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Weekly News Digest

September 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.

bibliotheca Rolls Out New Products to Help Libraries Monitor Their Physical Spaces

bibliotheca launched open+ count and open+ reserve, “solutions designed to help libraries monitor and control building occupancy and alleviate user anxiety, while ensuring access to critical library materials and services.” open+ count “uses anonymous people-counting technology to monitor library occupancy and alert visitors to current library conditions via large display screens. open+ reserve allows users to book specific appointment times from their smartphone or computer, guaranteeing they will be able to visit the library at the time they have chosen.”

In addition to the open+ solutions, bibliotheca “released a new Cirrus reader for [its] cloudLibrary digital platform. The new reader is the first outside of Amazon to offer a scroll reading option in addition to the traditional swipe/page turn. Cirrus allows readers to customize reading preferences such as spacing, night mode, and margin size. Six font options are available—including Open Dyslexic and Large Font for the visually impaired. The horizontal view offers a two-page spread perfect for children’s books while providing support for interactive read-aloud content.”

For more information, read the press release.

Matrix Integration and Cisco Help Schools With E-Learning

Matrix Integration partnered with Cisco to give K–12 school districts an e-learning solution for building the “Classroom of the Future”—as well as one that deals with the current reality of the pandemic. The solution uses WebEx, which “allows for a safe, secure, continuous learning environment for the students,” while its TelePresence endpoints “allow the teacher to be unchained from their desk and free to move around the room all while staying engaged with their students.” WebEx integrates with most learning management systems and offers free, unlimited recordings of teaching sessions that can be shared safely. “WebEx can also intuitively translate the teacher’s language to the required language, via subtitles, within the recorded session.”

For more information, read the press release.

Banned Books Week Goes Virtual

ALA announced that this year’s Banned Books Week will be held virtually Sept. 27–Oct. 3. Its theme is Censorship Is a Dead End. Find Your Freedom to Read. “The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has documented threats to intellectual freedom during the pandemic, including a community member who advocated for erotic literature e-books to be banned from the local library; a petition that demanded virtual Drag Queen Story Times be canceled at the library; and the removal of two award-winning books that address police violence and racial discrimination from a required-reading list.”

OIF is promoting a different action for each day of the week:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

“On Sept. 29, SAGE Publishing and OIF will host the free webinar ‘COVID-19 and Academic Censorship,’ which will address e-books, internet control, and open data. The free webinar is limited to the first 1,000 guests.”

Visit the following sites for resources:

For more information, read the press release.

ProQuest Acquisition Platforms Add Brill Ebooks

More than 19,000 ebooks from Brill are now available for purchase through ProQuest’s OASIS and Rialto marketplaces. Brill publications focus on the humanities, social sciences, international law, and selected areas in the sciences.

“Working with OASIS and Rialto enables us to integrate Brill ebooks into the collection development and acquisition workflows of our institutional library customers around the world,” says Focko van Berckelaer, Brill’s VP of global sales.

For more information, read the press release.

Reprints Desk and FIZ Karlsruhe Introduce the AutoDoc Academic Program

Reprints Desk, a subsidiary of Research Solutions, teamed up with FIZ Karlsruhe—Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure to roll out the AutoDoc Academic Program. “The first-of-its-kind offering makes Reprints Desk’s Academic Collection instantly accessible via AutoDoc, FIZ Karlsruhe’s document delivery service. Developed to serve as a complement to Interlibrary Loan (ILL), AutoDoc Academic Program provides academic institutions with fast, cost-effective document delivery when an article is not available via publisher subscription and ILL is not able to provide timely and high quality access.” Customers get “copyright-compliant access to 100% native PDFs of scholarly articles—from 30,000 academic journals, across an estimated 60 publishers.”

For more information, read the press release.

'A New Moment for Black Bookstores' by Eugene Holley Jr.

