Member News & Announcements, May IO 2021

Open Access, Open Science

Taylor & Francis Supports the University of Cape Town After Fire Disaster: Scholars to Have Seamless Digital Access Beyond Holdings to Entire Collection
Taylor & Francis Group, Voting Member, News Announcement, April 22, 2021

Taylor & Francis is shocked by the devastation caused by the fire that raged across Table Mountain in Cape Town, destroying part of the University of Cape Town (UCT), especially its historic Jagger Reading Room, which contained irreplaceable archives. Everyone at Taylor & Francis is relieved that team members in its Cape Town office as well as UCT students and staff are safe and offers its strong support.

Taylor & Francis, in collaboration with scholarly partners, including research publishers NISC and UNISA Press, will be making all digital materials (journals, journal archives and more than 150,000 eBooks), regardless of previous holdings, available to students and staff at UCT for a minimum of one year at no cost to UCT.

Taylor & Francis senior management and local Cape Town colleagues have been in touch with UCT to offer quick assistance and have expressed heartfelt support and encouragement for other volunteering/fundraising activities for UCT and the community. These activities are being set up immediately in coordination with UCT contacts and colleagues in Cape Town and elsewhere. Taylor & Francis will also be liaising with international publishing associations, including the Publishing Association of South Africa, to participate in further measures designed to ensure that students and scholars at UCT have digital access to the resources they need.

"Just Make the Data Available": Exploring Manuscripts with OPenn
University of Pennsylvania Libraries, L.S.A. Member, Blog Post, April 7, 2021

It’s National Library Week! Along with institutions across the country, we’re celebrating the wide variety of ways that “libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building.” Follow Penn Libraries on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to learn more.

Once upon a time, examining pages from one of the Medieval manuscripts held by Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts would always require someone to make an appointment with a curator, travel to Philadelphia, and visit the Charles K. MacDonald Reading Room. While the experience of viewing a rare book or manuscript in person is still one of vital importance to researchers, this is not a trip that just anyone had the capability to make, even before the COVID-19 pandemic restricted all our movements. Since the late 1990s, Penn Libraries has helped researchers surmount this obstacle through a wide variety of digitization efforts, including projects like Penn in Hand and Print at Penn. Today, one way to explore the Libraries’ digitized manuscripts is using OPenn, a website hosting high-resolution archival images of manuscripts and descriptive information about each one of them. Launched in 2015, OPenn now holds just over 10,000 documents and more than 1 million individual images from over fifty institutions, including the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Columbia University, the Rosenbach, and the British Library, all freely available to download, use, and share. 

Making library materials accessible to as many people as possible has long been central to how librarians conceptualize their work. The availability of technology that allows us to take high-quality images of collections items and share those images in a multitude of ways online has opened up a new universe of possibility. Today, people share and study library collections in ways that are increasingly complex. In response, the Penn Libraries has made it a strategic priority to expand and streamline access to the resources our users need to create, disseminate, and preserve knowledge--including through digitization

But digitizing collections is not as simple as snapping a photo of a cool book and sticking it on the internet. Digital library professionals must consider the cost of equipment that can produce high-quality scans, the fragility of the objects they want to digitize, and the long-term plans for storage of resulting image files, which are often enormous. They also must invest in creating metadata--detailed descriptions of digitized items that help people find what they are looking for and tell them important information about it that they could not be glean just by looking at it. 

Cambridge University Press Announces 129 New Open Access Publishing Agreements with US Institutions
Cambridge University Press, Voting Member, News Announcement, April 6, 2021

Cambridge University Press is leading the move to new Open Access (OA) journals publishing agreements in the United States through an unprecedented expansion of transformative “Read and Publish” deals.

The number of US institutions participating in such agreements will leap from 13 in 2020 to more than 140 in 2021 covering a diverse mix of organizations, including state university systems, liberal arts colleges, and major research universities. As a result, 25 per cent of US-originated research in Cambridge and society-owned journals can now be published OA at no additional cost to the researcher or institution.

The global landscape of academic journals publishing has undergone rapid change over the past decade and the recent move of several European nations and private funding bodies to mandate OA publishing from January 2021 will have global effects.

