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December 19, 2006

Table of Contents

ITI Cross Links: Cambridge Information Group to Acquire ProQuest Information and Learning
YALSA Unveils New Electronic Discussion List
Gates Foundation Expands Global Libraries Initiative
H.W. Wilson Launches Library Literature & Information Science Retrospective
Cool Links: ALA’s Banned Books Bracelets
Pearson’s PASeries Tests Aligned to Learning Goals in Growing Number of States
ITI Cross Links: Microsoft Launches Live Search Books
ETS Launches ‘50 Great’ Teacher Retention Initiative
Free Resources: The Weather Channel Offers Web-Based Resource on Global Warming
Vantage Learning’s Instructional Writing Program Now Available in Home Edition

ITI Cross Links: Cambridge Information Group to Acquire ProQuest Information and Learning

Cambridge Information Group has announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire ProQuest Information and Learning , a segment of ProQuest Co., for about $222 million. For the full announcement--and a hint of a future full NewsBreaks report--follow THIS LINK. (From Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks Weekly News Digest)

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YALSA Unveils New Electronic Discussion List

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, announced the launch of a new open discussion list, YA-MUSIC.

The list, open to YALSA members and non-members, was created to discuss ways that libraries can use music in all its forms to serve the teens in their communities. Librarians are encouraged to discuss recommended practices in collections and programming, as well as specific media, including CDs, MP3s, and emerging technologies.

In addition, YALSA offers discussion lists on a variety of topics, including YALSA-BK for the discussion of specific titles and issues concerning young adult reading and young adult literature; YA-YAAC for information on programming, teen advisory groups, and professional development; and YALSA-L for news and information about ALA and YALSA programs and activities.

Information on these lists and other YALSA electronic resources can be found in the Electronic Resources section of the YALSA site at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/.

YALSA/ALA, 800/545-2433 or http://www.ala.org/yalsa/.

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Gates Foundation Expands Global Libraries Initiative

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the expansion of its Global Libraries Initiative with grants to Botswana, Latvia, and Lithuania to ensure that people in those countries have access to the latest information and training available via computers and the Internet.

In Botswana, the effort focuses on planning a national effort to provide no-cost access to computers and the Internet in public libraries and village reading rooms and to create pilot projects in 3-5 sites. In Latvia, the support is targeted for an effort to connect all libraries with high speed and wi-fi Internet connections and to train librarians and library patrons. In Lithuania, the grant funding will help the planning of a national program to provide no-cost access to computers and the Internet in public libraries.

The grants for Latvia and Lithuania mark the first time the foundation has offered support to Eastern European countries.

In the next seven years, the expanded Global Libraries initiative includes plans to partner with 12-15 countries, in a continuing effort to increase access to information and narrow the digital divide.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, http://www.gatesfoundation.org/.

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H.W. Wilson Launches Library Literature & Information Science Retrospective

H.W. Wilson announced the January WilsonWeb launch of Library Literature & Information Science Retrospective: 1905-1983, a wide-ranging retrospective article index.

The database covers 1,200 key periodicals, includes citations to more than 500,000 articles, and catalogs the innovations, controversies, and people key to the making of modern librarianship. Also included is full text (HTML and PDF page images) from 70 years of Wilson Library Bulletin (founded in 1914); indexing from Library Work (1905-1911); and citations to book reviews, books, book chapters, and library school theses.

Extensive annotations (up to several hundred words) detail the content of articles from a diverse range of periodicals. Thousands of monographs and book review records extend coverage beyond journal pages. Analytic records provide chapter-level access by subject and author to the contents of books, conference proceedings, and essay collections.

Original and updated subject headings are provided. Personal names used as subject headings are standardized throughout the years of coverage.

International coverage encompasses library science publishing in Europe, Russia, China, India, Australia, and Latin America. Translated titles and English language summaries help users search articles published in French, Spanish, Russian, German, Hungarian, Danish, Norwegian, Italian, and other languages.

Library Literature & Information Science Retrospective helps users acquire the actual articles through: WilsonLink SFX-powered technology that can link to full text available in other OpenURL-compatible databases, links to the library's OPAC for holdings information, and auto-completion of interlibrary loan forms. Additional options let users automatically create bibliographies from search results and save and e-mail searches.

Free 30-day trials are available in January.

H.W. Wilson, 800/367-6770 or http://www.hwwilson.com

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Cool Links: ALA’s Banned Books Bracelets

For the librarian who has everything, this holiday season take a look at the Banned Books Bracelets available from the American Library Association's (ALA) online store at http://www.alastore.ala.org/.

