Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

March 2009

Last week, I received a notice on the Google Settlement that both NISO, as a publisher, and I, personally, are parties to the settlement. Much like I do with other class action notices that almost every one of us receives on a regular basis, I almost recycled it. Not because I don't care about the Google Books settlement—quite the contrary, I am very interested—but rather because I get too many of these things to really care about them all. Also, I've never received a single penny from a class action lawsuit settlement.

However, this notice is quite different, in that it will radically transform the publishing and library worlds as we presently know them—presuming the courts approve it. One could argue that Google is doing a public service by digitizing the out-of-print and orphan works that had been unavailable in any place but a library. However, through this settlement, which runs hundreds of dense legal pages, Google has effectively purchased the rights to all of these books and simultaneously purchased a monopoly on that content until it passes into the public domain sometime over the ensuing decades. No other organization will be able to digitize content in the same way without risking a similar copyright lawsuit from the authors and publishers. This potential legal jeopardy, combined with the actual costs of digitization, makes similar undertakings nearly impossible.

Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Review of Books last month about the trends in copyright particularly the growing monopoly that Google has on scanned books and the potential impact on research, learning, and society. His description of the historical context for sharing information is useful in this moment. However, some of his arguments sound strange in light of Harvard's participation in the Google digitization project that led to the settlement.

Google has done tremendous things and provided amazing tools to the community, for which they should be and are held in very high regard. And yet, there are always unexpected consequences when landscape-transforming legal or legislative action is taken. I expect that by agreeing to this settlement, the publishers and authors, through their representatives in this negotiation, are missing the forest for the 125 million trees that they see at the moment. The library community is also likely to be radically transformed by this settlement. Unfortunately, since libraries are not party to the settlement, there is little that they can do from the sidelines. Even NISO, as a (very small) publisher, could likely do little to change the direction this process is taking. Hopefully, Google will remain true to its sixth corporate tenant: "You can make money without doing evil."

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

March Webinar: Data Movement and Management

NISO will be holding a webinar on Data Movement and Management on March 18, 2009 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Modern libraries consist of a variety of complicated data systems, many containing a portion of the data needed to address any specific question. Often data needs to be extracted from one system and moved to or compared with information in another. Frequently, these systems don't communicate well. This webinar will explore a number of ongoing data transfer and transformation consensus projects. Whether it is collections or holdings information distributed via ONIX, pricing data via CORE, or usage data via SUSHI, the community is working on strategies and structures to easily transfer data from one system to another. Each of these initiatives will contribute to saving librarians time and eventually money in managing their operations.

Speakers and topics for the program are:

  • The Landscape of Data Movement and Management in Libraries by Tim Jewell (Director, Information Resources and Scholarly Communication, University of Washington Libraries)
  • The Extensible Catalog – Reusing Library Metadata by Jennifer Bowen (Director of Metadata Management, River Campus Libraries)
  • CORE: Cost of Resource Exchange: Combining Cost and Use Data in Libraries by Jeff Aipperspach (Senior Product Manager, Serials Solutions)
  • The OAI-ORE Project – What It Is and How People Can Apply It by Michael L. Nelson (Dept of Computer Science, Old Dominion University)

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the webinar. NASIG members may register at the NISO member rate. For more information and to register, visit the event website.

April Webinar: KBART and the OpenURL

NISO will be holding a webinar on KBART and the OpenURL: Increasing E-Resource Use through Improved User Access on April 8, 2009 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) is a joint project with the UK Serials Group (UKSG) to improve the quality and workflow of data in knowledge bases used for OpenURL linking. The Working Group is expected to release initial results of its work in the spring of 2009. This webinar will discuss the group's draft recommended practice in the areas of terminology, supply chain workflow, effective transfer of metadata to knowledge bases, needed education, and plans for Phase 2 of the project. Using the KBART recommendations will help to improve the accuracy and timeliness of streams of OpenURL and holdings metadata that facilitate OpenURL link resolution.

Significant interest in the project was expressed after presentations at the ALA Midwinter and ER&L conferences. Up-to-date information on the project will also be presented at the upcoming ACRL, UKSG, and NASIG meetings.

For more information on the webinar and to register, visit the event webpage. NASIG members may register at the NISO member rate.

ISO TC46 Meeting Week in Nairobi, May 11-15

The ISO Technical Committee 46 on Information and Documentation will be holding its annual plenary meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on May 15, 2009. Subcommittee 9 on Identification and Description and Subcommittee 11 on Archives/Records Management will hold their plenary meetings on May 14. NISO is the Secretariat for SC9 and Todd Carpenter will be leading that meeting along with Chairperson, Dr. Oh Sam Gyun, from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea.

