Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

October 2008

Every four years in the US, the public works itself into a frenzy as it selects a new president for the coming term. This is a critical decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Of course, the real key to a successful democratic process is ongoing participation. Last month in the introduction to Newsline, I began with a note about standards adoption and education. This month, in an echo of the larger ongoing public debate, I'd like to draw your attention to participation at every level of the standards development process. Voting on standards is certainly one aspect of participation, but true participation goes much deeper and there are a variety of levels at which a person or organization can engage.

On the leadership level, three new chairs have been named to head NISO's leadership committees. We welcome Jeremy Frumkin, Julia Blixrud, and Tony O'Brien to the leadership of NISO's standards development and thank their organizations for supporting their engagement.

While the leadership level is the most visible, there are many other levels for participating that often have a greater impact on the end results of the standards process. As is often said, the devil is in the details, and standards are usually all about the details. Engaging at the working group level (within NISO's processes) is where the greatest level of participation and influence can take place. It is also where individuals directly interact, share experiences and practices, and shape the future directions of the community in a particular area. Last month, the NISO membership approved the revision of the NISO/DAISY digital talking book standard (Z39.86) and a new working group was formed. A number of new projects are under consideration, some of which will result in additional working groups being formed—each one an opportunity for you and your organization to become engaged in the standards development process.

This week will also see the last of this year's round of Thought Leader meetings, funded by the Mellon Foundation. These meetings are another opportunity for senior level engagement in developing ideas for the community to pursue. The reports of the first three meetings are available on the NISO website. and a summary of the e-learning meeting is in this issue of Newsline. The recommendations from these meetings will result in a number of new opportunities for engagement in the coming year. While the first round of these meetings is coming to a close, we plan to continue the successes that we've seen in these meetings by launching another series next year.

Finally, all of this participation is predicated on the engagement at a member level in the organization. NISO's work is funded primarily by its member dues. Every organization in our community is touched by at least some of the standards that NISO develops or manages. In order to ensure that your organization is at the forefront of technological, your organization must engage. At some level, in some way, you need to contribute your voice. Contact NISO to find out how and where you can contribute and benefit most.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

What's in a Name? NISO Webinar to Discuss Identifiers for Institutions, Public Identities, and Researchers

The fifth webinar in NISO's Demystifying Standards series will focus on Identifiers and feature presentations on three different identifier projects.

Since NISO held its Digital Identifiers Roundtable in March 2006, there has been a great deal of developments in this area. The findings from that meeting—including that information exchange between systems requires identifiers that are based on public standards, both for shared used of the identifiers and to prevent collisions between identifiers that are developed in different contexts—still hold. Without broad consensus on the properties, use, and application of identifiers, however, they will not be able to live up to the promise to ease and improve information exchange for publishers, content providers, and libraries alike.

In thiis webinar you will hear from:

  • Helen Henderson (Managing Director, Ringgold, Ltd.) will provide an Introduction to Identifiers.
  • Tina Feick (Director of Sales and Marketing, North America, Harrassowitz) and Grace Agnew (Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems, Rutgers University Libraries) will discuss the NISO Institutional Identifiers project to develop a standard identifier that can be implemented in all library and publishing environments.
  • Reynold Guida (Director, Product Development, Thomson Reuters) and Ellen Rotenberg (Manager, Product Development, Thomson Reuters) will review the Researcher ID that uniquely identifies scholarly researchers and facilitates the identification of potential collaborators.
  • Andy Weissberg (GM, Identifier Services, R.R. Bowker) will discuss the ISO project, nearing completion, to create an International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) that uniquely identifies parties and their public identities.

The webinar will provide attendees with ample opportunity for questions during the event. Register now at the event website.

Ex Libris is generously sponsoring this webinar.

New Leadership For NISO Standards Committees

During its September meeting, the NISO Board of Directors appointed new chairs or co-chairs for NISO's Architecture and Topic Committees and updated the charter of the Architecture Committee.

Jeremy Frumkin is the new Architecture Committee Chair. He is Head, Emerging Technologies and Services at Oregon State University. In this position, Jeremy leads the digital library research and development group at OSU Libraries. He previously held the Gray Chair for Innovative Library Services at OSU.

The Architecture Committee (AC) is the key strategic review committee for NISO's standards development work. Bringing together a diverse group of senior industry leaders from each segment of NISO's membership, the AC provides guidance to the NISO Board of Directors, NISO staff, and the Topic Committees. The primary responsibility of the AC is to provide strategic input, coordination, and audit review to the portfolio of NISO standards. It also provides a structure for bringing new ideas and initiatives into the NISO standards process and looks for opportunities for engaging the broader community.

Julia Blixrud will serve as Co-Chair of the Content & Collection Management Topic Committee. Julia is Assistant Executive Director, External Relations, Association of Research Libraries, & Assistant Director, Public Programs, SPARC. She provides staff support to several ARL programs with external activities, and, with SPARC, is implementing a grassroots educational and advocacy program directed to scientists and scholars, librarians, and society publishers. Ted Koppel, AGent Verso (ILS) Product Manager, Auto-Graphics, Inc. will continue in his role as co-chair of this committee.

Anthony (Tony) O'Brien will co-chair the Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee, replacing Mike Teets (Vice President, OCLC Global Product Architecture) who is now on the NISO Board of Directors. Tony is Delivery Services Portfolio Manager, Cooperative Discovery Services Development Division, OCLC. He is responsible for coordinating development activities relating to OCLC resource sharing solutions, such as WorldCat Resource Sharing. He also has the role of Delivery Services Portfolio Manager, overseeing development strategy for a range of OCLC Delivery products and services.

Patricia Brennan, Manager, Evaluative Products, Thomson Reuters, continues as Chair of the Business Information Topic Committee.

NISO's Topic Committees manage a discrete area of standards work-including the approval and management of new work groups in their topic area. Topic Committee chairs serve a two-year term as chair and Topic Committee members serve staggered three-year terms. If you are interested in joining any of NISO's Topic Committees—Business Information, Content & Collection Management, or Discovery to Delivery—please contact the chair or the NISO office. More information can be found online.

Thought Leader Meeting on E-Learning and Course Management Zeros in on Interoperability, Authentication, and Privacy

Fourteen participants—representing the diverse communities of course management and e-learning delivery systems, integrated library management systems, e-content providers, academic administrators including librarians, expert practitioners, and representatives of related standards initiatives—convened for NISO's Thought Leader meeting on E-Learning and Course Management. The purpose of the Thought Leader meetings is to discuss barriers in the subject area and identify potential areas where NISO can lead in the development of a standards-based or recommended practice solution.

The topic mentioned most frequently by the attendees was Interoperability, covering at least three areas: technical, content, and learner information. Possible outcomes for NISO to pursue in this area were identified as:

  • Gateways to shared/discreet repositories; other applications
  • Lightweight standards (as opposed to monolithic)
  • Modularization (not integration)
  • API (or similar) development

It was noted that NISO would need to work with other organizations such as IMS Global's learning tools and interoperability group, and the content management system providers, including Google.

Another major area of discussion was authentication, privacy, usage, and assessment. Recommendations for NISO in this area were:

  • Establish shared assumptions for 2 years out.
  • Consider all three states; input, throughput, and output.
  • Develop use cases.
  • Study what discipline accreditation agencies collect/require.
  • Address e-portfolios for students – the entire educational cycle.
  • Develop privacy best practices for compliance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
  • Develop best practices for accessibility compliance, which needs to address all digital content, not just webpages and software.

The recommendations will be reviewed by NISO's Architecture Committee, which will turn the recommendations into prioritized actionable activities for NISO to pursue. The full report will be available online shortly on the Thought Leaders webpage.

ONIX-PL Webinar Demonstrates Implementation of Electronic Licensing Terms

NISO's third webinar in the Demystifying Standards series focused on the EDItEUR ONIX for Publication Licenses (ONIX-PL) specification.

Alicia Wise, Chief Executive, Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) provided an overview of the specification that provides a standard way of communicating the terms of a license in a machine-readable format. Using the ONIX-PL messaging format allows librarians to more easily ingest the information into an Electronic Resource Management (ERM) system and then convey directly to the users (and staff) what they can and cannot do with a particular resource. ONIX-PL helps publishers because library customers receive precise clarification of usage conditions, prohibitions, and conditions and its use reinforces trust-based relationships between publishers and their library customers.

