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Weekly News Digest

February 2, 2021 — 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.

Exploring the Data Around Facial Recognition

Wendy H. Wong’s “As U.S. Capitol Investigators Use Facial Recognition, It Begs the Question: Who Owns Our Faces?” for The Conversation states the following:

Already, plenty of data about millions and millions of faces exist. We have volunteered our faces in social media posts and photos stored in the cloud. But we’ve yet to determine who owns the data associated with the contours of our faces.

In the age of Big Tech, we need to grapple with what expectations we can and should have about who has access to our faces. The recent riot at the U.S. Capitol has put the question into the spotlight as facial recognition becomes a vital tool in identifying rioters: What is the power of facial recognition technology, and are we ready for it? …

Is the data associated with that face—that is, the digital representation of your face that matches up to your actual face or photos of your face—part of that fundamental part of you that you get to keep to yourself? Or is that a foolish expectation in our data-intensive world?

Which brings us back to the U.S. Capitol insurrection. There is a certainly a sense of justice to see facial recognition technology deployed to bring white supremacists to justice. But at what cost?

For more information, read the article.

The Library of Congress Brings People of Color to the Forefront of Historical Study

Kate Zwaard writes the following for the Library of Congress’ Of the People: Widening the Path blog:

The [new] Black, Indigenous, and minority Americans Digital Futures Program will sponsor digital projects and partnerships aimed at amplifying the stories of Black Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and other people of color whose stories have too often been undertold in our nation’s history. As the COVID-19 pandemic makes online communications more critical and the national conversation about race grows, the Library of Congress will join other efforts across the country to incubate projects that explore, re-imagine, and re-present the knowledge of the past. The goal is to foster … creative, vibrant, and collaborative additions to the cultural record that are designed by, for, and with all of the people of the United States.

Guided by a paid advisory board, the Digital Futures Program will offer grants to libraries, museums, scholars, teachers, and young people working to create ways of sharing stories that spotlight the perspectives of communities of color. Funded through this program, community college students might create new collections by assembling the stories of Black people currently hidden in the papers of white enslavers. Scholars might leverage augmented reality to share contemporaneous speeches and discussions of neighborhood activists with visitors at historical sites. Or community groups might create a program to help integrate their own stories, photographs, and memories with Library of Congress content to enrich and inform history.

For more information, read the blog post.

Kudos Showcases Help Publishers Curate and Promote Research Works

Kudos introduced Showcases, a service to help scholarly publishers and publishing societies increase their support for authors so they can achieve broader impacts among policymakers, educators, the media, and other relevant audiences. This new discovery channel for published content—modeled design-wise on Pinterest and Medium—will maximize readership (via an uncluttered, responsive layout) and build brand awareness (via banner images for publisher or society branding).

Showcases can be made on specific topics, journals, or other content collections, and there are browsing filters for basic groupings, including for academic subject area, and other filters, including for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To help nonspecialists find research works, Showcases are compiled from plain-language metadata. Existing Kudos users can populate a Showcase with their already-summarized articles; no technical setup is needed to create a Showcase.

For more information, read the blog post.

APA Shares New Stats on Stress in America

The American Psychological Association (APA) announced the results of a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on its behalf. Stress in America: January 2021 Stress Snapshot finds that “84% of U.S. adults say the country has serious societal issues that we need to address,” “9 in 10 adults say they hope that the country moves toward unity,” and “the average reported stress level during the prior month was 5.6, (on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 means ‘little to no stress’ and 10 means ‘a great deal of stress’). This is higher than stress levels reported in 2020 Stress in America surveys since April.”

The most common feelings were cited as “anxiety (47%), sadness (44%) and anger (39%). Additionally, 2 in 3 adults (67%) said the number of issues America is facing is overwhelming to them.”

“Nearly a year into the pandemic, prolonged stress persists at elevated levels for many Americans,” says Arthur C. Evans Jr., APA’s CEO. “As we work to address stressors as a nation, from unemployment to education, we can’t ignore the mental health consequences of this global shared experience. … Without addressing stress as part of a national recovery plan, we will be dealing with the mental health fallout from this pandemic for years to come.”

For more survey results and advice for managing stress, read the press release.

