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Weekly News Digest

April 19, 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. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

WIRED Shares a Positive Development in the Fight Against Climate Change

Matt Simon writes the following in “Some (Kinda) Good Climate News: 2 Degrees Is Doable” for WIRED:

For all the less-than-encouraging news about climate change—rapid sea-level rise, the land itself transforming, serious trouble brewing under Antarctic glaciers—we’ve been getting plenty of hope. The price of renewable energy is crashing, for example, and we’re moving toward a cleaner, electrified future faster than you may realize.

That shift is clear in a darn near uplifting paper that publishes today in the journal Nature: Modeling by an international team of scientists shows that if nations uphold their recent climate pledges, including those made at COP26, humanity may keep warming under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the goal outlined in the Paris Agreement. It isn’t under the 1.5-degree threshold we’d really want (the agreement’s more optimistic goal), but it’s far from the extreme warming of 3, 4, or even 5 degrees, as some scenarios projected prior to the agreement. And it will only happen if nations carry out their promises to quickly decarbonize their economies—which isn’t guaranteed. 

For more information, read the article.

Publishers Weekly News Roundup

The following are some April news articles from Publishers Weekly (PW).

Again, a Fantagraphics Graphic Novel Is Stranded on a Ship” by Calvin Reid, from April 13, states:

Once again, the print run of a graphic novel published by Fantagraphics Books is trapped on board a container ship. The entire 10,000-copy print run of cartoonist Jordan Crane’s new graphic novel, Keeping Two, is on board the Ever Forward, a 1,000-foot ship carrying nearly 5,000 containers, that has been mired near shore in the Chesapeake Bay for more than three weeks.

Jacq Cohen, Fantagraphics executive director of consumer marketing and publicity, confirmed that the ship is physically trapped in the Bay. Cohen also told PW its likely that other publishers also have titles trapped onboard the ship. A source knowledgeable about the situation, confirmed to PW that other publishers have books on the stranded ship, although it is unclear which publishers or how many.

Maryland Gives Up on Its Library E-Book Law” by Andrew Albanese, from April 11, reports:

Maryland’s library e-book law is effectively dead. In a recent court filing, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said the state would present no new evidence in a legal challenge filed by the Association of American Publishers, allowing the court’s recently issued preliminary injunction blocking the law to stand, and paving the way for it to be converted into a permanent injunction.

“The State acknowledges that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the Court may grant or deny further relief in this matter without a further hearing or trial,” the filing states. However, rather than convert Judge Deborah L. Boardman’s preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction, state attorneys argued that a less burdensome declaratory judgment would suffice.

The Book Sales Boom Is Over” by Jim Milliot, from April 8, shares:

Unit sales of print books fell 8.9% in the first quarter, which ended April 2, from the same period in 2021, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The decline was expected, as first-quarter sales in 2021 soared 29.2% over the first period in 2020. Unit sales were 183.9 million in the most recent quarter, down from 201.9 million a year ago, but they were still up about 16% over the first quarter of 2020, when sales began to soften due to pandemic-related lockdowns.

'Florida Rejects 54 Math Books, Claiming Critical Race Theory Appeared in Some' by Ayana Archie

Ayana Archie writes the following for NPR:

The Florida education department has rejected 54 mathematics textbooks for its K-12 curriculum, citing reasons spanning the inclusion of critical race theory to Common Core learning concepts.

The rejected books make up a record 41% of the 132 books submitted for review, the Florida Department of Education said in a statement.

Of them, 28 were rejected because they ‘incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including [critical race theory],’ the statement said. …

The names of the rejected books were not included.

For more information, read the article.

'UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Have Impact on Textile Wastewater Pollution Research' by David Ellis

David Ellis writes the following for Digital Science:

The world’s research effort into wastewater pollution caused by the textiles industry has increased threefold over the past five years, according to a new analysis released this week in the lead up to Earth Day (Friday 22 April).

The rise in research correlates with the implementation in 2016 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, particularly SD6, relating to clean water and sanitation for all. …

Dr [Briony] Fane, a Research Analyst with Digital Science, says: ‘Water contamination and pollution is one of the world’s most critical environmental challenges, affecting both developing and developed nations. It’s well documented that the textiles and fashion industries have accelerated this major impact on our planet, to the detriment of human health, biodiversity, and society.’

For more information, read the article.

OverDrive Max Access Model Offers Metered Concurrent Use

OverDrive announced that its OverDrive Max access model for schools and libraries has “a growing list of publishers” participating. The company notes, “Under the OverDrive Max model (also known as metered concurrent use), libraries can stock bundles of up to 100 loans for popular digital books with no expiration date. With each Max title the cost to serve each reader is typically the lowest available cost for libraries and schools for lending the ebook or audiobook.”

“OverDrive Max enables librarians to reserve inventories of select digital books, often at the lowest cost per loan, and eliminate the concerns associated with time limits for access to the collection,” says Karen Estrovich, OverDrive’s senior manager for public libraries. “This saves time and is a cost-effective option to serve the maximum numbers of readers with a library’s budget. It is perfect for summer student programs, books club and community reading events.”

For more information, read the press release.