The version 1.0 specification is available on the EDItEUR website now. A version 1.0 of the data dictionary is nearly ready and more terms will be added as more licenses are mapped. The schema has not yet been published, but will be when version 1.0 of the data dictionary is ready.

Alicia demonstrated a web-based, open source editing tool called OPLE that is scheduled for release at the end of this month. It is currently being tested by the JISC and Nature.

Rick Burke, Executive Director, SCELC, The Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, described how SCELC provides a consortial ERMS for its members as a membership benefit The ERMS contains the license terms, labeled according to the DLF ERMI data elements, for most of the SCELC contracts. Currently, those license terms have to be entered manually into the ERMS.

The ultimate goal is to take advantage of the ONIX-PL encoding of the entire license, and be able to access its content in context. SCELC is piloting the use of ONIX-PL, working with EDItEUR, several publishers (including Springer, OUP, Nature Publishing Group, Elsevier), and Serials Solutions. Rick showed how much more user friendly the resulting screens were for users; it was very clear what a user may or may not do with the resource.

Jeff Aipperspach, Senior Product Manager, Serials Solutions, compared today's scenario of manually adding license terms to the Serials Solutions® 360 Resource Manager—one of the largest 'time sinks' in any ERM application—to the process and results when using ONIX-PL to upload the same data.

Jeff also provided data showing that libraries participate on average in 3.97 consortia and 35% of e-content is licensed through consortia, a situation that is expected to increase in the next two years. The 360 Resource Consortium Manager can centrally manage the e-licenses and push the licenses to the relevant member libraries, eliminating individual library maintenance.

Slides from the webinar are available from the event webpage. Visit the 2008 Webinars webpage for access to the slides from all the webinars in the series.

Standards in Development Update

For more details on each project, click on the [more] link to go to the relevant story in our special Standards Update supplement.

  • ONIX-PL Working Group – This joint NISO/EDItEUR working group, chaired by Alicia Wise (PLS) has been formed and held its first conference call on October 1st. The draft working group charge is to...[more]
  • ERMI Survey Subcommittee – This subcommittee of the Business Information Topic Committee is led by Ivy Anderson and Tim Jewell and is tasked with conducting a survey of the current and emerging place of ERMI within the broader ERM landscape. The group will seek to understand...[more]
  • CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange) Working Group – Working Group members have submitted use cases, and a subcommittee has analyzed the use cases and categorized them into 3-5 major use areas. The WG is now looking at other standards...[more]
  • I² (Institutional Identifiers) Working Group – This group was formed in 2008 to develop a standard for an institutional identifier that can be implemented in all library and publishing environments. The standard will include...[more]
  • NISO RP-7-2008, SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding – The group is continuing to develop resources and reaching out to the community to encourage increased use of this recommended practice. Currently, they are...[more]
  • ANSI/NISO Z39.7-2004, Information Services and Use: Metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers – Data Dictionary – The standard is now a continuously maintained standard with a standing committee. At their last meeting at ALA Annual, the committee reviewed comments....[more]
  • ANSI/NISO Z39.93-1997, The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol – The SUSHI Standing Committee and its roster were officially approved in August 2008. New versions of...[more]
  • ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 Specifications for the Digital Talking Book – A revision of this standard has been approved by the NISO membership; the Working Group is being formed...[more]
  • Z39.83-2008 NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP), Parts 1 and 2 – NISO membership approved this standard revision. The NCIP Implementers Group is currently preparing responses...[more]
  • NISO/UKSG KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools) Working Group – The group has published a Glossary of Relevant Terms and is working on the report with the following sections...[more]

New Specs & Standards

Book Industry Study Group, Product Metadata Best Practices for Data Recipients, version 1.0

Fourteen best practices for data recipients that can improve the accuracy of a vendor's data throughout the supply chain and speed the processing of that data.

ISO/IEC 18000-3:2008, Information technology – Radio frequency identification for item management – Part 3: Parameters for air interface communications at 13,56 MHz

Edition 2 of the standard providing physical layer, collision management system, and protocol values for RFID systems for Item Identification operating at 13,56 MHz. The standard specifies 2 MODES of operation and summarizes the differences between MODE characteristics.

