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Weekly News Digest

January 9, 2012 — 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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'Yes We Scan' Petition Sent to President

Carl Malamud (Public Resources.Org) and John Podesta (Center for American Progress) have launched a petition drive calling upon the federal government to create a Federal Scanning Commission. Quoting from the petition organizers’ Letter to the President, “To date, thinking about digitization has been piecemeal. Individual agencies have thought about the problem in terms of prototypes and pilots. Only the White House can bring these efforts together under one roof and begin to think in terms of a national digitization strategy for our federal government.”

The goal is to obtain 25,000 signatures by Jan. 20, 2012. Sign the White House online petition here (free registration for account required).

Over the last year, a number of efforts have sprung up to create comprehensive digital libraries. The European Union has created Europeana with a goal to “make a large part of the world's cultural heritage available to a large part of the world's population.” In the U.S., efforts have included Google Books, the HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, and the Digital Public Library of America, a planning initiative with a goal of “creating a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all.”

No matter what the eventual shape of these efforts, the petitioners know that the holdings of the U.S. government will play a crucial role, a central part of our public domain. While there have been many well-intentioned efforts to digitize federal holdings, those efforts have been preliminary and tentative. Our national cultural and scientific organizations have never worked together to develop a coherent digitization strategy to scan at scale

The letter makes the following suggestion:

One way to begin is to convene governmental and non-governmental experts, perhaps in the form of a Presidential Commission, Interagency Task Force, or other mechanism. The “Federal Scanning Commission” would be tasked to answer 6 questions and deliver a report within a year:

  1. What are the holdings of our national institutions? How many images, documents, videos, and other objects are there?
  2. How long would it take to digitize these materials?
  3. How much would it cost given current technology? Is there directed research or are there economies of scale that would bring those costs down?
  4. What is the strategy for digital preservation of these materials? How will we avoid digital obsolescence?
  5. What is the strategy for identifying restrictions on use of the material? How does one identify and safeguard materials that have copyright restrictions, contain personally identifiable information, or contain classified materials?
  6. What are the economic and non-economic benefits of such an effort?
    • What are the cost savings to government?
    • What are the economic benefits? Would this effort enable industries that build on top of scientific and technical information, spur innovation in the legal marketplace, or enable our creative industries to create more effectively?
    • What are the noneconomic benefits? Will such an effort lead to better STEM and other educational efforts? Will it promote a more informed citizenry and better access to justice?

Source: Yes We Scan 

Copyright Clearance Center Acquires Pubget

Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), a not-for-profit organization and source of licensing solutions, acquired Mass.-based Pubget, a solutions provider focused on expediting the acquisition and analysis of content. Pubget offers search, retrieval and browse capabilities for content. Its solutions make research more efficient by simplifying the process of finding, managing, and analyzing information. Pubget served more than 5 million researchers and 500 research centers in 2011.  

“Blending Pubget’s current and future offerings with CCC’s broad portfolio of licensing products will provide clients with a complete professional information solution,” said Tracey Armstrong, CEO, CCC. “We’re thrilled to welcome Pubget’s team to CCC and look forward to working together to quickly create market-driven solutions that meet the needs of those who produce content and those who use it.”

“Part of our mission at Pubget is to make access to information seamless. CCC has been making copyright licensing seamless for researchers for decades,” said founder Ramy Arnaout. “We need to work directly with publishers to build this business and CCC has done this while also extending the value of content spend for users. We are all excited about what the future holds with this combination.”

Pubget was founded in 2007 by Arnaout who has an MD from Harvard, a PhD in mathematical biology from Oxford, and an SB in biology from MIT. Arnaout will join the CCC team as a senior advisor. Co-founders Ryan Jones, formerly of Microsoft’s enterprise search group, and Ian Connor, formerly of IBM, will remain as senior leaders in the Pubget organization responsible for Business Development and Engineering respectively. Arnaout, Jones, and Connor are joined by the entire Pubget team. Pubget’s offices will remain in Boston.

Source: Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.

NISO Releases Updated Draft of SERU

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the availability of a draft update of SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding for public comment (NISO RP-7-201X) through Feb. 19, 2012. SERU offers publishers and libraries the opportunity to save both the time and the costs associated with a negotiated and signed license agreement for eresources by both content provider and customer agreeing to operate within a framework of shared understanding and good faith. The SERU framework provides a set of common understandings for parties to reference as an alternative to a formal license when conducting business.