Publishers and institutions are partnering on innovative business models to support these developments, alongside the sustainability of the journals. One such model, the transformative Read & Publish agreement, pioneered in the US by the University of California system and Cambridge University Press, is now widespread among European institutions and set to increase significantly the global impact of European research.

ProQuest, NYU Pilot Program Offers Students and Faculty Instant Access to 150,000 Ebooks Via App
ProQuest, Voting Member, Press Release, April 5, 2021

New York University (NYU) Libraries and EdTech leader ProQuest have launched a pilot project that will make over 150,000 scholarly titles available to students and faculty via their mobile devices. NYU users can access course books, ebooks, and reference works from major publishers through an e-reader app called SimplyE.

Available on both Apple and Android devices, SimplyE is a free-to-use service that allows library users to browse, borrow and read ebooks on their phones or tablets. Based on open-source technology and developed through a non-profit collaboration between the New York Public Library (NYPL) and LYRASIS, SimplyE is widely used in public libraries. ProQuest is the first ebook platform provider to collaborate with academic libraries and the open-source community on the SimplyE app. 

The pilot with ProQuest and NYU is designed to introduce aggregated content to academic users through SimplyE and will reduce the number of logins for NYU community members, creating an improved user experience. Since the app runs on library-developed open-source software, feedback from academic users during the pilot program – currently running until August 31 – will also help develop and improve new functionality in the app, which will benefit all library users.

Awards and Grants

UW Libraries Health Sciences Library Awarded $6.3M Grant from National Library of Medicine to Increase Health Equity through Information
University of Washington, L.S.A. Member and National Library of Medicine (NLM), Voting Member, News Announcement, April 9, 2021

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has awarded a five-year, $ 6.3 million UG4 cooperative agreement grant to Principal Investigator Tania Bardyn and Project Lead Cathy Burroughs at the UW Health Sciences Library to lead Region 5 of the Regional Medical Library (RML) serving a six-state region including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and U.S. Territories through the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM). This will be the second UG4 cooperative agreement grant for UW from the NIH/National Library of Medicine. Region 5 is part of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), which includes 7 Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs) nationwide based at other health sciences libraries.

The core mission of the NNLM is to improve access to the highest level of evidence-based health information, with an emphasis on reaching the most underserved communities. The NLM grant funds the RML’s Region 5 program Reaching More People in More Ways to advance data driven health, health equity and health literacy through community-driven outreach that equitably informs U.S. researchers, health professionals, librarians, educators, and the public about the NLM’s products, information services, funding, professional development, and training. The program also provides direct funding (grants) to regional partners to improve access through technology and provide training to equalize and enhance access to health information for everyone – from clinicians to patients and to the general public.

“This award is a testament to the value of the health information outreach the Pacific Northwest Region of the NNLM has performed over the past 50 years, and our capacity and desire to expand these efforts to California, Hawaii, Nevada, and U.S. Territories over the next five years.” says Tania Bardyn, Principal Investigator of the NNLM Region 5 and Associate Dean for Health Sciences at the UW Libraries.

Filecoin Foundation Grants 50,000 FIL to the Internet Archive
Internet Archive, L.S.A. Member, Blog Post, April 1, 2021

Today, the Filecoin Foundation announced a 50,000 FIL grant to the Internet Archive – the largest single donation in the digital library’s 25-year history. 

“Holy Crow! This is a big deal,” said Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive’s founder. “And what are we going to do with it? We’re going to invest it in making the Internet Archive more decentralized, so that our digital history is available from thousands of computers, not just a few. The idea is to make a robust and private Internet that has a history that will persist over decades and maybe centuries.”

Filecoin is a decentralized storage system designed to preserve humanity’s most important information. The creators of Filecoin envisioned an independent foundation that would serve as the long-term governance body for the Filecoin ecosystem. In awarding the grant to the Internet Archive, Filecoin Foundation board chair, Marta Belcher, stressed the two organizations’ “common goal of preserving the web and fostering its future.”

It was back in 2015 that Protocol Labs‘ founder, Juan Benet, first visited the Internet Archive, to share his vision for an academic conference dedicated to preserving “humanity’s greatest treasures using decentralized storage.” Building on these conversations, the Internet Archive organized the Decentralized Web Summit in 2016 in San Francisco, the first gathering of its kind. Back then, a decentralized web was mostly a concept, with little working code.