Eugene Holley Jr. profiles four Black booksellers for Publishers Weekly in “A New Moment for Black Bookstores.” He writes the following:

The publishing world has had to adapt to a business landscape that is rapidly changing as a result of the pandemic and the response to continuing police violence against unarmed Black people. The 130 Black-owned bookstores in the U.S. have had to deal with these broader challenges, as well as with cultural and economic forces that uniquely affect them. …

As challenging as this period is for bookstores like Marcus Books and Turning Pages, other outlets, like Semicolon, a new bookstore in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, are seeing growth. ‘The pandemic has actually given us a boost, because everybody started paying us more attention and found out we actually existed,’ said owner D.L. Mullen. …

When Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements began to attract widespread attention, people were ordering only anti-racist titles, Mullen at Semicolon said. ‘But we made a point to introduce Black fiction to our readers,’ she added. ‘We made it a point to do that every time someone ordered an anti-racist title.’

For more information, read the article.

Libby Now Lets Users Share Titles and Export Data

OverDrive announced that there is a new update to Libby allowing users to share titles on social media or with others directly by pressing the Share button in a title’s Reading Journey and details screen. “A shared title page shows the book’s summary, basic details, and nearby libraries that offer the title through Libby. This new option encourages users to socialize their favorite reads with family, friends, and followers while spreading awareness of your library’s digital collection.”

Additional functionality in the update allows users to export reading data such as titles in a specific tag, their activity timeline, and a title’s Reading Journey (including bookmarks, notes, and highlights). They can choose how to export the data and use it however they want.

For more information, read the blog post.

'Americaís Libraries' Are Honorees of the FCC's DOER Program

ALA announced the following:

Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Geoffrey Starks has named ‘America’s libraries’ as an honoree of the inaugural Digital Opportunity Equity Recognition (DOER) Program. Commissioner Starks established the award in 2020 ‘to acknowledge the tireless efforts of Americans working to close the digital divide in communities without access to affordable, reliable broadband.’ 

‘It is clear that our long-standing digital divide has morphed into a monstrous new COVID-19 divide,’ said Commissioner Starks. ‘From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic through now, I have heard stories about the innovative and rapid ways individuals, non-profit organizations, and companies are responding to the connectivity needs of people across this country.’

‘This award is not for an organization,’ said American Library Association [ALA] President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. ‘ALA took the opportunity to nominate every single one of America’s libraries—not because broadband access through libraries is new, but because libraries and library workers deserve to be newly appreciated. They have been key to addressing digital inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare—especially for Indigenous people and other people of color as well as individuals from low-income households.’

For more information, read the press release.

W3C Launches 2020 Diversity Fund for Its TPAC Online Meetings

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is now accepting applications for the Diversity Fund for its TPAC 2020 virtual meetings, scheduled for various dates in October. It states, “We believe that more diversity means better representation, which leads to better and more inclusive design. We believe that more background, more use cases, more edge cases, lead to a better Web. More diversity also brings higher quality results.” To qualify, “Diversity Fund applicants must be from a group that is under-represented in the Web community, and unable to participate in TPAC without financial help.”

The Diversity Fund is “sponsored by W3C Members Adobe, Samsung Electronics, Coil, Littleguy SL, Microsoft, TetraLogical, Siteimprove; and one anonymous individual sponsor.” W3C is contributing to the fund for the first time and plans to do so in the future.

View the application form (registration required) for details. Applications are due by Sept. 27, 2020.

For more information, read the news item.

koha-US Plans Annual Virtual Conference

koha-US is hosting its annual conference virtually from Sept. 22 to 24, 2020. Register for free here. With the theme Online Together, the conference will be streamed via YouTube for the first 2 days, with the third day taking place in a private Zoom room. The program includes sessions such as Koha Calisthenics: A Case Study in Adaptability (by Jennifer Weston and Felicia Beaudry from Equinox), Where Was I Again? Making Koha Recall User Actions After Login (by Eric Phetteplace from the California College of Arts), and Koha for Nothing and Your MARC for Free (by Fred King and the Avenging Chicken from MedStar Washington Hospital Center).

For more information, visit the conference website.

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