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Weekly News Digest

March 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. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Metova Unveils Survey on Behaviors Surrounding COVID-19 and Vaccinations

Software solutions company Metova released the results of a survey of 1,000-plus people in the U.S. “regarding behavior, trends and expectations beyond the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.” Curbside pickup was cited as the most helpful service during the pandemic, and quality family time was cited as a positive life event that came from COVID-19. The survey found that 64% of people who are planning to be vaccinated “will avoid staying in a hotel, casino or resort for the remainder of 2021 if given the option” and 86% of people working from home want to continue to do so after getting the vaccine. One in four respondents said they won’t be getting the vaccine because they don’t think it’s safe.  

For more information, read the press release.

MIT Press and Harvard Law Professors Start The American Journal of Law and Equality

The MIT Press partnered with three Harvard Law School professors (Randall L. Kennedy, Martha Minow, and Cass R. Sunstein) to develop The American Journal of Law and Equality, a journal that focuses on issues of inequality. Kennedy, Minow, and Sunstein will serve as editors of the journal, which will publish once a year and include a diversity of scholarship and views from experts and practitioners from in and outside the legal academy.” The first issue is planned for this summer.

“I think that legal academic work at its best improves understanding and also improves practice,” says Sunstein. He hopes the journal will foster “a better understanding of the inequality questions that our country faces, and that better understanding will inform better practice.” He mentions potential topics as the Equal Protection Clause, civil rights laws and the criminal justice system, and matters of economics, environmental justice, safety and health, and tax.

“I think the law is a tool, but it has so far proved an inadequate tool to address inequality in American society,” says Minow. “We have to spend more time on the inequalities that are embedded in the law itself, and in the legal system itself.”

For more information, read the blog post.

ALA Endorses FCC's Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

ALA released a statement applauding the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, established Feb. 25, 2021, by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to “provide qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet.”

ALA’s president, Julius C. Jefferson Jr., calls the program “one step among many needed to address longstanding barriers to broadband access and use. … Library staff have worked tirelessly to keep our communities and campuses connected by extending our Wi-Fi access, lending hotspots and devices, calling and assisting people trying to use online vaccine portals, and expanding digital resources. We are committed to these vital digital inclusion roles and look forward to increasing awareness and empowering participation for those most in need.”

For more information, read the press release.

BiblioCommons Announces BiblioEmail Tool

BiblioCommons made BiblioEmail available as a preorder for public libraries “looking to personalize their email marketing efforts. The new product’s most notable feature is the ability to repurpose content that has already been created in BiblioWeb—making the email creation process much more streamlined and staff-friendly.” Users can create targeted emails and enewsletters to promote library services, events, and collections that are relevant to an individual community’s interests and needs.

For more information, read the press release.

'California Wins Court Victory for Its Net Neutrality Law' by Cecilia Kang

Cecilia Kang writes the following for The New York Times:

A federal judge … cleared the way for California to enforce its net neutrality law, denying a request by telecommunications providers to delay state rules meant to ensure equal access to internet content.

Judge John Mendez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion for [a] preliminary injunction brought by the group of internet service providers that had sued to stop the 2018 state law from going into effect. …

California’s law was created after the Trump-era Federal Communications Commission in 2017 rolled back its federal net neutrality regulation. The Justice Department immediately sued the state to overturn its law. Broadband providers, through their trade groups, followed with a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the California law while the lawsuit wound its way through the courts.

The trade groups suing the state said in a joint statement that they were reviewing the court decision and deliberating next steps. …

The court’s ruling clears the way for California to enact its law, a move that is expected to be replicated by other states in the absence of a federal rule. Washington, Vermont and Oregon are among a handful of states that also enacted laws after the federal rollback of the rules. …

The Biden administration is expected to support the reinstatement of federal net neutrality rules. One month into the new administration, the Justice Department dropped its lawsuit against California’s law, leaving just the telecommunications industry’s request for a preliminary injunction as the last hurdle for the law to go into effect.

For more information, read the article.

FOLIO Adds Members and Unveils a New Governance Model

The FOLIO project added new member organizations and is using a new governance model. According to the press release, “The changes are designed to open the project to a wider variety of member libraries and organizations with a new structure for both involvement and leadership.” FOLIO now has more than 25 member organizations participating at various membership levels. The governance model “is designed to support open, transparent and respectful collaboration to create a more diverse community and provide more decentralized decision-making. Those taking part in the open source project will have a more structured way to influence the roadmap and engage in the project at the operational level.”

