NISO SUSHI Standard Gets Approval of American National Standards Institute

ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2007 Aids Collection of COUNTER Statistics

Baltimore, MD -- November 8, 2007 -- The National Information Standards Organization's (NISO) Z39.93 standard, The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol, has received final approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This standard defines an automated request and response model for the harvesting of electronic resource usage data, utilizing a Web services framework. Designed as a generalized protocol extensible to a variety of usage reports, it also contains an extension designed specifically to work with COUNTER usage reports.
Launched in 2002, COUNTER is designed to help librarians and publishers in the recording and exchange of usage statistics for electronic resources. By following COUNTER's Code of Practice, vendors can provide libraries with data using standardized formats and data elements. The SUSHI protocol is a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) request/response Web services "wrapper" for the XML version of COUNTER reports.

"The rapid uptake of COUNTER created a new problem for librarians: managing all of the COUNTER usage data," said Adam Chandler, SUSHI co-Chair and Information Technology Librarian at Cornell University Library. "SUSHI was developed to automate the retrieval and transfer of the data, which, to that point, had to be retrieved manually from multiple content suppliers."

"We're very proud of the fact that we were able to move SUSHI from inception to trial use in only 14 months," he added.

Patricia Brennan, Chair of NISO's Business Information Topic Committee and Product Development Manager, Thomson Scientific, noted, "With SUSHI, librarians will be able to concentrate on the analysis and application of the usage data rather than on the compilation and retrieval. The SUSHI standard represents the new direction for NISO in its standards creation: identification of a specific and discrete pain area that affects many sectors of the community, coordination with other standards efforts, and rapid response in development of a solution. Next steps for the Working Group in coordination with the Business Information Topic Committee will be to monitor adoption and assess impact of the standard and to adjust or update as necessary."

"The technical precision of the SUSHI protocol is impressive, but equally impressive is the vision of the Working Group in anticipating next-generation needs," said Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of NISO. "For example, although the group initially conceived of a protocol only for COUNTER reports, SUSHI can also accommodate other customized usage statistics reports that are provided in XML format."

Technical Details

In the protocol, a transaction begins when a client service running as part of an application developed by a libraryor running as part of a usage data consolidation service or ILS/ERM systemidentifies itself, identifies the customer whose statistics are being requested, and specifies the desired report to the SUSHI server service running at a data provider. In response, the server provides the report in XML format, along with the requestor and customer informationor an appropriate error message. The SUSHI developers envision a system in which the client system is programmed to retrieve reports automatically for all the COUNTER-compliant vendors with which the library does business.

About the National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: