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Weekly News Digest

November 21, 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.

Thomson Reuters Brings AI to Its Legal Information Division

Thomson Reuters is introducing generative AI into its products for the legal profession by announcing the “debut of GenAI within the most advanced legal research platform, AI-Assisted Research on Westlaw Precision. Available now to customers in the United States, this skill helps legal professionals quickly get to answers for complex research questions.” In addition, Thomson Reuters “will be building on the AI assistant experience Casetext created with CoCounsel, the world’s first AI legal assistant. Later in 2024, Thomson Reuters will launch an AI assistant that will be the interface across Thomson Reuters products with GenAI capabilities.” The CoCounsel AI assistant will be integrated with Thomson Reuters legal products.

For more information, read the press release.

IMLS Overhauls Its Language Access Plan

IMLS updated its federal agency language access plan, “Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Plan for Enduring Access for Persons With Limited English Proficiency.” It “features the establishment of an internal IMLS Language Access Working Group and a system for IMLS employees to record interactions and assistance offered to constituents with limited English proficiency.” IMLS aims to “further reduc[e] or eliminat[e] limited English proficiency as a barrier to accessing the IMLS’s programs and activities.”

This new plan stems from the November 2022 memorandum to federal agencies from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland asking the “agencies to revise their language access plans, share best practices and exchange information about language access initiatives and efforts in compliance with Executive Order 13166, ‘Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.’”

For more information, read the press release.

Lorcan Dempsey Shares How Libraries Can Engage With Generative AI

Lorcan Dempsey writes the following in “Generative AI and Libraries: 7 Contexts” for

As AI goes mainstream …, library workers are increasingly having to make day to day decisions about adoption, advice, and policies. Their stakeholder communities will be in various states of enthusiasm or resistance, interest or apathy, knowledge or learning. As library decision-makers look to position the library as a source of advice and expertise, as they make procurement decisions, as they plan for the future, and as they communicate and work with colleagues, the constructive and the problematic [aspects of AI] will have to be understood and weighed. …

This pervasiveness—and the constructive and problematic characteristics that accompany it—makes the library response necessarily multi-dimensional. 

For more information, read the article.

The Center for an Informed Public Will Create an Information Literacy Program for Libraries

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public (CIP) are using IMLS funding for Misinformation Media Literacy: Supporting Libraries as Hubs for Misinformation Education (MML), a 3-year project “to create a comprehensive, nationwide information literacy program that aims to increase capacity for library staff and community members to address and navigate problematic information in their local communities.” The first phase of the project will see researchers consolidate existing CIP resources, and the second phase will “shift toward building capacity for librarians to use these CIP information literacy resources through sustainable professional development opportunities and communities of practice.”

“Our expertise allows us to study misinformation from a variety of perspectives—covering how misinformation is generated, where and how it flows, and why people trust or believe certain information,” says Chris Coward, CIP’s co-founder and MML’s co-principal investigator. “We’re well positioned to develop educational resources that build on latest research findings and insights while sharing those with public librarians and others in the library community.”

For more information, read the news item.

WHO Has Concerns About the Health Threat of Loneliness, Especially Post-COVID

Sarah Johnson writes the following in “WHO Declares Loneliness a ‘Global Public Health Concern’” for The Guardian:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared loneliness to be a pressing global health threat, with the US surgeon general saying that its mortality effects are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

WHO has launched an international commission on the problem—led by the US surgeon general, Dr Vivek Murthy, and the African Union youth envoy, Chido Mpemba—of 11 advocates and government ministers, including Ralph Regenvanu, the minister of climate change adaptation in Vanuatu, and Ayuko Kato, the minister in charge of measures for loneliness and isolation in Japan.

It comes after the Covid-19 pandemic halted economic and social activity, increasing levels of loneliness, but also amid a new awareness of the importance of the issue. The WHO commission on social connection will run for three years.

For more information, read the article.

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