Report Trends

ALA Releases State of America’s Libraries Special Report: COVID-19
American Library Association (ALA), Voting Member, Press Release, April 5, 2021

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) released its State of America's Libraries Special Report: COVID-19, a snapshot of the library communities' resilience, determination, and innovation in unprecedented circumstances. The State of America's Libraries report is released annually during National Library Week, April 4 – 10, and this year’s issue focuses on the impact of the novel coronavirus on all types of libraries during the previous calendar year.  

Like many public institutions forced to close their doors, libraries worked to adapt to a new way of doing business. Closures did not prevent library workers and libraries from serving their communities. Instead, closed physical space fueled significant innovation and opportunities to assist and support patrons and students. 

As most libraries were closed to in-person visits, libraries accelerated or adopted policies that let users access resources from a safe social distance, including offering digital library cards, creating curbside pick-up programs, and promoting ebook lending, which surged 40 percent over 2019.

Libraries played a significant role in bridging a digital divide that became more apparent during the pandemic. Families, marginalized communities, students, and rural residents struggled as the nation pivoted to virtual communication instead of in-person interactions and learning. Multiple studies cited in the report show that a significant sector of the US population lacks access to computers and broadband as well as the digital literacy skills needed to navigate the internet and ethically use communication platforms like Zoom and social media. Many libraries left their wi-fi on even as their buildings closed.

Libraries and Archives

Economics Professor Data Mines Technology Trends Using Vintage Public Documents at the Internet Archive
Internet Archive, Voting Member, Blog Post, April 14, 2021

For a recent project that involved out-of-print government publications, the economics professor and her coauthor Jon Cohen tapped into resources from Internet Archive—available free and online—conveniently from her campus at the University of Toronto.

Alexopoulos specializes in studying the effects of technical change on the economy and labor markets. She uses library classification systems, including metadata from the Library of Congress, to understand how quickly technology is coming to market by tracing the emergence of new books on tech subjects. When it came to looking up old library cataloging practices, some documents were difficult to find.

“The Internet Archive has always been very good about preservation,” says Alexopoulos. She reached out to the Internet Archive for assistance in digitizing older Dewey Decimal classification documents and unlocking useful materials from the Library of Congress. The scanning center at the University of Toronto digitized some of the books for the project. “The Internet Archive makes content searchable and that helps facilitate the kind of research we are doing,” she says.

With the historical documents scanned, Alexopoulos was able to do data mining and text analysis to compare new categories and subentries librarians created over time when they identified a new technology emerging. As electricity, cars, airplanes and computers were invented, new published lists of terms were adopted to classify those topics in the books and materials that were being added to public and academic libraries.

Just Launched: Democracy Reform and Voting Rights in the United States Web Archive
Columbia University Library, L.S.A. Member, Blog Post, April 8, 2021

Columbia University Libraries is pleased to announce the launch of the Democracy Reform and Voting Rights in the United States Web Archive. The ongoing struggle in the United States between advocates for voting rights and official proponents of voter suppression measures intensified in 2020 during a bitter presidential election campaign conducted amidst the substantial additional challenges to participatory democracy posed by the global pandemic.

As the Biden administration gets underway with narrow Democratic Party control of the House and Senate, while legislatures in multiple states are advancing new voter restrictions, structural democracy reform and voting rights will be at the heart of major legislative debates in 2021 and beyond. Columbia University Libraries has initiated a new thematic web archive collection devoted to documenting these historic debates and any ensuing legislation, both at the national and in selected local contexts, focusing on democracy reform and voting rights and the following subtopics: campaign finance reform; electoral college reform (including the National Popular Vote interstate compact); the equal-time rule; gerrymandering; ranked-choice voting; universal voter registration; voter identification; voter suppression; DC statehood; Puerto Rico statehood; and Supreme Court expansion and reform.

The collection archives web content on the above topics created by national, state or local non-profit organizations or by grass-roots demonstration organizers; policy reports advocating for or against reform initiatives; and related legislation, legislative documents, and executive orders. Alex Thurman, Web Resources Collection Coordinator, and Kristina Vela Bisbee, Journalism and Government Information Librarian, proposed and are guiding the collection.

