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Weekly News Digest

April 11, 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. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

New Cadre of ALA Policy Corps Will Advocate for Libraries and Against Book Bans

ALA shared that its “Public Policy & Advocacy (PPA) Office, in partnership with ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, [are launching] a new initiative for proactive advocacy to combat book banning and censorship in America’s libraries. A cadre of the ALA Policy Corps will boost efforts across library types and states to showcase how libraries and library workers provide essential information resources to their communities while increasing awareness about the importance of intellectual freedom and its centrality to American democracy and society.”

The ALA Policy Corps’ mission is to expand ALA’s “ability to advocate on key policy issues on behalf of the library community. Participants in the Corps focus on issues for which deep and sustained knowledge are necessary to advance ALA policy goals and library values among policymakers.”

For more information, including the initial list of volunteer cadre members, read the press release.

The Verge Looks at the User Interface and User Experience

The Verge is publishing an article series called You, Me, and UI. It “explore[s] the small design decisions that have had an outsize impact on our lives. From simple card game browser UIs to deliberately complicated video game setups, all-too-forgotten accessibility options for colorblindness to the curious incentive-driven histories of the shuffle and log out buttons, these stories delve into the ways that user interfaces have driven us forward, or failed, or found an entirely new way of living.”

For more information, visit the series page.

Street Lab Brings Reading and Playing Pop-Ups to New York Streets

Winnie Hu writes the following in “Go Play in the Street, Kids. Really.” for The New York Times:

Jacqueline Kook and her 5-year-old daughter, Francesca Cabrera, were making their way to the playground when they came upon a reading cart and an obstacle course in the middle of Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. …

The play zone was the work of Street Lab, a nonprofit that was already expanding its family-friendly pop-ups around the city when the pandemic brought a hunger for more inviting outdoor spaces. The experiences come and go in a single day, sometimes in just a few hours.

For more information, read the article.

John Snow Labs Introduces the NLP Test to Help Data Scientists Deliver AI Models

John Snow Labs released the free NLP Test “open-source Python software library that enables data scientists to more easily deliver reliable, safe and effective models.”

Natural language processing (NLP) models sometimes “fail on important aspects like leaking personally identifiable information, reversing their answer due to typos or capitalization changes, to showing biases around race, gender, physical appearance, disability, and religion,” the press release notes. “The NLP Test library can automatically generate and run 50+ test types out-of-the-box, covering accuracy, fairness, bias, representation, and robustness. Multiple NLP tasks can be tested across 3 of the most popular open-source NLP libraries: Spark NLP, transformers, and spacy. The NLP Test library also provides automated data augmentation, which in some cases can automatically improve failing models, especially for issues around robustness and fairness.”

For more information, read the press release.

Kobo Plus Comes to the U.S. and the U.K.

Rakuten Kobo rolled out its Kobo Plus subscription service in the U.S. and the U.K., giving readers in these countries unlimited access to more than 1.3 million ebooks and 100,000-plus audiobooks for about $10/£10 per month. More titles are added to the service each month.

Readers can sign up via the Kobo Books app for iOS or Android devices or directly on Kobo e-readers, and there are three subscription plans: Kobo Plus Read (unlimited ebooks for $7.99/£9.99 a month), Kobo Plus Listen (unlimited audiobooks for $7.99/£9.99 a month), and Kobo Plus Read and Listen (unlimited ebooks and audiobooks for $9.99/£12.99 a month).

For more information, read the press release.

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