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Weekly News Digest

November 10, 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: Health Affairs' 'The Potential Role of Open Data in Mitigating the COVID-19 Pandemic'

Sunyoung Pyo, Luigi Reggi, and Erika G. Martin write the following for Health Affairs:

The scale and diffuse impact of the global 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetime. As of October 23, 2020, less than a year into the pandemic, there have been more than 41.7 million cases and more than one million deaths globally. Without a vaccine or widespread treatment access, the primary population-focused COVID-19 mitigation strategies are behavioral interventions such as restricting population mobility and encouraging good hygiene such as wearing facial coverings and washing hands frequently.

There is one tool for the COVID-19 response that was not as robust in past pandemics: open data. For about 15 years, a ‘quiet open data revolution’ has led to the widespread availability of governmental data that are publicly accessible, available in multiple formats, free of charge, and with unlimited use and distribution rights. The underlying logic of open data’s value is that diverse users including researchers, practitioners, journalists, application developers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders will synthesize the data in novel ways to develop new insights and applications. Specific products have included providing the public with information about their providers and health care facilities, spotlighting issues such as high variation in the cost of medical procedures between facilities, and integrating food safety inspection reports into Yelp to help the public make informed decisions about where to dine. It is believed that these activities will in turn empower health care consumers and improve population health.

The authors note that in the article, they “describe several use cases whereby open data have already been used globally in the COVID-19 response [and] highlight major challenges to using these data and provide recommendations on how to foster a robust open data ecosystem to ensure that open data can be leveraged in both this pandemic and future public health emergencies.”

For more information, read the article.

Lack of Updates About the Sale of TikTok

In The Verge’s “TikTok Says the Trump Administration Has Forgotten About Trying to Ban It, Would Like to Know What’s Up,” Sam Byford writes the following:

TikTok has filed a petition in a US Court of Appeals calling for a review of actions by the Trump administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The reason, according to the company, is that it hasn’t heard from the committee in weeks about an imminent deadline for parent company ByteDance to sell off US assets over national security concerns. …

‘For a year, TikTok has actively engaged with CFIUS in good faith to address its national security concerns, even as we disagree with its assessment,’ TikTok says in a statement to The Verge. ‘In the nearly two months since the President gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalize that agreement—but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework.’ …

‘Today, with the November 12 CFIUS deadline imminent and without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights and those of our more than 1,500 employees in the US. We remain committed to working with the Administration—as we have all along—to resolve the issues it has raised, but our legal challenge today is a protection to ensure these discussions can take place.’

For more information, read the article.

EBSCO's 'Top Resources for Native American Heritage Month'

EBSCO Information Services shared the following:

Native American Heritage Month is a time when we honor the history, culture and traditions of the continent’s first inhabitants. For schools, libraries and organizations observing the month, and others who may be looking for ways to incorporate programming related to Native American heritage, we offer the following useful resources. …

Visitors to the American Indian Library Association website will find a wealth of school library resources including booklists, blogs and projects devoted to the history and culture of Native Americans, as well as ideas for activities and programming. Librarians may also wish to consult these tips for choosing culturally appropriate books and resources about Native Americans.

Meanwhile, NoveList® Plus can help librarians find fiction and nonfiction celebrating Native American characters and culture. If you’re looking to add new books by and about Native Americans to your library shelves, Core Collections has great recommendations for you. …

Need to provide researchers with bibliographic information on North America’s indigenous peoples? Look no further than EBSCO’s Bibliography of Native North Americans, a database containing more than 330,000 citations for books, essays, journal articles and government documents of the United States and Canada. It is an ideal resource for anthropologists, educators, historians, political scientists, sociologists, psychologists, legal researchers, linguists, theologians and policy makers.

For more resources, read the blog post.

'Statement of American Psychological Association in Reaction to Biden's Election as President'

The American Psychological Association (APA) released the following statement from its CEO, Arthur C. Evans Jr.:

[APA] looks forward to welcoming former Vice President Joe Biden to the office of president of the United States and the beginning of a new, hopeful era with a leader who has committed to unite our country and implement policies that will stem the spread of COVID-19 and move us closer to having effective treatments and a safe vaccine. Psychological science will be crucial to aiding the president-elect and vice president-elect on a variety of issues in the COVID-19 fight, including helping to motivate individuals to adopt the science-based treatment and interventions that will be necessary for our success.

America is a nation in trauma. We are experiencing record stress as a result of the pandemic, economic uncertainty and concerns about racial justice. We will look to the Biden administration to move quickly to address policies that have been harmful to the mental and physical health of the nation and to support increased funding for and wider dissemination and use of the important psychological research that can help our country rebuild and heal its workplaces, its schools, its communities and its people. We also ask that the Biden administration support continuing access to telehealth as our nation copes with these challenges.

For the rest of the statement, read the press release.

Adam Matthew Digital Facilitates Project on Better AV Presentation

Adam Matthew Digital’s Quartex partnered with Bay Area TV Archive (BATA), part of San Francisco State University, on a 2-year pilot project to explore the effective display of audio and video (AV) content. Other partners will join the project in the coming months. BATA will migrate all of its collections—about 2,500 assets—over the 2 years, in addition to collaborating with Quartex’s development staff on enhanced AV capabilities for discoverability and usability.

Adam Matthew Digital states the following:

BATA content includes videos of Muhammad Ali, Robert Kennedy campaigning in San Francisco, the Black Panthers, Joan Baez, and more. Moving the Archive to Quartex will improve accessibility, as the platform allows auto-generation of transcription and closed captioning, which is of vital importance to both the academic community at San Francisco State and the larger public who are accessing the BATA Archive and engaging with the materials. Quartex can also offer multiple entry points into the archives and highlight relationships between content and collections, aiding discovery for anyone interested in this rich archival content.