Working groups and maintenance agencies provide updates on their activities at the meeting and/or in writing prior to the meeting. TC and SC members vote on open issues or on decisions needed to advance the standards. The TC and SC secretaries and chairs will also be holding strategic planning and coordination meetings prior to the plenary.

Several SC9 and SC11 working groups will be meeting in the three days previous to the plenary meetings to discuss project status and hold working meetings to further develop their standards. Among the groups meeting are: SC9/WG6 on the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), SC11/WG1 on Metadata for Records, SC11/WG7 on Digital Records Preservation, and SC11/WG12 on Digital Records Conversion and Migration.

Subcommittee 8 on Quality, Statistics and Performance Evaluation has decided to meet on March 26-27 in Berlin, rather than going to the Nairobi meeting. SC4 on Technical Interoperability will also not be participating in Nairobi and has not announced an alternate meeting.

Anyone interested in attending the TC46 meeting or in participating in TC46 standards development activities should contact the NISO office.

CORE Standard to be Issued for Trial Use – Participants Needed

The Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Working Group is nearing completion of the standard that defines an XML schema to facilitate the exchange of financial information related to the acquisition of library resources between systems, such as an ILS and an ERMS.

The Working Group intends to issue the standard for a one-year trial use period. Trial participants will be asked to implement the CORE protocol in their own organization (or with another trial implementer), participate in a discussion list during the trial to share experiences, and provide feedback on any needed changes to the protocol prior to final issuance of the standard. The Working Group will be available during the trial to provide guidance and answer questions. Anyone interested in participating in the trial or who would like additional information, please use the Contact form on the NISO website to indicate your interest and provide contact information.

Feedback Needed on Standards Being Considered for Possible Withdrawal

NISO recognizes that its standards require regular review to remain effective. For ANSI/NISO standards under periodic maintenance, this must be completed not later than five (5) years after the ANSI approval date, with the first step of establishing a voting pool. Four NISO standards have failed to receive the required number of members (15% of NISO's voting membership) joining a reaffirmation ballot voting pool. Those standards will need to be reviewed by the NISO Board of Directors to determine whether administrative withdrawal, downgrading of these publications (i.e., to a recommended practice), or other steps are called for.

Prior to taking such action, NISO is seeking input from the community on whether any of these standards are being used, and if so, in what context. If you are actively using any of these standards or have comments on why they should be continued as ANSI/NISO published standards, please contact the NISO office with information on the value of these standards to your organization.

The four standards, listed below, are available for free download and review from the standards public comment page of the NISO website.

  • Z39.32-1996 (R2002), Information on Microfiche Headers
  • Z39.62-2000, Eye-legible Information on Microfilm Leaders and Trailers and on Containers of Processed Microfilm on Open Reels
  • Z39.73-1994 (2001), Single-Tier Steel Bracket Library Shelving
  • Z39.74-1996 (R2002), Guides to Accompany Microform Sets

Save the Date for NISO Forums

Be sure to save the date for NISO's two upcoming in-person forums.

  • Assessment and Performance Measurement (April 20, Baltimore) – This one-day forum will discuss quantitative measures by which libraries can measure their performance and compare it with others.

  • NISO / BISG Forum: The Changing Standards Landscape (July 10, Chicago) – This third annual free half-day event held before the ALA conference will focus on important standards initiatives and needs in the e-book marketplace. Segmented to focus on the different stages of creation, distribution, and use, this seminar will touch on critical areas of identification, formatting, DRM, and the specific use needs of libraries.

New Specs & Standards

ARMA International, Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles, Call for Comments

This set of generally accepted recordkeeping principles (GARP) is intended to serve as a framework for guidance in implementing records and information management programs. The public comment period ends on Friday, March 6.

Canonical Link Tag to Reduce Search Engine Duplication Announced by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft

A new link tag allows publishers with multiple domains that all point to the same website to designate one site as the master or "canonical" site so that search engines can avoid duplicate harvesting and duplicate search results. Since press time, Ask has also announced support for the tag. See also the separate announcements from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

ISO 15836:2009, Information and documentation – The Dublin Core metadata element set

This second edition of the international standard for Dublin Core was revised to update the changes made in 2007 to the NISO version (ANSI/NISO Z39.85-2007). The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set defines 15 metadata elements that can be used for cross-domain resource description.

ISO/IEC 13250-4:2009, Information technology – Topic Maps – Part 4: Canonicalization

This new standard defines a format known as Canonical XTM, or CXTM that guarantees that two equivalent Topic Maps Data Model instances (as defined in ISO/IEC 13250-2) will always produce byte-by-byte identical serializations, and that non-equivalent instances will always produce different serializations. The purpose of CXTM is to allow the creation of test suites for various Topic Maps-related technologies that are easily portable.

