Proposals to change UK Copyright; a relaunch for Oxford UP online sources; Open Textbooks gain momentum; a Google Search investigation;  American Factfinder’s new website; more money for school libraries; and Time’s 50 top websites.

Consultation on the UK copyright system published

In the UK the Government has “published a consultation document on its proposals to change the UK’s copyright system. These proposals address the details of implementing the recommendations made by the Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth, which was published in May 2011 and endorsed in principle by the government in August 2011.”  Issues such as orphan works, extended collective licensing, codes of conduct for collecting societies, and copyright exceptions are addressed.

Oxford Digital Reference Shelf to Re-Launch in 2012

“Oxford University Press announced that it will re-launch Oxford Reference Online and the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf in the first half of 2012 as Oxford Reference. This will be the essential hub to all Oxford University Press reference content, re-launching with improved functionality and design.”

Open-Textbook Idea Is Gaining Steam

It first started “when Washington State announced its Open Course Library initiative in October,” but since then others  have joined the bandwagon. “The University of Massachusetts at Amherst awarded 10 teaching faculty $1,000 grants this spring as a part of its Open Education Initiative.”  And perhaps more significantly, “Darrell Steinberg, the leader of California’s Senate, proposed a bill to establish the online California Digital Open Source Library, which if enacted “will allocate $25-million in state funds to create 50 free online college textbooks.”

US Senators Call For FTC Investigation Into Google’s Search Results

Gary Price at INFOdocket reports from an article by Matt McGee on Search Engine Land that “US Senators Herb Kohl and Mike Lee are urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Google unfairly favors its own properties in search results.”  The two senators  “have jointly signed a five-page letter to FTC Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz calling for “serious scrutiny” of Google’s business practices and, more specifically, if Google’s is acting anti-competitively when its own properties are positioned highly in search results.”

Change Coming to American FactFinder

Reporting from the Census Bureau’s Tip Sheet, the folks at Resource Shelf  note that “the legacy version of American FactFinder will no longer be available as of Jan. 20. Nearly all of the data from the older version has now been uploaded to the new American FactFinder website, including previous years of American Community Survey estimates and data from the Economic Census and other business surveys…  A how-to guide for Building Deep Links in the new American FactFinder is available online, along with tutorials on searching, bookmarking and using the other features of the new site.

Congress Approves $28.6 Million for School Libraries

“The House and Senate this weekend passed the conference report for an Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which includes $28.6 million in federal funds for school libraries in FY 2012….  Meanwhile, this budget appropriates FY12 money for the Institutes of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which includes $185 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding. This is a 2.3 percent cut from the FY’11 amount of $189 million. Under LSTA; Grants to States was appropriated at $156.6 million, Native American Library Services was funded at $3.8 million, National Leadership for Libraries was funded at $11.9 million, and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian was received $12.5 million.”

The 50 Best Websites of 2011

Time magazine announces its 50 best website of 2011 covering a variety of topics ranging from music to family; business to sports; news and information to shopping and games to education.