EBSCOhost gets text-to-speech, ProQuest digitizing Vogue archives, ebrary adds CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles, and more

By Josh Hadro

Database aggregator EBSCO Publishing recently announced that it has built in a text-to-speech option for all of its EBSCOhost databases. A toolbar, created by software company Texthelp Systems, allows full-text articles available in HTML on EBSCOhost databases to be read aloud to users at variable speeds. It will be provided to all EBSCOhost users at no additional charge.

It's not a new feature-EBSCO had used it before, on a smaller scale, in its English Language Learner Reference Center product.

However, this expansion of the feature will likely increase usage of its databases, particularly by those who are blind or with low vision. (Providing accessibility of e-content for such patrons is an ongoing concern for libraries, as E-Learning Librarian Char Booth of the University of California, Berkeley, recently wrote in an LJ essay.)

See the full story, "EBSCO Adds Text-to-Speech Functionality for All Databases," for more.

Yesterday, LJ's E-views blogger Cheryl Laguadia reported on the latest digitization announcement from ProQuest, timed to coincide with Fashion Week:

Got this news bite from my contact at ProQuest today: "An agreement between information technology leader ProQuest and publisher Condé Nast will transform the entire run of Vogue's U.S. edition to an online, digital format, enabling fast and precise searches of even the smallest details on every page - including ads and covers - of every issue published since 1892. The digital archive will encompass nearly half a million image-rich pages - a treasure chest of the work of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries' greatest designers, photographers, stylists and illustrators - available and searchable online for the first time. The Vogue digital archive will debut on ProQuest's highly-anticipated new search platform, which includes powerful technology tools designed to support serious research."

Now this is very good news for front line librarians who are constantly barraged by requests for exactly this kind of material by researchers in advertising, cultural and gender studies, sociology, psychology, and a whole slew of other -ologies, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on the file (been promised a sneak peek here on the blog for you readers as soon as it's available, and will do a full review of the file then, too - "then" being probably in January 2011 - just around the corner).

See the full post at "A Cultural Treasure Trove Coming Online Combined with My Academic Fascination with High Fashion."

More notes from the marketplace:

Ebrary is partnering with CHOICE to offer digital editions of more than 1000 of CHOICE's recent Outstanding Academic Titles. Published annually, this list represents the top ten percent of more than 7000 academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources reviewed by CHOICE that year.

Chadron State College, NE, has selected EBSCO Discovery Service to power a single search box approach. Customized features will enable access to "Lib Guides," part of the school's overall plan to improve information literacy.

Fairfield University, CT, has selected Innovative Interface's Millennium ILS to complement its existing Encore discovery services application. It is migrating from a SirsiDynix Unicorn system. The university participated as an early development partner for Encore. Additionally, DeKalb County Public Library, GA, has selected Encore and will implement it with the SirsiDynix Horizon ILS.

Thieme Medical Publishers, an international STM publisher, has selected Ingram's CoreSource platform to archive and distribute its e-content, including backlist titles.

EBSCO Publishing has debuted Caribbean Search, a multidisciplinary database available via EBSCOhost. The full-text resource includes more than 730 Caribbean-focused scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, and reference books.

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