Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

December 2008

There are periods in our lives when it seems that time is speeding up. Much of the past year has felt that way at NISO. It is hard to believe we've reached December already. As an organization, we have accomplished so much this year and have pushed forward on so many fronts. We released a new website, redesigned our publications, launched new standards initiatives, and provided training opportunities for more than a thousand members of our community. NISO is also providing greater support to the international community in our role as Secretariat for ISO TC46 / SC9. Reflecting on the work that has been done, it is not surprising how quickly we have run through the year.

Just this week, we released the last two reports from the initial round of Mellon-funded Thought Leader meetings. These reports examine potential roles for NISO in E-learning Systems and in the expanding area of Research Data. (See the Newsline story below summarizing the research data meeting.) These two reports, along with the previous reports on Institutional Repositories and Digital Libraries and Collections provide a long list of potential new initiatives on which to build in the coming year. From citation and metadata to intellectual property rights and packaging, there is much within these reports to consider and review. We hope that sharing the suggestions from these meetings will catalyze some new consensus projects in the coming months. In partnership with other organizations where appropriate, we will be announcing follow-up work on these recommendations soon.

We will be completing our Demystifying Standards webinars series in early December with a session on ONIX for Serials messages and nascent implementations of the three message formats. Expanding our time horizon into next year, NISO has released its entire schedule of 2009 educational events. First, NISO will build on this fall's successful webinar series. We will hold a regular monthly webinar on the second Wednesday of each month (except July) throughout 2009. The events are posted on the NISO website along with dates, times, and themes. The NISO Education Committee is identifying speakers and is soliciting input. If there is a particular topic within these themes that you would like to hear about, please do let us know. Also, if you are interested in getting involved in the planning, we would welcome your contributions.

I hope that you all end the year on a positive note, reflecting on your own achievements in 2008. With luck (and hard work) the coming year will be filled with prosperity and success for all of us and our organizations.

With best wishes for the new year,

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

NISO / EDItEUR Webinar: ONIX for Serials: Case Studies of Use

The last webinar of 2008, ONIX for Serials: Case Studies of Use, will be held on December 11, 2008 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). This educational event is provided by EDItEUR and NISO, who have also jointly sponsored the ONIX for Serials projects.

Managing serials subscriptions is no small feat. Consider just how many types of information—and formats—go into the tracking of subscription information throughout the chain: from the publisher to the seller or content provider and then to the library and the user, serials subscription information is created, translated, managed, tracked, and used for access and evaluation, but in each instance what that information looks like, how it is used, and how it is maintained can vary widely. But it is essential for our work and for our services.

In order to provide a means of sharing this information so that it can be understood and used throughout the supply chain, ONIX for Serials was developed to communicate information about serials products and subscriptions. In this webinar you will learn not only about three of these formats and what information they provide, but learn first-hand from implementers about how they can be put into place and used to help simplify and improve serials data exchange. The webinar provides three case studies to focus on:

  • ONIX SPS (Serials Products and Subscriptions) enables the communication of information about serial subscription products, with or without price information, including the option of sharing subscription information relating to a particular subscriber. It provides information about a product—including for instance, price catalogs from publishers to agents or price quotes to libraries—that can be helpful not only in evaluating packages but also in helping a library to identify all the titles that it receives from a particular vendor for collection management purposes.
  • ONIX SOH (Serials Online Holdings) allows publishers and content providers to communicate library-specific, detailed holdings information from publications access management systems to libraries.
  • ONIX SRN (Serials Release Notification) is a format for communicating information about the publication or electronic availability of one or more serial releases—letting you know when an item is available. SRN can work both at the issue and article level to assist libraries in claiming and with link resolver access.

Confirmed speakers include Tim Devenport, Nature Publishing Group, speaking on SPS; Jerry Ward, ProQuest Platform Product Manager, speaking on SOH; and William Hoffman, Swets Information Services, speaking on SRN. Katharina Klemperer, EDItEUR Consultant, will join the webinar presenters for the Q&A portion, where attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions during the event. The questions asked during the event and their answers will be posting to the event website following the webinar.

For detailed information and to register visit the event webpage.

Community Version of Framework for Good Digital Collections

NISO has released the online community version of the Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections, which establishes principles for creating, managing, and preserving digital collections, digital objects, metadata, and projects. The revision of the Framework and development of the online version was supported in large part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The Framework will be useful to libraries and other cultural heritage organizations planning projects to create digital collections, and funding organizations that want to encourage development of good digital collections. The new community version of the Framework was created to allow for ongoing contributions, comments, and updates from librarians, archivists, curators, and other information professionals.

