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UK NPG and the University of California agree to work together to address mutual short- and long-term challenges - 26 Aug 2010

Scientific publisher Nature Publishing Group (NPG), UK, and the University of California have agreed to work together in the coming months to address mutual short- and long-term challenges, including an exploration of potential new approaches and evolving publishing models.

Earlier this year a row between NPG and the University of California (UC) erupted when the latter threatened the former with a total boycott. In protest at what they said was an attempt to hike subscription fees, the University of California then said that it would ask faculty to cease submitting papers to NPG journals, as well as cease peer review or other editorial functions.

Representatives from the University of California and Nature Publishing Group met on August 17, 2010 to discuss the organisations' current licensing challenges and the larger issues of scholarly communication sustainability. The discussion was positive, with a full exchange of views and mutual recognition of the value that each party contributes to the scholarly communication enterprise. The two organisations look forward to a successful planning and experimentation process that will result in a mutual agreement to serve all stakeholder groups - NPG, the UC libraries, and the scholar community, thus avoiding the need for the boycott that had been discussed at an earlier stage.

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Licensing/Pricing

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US EU collaborates with IBM for digitisation of historic European texts on massive scale - 26 Aug 2010

Multinational computer, technology and IT consulting firm IBM, US, and the EU have unveiled a new initiative called IMPACT (IMProving ACcess to Text). The project seeks to provide technology that will enable highly-accurate digitisation of rare and culturally significant historical texts on a massive scale. The latest move is seen to expand the research collaboration of the EU and IBM, which now includes more than two dozen national libraries, research institutes, universities and companies across Europe.

IMPACT is stated to be different from past digitisation projects where the result has been static, online libraries of texts. It will seek to offer new tools and best practices to European institutions to enable them to efficiently and accurately continue to produce quality digital replicas of historically significant texts and make them widely available, editable and searchable online.

Funded by the EU, IMPACT's research utilises new web-enabled adaptive optical character recognition (OCR) software with 'crowd computing' technology - seen to be a fast growing concept designed around individuals, or 'crowds', enhancing a process or product by sharing their knowledge and expertise to dramatically improve its quality and efficiency. Combined, these technologies will allow institutions for the first time to adapt digitisation to the idiosyncrasies of old fonts, anomalies and even vocabularies. They are also seen to reduce error rates by 35 percent and substitution rates by 75 percent.

While today's OCR engines perform well with modern printed texts, the faded ink, age and unusual shapes of older typefaces can lower recognition rates by up to 50 percent and require massive manual post-production review. Consequently, for large-scale projects such as this, the efficiency of post-production review of digitised text is said to be crucial.

At the core of the digitisation project lies a collaborative correction system designed by IBM researchers. It is projected to make it simple and convenient for large groups of volunteers spread over the continent to verify the accuracy of processed texts and correct recognition mistakes using an online web system. Moreover, inherent in the system is the ability to learn from its recognition errors, and adapt automatically to the specific font's characters.

IMPACT technology seeks to streamline, simplify and accelerate the process of winnowing out questionable text scans, enabling reviewers to key in corrections to the text. Instead of displaying an entire scanned page, reviewers only see the actual letters or words in question. In cases where an entire word is suspect, it is added to a collection of other questionable terms, which are then arranged in alphabetical order. Volunteer reviewers need only accept or reject suggested substitutes with one keystroke. In addition, the system uses adaptive dictionary enrichment, a method in which new words are added to a central dictionary based on cross-identification and correction by other users.

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Digital Asset Management Platform
Library Information - Digital libraries

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US US foundation to lead digital library initiative in North Africa - 26 Aug 2010

The US Civilian Research and Development Foundation, a nonprofit created by the US government to promote international science programmes, is reportedly leading a project to connect universities and science institutes in North Africa to a 'digital library'. The digital library effort will begin in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and may eventually expand to Mauritania and Libya.