OASIS, Nine Web Services Standards Approved

New versions of nine Web services specifications were ratified as OASIS Standards. The three WS Reliable Exchange (WS-RX) standards [WS ReliableMessaging 1.2, WS ReliableMessaging Policy 1.2, and WS MakeConnection 1.1] allow messages to be transferred reliably despite failures in software components, systems, or networks. The three WS Transactions (WS-TX) standards [WS-Coordination 1.2, WS-AtomicTransaction 1.2, and WS-BusinessActivity 1.2} describe an extensible framework for coordinating transactions across a mixed vendor environment. The three WS Secure Exchange (WS-SX) standards [WS-Trust 1.4, WS-SecureConversation 1.4, and WS-SecurityPolicy 1.3] provide methods for issuing security tokens, establishing trust relationships, and allowing key material to be exchanged more efficiently.

Open Web Foundation, Final Specification Agreement on Intellectual Property Use, Proposed Draft

A proposed agreement from the Open Web Foundation (OWF) Legal Committee that individuals or organizations could sign to make their specified intellectual property rights available to others who use or implement a particular standard or specification. This work-in-progress was posted to generate discussion before a committee draft is presented to OWF.

Media Stories

New Interfaces Bring Catalogs, Books to iPhone, Other Mobile Devices
Library Journal (02/06/09) ; Hadro, Josh

Browsers may soon be using mobile devices to access books and other archived library content more often as new interfaces become available. The New York Public Library (NYPL) and the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) are developing catalog interfaces, with the former announcing redesigned "rough beta" interfaces to its LEO and CATNYP catalogs as well as search interfaces for its digital galleries and pages on its website. The mobile NYPL site is accessible to anyone with a Web-enabled phone or device, although patrons are still eventually directed to standard Web interfaces for many tasks. Meanwhile, the DCPL mobile application ties into the library's CityCat catalog with a keyword search, and permits patrons to place holds, view available copies, and route items to branches for delivery if they possess a DCPL userid and PIN. DCPL Labs' Aaron Schmidt says that this "is just the start of our efforts to provide mobile library services to the residents of D.C." Google's mobile-optimized Book Search interface is designed to ease certain phone users' access to 1.5 million digitized public domain books, although it currently only interoperates with the iPhone and smart phones running Google's Android mobile platform. Finally, the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) has released a new mobile portal to its WorldCat.org bibliographic database that displays results on the fly as the user types, retrieving entries for a number of content types such as books, sound recordings, and visual materials. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: OCLC is a NISO voting member.

Exploring a 'Deep Web' That Google Can't Grasp
New York Times (02/23/09) P. B1 ; Wright, Alex

Google recently added the one trillionth Web address to its list of indexed Web pages, and yet that represents only a small portion of the entire Web. Beyond the one trillion pages is an even larger Web of data, including financial information, shopping catalogs, flight schedules, medical research, and all other kinds of data that is largely hidden to search engines. This so-called Deep Web represents a major challenge to large search engines and prevents them from providing meaningful responses to many queries. Search engines' crawlers, which collect information by following hyperlinks, work well for pages that are on the surface of the Web, but fail to penetrate databases. To collect meaningful data from the Deep Web, search engines must be able to analyze users' search terms and determine how to direct those queries toward databases, but the wide variety of database structures and possible search terms makes this a daunting challenge. "This is the most interesting data integration problem imaginable," says Google's Alon Halevy. Google's Deep Web strategy involves using programs to analyze the contents of every database the search engine encounters. The search engine analyzes the results of each database and creates a predictive model of the database's contents. Meanwhile, University of Utah professor Juliana Freire's DeepPeep project is attempting to index every publicly available Web database. Freire has developed an automated process for querying databases that she says retrieves more than 90 percent of a database's contents. Experts say that Deep Web search technology could become a more efficient and less expensive approach than the Semantic Web to interconnect Web data. "The huge thing is the ability to connect disparate data sources," says computer scientist Mike Bergman.
(Link to Web Source)

Open Solutions for Libraries Gain Momentum
NewsBreaks (02/02/09) ; Hane, Paula J.

