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Weekly News Digest

March 24, 2022 — 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.

ALA Rolls Out New Report on Libraries Bridging the Digital Divide During the Pandemic

ALA’s new report, “Keeping Communities Connected: Library Broadband Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” highlights “the impact of broadband access through the nation’s nearly 17,000 public libraries during the pandemic, as well as the need for continued long-term investments in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programming. … [L]ibraries rose to the emergency to provide an internet connection and technology to those who otherwise would lack such access. The report documents both widespread practices and unique strategies employed by U.S. public libraries to keep Americans connected during this challenging time,” the press release states.

“As the pandemic recedes, the needs remain, and so do America’s libraries—but not without cost,” says Patty Wong, ALA’s president. “Keeping Communities Connected is not only a critical incident report but a playbook for the long-term work of advancing digital equity and a guide for investments necessary to make progress.” 

For more information, read the press release.

SAGE Offers Free Collection of Research on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

SAGE “created a free-to-read collection that highlights research related to the Russia-Ukraine war. Topics touch on historical background; issues around information and media, race, ethnicity, and religion; the humanitarian crisis; geopolitics; economic sanctions; and how to move forward.” View the collection here.

The company states, “Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis that has followed. We are committed to supporting the people of Ukraine, especially those in the education and research community we serve.”

For more information, read the blog post.

IFLA Issues In-Depth Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

IFLA issued another statement in support of Ukraine. Its governing board published the following, which reads, in part:

IFLA recognises that when states initiate armed force, it is ordinary citizens on all sides who are the victims. Throughout history, libraries, cultural heritage institutions, literature, language and ideas have come under direct attack in times of conflict. IFLA calls for an immediate end to the conflict to protect people, ideas, libraries and culture. …

IFLA strongly reaffirms its core values of freedom of expression, access to information, high quality service and a commitment to value diversity and inclusion in all its forms. IFLA believes that librarians and information professionals around the world share the same intrinsic values. Therefore, it cannot be the intention to exclude libraries and librarians on the basis of their nationality, or to isolate them. …

The Governing Board of IFLA has discussed the correspondence and demands for the exclusion of the Russian Members of IFLA. According to the Statutes, the conditions for exclusion are currently not met and the necessary proof is lacking that Members are behaving in a way that would constitute a valid reason to exclude them. This decision was taken unanimously at an extraordinary Governing Board meeting on Friday, 18 March 2022. The Governing Board decided also that IFLA will not participate in any events, virtual or physical, held in the Russian Federation until the situation is peacefully resolved.

For more information, read the statement.

'Publishing Giants Are Fighting Libraries on E-Books' by David Moore

David Moore writes the following for Sludge:

Librarians have been warning that large publishers are squeezing licensing terms on digital works, pushing for libraries to merely rent digital works, rather than allowing them to own copies as they do physical books.

‘Libraries simply can no longer be forced to rent their e-book collections with restrictions and pricing that are designed to minimize the libraries’ ability to provide access to the public, while maximizing publisher profits over that library mission,’ said Jennie Rose Halperin, executive director of Library Futures. …

In the second pandemic year last year, e-book prices for libraries and schools stayed high as digital distribution allowed publishers to set terms that academic librarians in the U.K. called ‘price-gouging.’ …

Bills seeking to establish fair licensing terms for e-books are under consideration in six states, with the language of bills in Massachusetts, Missouri, and Rhode Island designed much like the Maryland bill that is now being challenged in court. 

As it fights against these bills, the [Association of American Publishers] and its affiliated groups, backed by massive corporations, have far more money and resources to apply to their legal work, and have spent far more on lobbying efforts and political contributions. …

‘It’s unconscionable that trade organizations that purport to support artists and creators are spending so many resources fighting librarians who are simply trying to get better access to resources for their communities,’ said Halperin. … ‘We’ve seen a coordinated effort by industry to silence or scare librarians over time, particularly from big vendors threatening their jobs or patron resources.’ …

For more information, read the article.

'Everyone Was Surprised by the Senate Passing Permanent Daylight Saving Time. Especially the Senators.' by Paul McLeod

Paul McLeod writes the following for BuzzFeed News:

The Senate’s unanimous passage of a bill to make daylight saving time permanent stunned many Americans, not least of which the senators themselves. …

Any single senator could have blocked the daylight saving bill from passing but many didn’t know it was even happening. Sen. Rick Scott, a permanent daylight saving time proponent who signed a similar bill into law when he was governor of Florida, said he would have gone to give a speech on the Senate floor if he had known. Asked to re-create his reaction to the news, Sen. Chris Coons issued a series of shocked stammers that is impossible to phonetically translate. …

This is not how the Senate usually works. Passing a bill through the chamber is, by design, a long and painful process that usually results in shattered dreams and bitter failure. …

[But w]ith unanimous agreement, you can do pretty much anything. Any senator can go to the Senate floor any time and ask for unanimous consent to skip all of the debate and the votes and just pass the bill immediately. If no one objects, it is done. But all it takes is a single senator to object and the bill is blocked. …

The long-standing hotline system of notifying every senator of each unanimous consent request isn’t just a matter of principle. The moment this norm is breached and one side tries something sneaky, both parties would need to implement a system where one of their members is present in the Senate chamber at all times to block consent requests. That’s a babysitting duty no one wants to be stuck with, so both sides agree to play nice.

