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Weekly News Digest

June 17, 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.

LYRASIS Buys BiblioLabs, Turns It Nonprofit

LYRASIS has acquired the BiblioLabs library technology firm (which offers the BiblioBoard platform) via a cash purchase and a charitable contribution from the owners of BiblioLabs. According to the press release, “The acquisition unites two organizations on the leading edge of library software and support services and transitions BiblioLabs from a mission-aligned for-profit firm into the mission-driven non-profit model of LYRASIS.” BiblioLabs will retain its current staffers, programs, and name as a division of LYRASIS. There will be no interruption of service or other disruptions for clients, subscribers, members, or partners.

“With BiblioLabs, we saw an opportunity to strengthen our existing eBook services and offer more value to our members and other public, academic and K-12 libraries,” says Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS. “By adding community engagement and local content creation tools, on top of the library-focused technology provided by our SimplyE/Library Simplified offerings, we can give users a seamless eBook management experience.”

For more information, read the press release.

New York Is Poised to Be the Second State to Enact Ebook Legislation

Andrew Albanese writes the following in “New York Legislature Passes Library E-Book Bill” for Publishers Weekly:

New York is now the second state to pass a bill that would ensure public libraries the right to license and lend e-books that are available to consumers in the state.

After votes on successive days this week in the Assembly and the Senate, the bill crossed the finish line just before the June 10 close of the legislative session and is now headed to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk. If signed, the law would be the second such piece of digital library legislation to pass, following Maryland’s.

Like the Maryland legislation, which passed into law on June 1, the New York bills (S2890B in the Senate and A5837B in the Assembly) require ‘publishers who offer to license e-books to the public’ to also offer those e-books to libraries on ‘reasonable’ terms. The bill’s summary states that the law is designed to ensure that ‘widely accepted and effective industry practices remain in place while prohibiting harmful practices that discriminate against libraries and harm library patrons.’ And, also like the Maryland legislation, New York’s bill passed unanimously in the Assembly.

Notably, New York’s version of the library e-book law could take effect before Maryland’s. Maryland’s law doesn’t take effect until January, 2022, while New York’s legislation would go into effect just 19 days after it is signed into law. The governor has 10 days to sign or veto a bill if that bill was passed during the legislative session—which this bill was. And if the governor doesn’t sign or veto the bill within the allotted time frame, the bill automatically becomes law.

For more information, read the article.

Ex Libris Rolls Out Its Rapido Platform

Ex Libris’ Rapido resource-sharing platform is now live with its first four implementations. With Rapido, the borrowing and lending processes are automated, helping staffers deal with a high volume of requests. According to the press release, “The aim of the Rapido platform is to make resource sharing an outstanding experience for library patrons and staff. To this end, the development has adhered to the principles articulated by the Big Ten Academic Alliance and other institutions.”

“The Rapido platform accelerates workflows, increases the ease of use, and reduces costs for the library community at large. We are expecting additional customers to go live with the Rapido platform in the coming months, helping create a large, active community of resource sharing libraries,” says Sharona Sagi, Ex Libris’ VP of delivery solutions.

For more information, read the press release.

OverDrive Acquires Kanopy

OverDrive announced the following:

[W]e have entered an agreement to acquire Kanopy, a leading video streaming service for public and academic libraries.

The acquisition of Kanopy will bring one of the industry’s most-acclaimed video catalogs to the OverDrive platform to better serve public and academic libraries around the world. Kanopy provides academic institutions and public libraries with an award-winning catalog of over 30,000 highly curated films. …

Kanopy and OverDrive will explore how working together will bring benefits to library partners, suppliers and employees through their complementary content and technologies. More details will come soon.

For more information, read the blog post.

Springer Nature Convenes US Research Advisory Council

Springer Nature launched the US Research Advisory Council (USRAC), which will meet annually at a roundtable workshop to advise on research culture and how research can contribute to a more equitable society. The first workshop, held June 15, 2021, discussed how COVID-19 has affected research and research communications. The press release shares that the council “was organized by a Springer Nature steering group and task force representing its diversity of research publishing and solutions activity including books, journals, magazines and databases, which included Laura Helmuth, editor in chief of Scientific American, and Magdalena Skipper, editor in chief of Nature.”

Other participants include Welmoed Spahr (Springer Nature’s VP of applied computing and video development for books), Harry Blom (Springer Nature’s VP of policy, development, and strategy for journals), and Rachel Burley (president of Research Square). USRAC membership will rotate in order to bring in fresh perspectives.

For more information and the list of current council members, read the press release.

NYPL and LYRASIS Expand Their Efforts to Make E-Reading Easier

The New York Public Library (NYPL) and LYRASIS announced the following:

[F]ollowing a two-year collaboration to empower public libraries around the country to gain control over their e-book delivery platforms, [the organizations] will be expanding their efforts on delivering a library driven library empowered ebook platform, pursuing two different opportunities towards the same goal.

The NYPL will continue to improve, enhance, and perfect its e-book reader SimplyE, developed by the Library and released in 2016 to offer the public easy and direct access to browse, borrow, and read hundreds of thousands of free e-books, and libraries the freedom to organize, deliver, and curate their e-collections. … Currently 250 library systems, including the NYPL itself, use SimplyE, and while all will continue using it, the NYPL will shift its focus on development and on New York patrons (especially considering the new needs of a city coping and recovering from crisis) and will no longer look to grow that number. 