Apple Products Go All-In on Black History Month

Apple is bringing Black History Month celebrations to its suite of products in order to “highlight and amplify Black creators, artists, developers, and businesses.” Its plans include the following:
  • Apple Music will launch a monthlong experience … that highlights some of the most remarkable musicians spanning jazz, blues, soul, gospel, R&B, pop, and hip hop. … Apple Music will also feature curated playlists, essays, original videos, and more from Black influencers, musicians, authors, and directors. …
  • Customers can enjoy curated Apple Maps Guides created in collaboration with EatOkra, a Black-owned business directory app based in Brooklyn, New York.
  • “The Oprah Conversation” episodes “Caste: Part 1” and “Caste: Part 2” from Apple TV+, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson and her book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” will be available for free on the Apple TV app.
  • [A] special Apple News+ Spotlight collection will feature audio articles that celebrate the Black experience. Readers can dive even deeper by visiting the Racial Justice Spotlight, an ongoing collection of articles that includes education on anti-racism, mental-health resources, and ideas to serve their community.
  • A broad new collection on Apple Books will highlight great books and audiobooks by Black authors across a variety of genres, including literary fiction, history, memoirs, and books for young readers.
  • Apple [Watch] is introducing the Black Unity Collection, designed to celebrate and acknowledge Black history and Black culture. … Members of the Black creative community and allies throughout Apple came together to design an Apple Watch Sport Band and Apple Watch face to honor the ongoing fight for racial justice.
  • Apple Fitness+ subscribers can enjoy a collection of themed workouts, featuring all Black artists across Cycling, Dance, High Intensity Interval Training, Strength, Yoga, and Treadmill.
  • Beginning in February, Apple’s latest Shot on iPhone campaign, “Hometown,” highlights the work of more than 30 Black photographers commissioned by Apple.

For more information, read the news item.

Anythink Library System Announces Events for Its One Kind Word Project

Anythink libraries in Colorado is launching the One Kind Word Project, a 3-week initiative that “encourages customers to share messages of kindness through personal notes and recordings. This program was originally launched in 2017 and has since grown to include more opportunities to participate. This year, residents can pick up notecards and artistic supplies at their local Anythink to create custom cards that spread cheer to those in need. Cards can be returned to the library, where they will be collected and distributed to organizations across Adams County.”

Another aspect of the project allows people to “call 303-405-3222 to leave or hear uplifting messages from fellow community members. Callers can also sign up to have messages automatically delivered to their phones once a day (text and data rates may apply). Customers can also tune in to 91.9 FM while using Anythink’s curbside services or log on to to hear messages.”

There will be virtual workshops with author Kat Vellos and Colorado poet laureate Bobby LeFebre: “In the three-part series, ‘Cultivating Connection,’ Kat Vellos will share strategies and activities for cultivating fulfilling friendships in adulthood. On Friday, Feb. 26, Bobby LeFebre will present ‘Holding Space,’ a performance and interactive conversation that investigates the nuance and complexities of kindness, social justice, love and collective consciousness. These workshops are free and open to all.”

For more information, read the news item.

CCC Updates RightsLink for Scientific Communications

Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) added new functionality to RightsLink for Scientific Communications. It “now can inform authors of available Open Access (OA) publication funding throughout the manuscript lifecycle, starting with submission.” With the product’s “agreement management capabilities, authors can see a list of possible funding sources for paying [article-processing] fees based on publisher agreements with institutions, consortia or funders.”

Emily Sheahan, CCC’s VP and managing director, says, “Researchers and authors have long struggled with the administrative burden required to identify, secure and manage eligible OA publication funding from various sources. … With this new capability, CCC and its submission platform partners make it possible to connect author affiliation to funding eligibility early in the manuscript lifecycle, providing an important missing link between the various workflow stakeholders.”

For more information, read the press release.

APA Approves of Biden Administration's Policies So Far

The American Psychological Association (APA) issued a statement in support of President Joe Biden’s policies addressing “the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, immigration, climate change, LGBTQ rights and access to health care, among others. Yet APA noted that work still remains for the White House and Congress to work together to permanently address this host of important issues that face the nation.”

“We are gratified to see the immediate steps taken by the new administration that will ultimately benefit the health and mental health of our nation,” says Jennifer F. Kelly, APA’s president.

For more discussion of how these policy actions are tied to mental health, read the press release.

Exein Predicts the Next Cybersecurity Trends

In “Predicting the Biggest Trends in Cybersecurity With Exein CEO Gianni Cuozzo,” Cuozzo shares three areas of importance: 1) biosecurity, 2) quantum cybersecurity, and 3) embedded security.

He writes, “In order to safeguard our thoughts, we will develop custom-made bio-cybersecurity solutions that allow appliances and implants to send electron streams readable only by the host’s own memory. The fusion of technology and physiology has long been a science fiction fantasy but it’s no longer in the future.”

In addition, “as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, we need to build our security systems alongside the quantum infrastructure, developing brand new quantum-augmented architectures that sit both without and within new systems.”

And “rather than relying on external measures to keep [Internet of Things] tech secure we will focus instead on intrinsic, embedded security that acts not like body armour but as an immune system working from within the device. What this means for the consumer is secure tech out of the box, even in more traditional end points like PCs and laptops.”

For more information, read the article.

Society for Scholarly Publishing Is Hosting Webinars on Current Topics and Trends

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is sharing its 2021 webinar series. It offers the following:  

For more information and to learn about the variety of discounts offered, read the press release.

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