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Weekly News Digest

August 24, 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.

Library of Congress Debuts Historical Digitized Manuscripts in Hebrew and Similar Languages

The Library of Congress announced the following:

The Library of Congress has released some 230 newly digitized manuscripts written in Hebrew and similar languages such as Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian and Yiddish. The collection, available online for researchers and the public for the first time, includes a 14th century collection of responsa by Solomon ibn Adret of Barcelona, considered one of the most prominent authorities on Jewish law of all time.

The full digital project, funded by the David Berg Foundation, offers a highly diverse collection of materials from the 10th through the 20th centuries, including responsa or rabbinic decisions and commentary, poetry, Jewish magic, and folk medicine.

For more information, read the press release.

ALA Participates in National Voter Registration Day and Continues the Fight for the Right to Read

ALA is joining Nonprofit VOTE as a premier partner for National Voter Registration Day 2023 on Sept. 19. ALA was also a partner in 2022. “As a national partner, ALA encourages libraries across the country to participate in this critical annual celebration,” ALA notes, which ends with the Sept. 19 day of action. “Library workers and partners can find sample graphics, social media posts, and other promotional resources at the National Voter Registration Day website,” For more information, read the press release.

ALA also announced that the Freedom to Read Foundation and the American Association of School Librarians joined the Association of University Presses, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Freedom to Learn Advocates to file “an amicus curiae brief that supports the request by the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and two Texas bookstores to halt enforcement of the Texas law HB 900 on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment rights of booksellers, publishers, authors and students.”

ALA explains, “HB 900 would compel any vendor who sells books to a Texas school district or charter school to review and rate all of the books already sold to the school and any book it wishes to sell to schools in the future. Books would be rated as either ‘sexually explicit,’ ‘sexually relevant’ or ‘no rating’ based on unclear and arbitrary government criteria. Under the law, elementary and high school students would not be allowed to read or borrow books that merely touch on the topics of sex or relationships regardless of the work’s literary, scientific or artistic value.”

Springshare Acquires Patron Point

Springshare has acquired Patron Point, which “brings together two forward-thinking organizations and teams, fully dedicated to helping libraries delight their users and engage with the communities they serve. Springshare will invest significant resources to enhance the Patron Point platform and expand the Patron Point staff to help the company continue excelling and impressing their customers.” Patron Point becomes an independent brand within Springshare, and all executives and staffers will remain in their positions. However, Patron Point’s software will get new functionality and integration with Springshare’s software modules.

“As we began a product partnership conversation, it quickly became obvious to both parties that we share so much in common—the vision for helping libraries engage and inform their users, the total commitment to the success of our libraries, and the customer-comes-first approach to running the business. By joining forces we’ll be able to do so much more to help our libraries succeed,” says Slaven Zivkovic, founder and CEO of Springshare.

For more information, read the press release.

HBR Consulting, LAC Group, and Wilson Allen Become Harbor

New company Harbor shares the following:

HBR Consulting, LAC Group, and Wilson Allen … announced the launch of Harbor, an expert services provider across strategy, legal technology, operations, and intelligence. Following the integration of the three companies and several key acquisitions, Harbor comes to market as a single entity serving law firms, corporations, and their law departments. With 650+ strategists, technologists, and specialists around the world, Harbor is unique in the depth, breadth, and scope of its expertise, as well as its focus on the legal industry. Harbor has also launched its new brand identity at its website, …

Harbor provides the essential resources and insights that help law firms, corporations, and their law departments drive strategic change, accelerate major initiatives, and increase resource effectiveness. The new company delivers integrated, end-to-end services, incorporating strategic advice, practical implementation, ongoing operational support, and intelligence.

For more information, read the press release.

