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Weekly News Digest

January 9, 2024 — 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.

The Verge Studies Website Optimization on Google

Mia Sato writes the following in “The Perfect Webpage” for The Verge:

Google controls around 90 percent of the search market, by some measures, so it’s too valuable a referral source to just leave up to luck. Search engine optimization—or SEO, the practice of tweaking content and websites to get Google to boost your visibility—is everywhere. …

An entire SEO industry has sprung up, dedicated to trying to understand (or outsmart) Google Search. …

The relentless optimizing of pages, words, paragraphs, photos, and hundreds of other variables has led to a wasteland of capital-C Content that is competing for increasingly dwindling Google Search real estate as generative AI rears its head.  …

Bit by bit, the internet has been remade in Google’s image. And it’s humans—not machines—who have to deal with the consequences.

For more information, read the article.

ALA Plans Online Panel for National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 16

ALA will be holding a virtual panel discussion at 4 p.m. CST on Jan. 16, 2024, in honor of the eighth annual National Day of Racial Healing. Anyone can register for the panel, titled National Day of Racial Healing 2024: Creating Space for Shared Reflections. ALA committee members, partners, and round table representatives will be in attendance, and panelists will “answer questions about their own perspectives and experiences involving racial healing and equity.”

For more information, read the press release.

TIB Cooperates as Keeper With the ISSN International Centre

In the future, the TIB will list its preserved e-journals in the Keepers Registry

Electronic journals—also known as e-journals—have become commonplace and indispensable in many scientific disciplines. The transition to e-journals has contributed to a faster exchange of information among scientists. In the case of Open Access (OA) e-journals, the content is even freely and unrestrictedly available online to all researchers and the general public.

It is important that these e-journals be available in perpetuity. In addition to the usual problems associated with digital preservation, publishers themselves pose a risk in the context of long-term access to e-journals. For example, the risks of discontinued access to titles via the publishers’ platforms, or even the complete closure of a publisher, need to be considered. Digital preservation at the TIB enables the data to be used and read for many years to come: its task is to recognize and understand the characteristics of the various digital formats and to develop strategies for their survival.

The TIB’s digital holdings of e-journals currently include approximately 2,500 journal titles, including Wiley e-journals under the DEAL-Wiley agreement and Ukrainian Open Access journals, which are harvested by the TIB.

The TIB–Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and University Library is now the 18th institution worldwide and the second in Germany to cooperate with the ISSN International Centre. In future, all e-journals held by the TIB will be listed in the Keepers Registry.

Journals can be searched on this platform by their ISSN, their unique persistent identifier. This identifier enables libraries, repositories and archives to find out whether a particular issue of a journal has already been archived and who the “keeper” of the journal is. In addition to the TIB, the “keeper” are the e-journal archiving services Portico, CLOCKSS and global LOCKSS, as well as institutions such as the Library of Congress, the National Library of France, the National Library of the Netherlands, the National Digital Preservation Program China and the ZBW–Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

“Having already used the Keepers portal as a research tool for years, we are now delighted to become a Keeper ourselves and to use this way to make our wide-ranging activities in digital preservation visible both nationally and internationally,” explains Micky Lindlar, Team Leader Digital Preservation at the TIB.

“Keepers offers the unique opportunity to make long-term archived holdings visible across institutions. This allows the identification of archival gaps, which is particularly important for the national task of ‘dark archive’ archiving taken on by the TIB for the DEAL consortium,” says Thomas Bähr, Head of Preservation and Long-Term Archiving at the TIB.

The TIB itself has been using the Keepers Registry for many years to compare the archival status of different e-journals and to make informed decisions about which journals in the TIB collection should be prioritized for digital preservation.

“The ISSN International Centre is proud to have the TIB join Keepers Registry. The participation of archiving agencies based in Europe is welcome and strengthens the diversity of the journal titles preserved. In the future, we hope to develop the contribution of agencies based in Africa, Asia and Oceania,” adds Gaelle Bequet, Director of the ISSN International Centre.

Library of Congress Grants Funds for Projects to Remix Its Digital Collections

Through its Connecting Communities Digital Initiative, the Library of Congress is awarding more than $160,000 total to two artists and scholars, Maya Freelon and Allie Martin, who will create projects that remix and reuse the library’s digital collections as part of the library’s Of the People: Widening the Path initiative.

Freelon will produce an interactive art exhibit, Whippersnappers: Recapturing, Reviewing, and Reimagining the Lives of Enslaved Children in the United States, that will be based on archival photos from the Bess Lomax Hawes collection and others.

Martin’s project, called Sampling Black Life: Soundscapes and Critical Intention, will make original soundscape compositions—short sonic vignettes that layer sounds from the library’s digital collections with field recordings and composed music.

For more information, read the press release.

NEH Provides New Support for Humanities Projects

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is offering $33.8 million in grants for 260 humanities projects in the U.S. “Among these are grants to support research for a cultural, political, and legal history of cancer in America that focuses on the Ames test for carcinogens; create a baccalaureate degree program in Native American studies at Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College; and expand the North American Climate History Project, a digital resource of weather and climate records from the colonial and early American Republic period,” the press release notes.

In addition, there are projects for collecting “oral histories on the impact of the pandemic in Spanish-speaking and Indigenous communities in Kansas,” for documenting “Gullah Geechee cultural heritage sites and their histories,” for collecting “oral histories from Apsáalooke (Crow) elders about the coal economy and Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation over the past fifty years,” and more.

For more information, read the press release.

UNESCO Picks World Book Capital 2025

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director-general, designated Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as the World Book Capital for 2025 due to its “demonstration of the importance of its literary heritage alongside a clearly defined vision and action plan to promote literature, sustainable publishing and reading among young people tapping into digital technologies.” The 2025 celebration will kick off on April 23, which is World Book and Copyright Day.

2024’s World Book Capital is Strasbourg, France.

For more information, read the press release.

The New York Times Profiles a Viral Librarian

In “Mychal Threets Wants Everyone to Experience ‘Library Joy’,” The New York Times’ Orlando Mayorquin interviews librarian Mychal Threets, who has gained attention on social media. Mayorquin writes:

Mr. Threets [shares] videos of what he calls ‘library joy’ on TikTok, Instagram and other platforms, telling stories about the everyday happenings at the Fairfield Civic Center Library in Solano County in Northern California, where he is the supervising librarian.

His videos have collectively garnered millions of views and hundreds of thousands of followers across his social media accounts.

‘Most of the time I’m either just retelling library interactions, library stories,’ Mr. Threets said. ‘And then, apart from that, I just try to give people messages of hope.’

For more information, read the article.

Editor’s Note: When NewsBreaks joined Threads in late 2023, Threets was the first suggested follow. I decided to follow him, and I haven’t been disappointed!

Financial Times Shares Details of Cyberattack at the British Library

Rafe Uddin and Daniel Thomas write the following in “British Library to Burn Through Reserves to Recover From Cyber Attack” for Financial Times (subscription required):

The British Library will drain about 40 per cent of its reserves to recover from a cyber attack that has crippled one of the UK’s critical research bodies and rendered most of its services inaccessible.

For more information, read the article.

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