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Weekly News Digest

January 12, 2023 — 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.

San Jose State University iSchool's Interactive Map of Requirements for School Librarians Goes Public

Stephen Abram posted the following news from the EveryLibrary Institute on his blog Stephen’s Lighthouse:

The EveryLibrary Institute is excited to provide public access to the San Jose State University iSchool’s interactive map to help researchers and job searchers understand the requirements to become a school librarian in each state. The project also includes data from the SLIDE Project regarding school library/librarian ratios by state and as well as national reading scores for further opportunities to understand relationships between required school librarians, school libraries, etc. and academic achievement. …

We are confident that this visualization will become a resource for prospective and current students, LIS programs, and decision makers to identify their own state’s requirements. Legislators will also have the opportunity to compare across state lines. This platform provides a central repository for visualized state requirements, to contextualize how any one state compares to others, and to provide some preliminary data on any correlations/relationships between having a certified school librarian and a relatively low school library/librarian, student per capita ratio, and student achievement.

For more information, read the blog post.

RBmedia Acquires Two Audiobook Producers

RBmedia acquired the publishing businesses and full catalogs of Ukemi Audiobooks and Dharma Audiobooks. “Ukemi Audiobooks will continue as an imprint under W. F. Howes, an RBmedia international publishing brand, and Dharma Audiobooks will be a sub-imprint under Ukemi Audiobooks,” the press release shares.

Ukemi Audiobooks, founded in 2015, publishes fiction and nonfiction classics such as works by ancient Greeks and Romans, philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and authors Thomas Mann and Samuel Beckett.

Dharma Audiobooks focuses on Buddhist works, including biographies, histories, talks, and classic literature from all of the main traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Western Buddhist.

For more information, read the press release.

University of California Begins Project Studying the Use of Digitized Books in Academic Libraries

The University of California (UC)–Davis announced the following:

The University of California libraries—which comprise the largest university research library in the world—are launching a landmark research project to investigate the potential for expanded lawful use of digitized books held by academic and research libraries.

The Mellon Foundation is providing $1.1 million support for Project LEND (Library Expansion of Networked Delivery), a two-year project that the UC Davis Library will lead on behalf of the 10-campus UC system.

For more information, read the article.

OverDrive Publishes 2022 Circulation Data

The following are some of the data OverDrive shared as part of its roundup of its 2022 activities:
  • During the year, readers borrowed 555 million ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines, comics and other digital content, a 10 percent increase over 2021.
  • Sora app checkouts grew 10 percent, and a record number of school systems (4) borrowed 1 million digital books through the Sora app.
  • Public library systems achieving more than 1 million digital book checkouts: 129 public library systems in seven countries (+7%).
  • More than 14,000 libraries held their own local digital book club in 2022. [In addition,] Big Library Read (global) and Together We Read (countrywide in Canada, UK, AU and NZ) titles were borrowed more than 600,000 times in 2022.
  • [OverDrive a]dded 1 million new digital titles and 73 new content partners to the largest catalog of digital books for institutional channels.

For more information, read the press release.

The Latest Research on Procrastination

Richard Sima writes the following in “What Causes Your Brain to Procrastinate and How to Face It” for The Washington Post:

As a chronic procrastinator, I feel a sense of anguish as each new year arrives. In a time of resolutions or nudge words, I still have goals from the old year.

Why do people procrastinate?

A 2022 study in the journal Nature Communications suggests that a root of procrastination may lie in a cognitive bias—we believe that doing tasks will somehow be easier in the future. …

There is individual variation, but ‘procrastination is a tendency that we all encounter in our life in different domains, or at different time points in our lives,’ said Raphaël Le Bouc, a neurologist at the Paris Brain Institute and author of the study. ‘But the true cognitive mechanisms behind it are not really known. And this might be a reason why it’s difficult to overcome this tendency.’

For more information, read the article.

