Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

November 2008

The news has been full of election coverage recently, culminating in yesterday's presidential election. The turmoil of the recent weeks suggests that we all will likely face some significant challenges in the coming year. Hopefully, we can work together to address common issues, not only nationally, but within our own community as well.

The balloting phase is only one in a long process of consensus. While balloting is the tipping point that symbolizes the end of one period and the beginning of another, it is really part of an ongoing continuum. The process continues and, indeed, the most important aspects of the process are yet to come. Voting for something is not nearly as difficult as the next step: implementing the changes that were voted on and then approved by the community.

I'm sure you must realize that these issues pertain as much to the consensus balloting process at NISO as they do to national elections. I'm pleased to say that our most recently approved ballot was not nearly as tumultuous as what we've witnessed nationally! In September, the revision of the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP), Z39.83, was balloted to NISO's voting members. After the resolution of comments, NCIP is now formally a NISO published standard, and the revision has been sent to ANSI for their review and certification. Like the rest of the country, we need to turn our efforts to encouraging adoption. I hope that you will feel free to contact us with questions or ideas so that we might together work towards that goal.

The NISO Standards Bearer blog was released with little fanfare earlier this year. In the past month, we've hit a stride with postings. We expect to use the blog to communicate short announcements and comments on new technology developments, updates of ongoing projects, and snippets from meetings and seminars in the community. I wrote about the Google Book project settlement last week between the authors, publishers, and the search engine company. (See this issue of Newsline for one of the media stories on the settlement.)

The new blog is but one of the many initiatives that NISO has launched over the year to expand our outreach and communication to the community. We hope that it is well received and we encourage all of you to join in the conversation, contributing your comments and thoughts to the NISO Standards Bearer blog.

This past month hasn't been all about voting. In October, NISO held its Collaborative Resource Sharing forum in Atlanta, exploring areas where collaborative effort and standards can help improve library efficiency through resource sharing. And we've continued our Demystifying Standards webinar series with a session on three Identifiers projects.

And now we move on to a busy November, and the promise of a very happy Thanksgiving for us all.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

Performance Measures Webinar to be Held on November 14

The sixth webinar in NISO's Demystifying Standards series will focus on Performance Measures for Libraries, in particular how to translate data into service improvements.

What are concrete steps we can take to measure our library's progress, help researchers assess their impact, and improve outcomes? If you've ever asked yourself—or been asked—this question, this webinar can help. This event will cover specific performance measures and real-world application of these measures to assess performance and enhance your programs or services. The webinar will review both the current state of performance measures and where improvements are needed as well as include specific case studies of ongoing performance assessment programs.

The webinar will be held on November 14, 2008 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). Speakers will include:

  • Johan Bollen, Staff Researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Research Library. Bollen is the principal investigator for the MEtrics from Scholarly Usage of Resources (MESUR) project whose objective is enriching the toolkit used for the assessment of the impact of scholarly communication items, and hence of scholars, with metrics that derive from usage data.
  • Dianne L. Carty, Head of State Aid & Data Coordination, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Carty is the chair of NISO's Z39.7 Standing Committee that is responsible for the ongoing maintenance and updating of the standard, Information Services and Use: Metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers—Data Dictionary.

Additional speaker(s) to be added shortly; check the event website. The webinar will provide attendees with ample opportunity for questions during the event; NISO will post the questions asked during the event and their answers on the event website following the webinar.

The cost for NISO and ALCTS Members is $59 and $79 for non-members. Register online now.

Identifiers Webinar Highlighted Three Projects

On October 29th, NISO held its latest in the 2008 series of education webinars, What's in a Name?: Identifiers for Institutions, Public Identities, and Researchers. The information community has long relied on identifiers to ensure the smooth exchange and discovery of content. Never an easy task, identification has taken on new levels of complexity as we attempt to reconcile print and digital versions; track products between producer and institution and, more granularly, individual departments; follow a researcher's work through various publications; and identify parties in their role within the information supply chain.

Helen Henderson started the webinar off with an introduction to the question of why we need identifiers, as well as a glimpse at the large number of identifiers in use or being currently developed in this space.

Grace Agnew then introduced the work of NISO's I2 (Institutional Identifier) working group. Recognizing the need for a consistent institutional identifier that can be used across the supply chain, in libraries, publishing houses, book sellers, and more, this group has begun its work by looking at how identifiers are used in the information workspace by the various stakeholders.