Partnerships and Collaborations

ResearchGate and Wiley Deepen Partnership with Content Pilot to Deliver New Value for Researchers
John Wiley & Sons, Voting Member, Press Release, April 8, 2021

ResearchGate and Wiley today announced a pilot that will make articles published in selected Wiley journals available on the ResearchGate platform. The pilot aims to save authors time, enhance the visibility and discoverability of their peer-reviewed research, and measure the impact of their work. Wiley and ResearchGate enter this pilot, which builds on their partnership agreement announced in May 2020, to better meet the needs of researchers by encouraging greater discussion and collaboration around timely publications.

The first stage of the pilot, which launched today, will make articles from 17 of Wiley’s gold open access (OA) journals available on ResearchGate. The pilot will apply to new articles as they are published in these journals, as well as existing articles published from 2019 onwards. Journals in this first phase include AGU Advances, published on behalf of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Advanced Science, and Brain and Behavior.

In the second stage of the pilot, slated to begin later this year, Wiley and ResearchGate will work to facilitate access to 85 subscription and hybrid open access journals on ResearchGate. Users with institutional access to journal content from participating Wiley journals will be able to access the content on ResearchGate, facilitating off-campus access as well as fostering discourse and collaboration around scholarly communications. The pilot will eventually include content from over 100 journals, including AGU journals.

“We are seeing open access rapidly gaining an increasing market share of research articles,” says Sören Hofmayer, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at ResearchGate. “The questions we are exploring with Wiley in the early stages of this pilot relate to how best to drive value for authors and researchers in the open-access future. While OA content is generally free to use and share, the way that it is discovered and its impact measured, for instance, requires novel solutions. ResearchGate is well placed to respond to these challenges and opportunities, and we’re delighted to be working together with Wiley on this.”

University of Rhode Island joins HathiTrust
University of Rhode Island, L.S.A. Member, News Announcement, April 2, 2021

The University of Rhode Island has become the newest member of HathiTrust, a forward-thinking global collaborative of research and academic libraries working to ensure the preservation and accessibility of the cultural record. HathiTrust holds the largest set of digitized books managed by the academic, research, and library community offering unprecedented opportunity for members of the URI community to access a wide array of research and scholarly materials.

Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership comprised of more than two hundred libraries, including those in the Big Ten Academic Alliance, University of California System, Ivy League and the Library of Congress. Over the last 12 years, members have contributed more than 17.4 million volumes to the digital library, digitized from their own collections through a number of means including Google and Internet Archive digitization and in-house initiatives.

“URI’s membership in HathiTrust re-enforces our firm commitment to advancing contemporary scholarship and ensuring the URI community has access to the largest collection of digital content across disciplines,” said URI Provost Donald H. DeHayes. “I commend our library faculty and leadership for their forward-looking efforts in positioning URI on the cutting edge in our pursuit of innovations in learning and discovery through our partnership in this global collaborative of research and academic libraries. URI faculty and students will benefit immensely from access to this comprehensive digital archive of library materials.”

Infrastructure and Platforms

EBSCO Information Services Announces Panorama™ Analytics
EBSCO Information Services, Voting Member, Press Release, March 31, 2021

EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) announces the release of Panorama™, a modern library analytics platform combining different library and campus data sets to enable insights from a streamlined platform. Panorama offers visualization tools and a central dashboard to collect, manipulate and display data to help the library demonstrate its impact and make informed collection decisions.

Panorama’s features include a self-service platform for data discovery, default and custom visual dashboards and customizable data sources. These features were created to help libraries demonstrate their value to the academic institution, support new programs and make informed decisions for library spending while developing the most effective collections for their patrons.

University of Denver, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Chalmers University of Technology partnered with EBSCO in the preliminary stages of Panorama’s development and assisted in the examination of data, construction of data pipelines and the validation of dashboards. Additional partners included University of South Carolina, the University of Melbourne and Seton Hall University, which participated in platform development by testing data pipelines, extending data sources covered and providing additional feedback on dashboards.