The bracelets, designed by jewelry designer Carolyn Forsman, were created to help raise awareness that books continue to be challenged. Forsman is a supporter of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Two adult-size versions are available, one featuring banned adult titles and one featuring banned children's titles. The adult titles include The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, Howl by Allen Ginsberg, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

The childen's titles include Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Blubber by Judy Blume, and Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. Both bracelets include an "I Read Banned Books" tile.

The bracelets are priced at $18.00 (or $16.20 for ALA members).

According to the ALA, more than a book a day faces expulsion from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries every year. There have been more than 8,700 book challenges since the ALA began electronically compiling and publishing information on them in 1990.

This week, the Georgia Board of Education voted to support the Gwinnett County School Board's decision to keep Harry Potter on library shelves, despite a mother's objections to the series.

ALA, 800/545-2433 or http://www.ala.org/.

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Pearson’s PASeries Tests Aligned to Learning Goals in Growing Number of States

Pearson Education has announced that PASeries (Progress Assessment Series), its formative assessment product line, is aligned to mathematics standards in a rapidly growing number of states, allowing teachers, administrators, and parents to use the test results to forecast student performance on statewide assessments.

The new alignments for PASeries Mathematics and PASeries Algebra I were made using The Quantile Framework for Mathematics. Launched in 2004 by MetaMetrics Inc., Quantiles measure student math achievement on a developmental scale. The Quantile strands—Geometry; Measurement; Numbers and Operations; Algebra/Patterns & Functions; and Data Analysis & Probability—integrate and align with the strands described by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

PASeries Mathematics is aligned to state standards in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. PASeries Mathematics includes a screening test for placement, six progress monitoring tests for each grade, and diagnostic tests by strand with item analysis reports.

PASeries Algebra I is aligned to state standards in California, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The newest product in the PASeries product line, PASeries Algebra I was developed for students in grades 6-12. PASeries Algebra I tests are designed for completion in one class period and for delivery either on paper or online with electronic reporting of results. According to the announcement, PASeries Algebra I assessments are scientifically valid, reliable, and research-based formative tests that include six progress-monitoring tests and five diagnostic tests for targeting instruction.

Alignment guides for all PASeries products are available from the Resource Library at http://etest.pearson.com/Customers/Pearson/etest/resources-state.htm> PASeries is distributed to states and districts by Pearson Educational Measurement and Pearson Assessments. For more information about the PASeries product line, visit http://www.PASeries.com.

Source: Pearson Education, http://www.pearsoned.com/

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ITI Cross Links: Microsoft Launches Live Search Books

From an Information Today, Inc. NewsBreaks story by Greg Notess published December 11:

A little over a year ago, Microsoft announced that it was joining the Open Content Alliance (OCA) to create a database of full-text books. Planning to launch a beta version of its books database sometime in 2006, Microsoft has now met its goal with the launch of Live Search Books (beta) at http://books.live.com. All of the books available on Live Search Books are out-of-copyright titles, thus avoiding the copyright controversy at Google Books. The initial load at Live features titles from several libraries' collections, including the University of California, the University of Toronto, and The British Library. Microsoft also announced the addition of The New York Public Library and the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine as future contributors.

Read more--including sections on The Collection, The Search Interface, The Book Reader, and The Competition--by cross-linking to Greg's story, Microsoft Launches Live Search Books, at Information Today, Inc.'s NewsBreaks.

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ETS Launches ‘50 Great’ Teacher Retention Initiative

ETS has announced the launch of a new recognition program to support teacher retention. The company is seeking corporate sponsors to join its 50 Great program, which will recognize 50 outstanding new teachers in each state with a maximum of one year of classroom experience. Applicants will be selected to receive awards based on academic achievement, exemplary new teacher performance, and their decision to enter the teaching profession.

ETS says the program is a first step in addressing the reality that nearly a quarter of new teachers leave the profession before their third year of teaching, according to the National Center on Educational Statistics (NCES). At the same time, other studies predict that while 2.7 million newly hired public school teachers will be required in the next decade, 30 to 50 percent of new teachers will leave the profession within their first five years because they lack support.

ETS's Scholarship & Recognition Programs (SRP) unit will design and administer this customized education recognition program on behalf of participating companies and organizations.

