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Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., announced that two of its Web sites are winners of the 2008 Codie Awards from the Software and Information Industry Association.

Britannica Online School Edition was named Best Education Reference or Search Service, and the Britannica Blog took Best Corporate Blog honors at the association’s gala in San Francisco. A complete list of Codie Award winners is available at http://www.siia.net/codies/2008/winners.asp.

The Codie Awards are among the most coveted prizes in the software and digital-content industries, and Britannica’s latest victories cap a long series of Codies the company’s digital products have won since the 1990s.

“Naturally, we’re thrilled,” said Michael Ross, a senior vice president with Britannica and general manager of the company’s education division. “The Codies have enormous prestige. They’re highly competitive awards because industry leaders pick winners from hundreds of products. This year more than 1,100 excellent ones competed for the top spots.”

A comprehensive reference and learning resource for grades K-12, Britannica Online School Edition is designed for all ages, with content clustered in distinct sections for the primary, middle and upper grades. It provides students and teachers with an extensive combination of reference information and interactive learning tools. It features Encyclopaedia Britannica’s award-winning encyclopedias serving students of all ages; extensive multimedia; current periodicals; Britannica’s proprietary, editor-checked Internet guide; and a growing number of primary sources. A recent addition is the Britannica Learning Zone, a skills-based environment for children from preschool to Grade 2.

School Edition is meant to be as relevant in the classroom as it is in the library or media lab. Its contents are thoroughly aligned to all state standards and include hundreds of lesson plans and other learning materials.

The Britannica Blog is a place where writers and readers hold lively discussions on almost every topic from art to zoology. More than a hundred bloggers have contributed to the daily postings, including radio quiz show host Michael Feldman; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis; Nobel Prize winner Jody Williams; Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum; Internet experts Nicholas Carr and Clay Shirky; and sports commentator Frank Deford. The blog holds forums on special topics, such as the religion of the American Founders, Web 2.0, the cult of celebrity, the future of newspapers, and Iran.

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MySpace, the world’s most popular social network, alongside Yahoo!, eBay, Photobucket, and Twitter, today announced the launch of the MySpace ‘Data Availability’ initiative, a ground-breaking offering to empower the global MySpace community to share their public profile data to websites of their choice throughout the Internet. Today’s announcement throws open the doors to traditionally closed networks by putting users in the driver’s seat of their data and Web identity. The launch of the Data Availability initiative marks the first time that a social Website has enabled its community to dynamically share public profile information with other sites.

MySpace Data Availability on Twitter.

“The walls around the garden are coming down-the implementation of Data Availability injects a new layer of social activity and creates a more dynamic Internet,” said Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace. “We, alongside our Data Availability launch partners, are pioneering a new way for the global community to integrate their social experiences Web-wide.”

Data Availability – User Interface

Data Availability pioneers a new way for users to dynamically share their user generated content and data with websites of their choosing. The Data Availability initiative is founded first and foremost on the simple and comprehensive user control of their own content and data – users will have control over what information they share and who they share it with.

Additionally, rather than updating information across the Web (eg. default photo, favorite movies or music) for each site where a user spends time, now a user can update their profile in one place and dynamically share that information with the other sites they care about. MySpace will be rolling out a centralized location within the site that allows users to manage how their content and data is made available to third party sites they have chosen to engage with.

Inside this opt-in framework, they will be offered the opportunity to share their MySpace profiles with the site they are visiting. MySpace, and its landmark launch partners, will be allowing users to dynamically share the content and data of their choosing including: (1) Publicly available basic profile information, (2) MySpace photos, (3) MySpaceTV videos, and (4) friend networks. Integration of the Data Availability project will roll to MySpace users and participating Websites in the coming weeks.

“The launch of Data Availability is an unprecedented move to further socialize the Web and empower users to control their online content and data,” said Amit Kapur, Chief Operating Officer, MySpace. “We are thrilled to begin this initiative with a world class suite of landmark partners and invite websites around the world to participate.”

Partner Website Functionality

Data Availability is about enriching existing Internet destinations with social functionality and valuable pre-existing user generated content and data.  By empowering users with the ability to dynamically share, those destinations will create deeper levels of social engagement and new functionality throughout their site. As the online home to 117 million users worldwide, this groundbreaking initiative enables the larger Web to leverage the highly engaged and passionate MySpace global community.

