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Weekly News Digest

October 15, 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.

Kudos Can Now Track Engagement via Weibo and WeChat

Kudos announced the following:

[The Kudos] platform now tracks and measures the effect of publication sharing via Weibo and WeChat. Publishers with authors and readers in China can now gain greater insight into how these channels are used to raise awareness of published articles and books, and the relative effectiveness of each channel as a mechanism for building engagement and readership.

WeChat (often described as a Chinese equivalent to WhatsApp) and Weibo (comparable to Twitter) are the two largest social media platforms in China, with over 1 billion monthly active users. They are widely used by researchers to share information about their work to colleagues and other audiences in China, where most English-language sharing platforms are blocked.

This latest development from Kudos means publication links shared via Weibo and WeChat are now tracked in the same way as links shared via online platforms (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, ResearchGate and and via other sharing mechanisms such as email, presentations and business cards.

For more information, read the blog post.


Innovative Mobile App Encourages Contactless Library Interactions

Innovative introduced a mobile app for global public libraries that use the Sierra or Polaris ILS. The app is customized for each library’s site, “with branding and the look and feel designed by the library. Innovative Mobile offers full access to the library catalog and allows patrons to search and find both physical and electronic library materials.” It can be used with both iOS and Android devices and has features such as linked accounts that enable adults to manage children’s accounts, the ability to have patrons pay fines in-app, and the usage of barcodes or radio frequency identification (RFID) to help patrons borrow and return items to limit physical contact.

For more information, read the press release.

Carnegie Mellon University 'Libraries Use Computer Vision to Explore Archival Photo Collection'

Carnegie Mellon University Libraries’ blog, The Information Environment, introduced the Computer-Aided Metadata generation for Photo archives Initiative (CAMPI):

[CAMPI, a]n internal web application built by Libraries faculty and staff leverages computer vision to improve the discoverability of archival photos by allowing archivists to quickly find groups of images depicting similar subjects and add descriptive metadata tags in bulk. …

A MarCom staff member contacted the Archives in June to request … early images of the Computation Center. … While the Archives has a number of photos identified as the Computation Center, the earliest were from the late 1960s.

‘We know, from experience, that our photo collection is not fully inventoried, and there are images with incorrect descriptions,’ said University Archivist Julia Corrin. ‘I was interested in a tool that would let me … see if I could identify any earlier photos of the Computation Center space or find other images that were improperly labeled.’ …

There are so many images tagged with ‘Computers,’ ‘Computing,’ and ‘Students in Lab’ that the archivists do not often have time to sort through the many images with generic tags. They focus on images with more specific labels, such as ‘Computation Center,’ which can mean that other, perhaps better, images are never identified.

CAMPI allows the archivists to do this at scale by using computer vision, a term that refers to software that performs visual tasks with images, such as clustering together similar photographs, assigning photographs to predefined categories, and identifying objects and faces in photographs. …

‘This project suggests new ways for us—and our users—to look at and identify images of interest,’ said Corrin. ‘You no longer need to know exactly what you’re looking for to uncover it—there is more room for exploration.’ …

For now, CAMPI is just a prototype. While the first exploratory project is over, data from the tagging and deduplication work done during this project will be used as the photographs are migrated to a new digital collections system that will make them publicly accessible.

For more information, read the blog post.

Exact Editions Rolls Out Collection of Black Lives Matter Content

Exact Editions and a group of its publishing partners developed a freely available Black Lives Matter resource page. It features handpicked articles, from 50-plus publications’ digital archives, that are organized into seven subject areas: Activism, Art, Film & Stage, History, Literature, Music, and Politics. Content includes topics such as civil rights, racial bias, protests, and prominent historical figures.

“Exact Editions digitally publishes a diverse selection of magazines, and we hope this new resource will be useful to all who are educating themselves and others about the Black Lives Matter movement,” says Daryl Rayner, Exact Editions’ managing director.

For more information, read the press release.

EBSCO and Academic Institutions Plan New Analytics Platform

EBSCO Information Services joined forces with the University of Denver, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Chalmers University of Technology to create an analytics platform that “will combine and streamline data sets from library and campus systems, allowing library staff to demonstrate a library’s impact while making informed decisions on collections and services.” It will feature “self-service data discovery, customizable dashboards, extensive data sources and real-time data connections. The platform will be extensible to non-library data sources and offer automated data feeds with import/export capabilities.” Beta development is scheduled to begin in fall 2020 with additional library partners, with expected wide availability in early 2021.

For more information, read the press release.

Cengage Unlimited Gets a Boost From Gutenberg Technology

Gutenberg Technology (GT) joined forces with Cengage to provide more than 14,000 etextbooks to Cengage Unlimited subscribers via GT’s publishing platform.

According to the press release, “Cengage leverages the power of GT’s authoring tool to transform static text, media, and assessments into learning objects that can be tagged and reused in learning environments, on any device. For Cengage, this means a streamlined way to digitize and distribute content, rapidly delivering it into the hands of learners.”

“Our strategic partnership with Gutenberg Technology has allowed us to accelerate our digital content efforts as we evolve to meet the needs of today’s students,” says George Moore, Cengage’s CTO. “As the future of education continues to rapidly transform, Cengage is dedicated to continued innovation to support educators and students. Partnership with technology leaders like GT are crucial to helping us meet this goal.”

For more information, read the press release.

'Google and Facebook Hate a Proposed Privacy Law ' by Jason Kint

Jason Kint writes the following in "Google and Facebook Hate a Proposed Privacy Law. News Publishers Should Embrace It." for Vox:

While most of America is focused on the presidential vote, Californians have another important decision to make at the polls this November. They’re being asked to approve what will likely become the internet privacy law for the United States.

Proposition 24, also known as the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act of 2020 (CPRA), is supposed to expand a landmark California privacy law that passed two years ago; there’s a good chance Californians will approve this one, too. It’s framed as legislation that will better protect their privacy—in particular, sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, race, religion, and health information.

And while the proposed law technically governs the use and sale of data for Californians, California has an enormous impact on the tech industry, which means CPRA will become the de facto law for all of the US.

Which should sound like a good thing for most people. Among other impacts of the proposed law, it makes a point of protecting young people by mandating triple fines for infringements against consumers under age 16. It will allow consumers to restrict the use of geolocation data by third parties, effectively ending practices like sending targeted ads to people who’ve visited a rehab center or a cancer clinic. And it will fund the creation of an agency to protect consumer privacy. …

From targeted advertising to personalization, data does a lot of work online. Unfortunately, two companies dominate data collection and therefore digital advertising. One big question about any privacy laws is whether they actually create more advantages for Google and Facebook instead of leveling the playing field for smaller competitors.

For more information, read the article.


Symplectic Elements Version 6 Goes Live

Symplectic unveiled Version 6 of its Elements platform, which helps researchers and administrators manage OA engagement, funding applications, and reporting on outcomes within a single system. Version 6 uses the latest user-centric design concepts and adds frameworks for supporting new areas of functionality and upcoming product expansions. It also offers improved branding and personalization features.

For more information, read the press release.

Natural Sciences Is Wiley's Newest OA Journal

Wiley rolled out a new interdisciplinary OA journal, Natural Sciences, as a mutual initiative from Wiley’s agreement with Project DEAL. “Helmed by leading scientists in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics, the journal publishes top-tier research from the global community spanning these subjects and their interfaces, as well as related fields such as engineering and biomedical research. Its strong focus on interdisciplinarity is reflected by the publication of highlight articles, which will put the research articles into context for researchers from adjacent fields.”

Researchers in the biology, chemistry, and physics fields are encouraged to submit original articles. “Natural Sciences embraces innovative open research principles, including open and transparent peer review and decision-making processes, that accelerate the pace of discovery and make scientific research results easily accessible to all.”

For more information, read the press release.

Jisc and JSTOR Partner for Wider Access to Digital Collections

ITHAKA, JSTOR’s parent organization, is collaborating with Jisc for an initiative that will help institutions make their digital special collections freely available. JSTOR notes, “The partnership gives UK higher education institutions the opportunity to add their digitized content to JSTOR’s Open Community Collections program, which enables libraries, museums, and cultural organizations around the world to bring together their materials, creating an unparalleled free resource for teaching and research.” Jisc members can propose digital collections for inclusion here (login required) by Nov. 16, 2020.

“Providing a channel for institutions to get their primary source and special collections more meaningfully into the research workflow, and out of their current silos, is the key in unlocking the research and teaching impact of those collections,” says Bruce Heterick, ITHAKA’s SVP for open collections and infrastructure. “This initiative will help institutions to raise their profile by disclosing their special collections for free not only to scholars and students in the UK, but to millions of researchers around the world.”

For more information, read the news item.

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