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Weekly News Digest

October 27, 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.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'How Bookstores Are Weathering the Pandemic'

Bryce Covert writes the following for Vox:

[I]ndependent bookstores across the country face an uncertain and undoubtedly difficult future: Government assistance has dried up, foot traffic is still low, and the virus is again threatening to bring everything to a screeching halt. Independent bookstore owners dug deep into their wells of creativity and passion and found ways to transform their businesses to cope with Covid-19. But even so, according to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), 35 member bookstores have closed during the pandemic, with roughly one store closing each week. Twenty percent of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing, the ABA says.

Between mid-April and June, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) distributed $2.7 million to store owners and employees in need. ‘That equals the distribution that we had had in the previous eight years,’ said executive director Pamela French. The individual grants it gives out have increased 443 percent over last year. The level of need has subsided somewhat since the peak of the pandemic, but it’s remained consistently elevated, even with many stores now open. …

‘These independent bookstore owners are just tenacious,’ French said. Owners suddenly found themselves arranging curbside pickups, shipping thousands of online orders, and staging completely virtual events. …

The switch to online and curbside ordering saved bookstores from ruin. But it wasn’t easy, nor was it enjoyable. ‘It started to feel like a fulfillment warehouse for widgets,’ said Steven Salardino, manager of Skylight Books in Los Angeles, California. ‘It really took a toll on us psychologically.’ What kept him going, he said, was getting notes in online orders saying thank you.

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'New Research on Public Library Usage During Pandemic'

Innovative released a report, “Centuries of Resilience: Public Libraries Still Crucial During COVID-19” (registration required), which showcases “new research on how people in the U.S. [have been] using their public libraries” throughout 2019 and 2020. The data comes from a September survey of 1,000-plus U.S. adults. The report discusses “how usage changed after most libraries closed their doors in March of this year and have since been slowly reopening,” and it “reveals that while public libraries are still an extraordinarily trusted institution, the pandemic has presented immense challenges to staying connected with communities.”

Key findings include the following:

  • [W]hile use of electronic resources is high, overall use of the library is down compared to 2019 and early 2020.
  • The investments libraries made in their website and mobile apps since 2016 have paid dividends, especially since the onset of the pandemic. Overall online use of the library has gone from 39% in 2016 to 55% in 2020.
  • While use of e-resources has gone up significantly during the pandemic, borrowing printed books is still the #1 library activity.

For more information, read the press release.

Law Library of Congress Will Preserve Federal Register and Congressional Record

The Law Library of Congress is becoming a Preservation Steward for the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO). This allows the Law Library of Congress to preserve the Congressional Record and the Federal Register, which GPO produces.

GPO notes, “To help libraries meet the needs of efficient Government document stewardship in the digital era, GPO has established Preservation Stewards to support continued public access to historic U.S. Government documents in print format. Preservation Stewards contribute significantly to the effort to preserve printed documents, and GPO welcomes all libraries that wish to participate as Preservation Stewards.”

“As the largest, most comprehensive and authoritative law collection in the world, the Law Library of Congress is naturally suited for this collaboration,” says Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sánchez. “It is inherent in our mission to preserve primary sources of law created by the branches of our Federal Government.”

For more information, read the press release via INFOdocket.

Exact Editions Adds Idler Magazine

Idler, a lifestyle magazine, is now available on the Exact Editions platform for institutional and individual subscription. The digital archive, with a comprehensive search function, features eight book-size issues and will add each new issue as it is published (bimonthly). The magazine offers interviews, cartoons, and practical advice on “living the idle life.”

For more information, read the news item.

American Libraries Changes Podcast Name

American Libraries announced that it changed the name of its monthly Dewey Decibel podcast to Call Number with American Libraries in order to distance the magazine from Melvil Dewey and his troublesome legacy.

“The new name will better reflect the breadth and diversity of ideas that our podcast strives to achieve,” says Sanhita SinhaRoy, editor and publisher of American Libraries. “The goal remains to bring thought-provoking interviews to the library community.”

For more information, read the press release.

'Google Commits $1 Billion to License Content From News Publishers' by Adam Satariano

Adam Satariano writes the following for The New York Times:

Google said on [Oct. 1] that it would spend more than $1 billion to license content from international news organizations, after years of criticism that it was not providing fair compensation for articles and other content linked to by its internet search products.