'We Need to Talk About the Mental Health Effects of Book Bans on Authors' by Karis Rogerson

Karis Rogerson writes the following for Electric Literature:

It seems like every day there’s a new slate of bad news for the queer community in the United States. From anti-trans legislation in Texas to the Florida governor signing the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill to books being pulled off shelves—nationwide—for no reason other than who their writers are: queer authors, authors of color, and queer authors of color. It’s an unending slew of depressing headlines. …

[K]nowing first hand what it’s like not having access to books that could have helped me see myself, and the larger world, in a better light, I am passionate about making sure future generations get to see their experiences; see those unlike them; and choose to live their lives to the fullest of their own identities. …

I spoke with two kidlit authors, Mark Oshiro and Kyle Lukoff, about what it’s like to have a book challenged and/or banned. Both of these authors are award-winning and beloved, and I’ve seen them speak out on social media against book bans, as well as the distressing effects of having their books challenged. 

For more information, read the article.

Springer Nature and Clarivate Will Make German Journal Titles Gender-Neutral

Springer Nature announced the following:

Springer Nature and Clarivate share a commitment to building an inclusive research culture and championing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the communities they serve, supporting Sustainable Development Goal 10 aimed at reducing inequalities.

The organisations have agreed [to] a process which will see the names of twenty one journals in Springer Nature’s German language medical portfolio change to become more clearly inclusive, while Clarivate will enable them to retain their indexing with no break in coverage and no disruption to their journal metrics in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). 

These changes are being made because the journals, part of the Springer Medizin imprint, had been named after the profession to which their content was targeted and in the German language the gender-neutral titles for professions is usually identical to the masculine form. …

Dr. Paul Herrmann, Director [of] Journals and ePublishing at Springer Medizin said: ‘We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to achieving Springer Nature’s mission to open doors to discovery. Medicine has long since ceased to be male-dominated. Across the medical profession today, the proportion of women is around 50 percent, in some areas it is significantly higher. It is important therefore that, as one of the leading publishers in academic research, we do our part to make gender equality in medicine more visible. Making sure that our journals properly and explicitly reflect the communities they are part of is a small, but important, step towards greater inclusion.’

For more information, read the press release.

ByWater Solutions Integrates Springshare's LibCal Into Aspen Discovery

Jessie Zairo writes the following for ByWater Solutions:

ByWater Solutions, America’s forefront provider of Open Source library technology support, announced today that they have partnered with Springshare, a leading SaaS vendor for libraries and educational institutions, to provide integration with LibCal and Aspen Discovery.

With this integration, common customers of ByWater’s Aspen Discovery and Springshare’s LibCal will see LibCal event information and registration data seamlessly integrated into Aspen content pages.

For more information, read the news item.

Elsevier Rolls Out the Research Futures 2.0 Report

Elsevier announced the following:

Research launched today by Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, reveals the challenges and opportunities facing researchers in a post-COVID-19 world. The findings are published in Elsevier’s Research Futures 2.0 report, which is free to download. …

It builds on the first Research Futures Report (2019) that considered what the world of research might look like in 10 years’ time. The new data highlights mounting pressure across publishing, funding, and for female researchers, while highlighting new opportunities in new funding sources, technology, and collaboration. …

Women reported having less time to do research during lockdowns, which could slow or hamper their future career prospects. 62% reported they were finding it difficult to find a good work-life balance during the pandemic, compared to just 50% of male researchers—a trend that could have significant negative long-term effects on the careers of women in research. …

Alongside collaboration, AI has been embraced more than ever during the past two years, though some caution remains. 16% of researchers are extensive users of AI in their research, and while high take-up in Computer Sciences skews that number (64% of computer scientists are heavy users), attitudes across several specialties have grown more positive.

For more information, read the press release.

A Recap of an Association for Information Science and Technology AI Conference

Sarah Bratt writes about the 2022 NEASIST (Northeast chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology) AI & Equity Conference for Information Matters, stating the following:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is embedded deeply in our lives. To move AI forward equitably, we need not start from scratch; history can serve us. A powerful reminder of this was the day-long NEASIST event, an energizing reminder that many ASIS&T areas [have] historical ties to the apparently ‘bleeding edge’ issues of AI: Equity and information ethics and policy (SIG-IEP, SIG-SM), Bibliometrics and information retrieval (e.g., SIG-MET, SIG-AI), Information literacy (SIG-ED), knowledge organization and management (e.g., SIG-CR, SIG-KM), and Information behavior, use, and seeking (e.g., SIG-USE) approaches. …

The NEASIST conference “With Great Power: AI and Equity” Friday, March 25, 2022, by Simmons and ASIS&T, co-sponsored by SIG-AI, brought diverse perspectives to questions of the intersection of [AI], machine learning (ML), and society. I was struck by the nuanced perspectives gained from deep technical knowledge of AI systems, connected to the most pertinent questions of our increasingly algorithmically-mediated experiences, services, and products. The scope of the topics was wide ranging—legal scholars brought perspectives related to behavioral data use, emergency preparedness researchers as well as privacy and security brought perspectives on how AI is shaping issues critical to public sector concerns, from COVID-19 case tracking to semi-automated policing.

For more information, read the article.

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