NISO Issues Journal Article Tag Suite Standard for Trial Use

Well-known NLM DTDs for describing journal article content updated and standardized

Baltimore, MD., March 30, 2011 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the availability of JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite, NISO Z39.96-201x, a new draft standard available for trial use through September 30, 2011. JATS provides a common XML format in which publishers and archives can exchange journal content by preserving the intellectual content of journals independent of the form in which that content was originally delivered. The draft standard defines elements and attributes for describing the textual and graphical content of journal articles as well as some non-article material, such as letters, editorials, and book and product reviews. The trial period will enable users to test the standard in real-life implementations and provide feedback. Once feedback is reviewed and NISO finalizes the standard, the final version will be submitted to ANSI for approval as an American National Standard.
The Journal Article Tag Suite standard is a continuation of the work started by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) on the NLM Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite, commonly referred to as the NLM DTDs.

The NLM DTDs were based on an article model that was being used in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)/NLM PubMed Central project to archive life science journals. The original PubMed Central article model was expanded in scope with support from Harvard University Libraries and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in collaboration with Inera, Inc. and Mulberry Technologies, Inc., resulting in 2003 in the full NLM Journal Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite. The Tag Suite had reached version 3.0 prior to initiation of the NISO standardization process; the NISO Z39.96-201xstandard contains updates to version 3.0 of the NLM Tag Suite and is fully backwards compatible with it.

"As we looked at updating the NLM Tag Suite, we felt it was mature enough to take through NISO's standardization process," explained Jeffrey Beck, NCBI Technical Information Specialist at the National Library of Medicine and co-chair of the NISO JATS Working Group. "This standardization will bring awareness of the Tag Suite to a larger and more varied audience and provide opportunities for use in new applications."

"Since the release of version 1, the Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite has been widely popular," stated B. Tommie Usdin, President of Mulberry Technologies, Inc. and co-chair of the NISO JATS Working Group. "The format is being used to tag thousands of journals worldwide and is used for the journal archives at PubMed Central and Portico and by the online publisher HighWire Press. The Library of Congress and the British Library have announced their intention to use these models for archiving electronic content."

"We are pleased that the NLM project team brought this valuable standard to NISO for wider dissemination," said Todd Carpenter, NISO's Managing Director. "We will be supporting a standing committee to continuously update the standard and NLM will continue to host the user documentation and schemas that support the standard."

The draft standard for trial use is available as both an online XML document and a downloadable PDF from the NISO website ( An online commenting form is also available for trial users to provide feedback. Supporting documentation and schemas in DTD, RELAX NG, and W3C Schema formats are available at:

About NISO
NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, 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 information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).