The New York Public Library in December announced a new partnership with nonprofit Benetech, and the organization’s Bookshare solution, to provide print disabled patrons with access to more than 370,000 accessible ebooks through NYPL and the Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. Although Bookshare provides free access to its collection for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities through an award by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, access to the collection for qualifying adults, seniors, and other non-students generally requires payment of a $25 setup fee and a $50 annual subscription fee. The partnership to provide free access to library patrons through NYPL is Bookshare’s first such partnership with a U.S. library, and Benetech officials have stated that the organization is hoping to establish similar agreements with public libraries throughout the U.S.
Moderator Lisa Bunker, Social Media Librarian for Pima County Public Library (AZ) ; Jason Griffey, founder and principal of consulting and creation firm Evenly Distributed; Jim Hahn, orientation services and environments librarian and associate professor at the University of Illinois Undergraduate Library; Jamie Hollier, co-owner and co-CEO of technology consultancy Anneal; Alex Lent, director of the Millis Public Library (MA); Thomas Padilla, digital scholarship librarian at Michigan State University Libraries; and Ken Varnum, senior program manager for discovery, delivery, and learning analytics at the University of Michigan Library, during the Library Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Tech Trends panel at the American Library Association’s 2016 Midwinter conference in Boston.
The Knovel Academic Challenge enables thousands of engineering students at universities around the world to hone their research skills while competing for prizes and recognition. This year, a group of four students from Drexel University, assisted by Jay Bhatt, the university’s liaison librarian for engineering, took their participation to another level, designing the engineering problem sets that were used in this fall’s 10th annual challenge.
JSTOR Labs, in partnership with Eigenfactor project co-founder Dr. Jevin West and the University of Washington’s DataLab, have launched JSTOR Sustainability, a new website powered by Eigenfactor Article Influence scores and a 1,500 term semantic index created by JSTOR. Currently in beta, the new website is the product of JSTOR and DataLab’s collaborative effort to help scholars in interdisciplinary fields understand and navigate literature outside of their core areas of expertise.
Penguin Random House today announced a new unified, companywide terms of sale (TOS) policy for ebook licenses sold to public, school, and other libraries working with approved ebook vendors in the United States and Canada. Effective January 1, 2016, all Penguin and Random House adult and children’s frontlist and backlist ebook titles will be available under the one-ebook, one-user, no loan cap perpetual licensing model that has long been employed by Random House.
Dallas-based non-profit library cooperative Amigos Library Services announced the official debut of the Amigos eShelf Service, a new ebook platform for public, school, and academic libraries. Developed with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the service is available to both Amigos members and non-members throughout the U.S., and currently features a selection of 25,000 titles from 60 imprints of nine publishers, including Rowman and Littlefield, Crossroad Press, O’Reilly Media, and ABDO.
Colorado’s Mesa County Libraries (MCL) last week launched a Kickstarter campaign in support of Wild Colorado, a mobile app that will help users identify Colorado mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles, use geolocation information to notify users what types of wildlife are likely in their vicinity, and personalize their experience by adding notes, taking photos, and sharing their sightings on social media.
Kelvin Watson last month was named Chief Innovation and Technology Officer for Queens Library (QL) in New York. In addition to his prior position as QL’s VP of digital services and strategy, Watson’s background includes positions at companies and organizations including The Library Corporation (TLC), Ingram, Borders, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also the current president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA).
The Library Freedom Project (LFP) is urging libraries and library vendors to ensure basic online privacy protections for patrons by implementing HTTPS for websites, catalogs, and all other online resources. The HTTPS protocol tells web browsers to encrypt data that is transferred between a browser and a server, preventing third-parties from eavesdropping or tampering with that data.