Jisc Looks at the Use of the Metaverse in Education

Paul Bailey, who works in R&D at Jisc, posted the following for the company’s blog:

Let’s be clear: the metaverse (however you define it) is decades away. 

Which is not to say that it can be ignored in the meantime. It may seem like science fiction or over-inflated hype at the moment, but the fact remains that huge amounts of money and effort are being poured into making it happen.

Educators need to at least be aware of its possible implications. …

Educators really need to ask, ‘So what? What is it about immersion that leads to a better, more engaging learning experience? And what does “engaging” really mean?’

And how will this be different from our current use of VR?  

For more information, read the blog post.

Clarivate Rolls Out 2022 Research Fronts for the Scientific Community

Clarivate, along with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), have released “Research Fronts 2022,” “their ninth annual collaborative report. The report identifies significant areas in the world of sciences and social sciences as to where the scientific community is focusing its attention, including several COVID-related fronts and areas mirrored by the research fields of Nobel Prize in recent years.”

Clarivate shares, “In conjunction with the Research Fronts 2022 report, Clarivate and CAS also published 2022 Research Fronts: Active Fields, Leading Countries to examine and compare national performance across the 165 Research Fronts. It reveals that the US remains the leading nation for research in 11 areas of sciences and social sciences. The gap between the US and China has been reduced. Other top 10 countries in terms of performance in these Research Fronts are UK, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Spain, Canada, and Switzerland.”

For more information, read the press release.

The State of Publishing and E-Reading in Arabic

Jumana Al-Tamimi writes the following in “How E-Books and Audiobooks Are Expanding Options for Consuming Arabic Literature” for Arab News:

As technology advances, bookworms are finding more options to consume literature than just through the printed word. Though e-books in Arabic are far fewer in number than those in English, publishers and translators are working to bridge the gap.

In 2018, Amazon announced Arabic-language support for the Kindle e-reader, opening the door of literature to a much larger audience.

From novels to self-help books, biographies to poetry and more, an increasing number of Arabs are finding affordable means to gain knowledge in e-books and audiobooks. Yet, reading a printed book is still the most favored option for the vast majority.

For more information, read the article.

IFLA President Publishes Letter Summarizing 2022 and Looking to the Future

IFLA’s president, Barbara Lison, shared a New Year’s message with the IFLA community, stating the following:

As a Federation, it is in our name that we are a wide community. IFLA is about bringing people together, providing a common space and a platform for doing more together than we could ever do apart.

And we have indeed achieved a lot together last year. In September, we celebrated our 95th anniversary—a significant milestone and testament to how IFLA has successfully changed and developed, becoming the powerful voice, global meeting place, and source of ideas and inspiration it is today. …

Yes, it has also been a year of change, which will be carried into the new year when a new Secretary General will come on board. I extend thanks to our Deputy Secretary General, Helen Mandl, for her willingness to step up to the important leadership role of Acting Secretary General until recruitment is finalised. …

Personally, I commit to work in the final months of my presidency to ensure that IFLA develops well and regains stability, and that members, volunteers and stakeholders have in IFLA a solid, reliable and active partner. 

For more information, read the message.

ZDNet Looks at the State of Digital Skills in 2023

Owen Hughes writes the following for ZDNet:

While the risk of a recession will prompt more companies to slow or freeze hiring in an effort to cut costs or ‘streamline’, the effect on technology hiring will be comparatively small. Indeed, even in an economic downturn, technology remains (for now at least) a pretty safe place to be.

One sector crying out for talent is cybersecurity. According to Secureworks’ 2022 Boardroom Cybersecurity Report, the number of open cybersecurity jobs worldwide grew 350% between 2013 and 2021, from 1 million to 3.5 million. …

Coding will also see continued and intense demand in 2023 and beyond.

According to a recent report by Randstad, job postings for data engineers rose by 116% between 2018 and 2021, while ads for computer scientist increased by 72%.

For more information, read the article.

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