ETS will develop the program, including eligibility requirements and criteria for application. SRP will also oversee selection, award distribution and administrative elements of the program as well as coordination of teacher mentoring resources and professional development materials distribution.

Teachers who are selected for the 50 Great program will also be provided a copy of the Take One! professional development resource produced by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The Take One! resource introduces new teachers to professional teaching standards and their impact on student achievement through the creation and reflective analysis of a video portfolio demonstrating classroom practice. 

For additional information on the 50 Great program, contact Linda Soltes, Product Manager, at 609-683-2708 or lsoltes@ets.org.

Source: ETS, http://www.ets.org

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Free Resources: The Weather Channel Offers Web-Based Resource on Global Warming

The Weather Channel has announced the availability of a multimedia Web-based resource on global warming, designed to help educators and students better understand how this phenomenon affects weather events around the world.

In support of "The Climate Code" with Dr. Heidi Cullen on The Weather Channel, this resource encourages students to explore global warming and some of the dangers it poses to the Earth's natural elements. Through a multimedia, Flash-based exploration of global "hotspots" narrated by Dr. Heidi Cullen, students learn about glacial melting in Antarctica, coral reef bleaching in Australia, and drought and wildfires in the western U.S., as well as how these weather issues affect our society and lives. In addition, it provides additional Web resources where students can extend their exploration, a link to a blog maintained by Dr. Heidi Cullen and other weather experts, and a link to a resource glossary on the network's broadband channel - One Degree: Climate Change.

The Weather Channel partnered with Topics Education, an education outreach development firm, to create this Web site and multimedia unit. Designed for middle and high school students, as well as teachers, the unit resides in the "Student" section of weatherclassroom.com (see http://weatherclassroom.com/climatecode.php). Topics Education produces custom K-12 resources for companies and organizations worldwide, helping them make positive contributions to classrooms. The resources are typically free for educators and students, so Topics Education also helps clients present the resources to those educators whose instruction will benefit from the resources.

Weatherclassroom.com is a unique multimedia website that compiles free weather and climate education content in one location. Utilizing the expertise of The Weather Channel, the site provides more than 29,000 registered users with easy-to-use tools and resources that help bring weather to life both in the classroom and at home. Teachers can access a variety of standards-based lesson plans and activities, spanning weather topics from global climate concerns and sun safety to the science behind storms; parents can find timely resources that help educate families on how to plan for and stay safe during severe weather; and students can get age-appropriate homework help and enjoy fun, interactive features that invite them to use technology to explore key weather concepts.

Source: The Weather Channel, http://www.weather.com

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Vantage Learning’s Instructional Writing Program Now Available in Home Edition

Vantage Learning has announced the release of MY Access! Home Edition, the first consumer version of its online writing tool. MY Access! Home Edition is grounded with the same research-based automated essay scoring and instructional technology being used by over a million students across the country, enabling parents, tutors, or home-school teachers to all be teachers of writing.

MY Access! Home features Vantage Learning's IntelliMetricT design, a technology that gives users instant feedback on grammar, focus and meaning, organization, content and development, language use and style, and their overall writing proficiency, the announcement states.

The program comes in four specially designed editions tailored to the individual needs of the user:

* MY Access! Home Student Edition. Designed with students in mind, this edition contains 45 essay exercises, divided evenly among elementary, middle, and high school levels. MY Access! Home's intuitive, interactive platform walks users through the writing process, including pre-writing exercises, rough drafts, editing, and putting together the final piece that they can publish in The Daily Access, an online newspaper they can e-mail to their friends and family. Through this process, users improve their writing skills and boost their confidence in their writing abilities.

* MY Access! Home Family Edition. This edition lets parents actively participate in their child's learning. They can set the program for more than one child, and monitor each child's progress on the screen or through e-mail reports. In addition, the built-in management system automatically gives their children points for completing each exercise, which helps parents set learning goals.

* MY Access! Home Home School/Tutor Edition. For those who home school multiple children or provide outside tutoring, this edition provides all the tools to create an interactive writing curriculum. The platform lets instructors manage multiple users and flesh out their lesson plans.

* MY Access! Home College Edition. Between SAT prep and college admissions essays, it's crucial that high school juniors and seniors perfect their writing skills. The College Edition helps them refine their term papers and admissions essays, and offers practice SAT essays to build critical thinking skills.

For more information, or to purchase any of the MY Access! Home editions, visit http://www.vantagelearning.com/MAHome.

Source: Vantage Learning, http://www.vantagelearning.com

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