IMLS developed the first version of the Framework in 2000 and transferred maintenance of the guidelines to NISO in September 2003. A second edition was issued in 2004 and the current third edition in early 2008.

Resources cited in the Framework were selected to be authoritative, useful, and current. However, because of the dynamic nature of the digital information environment, the list of important resources is always changing. A community version will allow the Framework to become a living document continually updated by experts engaged in digital collections.

The Framework website provides the full text of the document and information on how to contribute.

Thought Leaders on Research Data Identify Areas for NISO Community Engagement

On October 1st, NISO held a Thought Leader meeting on the topic of research data. This was the final meeting in a series of 2008 NISO Thought Leader meetings sponsored by a Mellon Foundation grant. The goal of this meeting was to incubate new standards initiatives by discussing issues and areas where standards can help address pain points, push forward reuse of data, or drive application of systems in research and information exchange.

The participants agreed that research data presents certain unique challenges in contrast to traditional scholarly literature. There are few widely used best practices or standards to support retrieval and reuse of research data. Whereas data may be represented in a graph or table in a journal article, the full data set typically does not accompany the article, and there are a number of factors that make this difficult to accomplish on a large scale.

Issues discussed by the group included: 1) differing types of data collections, 2) differences across fields of research, 3) data curation, 4) scale of data collection, 5) versioning, and 6) the role of data in scholarly research.

The group made four recommendations regarding areas where the NISO community can add value:

  • Survey and summarize successful data management and citation conventions for existing data repositories.
  • Develop a thesaurus of terms relevant to data sharing.
  • Develop guidelines for data citation.
  • Work collaboratively with other organizations that are addressing these issues.

Further details on the issues discussed and the recommendations can be found in the full report. The Business Information Topic Committee, in conjunction with NISO's Architecture Committee, will be reviewing the report and determining needed next steps to act on the recommendations.

Information on all four of the meetings held this year and the corresponding reports are available on the Thought Leaders webpage.

Architecture Committee Agenda Moving Forward

by Jeremy Frumkin, Chair of Architecture Committee

As 2009 approaches, the NISO Architecture Committee (AC) is rapidly moving forward with an active agenda. As the key strategic review committee for NISO's standards development work, the AC provides strategic input, coordination, and audit review to the portfolio of NISO standards, and provides a structure for bringing in new ideas and initiatives to the NISO standards process. The AC also provides a forum for engaging the broader community, and advises the NISO Board and staff at the strategic level. The AC is also critical to the success of the Topic Committees (TCs), and provides them with support when needed.

In this context, I am excited about the work of the AC over the next year. The committee will be working with the Topic Committees and the NISO community to identify standards areas where NISO can play a key role. We will be reviewing the work of the Topic Committees on a quarterly basis and providing feedback to the TCs to help support their work. The AC will also be key in the engagement of outreach and partnership activities where it would benefit NISO.

This promises to be a busy year for the Architecture Committee, but one that I am sure will allow the AC to move forward with its envisioned role in the NISO organizational framework. For more information on the Architecture Committee, including a committee roster and the committee's official mission, please visit our webpage.

NISO and NASIG to Partner on 2009 Webinar Series

The North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) has agreed to partner with NISO on the 2009 educational webinar series. This is an exciting new collaboration for NISO and NASIG and their communities, and provides NASIG members the opportunity to learn about important standards efforts affecting that community by attending NISO webinars at a discounted rate. NISO will be offering a webinar on the second Wednesday of each month (except July).

NISO webinars provide attendees a real sense of what a standard is, how it will impact their job and organization, and what they need to know to implement and use the standard locally. As a result, attendees will be able to take away from these events real-use examples and also learn more about the importance of getting involved to make sure that standards and best practices are developed in a way that will be helpful to them and their patrons and customers.

NISO will also be offering discount packages for the 2009 webinars: buy 3-get-1 free, or subscribe to the entire 2009 series and get 6 free (12 for the price of 6). A single registration can also be used as a site registration; multiple people can participate from the same feed if the site has a projection-type set-up available. NASIG members will be able to sign up at the NISO member rate for individual webinars or for any of the package registrations.

Register Now!

Visit NISO's 2009 events calendar for the full listing of 2009 webinars, including dates and topics and links to online registration. Detailed event information will be added as each webinar is further developed. To take advantage of the package discounts available, please contact the NISO office at nisohq@niso.org or by phone at 301-654-2512.