The Foundation will initially work with Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia to increase their access to the latest international research, provide scientists greater opportunities to collaborate, and further bolster their scientific work and scholarly publishing. It is spending $1.5 million on the effort, similar to one it recently completed in Iraq. The money is part of a $5 million grant awarded to the nonprofit by the US Department of State to support scientific cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa.

While the North African digital library project is still in its formative years, researchers in the region are stated to be positive about its prospects.

In addition to North Africa, the foundation is also helping set up digital libraries in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Madagascar. In June it completed the Iraqi library, which made approximately 6,000 online journals available to all Iraqi universities and several government ministries.

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Grants and other research funding

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US Thomson Reuters introduces EndNote X4 For Mac OS X - 26 Aug 2010

Information services provider Thomson Reuters, US, has introduced EndNote X4 for Mac OS X. EndNote X4, a bibliographic management solution, is projected to enable researchers to import and search PDF files; collaborate more with EndNote Web; use new Cite While You Write features; and more.

Users can now import a full text PDF, even a folder containing multiple PDF files, to add new references with the full text attached. Mac users have the added advantage of being able to drag a PDF file onto the EndNote icon on the Dock to add a new reference to their library. EndNote extracts basic bibliographic information using the Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) and CrossRef data to create new records in a reference library. Also, PDF files are now searchable in EndNote providing users with greater depth in exploring their reference collection.

EndNote users can access their references anywhere and collaborate with colleagues using their EndNote Web account. Researchers can transfer up to 10,000 references between the desktop and Web and search shared groups when selecting references to cite, making it easy to collaborate with others on research projects. Reference lists can be sorted by Times Cited, date added to the library or date modified to locate references quickly. Authors can use EndNote Web to manage their personal publication lists for the free ResearcherID (www.researcherid.com) community, where members are identified uniquely. References stored in the EndNote Web group are visible instantly in the public community where citation metrics are provided by Web of Knowledge.

EndNote X4 introduces new formatting options for citing scholarly papers properly. EndNote links in-text citations to the bibliography automatically in Microsoft Word, with or without hyperlinks. Users also have increased options for formatting footnotes with customisable short forms as well as full support of the APA 6th style including a multiple author ellipse. The new combined Edit and Manage Citations command consolidates the most frequently used functions in one Cite While You Write window. Users can view a report of references cited in a Word document with a new auto-group in the EndNote library.

Other features of the new version include create new groups by comparing, combining and suppressing existing groups; modify references easily in the new Quick Edit tab on the main library window; edit references when comparing duplicates; expand library retrieval results by adding wildcards within search terms; and Cite While You Write in over 4,500 journal styles.

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Indexing/Taxonomy/Bibliographic Services/Cataloging

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US New Generation Kindles seen to be best-selling products on Amazon - 26 Aug 2010

Online books retailer Amazon.com, Inc., US, has announced that more new generation Kindles were ordered in the first four weeks of availability than in the same timeframe following any other Kindle launch, making the new Kindles the fastest-selling ever. In addition, in the four weeks since the introduction of the new Kindle and Kindle 3G, customers ordered more Kindles on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk combined than any other product. The new Kindles started shipping to customers two days earlier than previously announced.

According to the company, the all-new Kindle has an electronic-ink screen with 50 percent better contrast than any other e-reader, a new sleek design with a 21 percent smaller body while still keeping the same 6-inch-size reading area, 15 percent lighter weight at just 8.5 ounces, 20 percent faster page turns, up to one month of battery life with wireless off, double the storage to 3,500 books, no glare even in bright sunlight and built-in Wi-Fi. The all-new Kindle 3G is available with all of these new features plus the convenience of free 3G wireless.

Customers in 125 countries on six continents from Austria to Zimbabwe have already placed orders for the new generation Kindles. Some of the most remote shipments will be sent as far away as Mongolia and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Kindle claims to offer the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read. The US Kindle Store now has more than 670,000 books, including New Releases and 107 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle devices. More than 235,000 books have been added to the Kindle Store in just the last seven months.

