|Weekly News Digest
February 11, 2010 — 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.
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AskColorado Goes Live With InstantService
Colorado's statewide virtual reference cooperative, AskColorado (www.askcolorado.org), debuted its revamped service using new software from InstantService, a Seattle-based company that provides integrated chat, email, and knowledgebase solutions to businesses and call centers. In addition to serving some well-known companies across a range of industries, InstantService is also used by Florida's Ask a Librarian virtual reference service.
In addition to traditional chat, the software also gives the librarians the ability to instant message one another, send messages to all librarians online, send email to patrons and themselves, and more. InstantService has also announced plans to integrate SMS/text communication into its suite of offerings this spring. AskColorado's website has been newly restyled, now using SmartButton technology that assures patrons that librarians are online and standing by to take questions.
In addition to the software, another major change has been the expansion of AskColorado's academic queue into a multistate cooperative and the rebranding under the name AskAcademic (www.askacademic.org). Starting as a pilot project in December 2008 between AskColorado and the University of North Texas Libraries, AskColorado is now officially accepting academic partners from outside the state of Colorado and is pleased to announce that the Community College of Austin has recently agreed to join the cooperative.
AskColorado is one of the first statewide, multilibrary-type virtual reference services in the county. Offering uninterrupted 24/7 chat reference service since Sept. 2, 2003, AskColorado librarians have fielded more than 215,000 sessions with patrons. Residents from every county in Colorado have logged in, with about 25% of those questions coming from rural areas.
The AskColorado and AskAcademic services operate on a model similar to public radio: They are member and grant supported. Libraries throughout Colorado of every type-public, academic, school, and specialized libraries, as well as Texas academic libraries, contribute money to pay for the software and 24/7 service. Participating libraries also provide the staff to work online with Colorado residents and Colorado and Texas college students.
A new web property called OpenThesis (www.openthesis.org) has been launched. It exposes theses and dissertations, making them highly accessible, useful, and shareable-at absolutely no cost. OpenThesis.org will allow authors to upload their theses/dissertations, and the documents will then be vaulted for posterity and made searchable anywhere in the world. If an author (or an author's family) has only a paper copy of a thesis/dissertation, the site will give guidance on how to get it scanned into computer-readable form for subsequent uploading.
OpenThesis.org also will work directly with universities to ensure as comprehensive a database as possible. The existence of a comprehensive electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) database will benefit universities in licensing efforts and will benefit authors regarding networking for collaboration and jobs.
Optionally, visitors to OpenThesis will be able to register in about 1 minute, also for free. They will gain access to special features such as the ability to organize documents into portfolios, and they will be able to set up alerts for automatic notification of new documents of interest.
Here are a few other important aspects of OpenThesis.org:
- Authors will create accounts that will be email-verified as part of uploading their document(s), and they can choose on their own author pages (www.OpenThesis.org/their-name) to show their contact information and/or LinkedIn profile page as desired. There's even an embargo feature-authors can upload and indicate a future "go live" date on a given document.
- All colleges and universities will have free microsites, e.g., www.openthesis.org/school/The-University-of-Texas-at-Austin/results.html, such that they can link to a repository of documents from their own authors, co-branded with their logos.
- The site will allow users to search the entire document collection or to limit the search to a particular institution. The documents from a given institution also can be browsed within that institution's microsite.
Swets Partners With Deep Web Technologies for Federated Search
Swets (www.swets.com) announced that it has entered into a partnership with Deep Web Technologies (DWT; www.deepwebtech.com) to further enhance the performance of SwetsWise Searcher, Swets' hosted federated search module. Swets will be reselling DWT's Explorit-based solutions as SwetsWise Searcher.
SwetsWise Searcher is a hosted federated search service driven by Deep Web Technology that aims to offer impressive performance levels at an affordable price. Designed to help librarians and their users meet the challenge of searching and finding relevant results from the ever-increasing catalog of available online content, SwetsWise Searcher simplifies access to an organization's diverse and valuable resources, along with the open web content users are accustomed to searching.
With SwetsWise Searcher, users receive superior search results through a powerful ranking engine, providing incremental results for fast response times, scalability, and flexibility. SwetsWise Searcher performs a rapid parallel search of all available sources or selected sources in real time, ensuring fresh information and that documents are retrieved the minute they are published into a collection's database. A simple search box to cover all sources can be integrated into any webpage, blog, or intranet homepage.
Source: Swets and Deep Web Technologies
EBSCO Publishing and Footnote Expand Genealogy and Historical Document Resources
EBSCO Publishing (www.ebscohost.com) and Footnote (www.footnote.com) have expanded the genealogy resources available in libraries with the release of the Footnote History and Genealogy Archives Plus and Footnote Holocaust Archives. The resources bring an unprecedented collection of original historical documents and personal histories to users. The new resources provide an unaltered view of the events, places, and people that shaped the history of America and the world.
