|Weekly News Digest
August 30, 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.
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News Roundup: Book Bans, Misinformation, and Vaccine Info on Wikipedia
The following are a few articles of interest for info pros.
Barbara VanDenburgh writes in “Book Bans Are on the Rise. What Are the Most Banned Books and Why?” for USA TODAY: “A dramatic uptick in challenged books over the past year, an escalation of censorship tactics, and the coordinated harassment of teachers and librarians has regularly put book banning efforts in news headlines.” VanDenburgh provides a good overview and explainer piece: a list of news items about banned books, context for the rise in banning, a list of most-banned books, an explainer on who bans books, and notes on how organizations are pushing back.
Mozilla published “Slow Your Scroll: 5 Ways to Fight Misinformation on Your Social Feed” via its Distilled blog, writing that “the internet also connects us with reliable sources. But when it comes to social media, it becomes a matter of whether or not we actually stop scrolling and take the time to verify what we’re seeing and hearing. So, how can we fight misinformation in our never-ending feeds? Consider these five tips.” They include filtering out the aesthetics, knowing when it’s time to dig deeper, and reporting misinformation.
Connie Moon Sehat writes in “Why Does Wikipedia Need a Reliable Sources List on Vaccines?” for NewsQ:
[T]he Wikipedia community has no … list of reliable sources for specialized topics such as vaccines. In addition, discussions within the community about source quality overall are often based upon one-off conversations tied to individual articles, rather than systemic evaluations. This is why NewsQ has started a project with Knowledge Futures Group that will allow members of the Wikipedia community to use data, based upon previous Wikipedian deliberations, to achieve a more robust, defensible consensus around reliable sources. We are collaborating with experienced Wikipedia editors participating in the Wikimedia DC chapter to gather this data and refine a list of reputable sources of vaccine information throughout 2022 and 2023.
OCLC Redesigns WorldCat.org, Prompting Minor Backlash
On Aug. 24, OCLC announced the introduction of “a new WorldCat.org, reimagining the single website that connects people to thousands of libraries in one search. The project is part of OCLC's commitment to increase access to libraries and their collections, and to help expand their impact. OCLC's ongoing investment in WorldCat.org ensures libraries and their extensive collections are easily accessible to anyone searching for information.” The press release continues, “The new WorldCat.org offers all formats of library resources and highlights the materials that are closest to searchers, increasing user satisfaction and introducing new people to the depth and breadth of library resources. Additionally, it extends the reach and influence of libraries, connecting to people who may never otherwise visit in person or online.”
The updated site has a more-accessible, mobile-friendly design; offers tools to promote local library collections so they can reach more people; makes list creation and sharing easier in order to provide more opportunities for engagement; and has improved discovery and fulfillment options with access to local library e-resources.
For more information, read the press release. An OCLC Next blog post by Cathy King, OCLC’s executive director of delivery services, discusses the updates in detail.
Chad Haefele, head of UX at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill University Libraries, posted a Twitter thread in response to the redesign. It laments the addition of a Featured Libraries tab that prioritizes WorldCat member libraries and hides others behind an All Libraries tab. Read the thread for additional comments and OCLC’s reply. OCLC also offered a full explanation on its own Twitter page that may quell some concerns: twitter.com/SearchWorldCat/status/1563203921744498691.
NewsBreaks author and Online Searcher editor-in-chief Marydee Ojala shares the following:
A handful of ALA members posted their reactions on ALA Connect with the subject line “WorldCat’s Recent ‘Redesign.’” They were not happy, except for one who praised OCLC for offering a free and public WorldCat. Several librarians, who double-check existing catalog records when confronted with cataloging issues of their own, now find the process unduly cumbersome.
A librarian from the Miami-Dade County Public Library noted that, after logging in and transferring her lists and favorites, only a few of her favorite libraries were listed and her own library no longer appeared in search results. She also noted that library patrons often use Goodreads to find books they want to read, then follow the link to WorldCat to see if a local library owns them. They assume that if their local library is not listed, it’s because the library doesn’t have what they want.
“Horrifying” is how another librarian described search results, specifically the difference between “Featured Library” versus “All Libraries.” The latter has no links; it’s simply a list of libraries, which means that searchers must leave WorldCat for a Google search. Several librarians were very distressed that apparently libraries must “pay a premium” to be listed as a “Featured Library.” WorldCat historically only included libraries that had both a cataloging and a FirstSearch/WorldCat Discovery subscription. With the redesign, “All Libraries” includes those with a cataloging subscription only. OCLC is also offering new subscription options to increase library visibility.
A personal observation: The geolocation function had some bugs in the initial rollout of the redesigned WorldCat. I am located in Indianapolis, but WorldCat thought I was in Chicago. It was very simple, however, to correct that.
OCLC has a website for librarians to respond to the redesign if anyone else wants to weigh in: oclc.org/oclc-forms/en/volunteer/new_worldcat_org_feedback.html.
More Outlets Weigh In on the PRH vs. DOJ Trial
Constance Grady writes the following in “Book Publishers Just Spent 3 Weeks in Court Arguing They Have No Idea What They’re Doing” for Vox:
On August 22, oral arguments ended in the Justice Department’s antitrust trial to block the book publisher Penguin Random House from merging with rival Simon & Schuster. The result of the trial, which is expected to be decided later this fall, will have a massive impact on both the multibillion-dollar book publishing industry and on how the government handles corporate consolidation going forward. Perhaps fittingly for a case with such high stakes, the trial was characterized by obfuscation and downright disinformation nearly the whole way through. …
Over the course of the trial … publishers would continue to insist on their existing public image as helpless incompetents at the whims of larger companies and an irrational market. The government, meanwhile, stuck to the narrative that the publishers were savvy operators who knew exactly what they were doing with their billion-dollar companies. The question of which story was most convincing will help decide the future of American antitrust law.