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Digital reading devices

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US Accelrys releases Symyx Notebook 6.5 - 26 Aug 2010

Scientific informatics software and services company Accelrys, Inc., US, has announced the release of Symyx Notebook 6.5 by Accelrys. This latest release of the multi-disciplinary Symyx electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) delivers improvements supporting chemical process development, production scale-up, and administrative compliance in pharmaceutical, fine chemicals, agrochemical, and consumer products markets.

New features added to the notebook include rapid material property look-up and insertion using the Available Chemicals Directory sourcing database and the DiscoveryGate ChemSeek properties database. New units enable consistent, rapid calculations supporting the planning, recording, and scaling of synthetic routes for improved process efficiency. The latest release provides a single portal for accessing and re-using captured experimental procedures and data from most legacy Symyx notebooks - improving the quality of experiments by enabling multidisciplinary project teams to leverage prior experience. New document workflow and administrative auditing enhancements support enterprise notebook deployments and customer validation efforts in regulated environments. In addition, the latest version delivers a significant improvement in performance over previous versions of the software.

Symyx Notebook by Accelrys drives productivity improvements in today's electronic laboratory environment by capturing experiment and process workflows encountered across the spectrum of chemical research and development. A single shared notebook enables scientists to work more efficiently by instantly accessing a variety of techniques, instrumentation, software, and information and fully leveraging the experimental methodologies and results of colleagues.

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US ebrary to provide digital editions of CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles - 26 Aug 2010

Digital content products and technologies provider ebrary, US, has announced a partnership with CHOICE to offer digital editions of more than 1,000 of the latter's recent Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT). CHOICE is a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest to those in higher education.

Published annually, the CHOICE OAT list represents the top 10 percent of more than 7,000 academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources reviewed by CHOICE that year. Under the new partnership, ebrary customers will now have easy, convenient access to a collection of CHOICE's OAT in e-book format. For the first time, universities, colleges, and other institutions can now provide their students, faculty, and other researchers with anytime, anywhere access to a digital collection of OAT as selected by CHOICE.

Spanning all academic subject areas including Business & Economics, Education, History, Language & Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, and Sciences, ebrary's CHOICE selection features leading publishers including Cambridge University Press, Duke University Press, Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge, University of California Press, University of Chicago Press, Wiley, and Yale University Press. The titles may be previewed at http://site.ebrary.com/lib/choicetitles.

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Reference Tools
General Information - ebooks

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UK Semantico adds fourth research project to The MLA Handbook - 26 Aug 2010

Online publishing services provider Semantico Ltd., UK, has added a fourth research project to the Modern Language Association of America's essential style guide, the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

A supplement to the print edition, the online research project narratives outline the steps successful students take in researching and writing papers. Each narrative in the online Handbook includes a sample paper. In addition to the research narratives, sample papers, and the full text of the print version of the MLA Handbook, the online edition offers two hundred extra examples to illustrate the text. Users can search across the full text and the additional content to find the information they need easily and quickly.

The new research paper adds value by providing further detailed information to students, including how to use foreign words and English translations in a research paper and examples of the citation of sound recordings and lyrics.

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India Attention Subscribers - www.myscoope.com lets you access Knowledgespeak using your mobile devices - 26 Aug 2010

Mobile access for Knowledgespeak is now available via our new beta application, SCOOPE STM Mobile. Subscribers on the move can now gain easy access to Knowledgespeak through a reader-friendly mobile phone interface.

This application is uniquely available in two versions: a mobile browser version and a Java application version. The mobile browser version, www.myscoope.com, is designed specifically for all types of Mobile Phones and Devices including iPhone, iPod, iPad, Black Berry and Android phones. The Java version - SCOOPE.JAR - is for all other Java enabled phones which are not browser friendly.

Some of SCOOPE STM Mobile's user-friendly features include:

Selecting desired news items
Saving News articles in the local phone memory for later reading
Search options
Forwarding information via SMS or email
Navigating to the URL links listed in the news item

Knowledgespeak is currently inviting feedback/suggestions from its subscribers as to their experiences with the service. Please send in your feedback to us at kspeaknews@scopeknowledge.com

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