Open solutions for sharing library data are increasingly becoming available. For example, LibLime, which last year introduced biblios, an open source, Web-based metadata tool for libraries, recently launched biblios.net, a free, browser-based cataloging service with a data archive that contains more than 30 million bibliographic and authority records. Biblios' records are licensed under the Open Data Commons, making biblios the world's largest repository of freely licensed library records. The records come from the Internet Archive's open source Open Library project. Records have been contributed by the Library of Congress, several RLG libraries (which are now a part of OCLC), the Boston Public Library, and several academic libraries. LibLime and Talis recently announced a partnership that will add more than 5 million bibliographic records to the biblios.net community, with Talis providing data from the Talis Union Catalogue, an open, shared core of records from the Talis Base service, catalogued by public and academic libraries in the United Kingdom. "The open sharing of data, the default motivation for most librarians, has often been stifled by confusion and fear about ownership and licensing," says Talis' Richard Wallis. "Open Data Commons helps clarify and dispel those fears, opening up data that can confidently be shared."
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Library of Congress, OCLC/RLG, and the Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Library are NISO members.

Making a Library Catalogue Part of the Semantic Web
Proceedings of the International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications 2008 (02/09) ; Malmsten, Martin

Library catalogues contain massive amounts of high-quality structured data, but this data is generally not available to semantic Web applications. The standard way of making bibliographic data available is still search-retrieve protocols such as Search/Retrieval via URL, which makes single bibliographic records retrievable but does not provide a way to directly address records or display information about the relationships between records. Meanwhile, the Semantic Web is based upon linking information, and the promise of the Semantic Web and Linked Data could make data connected just by making it available, presenting an opportunity for libraries to expose all of their data. An objective of creating the new Swedish Union Catalogue (LIBRIS) Web interface was to make information presented to a normal user available to machines and Web crawlers as well. The LIBRIS project created an RDF server wrapper to make the Integrated Library System (ILS) accessible through HTTP and capable of delivering RDF describing bibliographic and authority resources upon request, as well as RDF describing the connections between resources. Each record's unique number was used to create persistent URIs, which can be de-referenced and deliver the RDF when properly queried through HTTP content negotiation. Data could then be loaded into a triple store to allow for search through SPARQL.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Z39.50 and the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set are NISO standards.

Digital Information Saved for Future Generations
University of Portsmouth (02/11/09)

The University of Portsmouth's Keeping Emulation Environments Portable (KEEP) project is working to record and preserve the massive amounts of digital technology and cultural information that is rapidly disappearing. The KEEP project is developing methods of safeguarding digital objects such as text, sound and image files, multimedia documents, websites, databases, and video games. Part of the project will include building software that can recognize and open all previous types of computer files. Other emulators exist for certain platforms and types of media, but the new emulator will be able to work with media in any format. "Every digital file risks being either lost by degrading or by the technology used to 'read' it disappearing altogether," says Janet Delve, a computer historian at the University of Portsmouth. "Former generations have left a rich supply of books, letters, and documents which tell us who they were, how they lived, and what they discovered. There's a very real risk that we could bequeath a blank spot in history." The project plans to protect software for the future so that every piece of data and software created can be encoded to be read by future devices. Britain's National Archive already holds the equivalent of 580,000 encyclopedias of information in file formats that are no longer commercially available, and the British Library reports that Europe loses 2.7 billion British pounds each year in business value due to problems preserving and accessing old digital files.
(Link to Web Source)

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

The State of the Nation: A Snapshot of Australian Institute Repositories
First Monday (02/09) Vol. 14, No. 2 ; Kennan, Mary Anne; Kingsley, Danny A.

A survey of the 39 Australian universities found that 32 institutions have active repositories, and a total of 37 will have repositories by the end of 2009. The number of open access items has risen significantly since January 2006, with five institutions reporting an institution-wide open access mandate, and eight planning to implement such a mandate. Only 20 universities have funding for their repository staff, and only 24 have funding for their platform, while the remaining repositories are project funded. Fedora with Vital is the most-used platform among Australian repositories, while most of the other repositories use EPrints or DSpace. Australia's institutional repositories are of interest because the Australian government has played a major role in supporting the development of institutional repositories. In 2002, a report to the Australian government emphasized the importance of the accessibility and dissemination of research, and in 2003 the government allocated funds on a competitive basis for the development of research information infrastructure, including open access institutional repositories at universities. One resulting project, the Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW), featured a coalition of universities and the National Library of Australia, which focused on identifying and testing software or solutions to support institutional repositories. Australian repositories have continued to grow at a rapid pace, but repository staff still use labor-intensive methods for recruiting content, such as individually approaching researchers and trawling the Web and databases for work conducted at their institutions.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more on institutional repositories, view the presentations from NISO's 2007 forum, Getting the Most Out of Your Institutional Repository , and the report from NISO's 2008 Thought Leader meeting on IRs.