ISO 18938:2008, Imaging materials – Optical discs – Care and handling for extended storage

Establishes general principles for the care and handling of digital optical discs during use. It addresses the issues of physical integrity of the medium necessary to preserve access to the recorded data (information).

Shibboleth 2.2 Roadmap

The Shibboleth Development Team is seeking comments and feedback on their plans for the next release. They are particularly interested in feedback about use cases and implementation requirements for several areas that have received some discussion in recent years.

UKSG, Project Transfer Code of Practice for Publishers, version 2.0

Establishes a set of standards that would apply whenever a journal is transferred from one publisher to another. Concerned primarily with online content and not with print—except where the Code calls for print subscription lists to be made available.

W3C First Public Working Draft, Representing Content in RDF

Provides a vocabulary to represent content in RDF, and is flexible for any type of content available on the Web or in local storage media.

Media Stories

Journal Article Version Nomenclature: the NISO/ALPSP Recommendations
Learned Publishing (10/08) Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 273-277 ; Morgan, Cliff

A 2005 paper by Sally Morris, then Chief Executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), on journal article version control was the impetus of a joint NISO/ALPSP working group to develop standard nomenclature for article versions. The working group developed 26 use cases, identifying the existing process used in each. Issues that had to be addressed were the level of granularity, whether to use words or numbers for the version nomenclature, avoiding scope drift into other document types, and focusing on today's technology and not possible future scenarios. The final report, Journal Article Versions: Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group, defined these versions: author's original, submitted manuscript under review, accepted manuscript, proof, version of record, corrected version of record, and enhanced version of record. The fundamental principle underlying the recommended versions is to consider the status change of an article, not its content change. The author identifies several other projects underway or recently completed that also looked at the issue of journal versions. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO RP-8-2008, Journal Article Versions (JAV) is available for free download.

Using METS, PREMIS and MODS for Archiving eJournals
D-Lib Magazine (10/08) Vol. 14, No. 10, ; Dappert, Angela; Enders, Markus

The British Library's eJournal system has inherent complexities and diversity, and the authors study how three metadata specifications—the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Specification (METS), the Metadata Object Description Scheme (MODS), and the Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategy (PREMIS) data dictionary—can support eJournals. The eJournal data model is composed of five distinct Archival Information Packages representing different kinds of objects—journals, issues, articles, manifestations, and submissions—that are each realized as a separate METS file. METS offers a flexible architecture for modeling different document types and scenarios, and can embed descriptive metadata records along with digital provenance, rights, and technical metadata through the use of extension schemas. Digital provenance metadata is captured with the PREMIS extension schema, and archived within METS' administrative metadata section. Several metadata elements can be represented in either or several of the schemas, and the authors note that when choosing between them, it is useful to consider the differences between the individual purposes of the schemas. METS describes documents, while MODS captures descriptive information and PREMIS stores preservation data for the document or for certain parts of it.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The British Library is a NISO Library Standards Alliance member.

Preserving Digital Data for the Future of eScience
Science News (08/30/08) Vol. 74, No. 5, P. 32 ; Szalay, Alex

Libraries and other archives have been struggling to preserve diverse digital media, and scientists are falling behind the curve in protecting digital data, threatening the ability to create new findings from existing data or validate research analysis, writes Johns Hopkins University professor Alex Szalay. Scientific data approximately doubles every year, largely due to the availability of successive new generations of inexpensive sensors and faster computers. Such progress has essentially created an industrial revolution in the collecting of digital data for science. However, every year it takes longer to analyze a week's worth of data because the ability to perform software analysis has not kept pace. Extracting knowledge has become increasingly more difficult, with new indexes needed to help search through the accumulating mountains of data. Data in many areas are growing so fast there is no time to send data to a central repository. Instead, data is quickly stored in an increasingly anarchic system. New information management systems are needed to process and calibrate, transform, reorganize, analyze, and publish data and scientific findings. Szalay says that once such huge data sets are created, people will find new ways of mining them in previously unimagined ways. For example, he says the Sloan Digital Sky Survey provides account holders with the ability to extract, customize, and modify the data they use. Instead of physically looking at the sky through telescopes, people can examine the data collected from some portion of the sky and analyze what they "see" in the virtual universe. Szalay says the key to success is the need for a new paradigm in publishing in which people collaborate to publish raw data. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO held a Thought Leaders meeting on Research Data on October 1 to discuss issues in this arena and where the NISO community may want to develop standards or best practices. The report from the meeting should be available on the NISO website in about a month. The Sheridan Libraries of The Johns Hopkins University is a NISO voting member.