To ease implementation for participating sites, the MySpace Data Availability initiative uses OAUTH and Restful APIs as its core technology underpinnings. MySpace is using open standards in an effort to embrace the open source community and allow the implementation to be as non-proprietary as possible. Today’s announcement is the first step of MySpace’s larger data portability initiatives coming down the pipeline. MySpace is officially joining the Data Portability Project demonstrating our continued commitment to openness and open standards.

Data Availability on Yahoo!

MySpace’s Data Availability complements Yahoo!’s recently announced Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS), a company-wide initiative to open Yahoo! to application developers, unlock the rich social connections across the Yahoo! network, and enable users to customize and make more personally relevant their experiences of Yahoo! and other Internet services.

On Yahoo!, the Data Availability initiative may appear to users in a variety of ways.  For example, users that have chosen to share their MySpace content and data with Yahoo! Instant Messenger might find their MySpace default photo, interests, and favorite music displayed to their Messenger contacts directly in the IM client.  Additionally, MySpace users will be able to choose to display their data within Yahoo!’s universal profile or leverage it in Yahoo! Mail’s smarter inbox, once those upcoming releases are deployed.

“Yahoo! believes in an open Internet that gives users the flexibility to make their Web experiences as relevant, social and personalized as they can.  As a longtime collaborator with MySpace on a variety of projects, including the OpenSocial Foundation, we’re thrilled to support this new initiative,” said Ash Patel, Executive Vice President, Platforms, at Yahoo!.  “The Yahoo! Open Strategy and MySpace Data Availability are a giant leap towards a more social and open Internet.”

Data Availability on eBay

Through the MySpace Data Availability implementation, eBay profiles can be easily enhanced with MySpace bios, interests, pictures, and videos. In a socially driven marketplace, this will yield a deeper connection between individuals. When browsing or transacting on eBay, the availability of external social information can help users make good decisions quickly about whom they can do business with, and perhaps even make a new friend.

“The MySpace Data Availabilityinitiative will further enrich eBay profiles and create a more elaborate social experience for buyers and sellers worldwide,” said Matt Ackley, VP of Internet Marketing of eBay.  “As the world’s largest social commerce site, eBay is dedicated to creating a social context and personality for the people with whom you transact.”

Data Availability on Photobucket

MySpace’s Data Availability initiative will allow Photobucket users to enjoy a more seamless photo experience with their MySpace profile.  Photobucket users will be able to have a single view of their photos across multiple services, as well as opt-in to displaying their MySpace profile data in their Photobucket albums.  Users will also be able to leverage their existing connections on MySpace to share their content on Photobucket more easily, without having to re-establish connections and friend lists.

“MySpace users invest a huge amount of time populating their profile and personal interest data.  With the large overlap in users, the Data Availability initiative will allow Photobucket to utilize this profile data to enhance its own products,” said Alex Welch, President of Photobucket.  “The combination of the Data Availability initiative and the recently announced Photobucket Open-API provides new opportunities to create a more open web”

Data Availability on Twitter

Twitter profiles at present are primarily focused on current updates and are relatively sparse on user information. The MySpace Data Availability initiative enriches the current Twitter profile by empowering users to incorporate their MySpace profile content and data points previously not included in the Twitter product suite.  Once the implementation is complete, a user will be able to bring in their MySpace content and data including their bio, blogs, and photos, ultimately making the Twitter site a more enriching site with content previously unavailable in its interface.

“Finding friends to follow is central to Twitter’s value as a real-time communication utility.” Says Biz Stone, Co-founder, Twitter. “This project enhances discovery and connectivity making Twitter more relevant and useful-we’re very excited.”

Stay Tuned for more updates, later today. Subscribe

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The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy announced today that the Web site AIDS.gov, a gateway to all federal domestic HIV /AIDS information and resources, now has an innovative look and feel that incorporates a blog, podcasts, and other new media tools.

AIDS.gov Home Page MessageThe blog, one of AIDS.gov’s latest features, focuses on using new media – interactive forms of communication based on the Internet – in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The blog addresses topics such as podcasts, social networks (e.g. MySpace and Facebook), mobile phone text messaging, and Web site usability and accessibility.