Publishers Weekly Looks at the State of BookTok

Jim Milliot writes the following in “#BookTok Helped Book Sales Soar. How Long Will That Last?” for Publishers Weekly:

BookScan analyst Kristen McLean estimates that monthly BookTok author sales comps for the rest of 2023 will be at or below 2022 levels, and that final sales will be close to the 2022 totals, when the BookTok authors tracked by BookScan sold about 47 million copies. In 2020, the first year BookScan tracked BookTok authors, sales for the group totaled 13 million copies, which then skyrocketed in 2021 to 27 million copies. …

McLean explained that BookTok author sales couldn’t continue to increase at the rate they had when the platform started to become a major discovery engine in 2020. She noted that books by BookTok authors are facing some of the same headwinds that the industry in general is, including consumers reading less in the period since Covid restrictions were lifted.

For more information, read the article.

Thomson Reuters Studies the Future of Work, With a Focus on AI

Thomson Reuters announced the following:

Thomson Reuters … released its Future of Professionals Report. The survey of more than 1,200 individuals working internationally shares the predicted impact that generative AI will have on the future of professional work. The survey showed 67% of respondents believe AI will have a transformational or high impact on their profession in the next five years. What’s more, over half of the survey respondents (66%) predict AI will create new professional career paths, while 68% expect roles that do not require traditional legal or tax qualifications to increase over the next five years. …

Amid the changing nature of professional work, organizations across industries are continuing to adopt AI into their everyday workflows. Most respondents shared optimism around the power of AI, with 45% pinning their biggest AI aspirations on improved productivity, internal efficiency, and client services, specifically as it relates to operations converging with their talent, customers, and environment. 

For more information, read the press release.

ResearchGate and APA Join Forces to Enhance Discovery of Psychology-Related Journal Articles

ResearchGate announced the following:

The American Psychological Association (APA) and ResearchGate have entered a partnership aimed at amplifying the reach and discoverability of APA’s journals by providing ResearchGate members with direct access to their articles through the platform. …

As a ResearchGate partner, APA will provide access to more than 5,000 new articles a year, as well as backfile content of over 300,000 articles.

Authors of the articles included in this partnership will have their content automatically added to their profiles on ResearchGate, giving them easy access to statistics that showcase the impact of their work and providing a unique opportunity for them to connect with their readers.

For more information, read the press release.

Exact Editions Now Offers The Poetry Book Society Bulletin

Exact Editions now has a fully searchable archive of 23 issues of The Poetry Book Society (PBS) Bulletin available for individuals and institutions. “Founded by T.S. Eliot in 1953 to share the joy of poetry, the PBS Bulletin is the place to discover the very best new poetry from across the globe. Packed full of poems from established and emerging poets, each quarterly edition features a diverse range of issue-driven and innovative, world-class poetry alongside unique insights into poets’ practice, extensive reviews and comprehensive listings of all the latest poetry releases,” Exact Editions states.

For more information, read the press release.

Threads Is Reportedly Working on a Desktop Version

Wes Davis writes the following in “Meta May Launch a Threads Web Version Early This Week” for The Verge:

Meta will launch the web version of Threads, its competitor to X (formerly known as Twitter) early this week, reports The Wall Street Journal [WSJ]A web version has been frustratingly missing since the short-form posting service began.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is working on adding the feature along with better search (well, search at all, really—right now, you can only search for usernames on the platform) earlier this month, and that it would be ready in ‘the next few weeks.’

However, WSJ writes, its sources say the feature’s ‘launch plans aren’t final and could change.’ 

For more information, read the article.

Book Riot Wonders Whether We Are Asking the Wrong Questions About AI

Jamie Canaves writes the following in “‘AI Will Never Be Good Enough to Replace Real Authors’ Is the Wrong Conversation” for Book Riot:

Being that AI is just scrapping all the information that is already out there to toss it into a blender and output something ‘new,’ I am not actually worried that it will ever be good enough to replace creatives. But that’s not the problem for me. While I get where this idea is coming from I feel it gives a very false sense of ‘It’ll be fine!’ and ‘Don’t worry!’ which keeps the conversations that should be had from happening.

Instead, we should be asking: Will those in power care that AI isn’t as good at creating what a human can create when their goal of using it is to not pay actual writers, authors, and creatives?

For more information, read the article.

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