“In looking at the long-term goals of FOLIO, we recognize that we need to be as open and transparent as possible and welcome institutions and organizations of all sizes into the community and give them a voice in the project,” says Kirstin Kemner-Heek, FOLIO product council chairperson.

For more information, read the press release.

Modern Campus Education Platform Debuts

Destiny Solutions and OmniUpdate rebranded to form Modern Campus, a “‘student first’ modern learner engagement platform. Modern Campus delivers rich personalization and machine learning-driven career pathways, enabling higher education institutions to deliver on their mission while growing student enrollment.” The Modern Campus platform offers Modern Campus Destiny One (for continuing education or workforce development) and Modern Campus Omni CMS (a CMS for higher education). The experiences on the platform are highly personalized, with career pathway tools giving prospective students live labor market data so they can see how their education connects to employment opportunities and salaries.

For more information, read the press release. 

ARL Applauds New Best Practices for OERs From American University

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announced that it has endorsed a document from American University’s Washington College of Law and Center for Media & Social Impact: the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources. The code “is a tool for educators, librarians, and authors to evaluate common professional scenarios in which fair use can enable them to incorporate inserts, including those protected by copyright, to create OER. It can provide groups working on OER projects with a shared framework for evaluating and understanding when and how to incorporate existing content to meet pedagogical needs.”

For more information, read the blog post.

UNESCO and World Economic Forum Plan Roundtable on Gender Bias in AI

UNESCO and the World Economic Forum are hosting an online roundtable for International Women’s Day called Girl Trouble: Breaking Through the Bias in AI, to be held March 8, 2021. Female leaders in the tech space will “confront the deep-rooted gender imbalances skewing the development of artificial intelligence.”

The speakers are Gabriela Ramos (UNESCO’s assistant director general of social and human sciences), Kay Firth-Butterfield (the World Economic Forum’s head of AI and machine learning), Ashwini Asokan (CEO of AI company Mad Street Den), Adriana Bora (project manager at The Future Society), Anne Bioulac (a member of the Women in Africa Initiative), Meredith Broussard (associate professor of data journalism at New York University), Latifa Mohammed Al-Abdul Karim (a member of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia), Wanda Munoz (a member of the Human Security Network in Latin America and the Caribbean), Nanjira Sambuli (a member of the United Nations secretary general’s High-Level Panel for Digital Cooperation), and Jutta Williams (product manager at Twitter).

Register here.

For more information, visit the event page.

IMLS Director Hosts Free Webinar Conversations With Industry Leaders

IMLS is rolling out a free event series hosted by Crosby Kemper, its director. The press release states, “Drawing inspiration from a variety of modern media and historical concepts, including Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous fireside chats, … Director Kemper will host discussions engaging special guests from the museum, library, academic, journalism, and political worlds.”

The series will kick off on March 5 with “Conversations with Crosby: Churchill Today,” featuring Andrew Roberts and Timothy Riley from America’s National Churchill Museum. Each event will be available via GoToWebinar (registration required) and then uploaded to the IMLS YouTube channel.

“These conversations are designed to highlight the importance of the arts and humanities for our museums and libraries in their central place in the civic and community life of the nation and the growth and self-development of each of us individually,” says Kemper. “I hope that these encounters with some of the most thoughtful people in our world will provide guidance for IMLS, as well as enlightenment for all. We want to explore with them the shared heritage, shared experience, and shared ideas that can bring us together with libraries and museums—not always in agreement, but always with purpose and goodwill.”

For more information, read the press release.

'Welcome to Sunshine Week 2021!' by Barbie Keiser

Barbie Keiser writes the following in a blog post for Northern Virginia Community Colleges Loudoun Campus Library:

Sunshine Week is a celebration of the public’s right to see U.S. government records. Initiated in 2005, Sunshine Week features events sponsored by groups interested in the public’s right to know about its government, including government agencies, news organizations, universities, and libraries. These public events are designed to raise awareness about how important openness and transparency in government are for a democratic society. This year, Sunshine Week is celebrated the week of March 14-20, encompassing the March 16 birthday of James Madison, known as the ‘father of the Bill of Rights.’ ...

A Sunshine Week events calendar describes each event, date and time, and how to register or join. For example:

  • On March 15, Open the Government will host a panel discussion of the Trump Presidential Library and records, What Presidents Do to Keep Us from Knowing What Presidents Do.
  • Also on March 15 is the New England First Amendment Coalition online webinar, Keeping the Light On: Holding Government Accountable, examining the values of open and responsive government and how all citizens play a role.
  • The News Leaders Association webinar on March 18 features a discussion by journalists on how they navigated barriers to public records to tell important stories about COVID-19, official misconduct and beyond.

For more information, read the blog post

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