|Weekly News Digest
August 23, 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 ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.
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Cengage Learning Enhances CengageBrain.com
Cengage Learning has launched an enhanced version of its direct-to-consumer website, CengageBrain.com, offering new features for students and instructors. The website, which allows students to purchase or rent textbooks, ebooks, or individual echapters and download study tools, features a more intuitive interface that connects students to many of the site’s value-adds, as well as a section specifically designed for instructors. The website also easily connects to the CengageBrain Facebook page where students can find the Br@iniac application, which locates virtual study partners for students.
The page details the various format options students have for the course material, highlights shipping options and costs, and includes a digital hub with instant access to study tools, eChapters and homework tools, such as Aplia. When instructors assign a package of materials, including multiple books and digital learning materials, students now have the option to rent the textbook portion on CengageBrain.com to save money on the total package.
The homepage also easily connects students to its interactive social media offerings. The Twitter feed provides an opportunity for direct interaction with the brand and regular CengageBrain news, coupons and other promotions. With the iPhone/iTouch application, students can instantly access free study materials.
In addition, the site now includes a section specifically for instructors, which helps illustrate the benefits of the various format options available on CengageBrain.com, allowing the instructor to choose the appropriate course materials that will best suit their students' needs. The instructor-specific page also features the recently launched “Engaging Today's Classroom” podcast series. This series features interviews with instructors, textbook authors and thought leaders, focusing on trends in the higher education classroom and ways instructors can better engage their students.
Source: Cengage Learning
The British Library to Offer Free Access to Bibliographic Records
The British Library is to make its extensive collections of bibliographic records available for free to researchers and other libraries: www.bl.uk/bibliographic/datafree.html. The U.K. national library has around 14 million catalogue records comprising a wealth of bibliographic data. The initiative will help expose this vast dataset to users worldwide, allowing researchers and other libraries to access and retrieve bibliographic records for publications dating back centuries and relating to every conceivable subject area.
The new free service will operate in parallel to the British Library’s priced bulk MARC data supply activity, which is used extensively by large commercial customers. For libraries, free access to these records will help reduce the effort involved in cataloguing their holdings. For the wider research community, they are a valuable source of data to help advance knowledge.
In some instances researchers may use the Library’s records for purposes very different from those for which they were originally created. The Library recently provided the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) with some eight million bibliographic records—allowing the IPO to conduct research into publishing trends dating as far back as 1650, and to plot these patterns against the course of changes in IP legislation.
As the national library of the U.K., the British Library seeks to provide world class information services to the academic, business, research, and scientific communities and offer access to a large and comprehensive research collection. The library’s collections include 150 million items from every era of written human history beginning with Chinese oracle bones dating from 300 BC, right up to the latest ejournals.
Source: British Library
Mindjet Creates Community for Visual Thinkers—'Maps for That'
Mindjet, a provider of visual software and applications for brainstorming, announced MapsforThat.com. The new site is a user-generated website and online community for publishing and sharing best practices for improving productivity via visual information maps. MapsforThat.com features user-generated maps and working templates for all matters or subjects–from organizing business plans, keeping projects on track, and driving a more productive sales process to accomplishing a limitless number of business and personal objectives. MapsforThat.com provides access to map templates from Mindjet, as well as maps from real users, to demonstrate how mapping is driving real-world productivity.
Features include the ability to upload and download map templates from users and Mindjet, as well as the ability to share maps through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, blog platforms, and email. Targeted at both experienced mappers and those new to visual information maps, MapsforThat.com provides a peer-to-peer sharing platform so users can get ideas and inspiration from one another on how they are using visualization software to improve just about any task or job function.
EBSCO Announces Caribbean Search Multidisciplinary Database
EBSCO Publishing introduced Caribbean Search, a new multidisciplinary database for academic, school, and public library users that provides a comprehensive guide to English-language articles pertinent to the countries and people of the Caribbean region. EBSCO says that Caribbean Search represents the largest full-text resource available to users in the Caribbean region with more than 730 Caribbean-focused scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, and reference books.
The database is updated weekly and available on the EBSCOhost platform. EBSCOhost is designed to enable alerting capabilities, information sharing, and easy keyword searching. A relevancy ranking feature ensures that users will find the most relevant articles in one result list.
EBSCO is dedicated to expanding its international coverage and has released a number of databases pertinent to other regions including: Fuente Academica Premier offering journals from Latin America, Portugal, and Spain, Australia and New Zealand Points of View Reference Centre, a database that provides information on current issues relevant to Australia and New Zealand, and Fonte Academica, a collection that offers scholarly journals from Brazil and Portugal.
Source: EBSCO Publishing
SpringerLink Relaunched With Semantic Linking and Content Previews
Springer has relaunched its online platform SpringerLink, which hosts nearly 5 million documents, including ebooks, journals, and reference works. The redesigned site has a new and fresh concept that includes semantic linking and connects related content across ebooks and journals.
SpringerLink now also contains a PDF Preview feature that provides all readers with a free look inside ebook chapters to be certain that the content matches their information needs. Subscribers not only have access to an instant overview of the entire ebook, they can also scroll and browse within different chapters of the book and can immediately download the desired content.
The redesigned site includes newly-integrated software that presents links to related content within journal articles and ebook chapters. When users perform a search, the technology analyzes each search result and compares its digital fingerprint to all other documents. This determines which documents are most similar to that article or chapter, ensuring that readers discover content that best meets their research needs.
Additional updates to the new SpringerLink include access to nearly 5 million contributions organized in a revised subject hierarchy. Enhanced browsing features and improved search functionality with the ability to search by citation makes the new SpringerLink even more useful for researchers. Online journals, ebooks, and ereference works have also been integrated onto a single, consistent user experience. Together with an enhanced user-friendly guided navigation, students and scientists can easily retrieve results for their work.
“Geek the Library” Campaign Now Available to All U.S. Libraries
Geek the Library, a community-based public awareness campaign, is now available for adoption by any U.S. public library. The campaign is designed to highlight the vital role of public libraries in today’s challenging economic environment and to increase local library support. Geek the Library has proven ability to improve public perceptions about local library funding needs in test communities. Details about how libraries can use the campaign to increase local support are available at http://get.geekthelibrary.org.
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OCLC helped libraries in central Iowa and southern Georgia pilot the campaign from June through December 2009. Nearly 100 libraries and library systems participated. Four additional library communities tested the campaign on a more abbreviated calendar and budget: Milwaukee Public Library in Wisconsin; Piedmont Regional Library System in Georgia (covering Banks, Barrow, and Jackson Counties); Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library in Shelbyville, Indiana; and Zion-Benton Public Library in Zion, Illinois.
Pilot libraries used the campaign to position the library as a critical asset—for individuals (e.g., to find jobs, re-educate themselves, and enhance literacy) and for the community (e.g., access to technology, continued education, and economic benefits). The campaign served as a springboard for initiating and expanding relationships with influential members of the community and the media, and for starting important local library funding discussions.
Libraries and library systems that meet minimal commitment requirements for implementing Geek the Library will receive full access to all campaign material and initial campaign training from dedicated field managers. This team will focus on supporting participating libraries through the planning and launch stages, but will provide ongoing guidance, as needed.
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