To look more closely at the I2 approach, Tina Feick shared with the audience the work as it has occurred in the first of their case studies, the e-resource supply chain/acquisition process. The goal is to have a draft standard in fall 2009.

The webinar then moved to take a look at identification on a human scale with Thomson's ResearcherID, which was launched publicly in early 2008. Ellen Rotenberg emphasized that clear and accurate identification is needed for research accuracy, grant funding, and tenure, as well in discovery, including citation counts, locating co-authors, and even reviewers. ResearcherID is a free online community, with an open registry, where authors can sign up to receive a unique identifier that provides a persistent presence on the web. Renny Guida gave a live tour of ResearcherID, highlighting various uses.

The final presentation, on ISNI (ISO 27729), came from Andy Weissberg. Andy gave an update on the status of the International Standard Name Identifier, what it is, and what use cases there are. After introducing various use cases, from serving as a unique number assigned to an entity as a placeholder in citations or authority records to providing links to sources where variant names are found, Andy then reviewed the ISNI composition, structure, and associated metadata. The ISNI standard is currently at the Draft International Standard (DIS) phase, and completion is expected in early 2010.

Note: This article is an extract from a longer report on the Identifiers webinar that is available on the NISO website. Copies of the presenters' slides and additional resources are also available from the event webpage.

NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) Standard Approved by NISO Membership

NISO members have approved the two-part revision to the NCIP standard. NISO Z39.83-1-2008, NISO Circulation Interchange Part 1: Protocol (NCIP) and NISO Z39.83-2-2008, NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) Part 2: Implementation Profile have been published on the NISO website and submitted to ANSI for their approval and certification, expected in a couple weeks. New ANSI-approved versions of the standards will be posted to the website at that time.

This revision, led by the NCIP Implementers Group, streamlines and simplifies the requirements, improves usability, and addresses concerns raised by self-service and broker applications. These changes effectively remove many of the hurdles to implementation, in a true example of collaboration and revision-by-consensus.

The final NISO approved publications are now available on the NISO website (Part 1, Part 2); final ballot results, including responses to comments are also online here.

Maintenance of the standard is managed by EnvisionWare. Maintenance efforts will be focused on development of resources to encourage adoption; feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Want to Help Lead NISO's Standards Development? Join a Topic Committee

As part of NISO's organizational structure, topic committees work with the communities they serve to develop and maintain the plans necessary to sustain an active standards program for its area of interest. In addition, Topic Committees encourage and approve new work items in NISO, provide oversight to working groups, develop Thought Leader meetings to incubate new standards activities, and manage the five-year reaffirmation process for approved standards.

We are currently seeking new members for each of the three Topic Committees: Business Information, Content & Collection Management, and Discovery to Delivery. For more information on the committees, visit www.niso.org/topics/ or contact Karen Wetzel, NISO's Standards Program Manager.

Call for Interest to Act as the ISNI Registration Authority

A call for expressions of interest and proposals to act as the Registration Authority for ISO 27729, the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) was issued by the TC46/SC9 Secretariat and the ISNI working group. The selected Registration Authority will be appointed by ISO to operate as the ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA).

The International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) is an international identifier system for the public identities of parties. ISO 27729 is anticipated to be published in early 2010. It aims to provide an efficient means to disambiguate such public identities in the digital environment so that the roles participants play in creation, production, management, and content distribution chains can be recognized accurately, and the content they are involved in creating can be managed effectively.

Organizations interested in participating in a consortium to act as ISNI-IA are encouraged to make their interest known so that such organizations can be brought together to create one or more proposals. Responding to the call for expressions of interest does not obligate one to participate in a consortium or to submit a proposal, however responding to this call authorizes the SC9 Secretariat to disclose the contact information of the respondent to all other respondents. Respondents may subsequently submit proposals alone or in partnership with others at their own discretion.

The deadline to respond to the call for expressions of interest is November 30, 2008. Proposal submissions are due by April 1, 2009. For a copy of the full Call for Interest and Proposals, contact the NISO office.

SUSHI Schemas Updated to Support Release 3 of COUNTER

The NISO SUSHI Standing Advisory Committee has announced the approval and final release of the schemas (and related files) providing full support of Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases. Notable in this latest release of the COUNTER Code of Practice is the requirement that content providers implement SUSHI as a means of delivering their reports. With the schemas now finalized, content providers can be confident about setting their development agendas for implementing SUSHI.

The SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.93 - 2007) 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. COUNTER reports have become a mainstay of collection analysis for many libraries; SUSHI serves to automate the time consuming and error prone process of manually running, retrieving, and loading these reports.

NISO's SUSHI Standard Advisory Committee, formed last summer to maintain the standard, has used community feedback to identify additional needs for implementation and to examine the standard for areas that may need updating or improving. In addition to addressing the needs of the schemas, the Committee's charge also includes the goal of making SUSHI easier for implementers to understand and work with. As part of that effort, the schemas have been annotated with descriptions and examples for key elements, and the website now includes clear graphical representations of the schemas. In addition, the FAQs on the site are being updated and include sections specifically for librarians and for developers.

Just added is the draft document, How to Start Building A SUSHI Service, by Tommy Barker, Software Engineer, IT & Digital Development, at the University of Pennsylvania Library. Though a work in progress, it is a valuable tool for those interested in getting started with building a client. Further documentation on the site includes material covered in NISO's SUSHI webinar on October 2, a list of clients (ERM and Usage Consolidation services) supporting SUSHI, and a list of SUSHI compliant content providers, and other supporting information.

Read the full announcement here.

KBART Update Available

The Knowledge Base And Related Tools (KBART) working group's most recent update issued on October 27th unveiled the new KBART logo (contributed by designers at SAGE Publications). Also included was a listing of upcoming presentations, and information about recent group roster changes. The full report is available in the KBART information list archives. You can also sign up to receive future updates directly by e-mail.

Reminder: Sign up for Reaffirmation Ballot Voting Pools

NISO Voting Members: if you haven't yet marked your interest in the two reaffirmation ballot voting pools lists that are now open, please do so now! Joining the voting pools will allow you to vote on the standard and provide comments. Once the voting pools have been formed, separate ballots for each standard will be issued only to those who have joined the pool. If you do not join the voting pool for a particular standard, you are in essence "abstaining" from any decision made regarding this standard's reaffirmation ballot. Voting pools are currently being formed for 10 ANSI/NISO standards up for their five-year reaffirmation.

Be aware that NISO needs at least 15% of the voting membership to join the pool for each standard. If less than 15% express interest in a standard, it may be considered by the Board for administrative withdrawal. Login to the NISO site and visit the NISO Voting Members' ballot area for more information.

New Specs & Standards

ARMA International, Call for Participation for Vital Records Programs: Identifying, Managing, and Recovering Business-Critical Records

Interested participants are invited to help develop a revision to ANSI/ARMA 5-2003 to ensure the most current practices and requirements are documented for use in vital records programs. A new section on vital records and business continuity planning will be added. Participants who are engaged in the teaching of records and information management techniques are specifically needed. Contact Kevin Joerling, ARMA's Sr. Manager, RIM Content and Standards.

DAISY XML Plug-in for OpenOffice

Odt2dtbook version 1.0.1 is an OpenOffice.org extension that supports export to DTBook (also known as DAISY XML, as defined in ANSI/NISO Z39.86. The extension works with OpenOffice.org version 3.0.

DCMI Working Draft, Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles

Addressed primarily to a non-technical audience, the guidelines describe the key components of an application profile and walk the reader through the process of designing a profile.

DCMI Working Draft, Interoperability Levels for Dublin Core Metadata

Discusses the modeling choices involved in designing metadata applications for different types of interoperability. Interested members of the public are invited to post comments by December 1, 2008 to the DC-ARCHITECTURE mailing list.

Open Archives Initiative, Object Reuse and Exchange Specifications Production Release

Documents in the release describe a data model to introduce aggregations as resources with URIs on the web. They also detail the machine-readable descriptions of aggregations expressed in the popular Atom syndication format, in RDF/XML, and RDFa.

IDEAlliance, PRISM version 2.1

An update to the Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM) specification that defines a set of XML metadata vocabularies for syndicating, aggregating, post-processing, and multi-purposing magazine, news, newsletter, marketing collateral, catalog, mainstream journal content, online and feeds. Available for public comment through December 3, 2008.

WC3 Working Drafts, Seven OWL 2 Specifications

The OWL 2 Web Ontology Language, OWL 2, extends OWL, a core standard of the Semantic Web. Included in the release are three documents that form the technical core of OWL 2 (Structural Specification and Functional-Style Syntax, Direct Semantics, and RDF-Based Semantics), two different serializations for OWL ontologies (Mapping to RDF Graphs and XML Serialization), OWL Profiles, and Conformance and Test Cases.