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

ANSI/NISO Z39.83-1-2008, NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol

Version 2 of the standard that defines a protocol for the exchange of messages between and among computer-based applications to enable them to perform the functions necessary to lend and borrow items, to provide controlled access to electronic resources, and to facilitate co-operative management of these functions. Issued in two parts: Part 1: Protocol and Part 2: Implementation Profile 1. NISO would like to extend its sincere gratitude to the NCIP Implementers Group and EnvisionWare, the NCIP Maintenance Agency, for their work and dedication in revising this standard.

ISO 25577:2008, Information and documentation – MarcXchange

Specifies the requirements for a generalized XML-based exchange format for bibliographic records as well as other types of metadata. ISO 25577:2008 does not define the length or the content of individual records and does not assign any meaning to tags, indicators, or identifiers, these specifications being the functions of an implementation format. ISO 25577:2008 describes a generalized structure—a framework designed primarily for communication between data processing systems—but may also be relevant for use as a processing format within systems.

ISO/IEC 19757-9:2008, Information technology – Document Schema Definition Languages (DSDL) – Part 9: Namespace and datatype declaration in Document Type Definitions (DTDs)

Defines a language that is designed to extend the declarative functionality of an XML Document Type Definition (DTD) to include: declaring one or more namespaces to which some or all of the element and attribute names in a DTD belong; declaring constraints on the content of elements with content model ANY to contain elements whose names belong to one or more specified namespaces; and declaring datatypes for elements that contain data content only and for attribute values.

ISO/IEC 29500, Information technology – Document description and processing languages – Office Open XML File Formats

This much-debated international standard of the Microsoft Office XML file format has been made available as a public standard, a very select group of ISO standards that are freely downloadable. Published in four parts: Part 1: Fundamentals and Markup Language Reference, Part 2: Open Packaging Conventions, Part 3: Markup Compatibility and Extensibility, and Part 4: Transitional Migration Features.

Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, RDA: Resource Description and Access, 1st full draft

Provides a set of guidelines and instructions on formulating data to support resource discovery. Intended as a revision and replacement of AACR2. "RDA goes beyond earlier cataloguing codes in that it provides guidelines on cataloguing digital resources and a stronger emphasis on helping users find, identify, select, and obtain the information they want. Refer to the cover letter for a description of the draft documents and instructions on how to submit comments.

W3C Proposed Recommendation, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible to users in general but especially to people with a wide range of disabilities. Publication as a Proposed Recommendation indicates that the WCAG WG has demonstrated implementability of the guidelines and believes the guidelines are complete and ready for final approval.

Media Stories

Repository to Repository Transfer of Enriched Archival Information Packages
D-Lib Magazine (11/08) Vol. 14, No. 12 ; Caplan,Priscilla

Many heterogeneous and far-flung repositories must share the duty of digital preservation, and there must be a mechanism for transferring archived materials between repositories without a downgrade in preservation information. It is the task of the Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded Towards Interoperable Preservation Repositories (TIPR) project to test and refine such a transfer mechanism while also tackling the semantic challenges of repository-to-repository export. Arguments for repository-to-repository transfer include distributing risk, ensuring the future of the information package should the repository's operations terminate, and transitioning from one preservation repository system to another controlled by the same organization. TIPR will deploy the transfer of enriched information packages among three disparate preservation repositories: New York University's Preservation Repository, based on DSpace; Cornell University's CUL-OAIS, based on aDORe; and the Florida Center for Library Automation's Florida Digital Archive, based on DAITSS. Thus far, research has centered on transfer formats, transfer protocols, and other areas of exchange mechanics. This clears the way for investigating semantic issues such as the degree to which another repository's information is trustworthy, whether external registries can offer a useful mapping function for values that must be understood, and what information in the METS file the receiving repository must understand and what it can disregard. TIPR's goals as it continues forward include demonstrating that repository-to-repository transfer of rich archival information packages is workable, advancing the state of the art by spotting and addressing issues that hinder transfers, exploring exchange semantics, building on prior work to develop a usable standards-based transfer format, and circulating these results to the global preservation community and the relevant standards pursuits.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Data Dictionary – Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.87) mentioned in this article is available for free download. Harvard Library, Library of Congress, Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University are NISO members.

