unbound on their own, cutting out the reporting middle-man altogether.”

For more information, read the press release.

UNESCO's AI Draft Recommendation Is Available for Public Comment

UNESCO introduced “a global online consultation on the ethics of artificial intelligence, to give everyone around the world the opportunity to participate in the work of its international group of experts on AI. This group has been charged with producing the first draft of a Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, to be submitted to UNESCO Member States for adoption in November 2021. If adopted, it will be the first global normative instrument to address the developments and applications of AI.”

This draft UNESCO Recommendation is available for comment until July 31, 2020, by civil society organizations, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, media representatives, the scientific community, and other stakeholders, as well as the general public.

“It is crucial that as many people as possible take part in this consultation, so that voices from around the world can be heard during the drafting process for the first global normative instrument on the ethics of AI,” says Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO.

For more information, read the news item.

EveryLibrary Details the Plans for its Library Advocacy and Funding Conference

EveryLibrary announced that its Library Advocacy and Funding Conference (LAFCON), to be held online Sept. 14–16, 2020, will have all pre-recorded sessions to make it easier for anyone around the world to view them at any time of day. This will also make the sessions more accessible, with the on-demand videos having closed captioning in a number of languages, as well as less prone to the technological glitches that sometimes happen live.

There are three ways to experience the conference throughout its three days: viewing the entirety of the sessions from beginning to end, following one of the tracks (e.g., the digital organizing strategies track), or choosing a selection of sessions in any order. Attendees, presenters, and sponsors can visit the conference’s Slack channel to engage in real-time and asynchronous discussions.

Register here. For more information, read the news item.


Adam Matthew Rolls Out Archive on British Society in the 1980s

Adam Matthew introduced the first module of its primary source collection, Mass Observation Project: 1981-2009. This social history archive, digitized for the first time, covers topics such as Thatcherism and the AIDS crisis, events such as the royal wedding of Charles and Diana, and “mundane” everyday life in the U.K. According to Adam Matthew, “Mass Observation Project is the 1981 revival of the original Mass Observation, first launched in 1937. The aim of the project was, and remains, to document the social history of the United Kingdom through the personal responses to a diverse selection of topics, sent in by ‘mass observers’ located across the country. The Mass Observation Archive is now held at the University of Sussex, and is one of Art Council England’s ‘Designated’ collections of national and international importance.”

The second module, covering the 1990s, will debut in 2021, and the third module, covering the 2000s, will launch in 2022.

For more information, read the press release.

PubHub Tech to Roll Out New Publishing Tools

PubHub Tech, which offers publishing software and workflow management solutions, announced the upcoming releases of PubHub and PubSUITE. These tools are designed to speed up the book production process, reducing what typically takes 3–4 months to only 6–8 weeks. They meet the needs of publishers, pre-press service vendors, and individuals involved in publishing. 

Available this fall, the PubHub platform “ensures the security and fidelity of manuscripts throughout the entire production process. It is a collaborative workspace where publishers, authors, copy editors and indexers can all work directly in Microsoft Word for an improved experience with faster and better outcomes. PubHub has a dedicated app for the most important steps in the publishing process, including indexing, image conversion, manuscript consistency, page layouts and more.”

PubSUITE, launching later this month, is a portfolio of productivity tools that are available individually or as a package. “The first PubSUITE app slated for release is PubINDEX, which dramatically simplifies the indexing process, virtually eliminating typing through its powerful drag-n-drop technology.”

For more information, read the press release.

'What Do Libraries Keep When They Cancel the Big Deal?' by Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe writes the following for The Scholarly Kitchen:

Almost every discussion I have about Unsub, whether with librarians or publishers, at some point turns to assumptions about what decisions librarians will or will not make with respect to retaining subscriptions if they turn away from the Big Deal model for subscribing to journal content. To be absolutely clear, the context here is not about those libraries (e.g., University of California or Project DEAL) that walk away from the Big Deal as a result of failed negotiations to secure today’s Bigger Big Deal, the transformative agreement. The context is unbundling, changing from the Big Deal to either a la carte subscriptions or smaller packages of titles. 

There are so many questions one can ask. Do more generous green open access policies carve out the value of subscriptions and make them vulnerable to cancellation? Are libraries overly focused on certain criteria and ignoring others? What about the role of the librarian in collection development and building a collection for the long-term? What criteria do libraries use in selecting which titles to retain? What happens to the journals that don’t get picked up as individual subscriptions? Will certain journals lose out and possibly cease to exist because libraries pick the same journals to retain?  

The universe of libraries that even have Big Deal contracts that might be broken is relatively limited; some research libraries have never been able to afford the Big Deal. Nonetheless, examining those that unbundle can give us some empirical insight into the dynamics at play.  

For more information, read the blog post.

Emerald and ScienceOpen Create Collections Focused on Sustainability and Equality

ScienceOpen and Emerald Publishing partnered to produce three new collections from Emerald that were inspired by the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. According to ScienceOpen, “These collections, with their own unique DOI and through registration with Crossref, are easily distributable and accessible, which adds valuable resources to the Emerald portfolio. The inclusion of Emerald publications in ScienceOpen collections will further promote their discovery through the advanced search tools available on the platform.” The collections are:
  • Responsible Consumption, which “relates to reducing the global ecological footprint by changing the way goods are produced and consumed”
  • Equal Access to Digital Technology, which “pools resources supporting domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries”
  • Reduced Inequality, which “focuses on how the world is helping build a fair, inclusive, and equitable society that leaves no one behind”

For more information, read the press release.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Goes OA

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) reports that the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research adopted an OA policy. “As of March 2, the foundation requires that all articles resulting from work it has funded be published in a preprint repository, then in an open access forum under the Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0) or equivalent license. The policy also mandates any data, code or software needed for independent verification of research results also be made freely available in an open repository.”

The foundation will cover the article-processing charges (APCs). It “requires grantees to provide proof of compliance, and adherence to the policy is required for subsequent funding.”

For more information, read the news item.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Librarians Turned Google Forms Into the Unlikely Platform for Virtual Escape Rooms' by Aliya Chaudhry

Aliya Chaudhry writes the following for The Verge:

On the day the Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania, was supposed to unveil a superhero-themed escape room, the library had to close its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. With no physical location to work with, librarian Sydney Krawiec started to devise an alternative: a digital escape room created in Google Forms.

In the space of four hours, she made a Harry Potter-themed game that sent participants through a series of challenges based on locations from the book series, and they had to find their way out by solving puzzles. The Google Form went viral. And after other librarians saw it, they decided to make their own.

Through these virtual escape rooms, librarians have been able to serve their communities, as well as those living far outside of them, by giving people something to do while stuck at home. These digital challenges have become a tool for teaching and homeschooling, librarians say, as well as a device for staff development and team building.

For more information, read the article.

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