When SERU was adopted as a NISO Recommended Practice in 2008, its focus was on ejournal transactions, and the parties involved were primarily libraries and publishers. Since then, with the many emerging models for acquisition of ebooks, both libraries and ebook providers have requested that other types of electronic resources be incorporated into the SERU framework. This updated version of SERU recognizes both the importance of making SERU more flexible for those who want to expand its use beyond ejournals and the fact that consensus for other types of eresource transactions are not as well established as they are for ejournals. In those instances where there is as yet no standard expectation, a shared understanding may still be achieved if expectations are clearly articulated in the purchase order that accompanies SERU.

“This public draft takes into account the perspectives and input from a number of parties,” states Nettie Lagace, associate director for programs at NISO. “After the Standing Committee—consisting of libraries and providers with experience in licensing—discussed possible changes, previous versions of drafts were circulated to stakeholders for further comment. The SERU Standing Committee also held a lively discussion session at the Charleston Conference in November and has made further edits since then. The group is looking forward to reactions and comments from the broader community prior to finalizing the document for publication.”

The draft updated SERU Recommended Practice and an online comment form are available on the NISO SERU website. All parties involved in licensing electronic content are encouraged to review and comment on the document.

Source: NISO

OCLC Working With SkillSoft to Add Records for Books24x7 Digital Book Catalog to WorldCat

OCLC is working with SkillSoft, an SaaS provider of elearning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, and education, to add records for the Books24x7 digital book catalog to WorldCat. SkillSoft’s growing selection of more than 30,000 titles in a variety of subject areas will be represented in WorldCat with a link to the Books24x7 platform.

In addition, OCLC is loading the Books24x7 collection information into the WorldCat knowledge base, enabling OCLC cataloging libraries to easily set holdings in WorldCat for the titles to which they subscribe. WorldCat Local authenticated users will then be able to link directly to Books24x7 titles subscribed to and made available by their library from the corresponding WorldCat records.

“Working with OCLC will allow us to make the Books24x7 catalog more visible to library users through WorldCat,” said Pam Boiros, vice president, product management, SkillSoft. “Adding records for our Books24x7 collection to WorldCat will provide better integration within library systems, making our digital books more accessible and adding to the value of our collections for libraries and their users.”

Source: OCLC

Credo Reference and Swets Announce New Partnership

Credo Reference announced a new partnership with Swets, an information services company. Under the agreement, Swets will incorporate Credo Reference with more than 1,500 reference works from more than 80 of the world’s best reference publishers into the SwetsWise eBook catalog. Collections and titles are thoughtfully selected to offer broad coverage of subjects such as psychology, history, business, education, environmental studies, and more.

“Expanding SwetsWise to include content from Credo Reference offers our customers a single, user-friendly interface to acquire and manage both ebooks and journals, which is unique to the information industry,” said Linda Vendryes, global business development manager at Swets. “The distribution agreement with Credo Reference clearly illustrates, once again, the quality of the content a library can purchase from the SwetsWise unique proposition we offer for one-stop ebook purchasing and showcases the potential, strength, and overall value of our SwetsWise platform.”

Source: Credo Reference

NewspaperDirect Delivers New Replica Editions for The New York Times Company

NewspaperDirect, Inc. announced that The New York Times has selected its SmartEdition platform as the technology for delivering the Replica Editions of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the International Herald Tribune.

The New York Times Company was one of the first publishing collaborators of NewspaperDirect when it joined the company’s global Print-on-Demand network. For the past 10 years, The New York Times has been one of the most-requested publications of the more than 2,000 titles delivered by the 1,200 print stations NewspaperDirect operates in more than 100 countries.

The two companies have now expanded their relationship to include the design, development, hosting, technical/customer support and payment processing for the Replica Editions of The New York Times Company’s flagship publications. The new Replica Editions will be available to existing print and digital subscribers and will be included in The New York Times and The Boston Globe Newspaper in Education (NIE) Classroom Subscription Programs for K-12 teachers and students.

Powered by NewspaperDirect’s SmartEdition technology, the replica editions deliver 100% of the content from their printed publications, with advanced digital features such as: 

  • Offline reading so subscribers can access the news even when they’re not connected to the internet
  • A new “Listen” option to hear articles read aloud
  • New and convenient ways to browse and search
  • News alerts via email on topics important to subscribers
  • Ability to easily adjust pane and font sizes, or view pages side-by-side
  • Bookmarking
  • Page and article printing
  • Back issue access and unlimited access to

Subscribe to The Replica Editions by visiting:

Source: NewspaperDirect, Inc. 

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