Victoria Bekiempis writes the following in “So Who Won the Antitrust Trial?” for Vulture:
The trial has dramatic implications for the U.S. publishing industry, and the proceedings have provided insight into a largely opaque world. There were witnesses such as best-selling author Stephen King and publishing executives including Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle. Their testimony made public how things like author compensation and publishers’ competition for best sellers play out in this seemingly unregulated business. …
Vulture spoke with experts and observers about how they think the trial went. … Legal experts and observers told Vulture that lawyers for all sides seemed to present strong cases. However, some thought that the Department of Justice’s case came across as more persuasive.
For more information, read Vox’s article and Vulture’s article.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Issues Guidance on Making Taxpayer-Funded Research Free to the Public
STM Publishing News announced the following:
[T]he White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) updated U.S. policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost. In a memorandum to federal departments and agencies, Dr. Alondra Nelson, the head of OSTP, delivered guidance for agencies to update their public access policies as soon as possible to make publications and research funded by taxpayers publicly accessible, without an embargo or cost. All agencies will fully implement updated policies, including ending the optional 12-month embargo, no later than December 31, 2025.
This policy will likely yield significant benefits on a number of key priorities for the American people, from environmental justice to cancer breakthroughs, and from game-changing clean energy technologies to protecting civil liberties in an automated world.
Frontiers issued a blog post in response to this news, with co-founder and CEO Kamila Markram stating, “Enormous progress has been made in our collective efforts to extend the benefits of publicly funded research to all of society, and this announcement ought to be a tipping point. The Covid emergency taught us that open science drives innovation and saves lives.” She continues, “As we face down global, existential threats, not least climate change, open science without paywalls will accelerate collaboration and improve our chances of success. We stand ready to work with partners in the vanguard of this transition.”
For more information, read the news item.
Yewno Integrates Its Search Technology Into the SirsiDynix CloudSource OA Platform
Yewno announced the following:
Yewno, a pioneer in Artificial Intelligence-based research solutions, and Integrated Library System provider SirsiDynix have partnered together to provide a best-in-class solution for disambiguation and next generation discovery. Together, they are offering their enhanced search technology, Yewno Disambiguate and Yewno Relate, via the SirsiDynix CloudSource OA platform. …
Using CloudSource, libraries can access a comprehensive collection of vetted, quality OA articles, journals, eBooks, OER, and more in a way that is both seamless and intuitive. …
On the CloudSource platform, Yewno Disambiguate appears as a drop-down box with options for selecting the most appropriate/relevant concepts. The Yewno Relate widget then displays the search result in a knowledge graph format, including related concepts. By going beyond traditional keyword search to help patrons find what they are looking for faster, this solution makes Open Access not only discoverable, but also truly navigable and even more useful.
For more information, read the press release.
IFLA Shares the Results of Its 2022 General Assembly
IFLA’s General Assembly from Aug. 25 was the first hybrid meeting, allowing members to vote remotely in real time along with the members gathered in person in The Hague. IFLA shares, “Members from all world regions were therefore able to watch and engage live, hearing … about the work IFLA has done over 2021, ask questions, and make their voices heard on crucial issues.”
The agenda included the following:
- [R]eports from IFLA’s President and Deputy Secretary General about IFLA’s activities, and in particular the work of the IFLA President in supporting Members’ work and representing libraries internationally.
- [F]arewells to friends and colleagues who have left us in the past year, including IFLA’s President 2015-17 Donna Scheeder.
- [A] motion proposed by a number of Members calling for a roadmap for making IFLA a more communicative and transparent organisation by the end of the year. This was approved with 95% in favour to 5% against.
For more information, read the news item.
ByWater Solutions Updates Its Website
ByWater Solutions shared updates to its website as part of its Monday Minutes video series featuring library accounts coordinator Kelly McElligott and director of library sales and outreach Jessie Zairo. One update is the addition of a Learn option for libraries that shows users the software ByWater Solutions supports; tutorial videos and blog posts for the Koha, Aspen Discovery, Folio, Libki, and Coral products; and a quick link to submit a ticket to the support team.
For more information, watch the video and read the blog post.
Patron Point Makes Virtual Library Cards More Readily Accessible
Patron Point announced the following:
[F]rom early next month, Patron Point libraries using the Verify add-on will be able to offer new patrons the option to download a virtual library card through the iOS Wallet app. After registration, new patrons will receive a confirmation email from Verify that includes an Apple Wallet badge linking iPhone users to the ‘add a pass’ page of the Wallet app. Patrons may choose to receive a physical card as well. This feature is currently available for newly registered patrons with iPhones, but Android compatibility is already under development and will be available in a future update.
For more information, read the press release (download required for the full release).
cOAlition S Issues Statement Approving of Mandate for Free Federally Funded Research
STM Publishing News shares that “cOAlition S—an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations working to deliver full and immediate Open Access—welcomes the announcement from the White House Office of Science [and Technology] Policy mandating that all federally funded research results should be made immediately available and in ways which allow others to build upon and reuse them.”
For more information, read the news item.
Bibliotheca Now Has a Fully Integrated Econtent Solution in cloudLibrary
Bibliotheca “announced exciting new cloudLibrary integrations that make eBooks, Audiobooks, digital magazines and newspapers, digital comics, and streaming video available within the cloudLibrary app. The new, beautifully integrated cloudLibrary app makes it easier than ever to offer patrons a seamless digital experience while controlling library costs.”
For more information, read the press release.
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