LYRASIS, a leading non-profit delivering hosted solutions and technology support to libraries, partnered with NYPL in April 2019 to offer cloud-based hosting to public library systems looking to implement SimplyE, ensuring that libraries large and small could adopt the platform. Still committed to that mission, LYRASIS will continue to engage with libraries across the country and work to make e-reading more accessible, developing its own e-reader utilizing SimplyE’s open-source code and offering broad tech support and cloud hosting of the entire platform. About 100 library systems will work with LYRASIS on their new app, which will offer books from The Digital Public Library of America’s (DPLA’s) Book Exchange, and for all the other major distributors in the market today. 

For more information, read the press release.

IMLS Offers Online Hub for Educators to Get Museums' Resource Kits

IMLS introduced Museums for Digital Learning (MDL), a new online resource center that is geared to K–12 educators. Searchable by subject and grade, it offers activities drawn from the collections of museums of various disciplines, sizes, and geographic regions. According to the press release, “Working with K-12 educators, the [MDL] team created templates that would be easy for any museum to populate and add to the site as Resource Kits. There are now 23 museums committed to participating and 29 Resource Kits.”

Other museums are invited to contribute: “Resource Kits are made up of several activity types through which museums can choose to present their content. These may include narratives, hotspots, slideshows, annotations, timelines, games, and e-books. Museums decide on the number of digitized objects they want to use in a kit and the types of activities they want to include.” Multiple museums may also collaborate to create kits centering on a specific theme or topic.

For more information, read the press release.

Higher Education Solutions Combine: Modern Campus Buys DIGARC

Modern Campus acquired DIGARC, a higher education software provider. DIGARC customers can access academic catalog, curriculum management, class and student scheduling, and student pathfinder solutions, and this purchase helps Modern Campus offer more personalized digital experiences.

According to the press release, “Modern Campus will integrate its award-winning web experience platform and personalization engine with DIGARC’s comprehensive course curriculum management software. Together, they will empower higher education institutions to solve two of the biggest challenges they face today: attracting and converting prospective students, and creating a highly personalized and engaging pathway to on-time graduation.”

For more information, read the press release.

EDP Sciences Renews Its Commitment to Subscribe-to-Open

EDP Sciences shares the following:

In May 2021, EDP Sciences announced that its complete mathematics journal portfolio of six subscription titles—including the flagship journal ‘ESAIM: Mathematical Modelling and Numerical analysis’—transitioned to Open Access (OA) under the innovative Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) model. In partnership with Knowledge Unlatched (KU), EDP Sciences will be asking libraries and institutions currently subscribing to any of the six journals to renew for 2021 and beyond on a S2O basis, thus contributing to maintaining these journals Open Access in years to come.

With this flip, EDP Sciences is fulfilling part of its mission to make the mathematics content it publishes freely available and as widespread as possible. …

EDP Sciences will receive support from KU in introducing the S2O model to libraries, working with the Subscription Division of EBSCO Information Services for related transactions. By building on current subscription processes, the S2O model reaffirms librarians’ roles as decision-makers and curators who continue to influence and shape the landscape of OA journal publishing.

For more information, read the press release.

The Scholarly Kitchen Digs Into the Problems With Private Universities

Karin Wulf writes the following in “What Universities Have Wrought: An Interview With Davarian Baldwin” for The Scholarly Kitchen:

Headlines remind us that the crisis of higher education in the United States, in which universities that are squeezed for resources are cutting programs and staff, has accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic. A review by the Chronicle of Higher Education estimated that the pandemic will have cost higher education $183 billion. Hundreds of thousands will have lost jobs in the sector. The impact on humanities programs and positions are likely to have been hardest hit. This is not unique to the US.

At the same time, another crisis has been long unfolding, mostly out of the headlines except when protests erupt. Mostly, though not exclusively, private universities in cities have expanded their real estate holdings, become substantial and sometimes dominant local (even regional) employers, and turned their security into police departments, all with serious consequences for urban communities—primarily communities of color. A longstanding ideal of higher education has underwritten both tax exemptions for universities and new public-private partnerships that further marginalize existing communities. 

There may be a better path forward, and, post-pandemic, this may be exactly the time to commit to it. But we still need to have a clearer sense of just what’s happened. Davarian Baldwin’s new book, In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering our Cities, takes a close look at universities in cities including Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, New Haven, New York, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh—and Winnipeg. Dr. Baldwin is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies and founding director of the Smart Cities Lab at Trinity College. … With research that included 100 interviews with administrators, faculty, students, and staff, as well as community activists, he shows the impact of university expansion and intrusions. A believer in higher education and its public mission, he also has ideas—and an example—of how things could be different.

I sat down with Dr. Baldwin across Zoom, to ask more about how he’s come to understand the role—and the potential—for universities in American cities. … Dr. Baldwin addressed a host of related issues in our conversation, including the history of racist urban development, the explosion of student loans, the experiences of low wage workers including graduate students, and the history and recent steps at his own university. …  

For more information, read the blog post.

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