A sneaky consent request would also be far from guaranteed to succeed. Every bill needs to pass both the Senate and the House, as well as go to the president’s desk, in order to become law. …

The permanent daylight saving time bill is now in this limbo. Though it has passed the Senate, it still needs to pass the House and be signed into law by President Joe Biden. Passing a bill through the House is generally a lot easier than the Senate, but there is still an opportunity for standard time proponents—or clock-changing enthusiasts—to block the legislation.

For more information, read the article.

Innovative Unveils Two New Modules for Vega LX

Innovative expanded “the Vega Library Experience (LX) platform for better patron engagement through Vega Promote for digital marketing and Vega Program for event and room management. Both have been designed specifically for public libraries, with input from librarians. Vega LX is a cloud-based suite of solutions that works to create more personalized interactions between libraries and their patrons.”

The Vega Promote digital marketing tool “enables libraries to manage email marketing campaigns, configured for librarians to manage integrated library systems and marketing contacts. The simple, intuitive interface enables library staff to easily design and schedule emails, to communicate at scale with their community and tailor their communications for specific audiences.” Libraries can use it “to tag and segment contacts, create email templates, insert images from a photo library with over four million free stock photos, and schedule and send email campaigns.”

The Vega Program events planner “helps libraries manage the online aspect of the creation, promotion, registration and execution of events. Developed by and for librarians to simplify event and room management, it gives library staff the tools they need to successfully orchestrate and advertise their programs to the community.” Vega Program has a responsive public calendar featuring individual event landing pages that allows patrons to search and register for upcoming events and lets library staffers set up events, communicate with attendees, and export automated marketing materials.

For more information, read the press release.

Springer Nature Plans to Launch Three New Nature Journals in 2023

Springer Nature announced that it is launching three new journals in January 2023: Nature Mental Health, Nature Water, and Nature Reviews Bioengineering. They “will have multi-disciplinary scopes and offer a new avenue for publication of the latest research discoveries that are impacting some of the challenges the world is facing.” Nature Mental Health and Nature Water will be transformative journals that will transition to fully OA.

Nature Mental Health will cover “the breadth of sciences using rigorous methodology to understand mental health and mental health disorders.” Nature Water will cover “all aspects of research related to the evolving relationship between water resources and society.” Nature Reviews Bioengineering is the first engineering-centered Nature Reviews journal, and it will be online-only. It will cover “the full breadth of bioengineering, focusing on application, translation and technology.”

For more information, read the press release.

Accessible Archives Shares Historical Companion Resources for The Gilded Age

The finale of the first season of HBO’s The Gilded Age aired on March 21, and Accessible Archives has been releasing a series of blog posts touting its resources on the time period.

Work-Life Balance in the Gilded Age” notes, “Godey’s Lady’s Book offered what they considered to be practical advice to Gilded Age households of more moderate means, but as [for] how arrangements in the dining room should be handled, the devil was in the details. … At the same time, other Gilded Age publications were wondering whether there might not be more intelligent attention given to balancing out the daily hours of housekeeping with healthier occupations.”

Vanderbilt’s Palace—The Gilded Age” states, “William H. Vanderbilt commissioned the architectural firm of Herter Brothers to design and build a joined set of Fifth Avenue residences—one side being for Vanderbilt and his wife and the other for his two married daughters.  For Vanderbilt, one key consideration of the residential construction was proper housing and display of his expanding collection of art. Frank Leslie’s Weekly shone a dramatic spotlight on the structure for its readers.”

The Douglass Banquet, A Gilded Age Event” describes “a banquet given in January of 1883 with the guest of honor being Frederick Douglass. The occasion so noted was the 20th anniversary of Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

'GSA's DUNS Replacement Set to Go Live' by Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta writes the following for Nextgov:

The General Services Administration [GSA] wants all organizations that conduct business with the federal government to take steps to prepare for the switch to the new identification system that is replacing the proprietary DUNS number. 

On April 4, GSA is switching to the new ‘unique entity identifier’ [UEI]—a nonproprietary system—for federal contracting purposes. The move is the culmination of a long-planned transition away from the DUNS Number, which was codified into the Federal Acquisition Regulation in 1998 and has since served as the primary entity identifier for all GSA systems users. The UEI system features a 12-digit alphanumeric code. …

‘We recognize this new process will be a change for users who have done business with the federal government in the past,’ Meredith Whitehead, deputy assistant commissioner of GSA's Integrated Award Environment, said in a statement. ‘We encourage everybody who will be impacted to become familiar with the changes by using all the resources available on’

For more information, read the article.

Author's Republic Audiobook Provider Creates Studio for Self-Publishing

Author’s Republic, an independent self-publishing audiobook platform provider, developed The Author’s Republic Studio, a “new capability, now coupled with Author’s Republic global distribution network, [that] gives emerging authors one-stop access to professional audiobook production and sales channels worldwide.” The studio offers a narrator marketplace and other resources for managing the production workflow of an audiobook. It makes completed audiobooks available globally via various sales channels.

“As one of the world’s widest audiobook distribution platforms—delivering audiobooks to over 50 retail channels and library platforms—Author’s Republic ensures that the work of self-published authors is distributed everywhere audiobooks can be accessed,” the press release states.

For more information, read the press release.

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