Media Stories

Google Strikes Deal to Allow Book Scans
New York Times (10/29/08) P. B1 ; Helft, Miguel; Rich, Motoko

Google has agreed to settle two copyright lawsuits over its efforts to digitize books with a $125 million payment, which will let the company make millions of out-of-print volumes available for reading and purchasing online. "I think that it is a stupendous victory for rights holders of the written word, because it has established that we should and must maintain control over the intellectual property that writers create and that we invest in," says Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy. Payment from book sales, advertising revenue, and other fees will be channeled to publishers and authors through a new system administered by a digital book registry, with Google taking a percentage. Google has been collaborating with university and research libraries for four years to digitally scan their collections, and as many as 5 million of the roughly 7 million books Google has scanned so far are no longer in print. The content of those books is made available by Google's search service, but only excerpts of text are displayed unless Google has consent from the copyright holder to reveal more. The agreement allows Google to show as much as 20 percent of the text at no charge to users, while the entire volume will be available online for a fee. Some people are concerned that the agreement gives Google an excessive amount of control over books and other content that form the spine of the U.S. library system, and the Internet Archive's Rick Prelinger cautions that "when you start to see a single point of access developing for world culture, by default, it is disturbing." The settlement does not address the issue of whether Google's unsanctioned digitization of copyrighted books is permitted by copyright law.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For librarians' take on the announcement see the article in Library Journal. A Settlement Administration website has been launched in 36 languages where you can sign up for updates as the settlement progresses.

ISO 2788 + ISO 5964 + Much Energy = ISO 25964
Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (11/08) Vol. 35, No. 1, ; Dextre Clarke, Stella G.

The international standards for monolingual and multilingual thesauri were very outdated, and ISO TC46/SC9, the committee responsible for the standards, elected to use BS 8723, a revision of the British Standards BS 5723 and BS 6723, as the foundation for bringing ISO 2788 and ISO 5964 into line with the 21st century information environment. This led to the formulation of project ISO NP 25964. Project ISO NP 25964 will involve the retention and revision of the standards' existing scope, along with the addition of subjects that include guidance on electronic functions and displays; functional specification for thesauri management software; guidelines for certain additional types of vocabulary, such as classification schemes and taxonomies; interoperability between vocabularies; and formats for the exchange of thesaurus data. The project is being overseen by the WG8 (Structured Vocabularies) work group, which features representatives of standards bodies from 11 countries. NISO serves as secretariat for ISO TC46/SC9 and all its projects. All guidance on thesauri construction, whether monolingual or multilingual, will be collected under the first part of ISO 25964, which is defined as thesauri for information retrieval. The second part of the standard will concentrate on interoperability with other vocabularies. The relationship between ISO 25964 and the new proposal to the U.S. national standard for monolingual thesauri, ANSI/NISO Z39.19, may be a source of concern to American audiences. Z39.19 has been updated on a more regular basis than ISO 2788, but both standards are compatible and ANSI and NISO are represented on WG8, raising the likelihood that ISO 25964 will complement and extend Z39.19's content. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Visit NISO's TC46/SC9 webpage for more information on this international committee and access to publicly available documents. NISO's Controlled Vocabulary standard (Z39.19) is available for free download. ASIS&T is a NISO voting member.

Symposium Examines Research Topics at Nexus of Digital Humanities and Computing
CLIR Issues (10/08)No. 65, ; Smith, Kathlin

The research challenges arising from the convergence of the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and technology was the focus of a recent symposium hosted by the Council on Library and Information Resources and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The purpose of the conference was twofold: To comprehend and envision how new media promote and transform the interpretation and analysis of text, image, and other sources of interest to the humanities and social sciences and facilitate new expression and teaching, and to understand how those processes of inquiry pose questions and challenges for research in computer science, humanities, and social sciences. One session stressed the opportunities and challenges for research, pedagogy, and learning, with participants registering the basic problem of sharing resources when so many exist in incompatible formats. Ensuring that scholarly resources are interoperable and that critical search and discovery tools are designed for broad use were some of the points that participants agreed on. Constructing better connections between cutting-edge and general digital technology users was another issue discussed, as was the challenge of changing faculty members' concepts of publication from traditional forms to a services model. Research areas highlighted by participants as stemming from the intersection of computing and humanities included language representation and computation to isolate characteristics of patterns in data, better techniques for searching and retrieving still and moving images, authoring system problems, methods for visualizing uncertainty and annotating premises behind conclusions, and consideration of whether validation methods used in computer science communities may be applicable to some humanistic data applications. Among the collaboration opportunities identified by symposium participants was partnering domain experts with computer scientists to produce domain ontologies and investigating data and tool preservation strategies via collaborations among supercomputing partners, digital humanities partners, and the National Archives and Records Administration. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: CLIR is a NISO voting member. In the related area of scholarly data, NISO recently held a Thought Leaders meeting on Research Data to examine barriers to storing and sharing data to foster collaboration and the reuse of existing data sets. Watch next month's Newsline for availability of the meeting report.

