Ning stays free for educators, with restrictions

Free Ning groups now will be limited to 150 members.
Free Ning groups now will be limited to 150 members.

The social networking web site Ning, which many educators have used to establish online groups with similar professional interests, will remain free for educators despite moving to a fee-based model this summer, the site announced May 4. But some education technology experts believe Ning could see dwindling interest among teachers and college professors because of new limitations on group sizes and video and chat capabilities.

Ning, which has more than 46 million members and 300,000 social networks created by its contributors, unveiled its revamped pricing model last week, which includes a $2.95 monthly charge for Ning Mini, $19.95 for Ning Plus, and $49.95 a month for Ning Pro. The Ning Mini model will be available at no cost to educators. Student must be 13 or older to sign up for a Ning account, according to the company’s web site.

Ning’s new service will begin in July. The shift will mean 80 percent of Ning’s revenue will come from customers paying for one of the three options, the company announced. Jason Rosenthal, the company’s chief operating officer, wrote on Ning’s blog that basic services will remain free for education groups because a “major education company will be sponsoring Ning Mini Networks for educators in primary and secondary education.”…Read More

University of Minnesota sends books to Google for digitization

The University of Minnesota libraries are sending their first shipment of books to be digitized to Google this month as part of the Google books project, reports the Associated Press. Among the books going to Google are volumes from the university’s noted collections related to forestry, beekeeping, Scandinavian literature, and Minnesota’s early history. The scanning project is part of a 2007 agreement between Google and the academic arm of the Big Ten Conference to digitize more than 10 million unique volumes from Big Ten libraries. Under the deal, when the scanned works are determined to be in the public domain, Google will provide the libraries with digital copies. When complete, the project will have digitized more than 1 million volumes from the University of Minnesota’s general collection.

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