Google to Digitize Newspaper Archives
New York Times (09/09/08) ; Helft, Miguel

Google has started scanning microfilm from some newspapers' archives to make old newspapers searchable online, first through Google News and eventually on each paper's own website. The program builds on a two-year-old service that allows Google News users to search the archives of some major newspapers and magazines. Readers will be able to search through archives using keywords to view articles as they originally appeared in the print pages of the newspapers. Similar to Google's book-scanning project, Google will cover the cost of digitizing newspaper archives. Google will place advertisements with the search results and share the revenue from those ads with the newspaper publishers. "This is really good for newspapers because we are going to be bringing online an old generation of contributions from journalists, as well as widening the reader base of news archives," says Google's Marissa Mayer. Many newspaper publishers view search engines such as Google as a threat to the industry, and while some recognize search engines as a potential source of revenue, it is unclear whether they will willingly submit their archives to Google. Google says it is working with more than 100 newspapers and with partners Heritage Microfilm and ProQuest, which collect historical newspaper archives on microfilm. The project has already scanned millions of articles. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Library of Congress and ProQuest are NISO voting members.

Putting Pictures Into Words
ICT Results (09/16/08)

European researchers working on the aceMedia project are developing an information layer that would be added to digital image files. The goal is to create image files that contain content information, metadata, and an intelligence layer that automatically generates word-searchable data for the image. The researchers say the extra information layer, which would add both automatically generated and manually generated information to images, could revolutionize image searching on the Internet. The aceMedia project reused, developed, and combined a variety of technologies that provide enriched content information on an image. One of the technologies is software that can identify low-level visual descriptors, such as consistent areas of color that could be the sky, sea, or sand, as well as information on the texture, edge, and shape of the subject. Combining low-level descriptors with sets of contextual rules held in domain ontologies, such as the fact that consistent areas of blue at the top of an image are most likely sky, makes data a rich information source. Data from low-level descriptors also was combined with the results from specific detectors, such as the kinds of face detectors commonly available in some cameras, adding additional data for image searching. Additional information can be added by the user, including rules defining personal preferences, profiles, and policies to create a personalized filing system.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO's standard, Data Dictionary – Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images (ANSI/NISO Z39.87), defines a set of metadata elements for raster digital images to be used for the exchange and interpretation of digital image files.

How Will We Interact With the Web of Data?
Internet Computing (10/08) Vol. 12, No. 5, P. 88 ; Heath, Tom

An evolution of the Web from an information space of linked documents to a Semantic Web of linked, machine-readable data is taking place, and the migration to publishing data for machine consumption creates numerous opportunities and challenges for human-computer interaction, according to Talis Information researcher Tom Heath. "If we're to fully exploit the challenges and opportunities of a Web of data, we need to move beyond the initial [technical infrastructure development] phase and work to understand how this changes the Web's user interaction paradigm," he writes. Heath says it is a mistake to assume that users of the Semantic Web will have any control over the presentation of the data they publish, which represents an opportunity for publishers to liberate themselves from visual design concerns and focus primarily on the publication of relevant, high-quality data. He suggests that homepages be discarded, while browsers for the Web of data "must treat 'things,' in the broadest sense, as first-class citizens of the interface." Semantic Web browsers could potentially facilitate a far greater level of direct manipulation in their interfaces and substantially lower the degree of indirection, Heath says. Interaction widgets in interfaces that people are already familiar with will have to change as well, with Heath reasoning that the back button in a Semantic Web browser should transfer the user to previously viewed things. Managing the assembly of data sources into a coherent whole is a major challenge, Heath notes. (Link to Web Source)