HHS, which hosts AIDS.gov, developed the site with input from public health experts, representatives of HIV/AIDS service organizations, federal employees, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the general public. AIDS.gov was first launched on Dec. 1, 2006, which is World AIDS Day.

“As we approach the 27th year of this epidemic, new media tools are an effective and interactive way to deliver information to and engage with AIDS service providers, health departments, federal partners, community partners, and the general public,” said Miguel Gomez, director of AIDS.gov.

Visitors to AIDS.gov can listen to and view a monthly podcast series, Conversations on AIDS.gov, directly on the site, as well as download episodes. Each episode features a brief interview with a government official about topics impacting the lives of people living with, or at risk for, HIV/AIDS. The address is http://www.aids.gov/podcast/aids_podcast.html.

One of AIDS.gov’s other added features is that visitors can subscribe to an RSS feed to receive updates when new information is added to thesite. This enables subscribers to have information delivered to them, instead of having to constantly check the site for it.

AIDS.gov’s new design helps visitors navigate through a wealth of HIV/AIDS resources. The site includes the latest HIV/AIDS news, basic HIV/AIDS information, information on prevention, education, treatment, and care resources.

Many HHS agencies collaborate to make AIDS.gov a user-friendly, accessible, and helpful source of information. Non-HHS partners include the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and the State Department’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.”

AIDS.gov is a key source for federal domestic HIV/AIDS information. The site’s new look and feel, and improved navigation, enhances our ability to reach the country with critical HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and research messages and resources,” said Christopher H. Bates, acting director of HHS’ Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. To learn more, visit: http://www.AIDS.gov.

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TechWeb, the global leader in business technology media, announced that Internet Evolution, a Web 2.0 site dedicated to investigating the future of the Internet, has added exclusive access to a mobile blog – entitled “Alan Reiter’s Wireless Web World” – for readers from their wireless devices only. For access to the Internet Evolution mobile site from a wireless handset, visit: http://www.internetevolution.com/mobile/.

Alan Reiter's Wireless Web World.The blog, written by Alan Reiter, President of Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing, a consulting firm that helps wireless data businesses in the United States and abroad, will cover a wide range of wireless Internet subjects, including wireless email, games, music, videos, location technologies, 3G/3.5G/4G, online applications for phones, social networking, privacy/security, mobile browsers, mobile marketing/advertising, femtocells and wireless UMPCs/MIDs/subnotebooks.

“We launched this killer blog in response to our readers’ voracious appetite for wireless access to news,” said Stephen Saunders, Internet Evolution creator and blogger. “This is the latest example of our commitment to provide our audience with critical Internet-focused information in what they select as the most effective delivery method.”

About Internet Evolution

Internet Evolution hosts more than 100 world-famous Internet experts – such as Kevin Mitnick, once the most-wanted computer hacker in the world; Dr. Lawrence Roberts, inventor of packet switching, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on telecom network architectures; Jack Uldrich, futurist, scholar, and author; Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.com; David Weinberger, technologist and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto; Howard Schmidt, former White House cybersecurity adviser; and Norman J. Ornstein, political scientist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) – all of whom are addressing today’s critical socio-economic issues within its ThinkerNet blogosphere. Internet Evolution also offers broadcast-quality broadband video documentaries and interviews; investigative reports; and user-generated content facilitated via the latest Web 2.0 technology. Internet Evolution is a joint production of Light Reading, the world’s leading publishing, event and research company focusing on communications service providers and InformationWeek, the largest, most influential community of IT buyers and providers, focusing on driving and setting the agenda for business innovation powered by technology.

About TechWeb

TechWeb.TechWeb, the global leader in business technology media, is an innovative business focused on serving the needs of technology decision-makers and marketers worldwide. TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed media brands in the business technology market. Today, more than 13.3 million* business technology professionals actively engage in our communities created around our global face-to-face events Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and VoiceCon; online resources such as the TechWeb Network, Light Reading, Intelligent Enterprise, InformationWeek.com, bMighty.com, and The Financial Technology Network; and the market leading, award-winning InformationWeek, TechNet Magazine, MSDN Magazine, Wall Street & Technology magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services ranging from next-generation performance marketing, integrated media, research, and analyst services. TechWeb is a division of United Business Media, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

*13.3 million business decision-makers: based on # of monthly connections.

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