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Weekly News Digest

May 23, 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.

OA Publisher punctum books Puts Entire Backlist on JSTOR

JSTOR announced the following:

punctum books, an independent scholar- and queer-led open access publisher, and JSTOR recently released punctum’s entire backlist of 250 open access academic books on JSTOR. punctum books is dedicated to radically creative modes of intellectual inquiry, publishing works that take experimental risks with the forms and styles of intellectual writing in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. They now have 360 open access books available on JSTOR. With these latest additions from punctum, JSTOR now includes over 10,000 open access books from 126 scholarly publishers.

For more information, read the press release.

Bibliotheca Rolls Out a Self-Checkout Tablet for Libraries

Bibliotheca introduced the cloudCheck tablet, a “small, flexible, plug-and-play solution” that works alongside other self-checkout products, helping libraries increase how many self-service checkout kiosks they have without increasing cost. This 10-inch tablet can be placed anywhere in a library so patrons can use it to borrow or return items and check their account details. It accommodates both barcode and RFID technology.

The “cloudCheck tablet is an ideal solution for large libraries looking to complement their existing selfCheck stations or small libraries searching for an affordable way to begin offering self-checkout systems,” says Mark Hill, Bibliotheca’s chief revenue officer. “The wireless set-up is extremely simple, the software is automatically updated, and should anything be damaged, parts can be replaced without a service technician.”

For more information, read the press release.

A Look at Non-Library Book Clubs

Arvyn Cerézo writes the following in “Why Are More and More Brands Creating Virtual Book Clubs?” for Book Riot:

[H]ere’s the most intriguing thing that came out of the pandemic: businesses that are not necessarily bookish in nature also started their own virtual book clubs. One such company is MUD\WTR, a coffee brand that launched its book club back in January. …

Chico’s, a clothing brand, also took a leaf out of someone’s book. The clothing store for women relaunched its Chico’s Book Club in March. … The book club’s rules are more lenient (they want you to do it on your own terms), and most sessions can be done online or in-person.

These brands pivoting toward bookish territory definitely sparks some intrigue and so it raises the question: what’s the deal?

For more information, read the article.

Rice University Leverages AM Quartex for Its New Digital Collections Site

Rice University launched a new digital collections portal at its Woodson Research Center, part of Fondren Library, which uses AM’s Quartex digital asset management and website creation platform. The Woodson Research Center chose Quartex for its automated transcription and language translation capabilities, and Rice University had previously acquired the entire backlist of AM’s core portfolio of primary source collections. This site is Quartex’s largest launch so far.

AM notes, “Woodson’s university archives and special collections support students, faculty, alumni and special interest researchers and encompass a broad range of materials relating to the university, Texas and beyond. The Houston Asian American Archive, the Joan and Stanford Alexander South Texas Jewish Archives and the Houston Folk Music Archive, as well as materials created by the university’s Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice, are among the collections that are included in this reimagining of the library’s digitised holdings.”

For more information, read the news item.

Las Vegas-Clark County Library District to Provide Hydroponic Gardening Programs

Las Vegas-Clark County Library District joined forces with Green Our Planet to extend a hydroponics program across all of its libraries in Southern Nevada. The hydroponic gardens help the community learn how to create their own fruit and vegetable gardens in a hands-on way through in-person classes and events, when “participants can plant seedlings and harvest them at the end of the growing period. Hydroponics units are also available for check out at some branches,” the press release states.

Las Vegas-Clark County Library District “is one of the first library districts in the United States to implement a hydroponics program at their libraries,” says Ciara Byrne, CEO of Green Our Planet. “We look forward to our partnership with the libraries to work together to empower kids, teens and adults in Clark County to learn STEM, conservation and nutrition through hydroponics and become the next generation of scientists, conservationists, farmers, chefs and entrepreneurs.”

For more information, read the press release.

New Type of Sage Report Outlines Its Commitment to Academic and Social Equity

SAGE released its first Independence With Impact report, “which covers the calendar year 2022, [and] outlines key areas where Sage is working to advance equity, sustainability, and freedom of expression in [the company’s] day-to-day work and beyond.”

Its sections include Our People and Culture (showcasing charitable contributions); Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI; sharing strides such as Sage’s new Office of DEI); Enabling Impact (showing how Sage overhauled its time frame for measuring citations and helped subsidize Ukrainian researchers); and Sustainability (explaining how Sage has reduced its carbon emissions, among other environmental efforts).

For more information, read the press release.

Clarivate Analyzes Its Progress on Meeting the UN SDGs

Clarivate published its third annual sustainability report, which “demonstrates how Clarivate is advancing in the areas of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), especially towards the United Nations [Sustainable Development] Goals [SDGs] in partnership with its customers.” Findings include the following:
  • 46% of Clarivate revenue is aligned with UN SDGs
  • 55% of companies ranked in Dow Jones Sustainability Index World Index 2022 work in partnership with Clarivate
  • 4M+ citations in the Web of Science are related to SDG research areas
  • 7M+ inventions in the Derwent World Patent Index relate to green energy technologies

For more information, read the press release.

National Medal for Museum and Library Service Winners for 2023 Revealed

IMLS announced the winners of the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This award “is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities. Since 1996, the award has honored 182 institutions that exemplified extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service. Over the past 29 years, the award has celebrated institutions that are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.”

The library winners are:

The museum winners are:

For more information, read the press release.

ALA's Libraries Build Business Initiative Unveils New Toolkit

ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office partnered with the Co/lab Capacity consulting firm to introduce the free Libraries Build Business Communications Toolkit, which “provides tools and resources for library workers to promote their small business support services, grow and maintain relationships with local partners, and advocate to policymakers on the important role libraries play in the small business ecosystem.” It offers outreach plans catering to small business owners, small business support organizations, elected officials and decision makers, and library staffers. Also included are templates for presentations, fliers, and other materials, along with customizable talking points.

For more information, read the press release.

Neeva Search Engine to Shut Down; Company to Pivot

The Neeva search engine announced that it is shutting down on June 2, 2023. Its founders shared the following in a message on its website:

In early 2022, the upcoming impact of generative AI and LLMs [large language models] became clear to us. We embarked on an ambitious effort to seamlessly blend LLMs into our search stack. We rallied the Neeva team around the vision to create an answer engine. We are proud of being the first search engine to provide cited, real-time AI answers to a majority of queries early this year.

But throughout this journey, we’ve discovered that it is one thing to build a search engine, and an entirely different thing to convince regular users of the need to switch to a better choice. From the unnecessary friction required to change default search settings, to the challenges in helping people understand the difference between a search engine and a browser, acquiring users has been really hard. …

These headwinds, combined with the different economic environment, have made it clear that there is no longer a path towards creating a sustainable business in consumer search. As a result, over the next few weeks, we will be shutting down and our consumer search product, and shifting to a new area of focus. …

Over the past year, we’ve seen the clear, pressing need to use LLMs effectively, inexpensively, safely, and responsibly. Many of the techniques we have pioneered with small models, size reduction, latency reduction, and inexpensive deployment are the elements that enterprises really want, and need, today. We are actively exploring how we can apply our search and LLM expertise in these settings. …

For more information, read the announcement.

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