The program is part of a new Google product called News Showcase that will present news from around the world in short snippets that readers can quickly browse on a phone or other device. The company will pay publishers to curate the material that will be presented.

The program was starting … in Germany and Brazil, and would be rolled out to additional countries in the months ahead. … Partnerships have been signed with nearly 200 publications, including in Argentina, Australia, Britain and Canada, Google said. …

Google has faced years of criticism around the world for not doing enough to support news organizations whose content it links to.

For more information, read the article.

Yewno Discover Integrates With Ex Libris Primo

Yewno integrated its Yewno Discover platform into Ex LibrisPrimo discovery service, helping libraries create more exploration paths for patrons. The Yewno knowledge graph now appears above search results within Primo’s user interface so users can see connections and relationships among the results.

“Yewno transforms information into knowledge and increases discoverability,” says Ruth Pickering, Yewno’s COO. “We help libraries maximize their collections and enable students to access the information that they are looking for more efficiently and to find unexpected connections and new ideas along the way.”

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Textbooks in Short Supply Amid COVID Quarantines'

Lindsay McKenzie writes the following for Inside Higher Ed:

[T]his semester, the imbalance between supply and demand is far worse than usual, said Lindsey Gumb, assistant professor and scholarly communications librarian at Roger Williams, a private liberal arts college in Rhode Island where students are back on campus this semester and participating in hybrid instruction.

As a safety precaution to slow the potential spread of COVID-19, librarians at Roger Williams are quarantining all returned print materials for 72 hours before making them available again. …

For students who cannot afford their own textbooks and rely on the library to complete homework assignments and pass their exams, this delay is creating an untenable situation.

‘We try our best to help students. We’ll look through the catalog and see if maybe another library has it,’ Gumb said. ‘But we can’t help them if the book is in quarantine, and we are highly discouraging students from sharing textbooks.’ …

The library at Roger Williams, like many academic libraries, does not have the budget to purchase digital or print textbooks for students individually. Copies of textbooks sold specifically for use in libraries are often prohibitively expensive, Gumb said. …

In the future, Gumb said she will be stepping up her advocacy efforts for OER, encouraging faculty members to develop their own course materials or adapt existing materials to their own needs. 

For more information, read the article.

PubHub Tech Unveils PubINDEX to Streamline Indexing

PubHub Tech rolled out PubINDEX, a browser-based indexing app for the book publishing industry that “dramatically simplifies [the indexing] process, virtually eliminating typing with its powerful drag-n-drop technology. Indexing time is reduced by 50% or more with modern, user-friendly features like term ‘driving’, reorganizing the index hierarchy, dynamic alphabetization, and creating see and see also entries on the fly with the click of a mouse and without any re-typing.” PubINDEX users can create indexes directly in Microsoft Word, with the manuscript protected from changes via PubLOCK.

“While technology keeps advancing in other industries, publishing, particularly in the book production space, still remains very manual and antiquated. At the same time, market dynamics are seriously depressing prices. The solution is to raise productivity,” says Shashi Gupta, PubHub Tech’s co-founder and CEO.

There are four licensing models for PubINDEX: individual, professional, business, and enterprise.

For more information, read the press release.

Gale Case Studies Bring the Past Into the Present

Gale introduced Gale Case Studies, a new online instructional tool organized by topic to help “college and university instructors develop and strengthen students’ critical thinking skills around contemporary social justice issues using historical content” and “help students learn how social issues have evolved from people who have experienced the events first-hand.” Primary sources cover topics such as LBGT+ issues, race, political extremism, and public health. Each interdisciplinary module has case studies from these curated primary sources, as well as discussion questions and links to other curated content. The guided workflow integrates with existing learning management systems.

Gale notes, “Intersectional LGBTQ Issues is the first module released today that offers a closer look at the history of the LGBTQ community and activism in the 20th and 21st centuries. It provides insight into both direct-action efforts such as ACT UP’s demonstration at the St. Patrick’s cathedral, as well as local activism aimed at reversing problematic policies such the anti-crossdressing laws and the lack of documentation about violence against LGBTQ people.”

For more information, read the press release.

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