For more information, read the news item.

Boston Public Library Gets Proactive on Becoming Anti-Racist

Gary Price reports for INFOdocket that the board of trustees of the Boston Public Library (BPL), per The Boston Globe (registration required), “unanimously ratified an action plan to make the library an antiracist organization.” The plan, titled Racial Equity Commitment & Action Plan, “outlines the steps that will be taken, including reviewing the library’s hiring and recruitment strategies and acquisition policies.”

The library’s statement notes, “The Library is currently reviewing its acquisition policy to ensure the BPL’s collections are developed with an intentional focus on raising the voices of people of color through representation, inclusivity, and diversity. In support of this effort, the Boston Public Library Fund (BPLF)—the primary philanthropic arm of the BPL—recently received an anonymous $75,000 grant to support expanded access to the BPL’s Antiracist reading list.”

For more information, read the blog post.

Zendy Adds Bahrain Users and Taylor & Francis Content to Its Platform

Knowledge E’s Zendy digital library has new two updates to its platform: On Nov. 1, it announced its launch in Bahrain, and on Nov. 2, it announced its partnership with Taylor & Francis Group.

Kamran R. Kardan, founder and CEO of Knowledge E, says, “Bahrain is fast emerging as a regional hub for technological innovation, and one of the key drivers for innovation is the ability to access and share knowledge. Zendy’s launch in Bahrain aims to fuel the local knowledge economy and in turn foster an innovation ecosystem.”

Thanks to the Taylor & Francis partnership, nearly 2,500 journals will be added to Zendy. “At Taylor & Francis we’re committed to reaching the widest readership possible with the research we publish,” says Christoph Chesher, Taylor & Francis’ chief commercial officer. “Ensuring there are affordable choices for readers in every part of the world is vital for achieving this goal, which is why we’re so excited by the potential of this partnership with Zendy.”

Zendy has more than 8,500 users across 39 countries in North Africa and the Middle East and hosts more than 120,000 publications.

For more information, read the Nov.1 press release and the Nov. 2 press release.

'At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the Consolidation Carousel Continues' by Jim Milliot

Jim Milliot writes the following for Publishers Weekly:

While the industry waits to see who the new owner of Simon & Schuster will be, another large trade publisher has been put up for sale: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt [HMH] said it is exploring the sale of its trade division. Though not one of the Big Five trade publishers, HMH Books & Media is in the next tier, with sales in 2019 of $180 million. …

The struggles that HMH’s education group has encountered in transitioning from being a print-based publisher to a digital-focused publisher drove the company’s leadership to look for a buyer for the trade group. …

HMH explained the planned divestiture of the trade group by noting that the sale is part of its effort to make HMH ‘a pure-play technology learning company.’ To achieve that goal, it implemented a restructuring in early October to cut costs and focus its energies on digital products. The action eliminated 525 jobs in the educational group, though the trade division was not affected.

In a conference call with analysts about HMH’s third quarter results, executives made it clear they see the future of the company in the digital world and will use the proceeds from the divestiture of the trade group to pay down debt and help fund the digital transition. …

Possible buyers for the trade division include the same players who have been reported to be interested in S&S: Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Hachette Book Group parent Lagardère. At a considerably lower price than S&S (whose 2019 sales were $814 million), HMH could also attract additional buyers, including Amazon, which was reported to have looked into buying S&S, and private equity firms. It is possible that interested buyers will wait for the S&S deal to close and use its price to help assess the value of HMH Books & Media.

For more information, read the article.

OverDrive Makes 100 Spanish-Language Titles Free to Supplement Online Learning

OverDrive announced the following:

To supplement remote and hybrid learning for Spanish-language readers, OverDrive donated 100 Spanish-language titles for young readers to more than 19,000 public libraries and over 38,000 schools around the world. This bundle includes high-interest Spanish-language ebook, audiobook and Read-Along titles with unlimited access for patrons and students through September 30, 2021.

This free collection allows libraries and schools to encourage community engagement with young readers through book clubs, language programs and more. Notable titles include ¡Que vivan los bibliotecarios!Perdida en el museo and Hibernación. Ebooks and audiobooks in this collection come from Britannica Digital Learning, Lerner Publishing Group, Rosen Publishing and Triangle Interactive. A full list of titles can be found here (title availability may vary by region). …

New and existing OverDrive library and school partners automatically received these free titles starting October 30.

For more information, read the press release.

Oxford University Press Updates Its Oxford Scholarship Online Resource

Oxford University Press (OUP) added 600-plus titles to Oxford Scholarship Online, its digital research platform. The titles, some of which are available digitally for the first time, span seven new modules of Oxford Scholarship Online: Archaeology, Chemistry, Clinical Medicine and Allied Health, Computer Science, Earth Sciences and Geography, Education, and Environmental Science.

“The addition of such an extensive list of titles to our digital research offer is a really important moment for academic publishing at OUP,” says David Clark, managing director of OUP’s Academic Division. “We learnt a lot, very rapidly, as the Covid-19 pandemic began earlier this year and this has accelerated our efforts to deliver the experience users value in physical books with the best of what the online world has to offer. Digital research libraries like Oxford Scholarship Online are vital to meeting the needs of the academic community and enabling the scholarship of the future to continue despite the challenges we face.”

OUP is planning to add new titles to the new modules as they are published and will digitize more existing content later this year.

For more information, read the press release.

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