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Weekly News Digest

May 7, 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 ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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MIT and Harvard Launch a ‘Revolution in Education’

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Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) joined forces to offer free online courses in a project aimed at attracting millions of online learners around the world, the universities announced. Beginning this fall, a variety of courses developed by faculty at both institutions will be available online through the new $60 million partnership, known as “edX.” Through edX, the two institutions will collaborate to enhance campus-based teaching and learning and build a global community of online learners.

EdX will build on both universities’ experience in offering online instructional content. The technological platform recently established by MITx, which will serve as the foundation for the new learning system, was designed to offer online versions of MIT courses featuring video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, online laboratories, and student-paced learning. Certificates of mastery will be available for those who are motivated and able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course material.

MIT and Harvard expect that over time other universities will join them in offering courses on the edX platform. The gathering of many universities’ educational content together on one site will enable learners worldwide to access the course content of any participating university from a single website, and to use a set of online educational tools shared by all participating universities. 

EdX will release its learning platform as open-source software so it can be used by other universities and organizations that wish to host the platform themselves. Because the learning technology will be available as open-source software, other universities and individuals will be able to help edX improve and add features to the technology.

MIT and Harvard will use the jointly operated edX platform to research how students learn and how technologies can facilitate effective teaching both on-campus and online. The edX platform will enable the study of which teaching methods and tools are most successful. The findings of this research will be used to inform how faculty use technology in their teaching, which will enhance the experience for students on campus and for the millions expected to take advantage of these new online offerings.

MIT has offered a program called OpenCourseWare for a decade that makes materials from more than 2,000 classes available free online. EdX will be separate from ongoing distance-learning initiatives at both institutions, including MIT OpenCourseWare and courses offered by schools at Harvard such as the Harvard Extension School, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Medical School.

Source: MIT

Harvard Library Bibliographic Dataset Now Available via EBSCO Discovery Service

EBSCO Publishing made the newly released Harvard Library Bibliographic Dataset available through EBSCO Discovery Service. The dataset contains 12 million open-access catalog records from Harvard’s 73 libraries.

The metadata in the Harvard Library Bibliographic Dataset has been created, acquired, and modified over decades and includes bibliographic information for books, videos, audio, images, manuscripts and maps. These unique records consist of information describing works—including creator, title, publisher, date, language, and subject headings—as well as other descriptors usually not available to end users. There are no costs associated with the addition of the content into EBSCO Discovery Service for new or existing customers.

Harvard’s collection is now visible to users of EDS along with a growing list of publishers and other content partners that are taking part in EDS to bring more visibility to their content. The EDS Base Index represents content from approximately 20,000 providers (and growing) in addition to metadata from another 70,000 book publishers.

Source: EBSCO Publishing 

EBSCO Releases Ebook Subscription Collection for Business Professionals

EBSCO Publishing released its first ebook subscription collection for corporations. BusinessCore is designed to support the learning and research needs of business professionals. The collection is available as an annual subscription with unlimited access to the content.

The BusinessCore collection includes thousands of full text ebook titles from leading publishers. New titles will be added on a monthly basis. With BusinessCore, professionals are provided with an easy way to access ebooks specific to their corporate research and learning needs. The collection provides a robust ebook experience that includes the ability to search alongside EBSCO’s industry-leading magazine and journal collections, create and add notes and bookmarks, as well as save research for future reference. Users can print, email, and save chapters, or transfer them to a number of ebook readers and mobile devices including the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Sony Digital Book.

The BusinessCore collection offers more than 5,600 ebook titles and presents detailed, in-depth coverage of a wide variety of business topics including leadership and management, marketing, project management, business communications, finance and accounting, human resources and sales. The collection also provides many authoritative titles on more specialized subjects such as M&As, green business, strategic planning, negotiating, time management, and corporate learning materials.

Annual subscription is the latest way EBSCO enables corporate libraries to add ebooks to their collections. Corporate libraries or learning departments are also able to purchase titles to add to their permanent collection, lease titles they only need for a short time, and place other titles in a collection to be purchased only if/when users need them (Patron Driven Acquisition).

As with all ebooks available from EBSCO, BusinessCore will integrate seamlessly with all EBSCOhost content. The BusinessCore subscription collection may also be integrated into corporate portals and intranets, learning management systems (LMSs), as well as mapped to an organization’s key competencies. Customers thus have easy access to relevant content wherever and whenever needed.

Source: EBSCO Publishing

CrossRef Announces FundRef Pilot

CrossRef has announced FundRef, a pilot collaboration between scholarly publishers and funding agencies that will standardize the names of research funders and add grant numbers attributed in journal articles or other scholarly documents. The collaboration would allow researchers, publishers, and funding agencies to track the published research that results from specific funding bodies. 

The international FundRef pilot participants include seven publishers (American Institute of Physics, American Psychological Association, Elsevier, IEEE, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, and Wiley) and four funding organizations (U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Scientific and Technical Information [DOE/OSTI]; U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]; U.S. National Science Foundation [NSF]; and Wellcome Trust).

Walter Warnick, director of DOE/OSTI, said, “We see great value in this collaboration. Being able to track the scholarly publications that result from funding activities will provide us with an important measure of our impact on research progress.”

The participants in the pilot project plan to create a proof of concept system that will demonstrate the workflow for how funding agency names and grant and award numbers will be standardized and linked to publications. The proof of concept should be available by October 2012. 

Source: CrossRef

Thomson CompuMark Launches 136 New Trademark Databases

Thomson CompuMark, a Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science business and a provider of trademark searching and brand protection solutions, announced plans to launch 136 new databases for its SAEGIS on SERION online trademark screening solution. The company says the addition of this content will make Thomson CompuMark the world’s largest provider of trademark screening data, covering 186 countries and registers. Thomson CompuMark made the announcement at INTA, the International Trademark Association’s annual meeting.

Throughout the summer, Thomson CompuMark will strategically roll out data for important and emergent regions in Central and South America, Asia, and the Middle East. Many databases are available exclusively through SAEGIS.

Source: Thomson Reuters

ProQuest Joins 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

ProQuest is joining forces with Archives.comFamilySearch, and the National Association of Records and Archives in the 1940 US Census Community Project, a collaborative effort to index the contents of the newly released U.S. 1940 Census. ProQuest will add the new census content to its HeritageQuest Online service. ProQuest’s participation in the project provides major financial support to the indexing effort, which enables all its partners to ingest content more affordably, providing timely delivery to their users.

The 1940 U.S. census records were released by the National Archives on April 2 after a mandatory 72-year waiting period. Its 3.8 million pages include names, addresses, and family members of virtually every one of the country’s 132 million citizens, an information bonanza for the burgeoning numbers of Americans who are tracing family trees. While the data is available on the 1940 Census website, it isn’t searchable by name.

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project aims to create simple searching of the census by indexing its contents. It’s a labor-intensive task that the project partners are tackling by organizing teams of volunteers who are turning the thousands of census pages into searchable records linked to digital page images. Each organizational member behind the project will then ingest both images and indexed records in their services, making the content easily accessible.

ProQuest’s HeritageQuest Online Service is available through more than 7,000 libraries—both inside buildings and online via the library’s website—including 20 statewide portals. The service is popular among genealogists for its search results that can be sorted in multiple ways—by first name, last name, age, gender, place, and so on. The sorting feature allows searchers to zero-in on family members for which they have scant information and also find family members whose original records include errors, such as misspelled names.

Libraries whose genealogy groups would like to participate in the indexing of the 1940 Census data can visit for information. For more information about HeritageQuest Online or any ProQuest genealogy resource, visit

Source: Cambridge Information Group (CIG

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