Footnote History and Genealogy Archives Plus includes an array of valuable and unique content consisting of more than 60 million pages of historical documents and images. The database features millions of images available from a content partnership with The National Archives-most never before available on the internet. Footnote History and Genealogy Archives Plus includes documents relating to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, U.S. presidents, Census data, historical newspapers, and naturalization documents. Resources making up Footnote History and Genealogy Archives Plus include Footnote History and Genealogy Archives, African American Archives, American Revolution Archives, Native American Archives, U.S. Bureau of Investigation Case File Archives, and the World War II Archives.
Footnote Holocaust Archives was created in partnership with the National Archives and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The database presents records pertaining to the seizure of Jews' assets by the Nazis during the Holocaust, as well as German property subsequently subject to restitution. Documents include Ardelia Hall Collection (1945-1952)-which documents the repatriation of Jews' personal possessions that were seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust; Dachau Concentration Camp Entry Records; Flossenburg Concentration Camp Entry Registers; Mauthausen Death Books; Captured German Records-concentration camp records including administrative reports, releases, and deaths; German War Crime Records; Nuremberg Interrogation Records and Concentration Camp Pages-background on each camp, maps, timelines of events, and accounts of key events. Footnote Holocaust Archives also includes more than 600 stories of individual victims and survivors made available through a partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Users can easily search for a name they may know or browse the entire collection.
Footnote.com is a subscription website that features searchable original documents.
Source: EBSCO Publishing
LexisNexis Announces Lexis for Microsoft Office
LexisNexis (www.lexisnexis.com) announced Lexis for Microsoft Office, a new set of research capabilities that will enable legal professionals to access content and services from LexisNexis and other sources while operating directly within Microsoft Office applications. Legal professionals can now find, analyze, and act upon legal content while working within Microsoft Office Outlook, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.
Input from hundreds of customers and other legal professionals shaped the development of Lexis for Microsoft Office, which was specifically designed to address their need to work more efficiently and productively so that they could ultimately serve clients better. Customers can now access vital information from the LexisNexis services and the open web, as well as designated law firm or corporate files in one place and with the click of a button-eliminating time- and energy-intense searches across disparate sources and applications.
The background feature provides information on "entities" such as people, companies, organizations, and cases mentioned in the text of a Word document or Outlook message. It automatically indexes the working document with hyperlinks to relevant information from internal, LexisNexis, and web resources. Upon clicking the hyperlink, the information is displayed in a side pane within the Microsoft Office applications. The background feature will also display full Shepard's reports and apply Shepard's Signal indicators directly to the cases cited within the text of the document.
Lexis for Microsoft Office is in beta testing now and will launch for Microsoft Office 2007 in spring 2010. It will be available with Microsoft Office 2010. To access and use these capabilities, users will require a current LexisNexis subscription.
ebrary Launches Med Tech Database, Expands Business and Engineering Ebooks
ebrary (www.ebrary.com) announced the availability of its new subscription database in Medical Technology. With titles from leading publishers including Elsevier's Academic Press and Taylor & Francis' CRC Press, the growing collection covers all aspects of medical technology including biomedical engineering and materials, imaging systems, medical instruments, nanotechnology, and tissue engineering.
Corporations can supplement the subscription database by purchasing individual ebooks from Springer, Wiley, William Andrew, and other publishers in a wide range of medical technology topics. Preview the selection at http://tinyurl.com/ebrarymedtech.
ebrary also expanded its business and engineering offerings. Hundreds of new ebooks worth more than $14,000 have recently been added to ebrary's subscription databases in finance, leadership, and sales and marketing. With titles from leading publishers including AMACOM, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, IGI Global, and Kogan Page, the new selection covers a wide range of business topics including accounting, branding, business communication, corporate finance, ecommerce, market research, negotiation, personnel, and risk management.
Additionally, the company has extended its engineering product line with databases in chemical, civil, electronic, environmental, materials, mechanical, and power engineering. For a complete listing of ebrary's content offerings for corporations, visit www.ebrary.com/corp/corporationsContent.jsp.
All ebrary titles are delivered via one easy-to-use interface and include sophisticated technology that makes it easy to pinpoint and manage relevant information from multiple sources within the organization and on the web. With InfoTools, technologists, engineers, and other employees can select words of interest and automatically link to additional information within the collection and other online resources. Furthermore, personal bookshelves make storing, managing, and sharing highlights, notes, and hyperlinks quick and efficient.
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