Europeana.eu Launches – Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well, But Temporarily Speechless
InfoToday (11/24/08) ; Bjørner, Susanne

The European Union (EU)-funded Europeana portal offers free access to roughly 2 million digital objects from libraries, museums, archives, and audio-visual collections in 27 member European nations, although capacity problems have forced a temporary closure until mid-December. The website supports formats for multimedia material, including film, photos, sounds, paintings, books, maps, manuscripts, newspapers, and archival documents. "We recognize that researchers and people learning about European history and culture need to explore all sorts of media," says Deutsches Filminstitut director Claudia Dillmann, and archival, library, audio-visual, and museum domains must cooperate so that the Internet can furnish integrated access to all these media formats. Europeana intends to provide direct access to 10 million digital objects and to be fully operational in all EU languages by the end of the decade. Europeana supplies a simple keyword search box and a connection to advanced search, which features a trio of search boxes for searching within title, creator, date, subject, or any field. Timelines, the format of objects, or ideas that "people are currently thinking about" also are searchable. Registrants can add tags to their retrieved items and store items in a personal MyEuropeana space, while content contributors are required to supply metadata about their resources in Dublin Core, which is used to construct a basic index for simple search. Europeana offers direct access to the digital object rather than to collection descriptions, so content providers are urged to provide more sophisticated metadata to allow users to get directly to the content. Many of the works currently accessible through the portal are pre-20th century due to unresolved copyright issues.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (ANSI/NISO Z39.85) is a NISO standard.

Repository Interoperability
Lorcan Dempsey's weblog (11/11/08) ; Dempsey, Lorcan

JISC has released a report that focuses on consistency of metadata and inter-repository policies. The report says that numerous, recently established institutional repositories in the United Kingdom lack sufficient clarity of policy and purpose. "In interviews with depositors and after conducting a case study of an institutional repository, we find different perceptions of the role of the repository, some seeing it mainly as an administrative tool for collecting and collating research at the institution and others believing it is a tool for sharing research and creating open access to the results of that research," the report says. Such perceptions, combined with poorly defined policies and/or unclear implementation procedures, can lead to inconsistencies within and between repositories, according to the report. Part of the problem may be a limited interpretation of interoperability, specifically a belief that interoperability only occurs between similar systems in a single domain, such as moving metadata or content between repository applications or searching multiple databases. However, it is increasingly important to view interoperability between different services and outside services, particularly with general Web search engines, RSS aggregators, and other Web applications. Given the importance of search engines as entry points, repository and data managers need to think about how their services and data work in regard to Web crawlers and search engine rankings. Inevitable inconsistencies also come from metadata created in different regimes, with different rules, guidelines, editors, and variable access to controlled vocabularies and authority data.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: OCLC is a NISO voting member.

DCMI Metadata Schema Registry for Sharing Authoritative Information About Metadata Schemas
Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (11/08) Vol. 35, No. 1, P. 20 ; Nagamori, Mitsuharu; Sugimoto, Shigeo

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) metadata schema registry, which has been in development by Mitsuharu Nagamori and Shigeo Sugimoto since 1998, is a repository for metadata schemas and the information about them. In addition to serving as a repository for information about metadata schemas, such as definitions of metadata schemas and the relationships between metadata terms, the registry also serves up this information to users and computers. This is accomplished in several ways. For instance, human users are provided with functions to find and browse reference descriptions of metadata schemas. This allows users to use the metadata schema registry as a dictionary for existing metadata schemas. Computers, on the other hand, access the metadata schemas stored in the registry via application program interfaces over either a global or a local network. Nagamori and Sugimoto say the registry has the potential to improve the usability, reusability, and interoperability of metadata schemas. However, they say that more needs to be done to integrate software tools with schema registries and collect and organize more schemas. Doing this would improve the usability and reusability of metadata schemas and their registries even more, Nagamori and Sugimoto say.
(Link to Web Source)

Opening the Door to Europe's Archives
ICT Results (11/21/08)

Cross-border searches of historical digital archives can be accelerated via a single online portal with a simple graphical interface, as illustrated by the QVIZ project co-funded by the European Union (EU). QVIZ portal users can pinpoint the place and time they are interested in through the use of a map and timeline integrated with the portal's graphical interface. "Archivists traditionally ask about 'where' and 'when,' so these two entry points help to limit the search dramatically," says QVIZ assistant coordinator Fredrik Palm. The portal can retrieve the correct records from separate national archives with distinct indexing systems using an ontology describing how the hierarchy of administrative units has changed over time. QVIZ has extended the ontology to encompass 71,000 units covering all of Europe, although it is currently focused on Estonia and Sweden. The ontology also can accommodate older administrative units whose boundaries may not be well known by not relying on exact geographical coordinates. QVIZ users can lay out a path others can follow through the use of "social bookmarks" that allow visitors to tag particularly interesting or relevant information. Palm says the information to support social bookmarking resides within the QVIZ platform itself rather than inside the archival source material. The knowledge gained from QVIZ also will feed into another EU-funded project that will roll out a portal supplying access to 2 million items chosen from museums, libraries, audiovisual collections, and archives throughout Europe. (Link to Web Source)