Using International Standards to Develop a Union Catalogue for Archives in Germany
D-Lib Magazine (10/08) Vol. 14, No. 10, ; Imhof, Andres

The National Archives of Germany (Bundesarchiv) is working to integrate the finding aids from archival records on the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and Free German Trade Union Federation from five eastern German state archives within a collaborative portal that requires the conversion of locally available, heterogeneous data formats into a common profile of the Encoded Archival Description standard. The Encoded Archival Context is used for the description of the provenance of the archival materials while the Encoded Archival Guide is employed for the information on the archives themselves. Also being utilized by the archival union catalog is the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard to incorporate digitized records within the inventories. At the conclusion of the current Bundesarchiv initiative, the archival union catalog will describe the consolidated, electronic inventories, along with information concerning the archives supplying the inventories, the provenance of the archival records and, ideally, a digitized representation of the archival records themselves. Whereas other archival union catalogs' presentation of their search results indicate just the respective hits and overlook context, the Bundesarchiv catalog's search and presentation maintains the recognizability of results coherence so that hits can be navigated within context. A number of aspects about interoperability between libraries and archives must be taken into consideration in order to realize successful cooperation. These aspects include employment of a standard format in the archives management; single object versus collection; completed versus sequential publication; use of persistent identifiers; flat structure versus hierarchical structure; distinctions between library and archive traditions; inventory and source material language information; and legal restrictions affecting archives. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Library of Congress and the Society of American Archivists are NISO voting members.

EU Plans Backup Copy of European Civilization
Der Spiegel (10/22/08) ; Moore, Michael Scott

European Union (EU) commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding has pledged to preserve Europe's cultural heritage through the digitization of the continent's national libraries, and to make it freely accessible through the Europeana online encyclopedia scheduled for rollout in November. Reding says 2 million digitized objects will be available for full public browsing in English, French, and German by Nov. 20. The EU's Martin Selmayr says the initiative entails organizing digital projects already moving forward at Europe's state libraries and national archives so the various materials can be clicked through on one Web site. He says it is the job of Reding's office to address compatibility challenges and ensure that all the scanned files work with all the other scanned files. Libraries and archivists, rather than political entities, have been authorized to decide what material should have priority for digitization. For example, the Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland is a network for scanning medieval manuscripts that appears to have no connection to Europeana. Virtual Manuscript Library manager Rafael Schwemmer, a computer scientist at Switzerland's University of Fribourg, says the network has yet to be invited to join Europeana. "We started five years ago, when Europeana didn't exist," he notes. Europeana representative Jonathan Purday says the addition of the Swiss collections to Europeana depends less on EU membership than it does on data compatibility. Sustaining the data will become increasingly critical as digitizing projects expand, and Selmayr says Europeana is attempting to keep its archives accessible by trying to ensure that "all the objects are digitized in a migratable way." (Link to Web Source)

New Collaboration Project of Publishers, Repositories, and Researchers Launched--PEER
Information Today (10/20/08)

Publishers, repositories, and researchers are participating in an initiative that will help improve the understanding of systematic archiving over time. As part of the European Union-supported Publishing and the Ecology of European Research (PEER) project, publishers are contributing 300 final peer-reviewed manuscripts for an "observatory" that will help show the impact of broad and systematic archiving of research in open access repositories. Studies will be conducted on the large-scale, systematic depositing of the journals to learn more about the impact on reader access, author visibility, and journal viability, in addition to the broader ecology of European research. Participants in the PEER project include the International Association of Scientific, Technical, & Medical Publishers, the European Science Foundation, Gottingen State and University Library, the Max Planck Society, and INRIA. The SURF Foundation and University of Bielefeld will also assist the initiative. PEER is scheduled to run from 2008 through 2011. (Link to Web Source)