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Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

April 2010

If one were to believe the hype, the publishing world was shaken to its core on April 3rd with the launch of Apple's iPad. While I'm not sure that was the case, it is quite possible that the iPad could change our landscape from a few perspectives. The first is that there will be a lot more and fiercer competition in the space of e-book readers. Although the price for these devices is presently quite high, it will likely come down quickly as demand and production ramps up and the devices (not only Apple's but other readers, which will have to improve to be competitive) become more ubiquitous. A second point of reflection is that e-books are rapidly becoming mainstream after more than a decade of being a niche publishing category. On the first day iPad sales topped 300,000, and more than 250,000 e-books and over a million apps were downloaded for the device. While many of those first-day downloads appear to have been free books, e-book sales for the iPad can only continue to boost a market already growing exponentially. The e-book genie is definitely out of the bottle and there's no putting the cork back in. The challenges this represents for the entire information supply community are numerous.

We touch on two of these challenges in Newsline this month. The first is a paper published in Learned Publishing on the identification of e-books by Peter Kilborn, which has been a contentious issue over the past year. The second is the release of a discussion paper on the International Standard Text Code issued by the Book Industry Study Group and Book Industry Communications. Combined, these two papers represent a needed sea change in how we manage both the identifiers and the metadata for electronic books. NISO is an active participant in these activities, both in our role as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group administrator for the information and documentation technical committee and as the Secretariat for the ISO subcommittee that develops the international standards for identification and description.

Identification is just one of the critical issues needed to be addressed in the e-book arena. Others include common file formats and structures, DRM, preservation, and metadata. The standards community will certainly be busy well into the future.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

April Webinar: RFID in Libraries: Standards and Expanding Use

NISO's April webinar, on April 14 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern), will focus on RFID in Libraries: Standards and Expanding Use. This webinar will look at the latest developments in standardization regarding the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in libraries and share the experience of an actual implementation of RFID.

Topics and speakers for the webinar are:

  • ISO Standard on RFID in Libraries – Paul Sevcik, 3M Library Systems
    In 2008, knowing that an international standard was still a couple years off, a NISO working group developed a recommended practice on RFID in U.S. Libraries (NISO RP6-2008). Experiences using this recommended practice in the U.S. will be discussed as well as plans for updating the document to align it with the forthcoming international standard.

  • U.S. Implementation of RFID in Libraries – Vinod Chachra, VTLS, Inc.
    Existing RFID standards define technical aspects of the tag and the air interface but what is still needed to ensure interoperability in a library environment is a standard that specifies what data needs to be on the tag and how it is formatted and encoded. The ISO standard on RFID in Libraries (ISO/DIS 28560) is nearing its final stage of approval. This three-part standard specifies a data model for the use of RFID tags for items appropriate for the needs of all types of libraries, including academic, public, corporate, special and school, and defines two different encodings that can be used.

  • Case Study of RFID Library Implementation – Loretta McKinney, Murrieta Public Library
    When implementing RFID in a library environment, there are certainly the typical issues of transitioning to a new technology and interoperability with current systems. But RFID implementations also encounter other "cultural" issues such as privacy concerns and the move to a more self-service type of model for library patrons. This case study will share the experiences of a library that was one of the earlier adopters of the RFID technology.

Registration is per site (defined as access for one computer). NISO and NASIG members may register at a discounted rate. A student discount is also available. Can't make it on the scheduled date or time? Registrants receive access to the recorded version for one year, which can be viewed at your convenience. For more information or to register, visit the event webpage.

May Webinar: It's in the Mail: Improving the Physical Delivery of Library Resources

NISO's May webinar on May 12 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern) will feature It's in the Mail: Improving the Physical Delivery of Library Resources. Many users assume that most information today is digital. As digital content increases, so does the information resources that are produced, consumed, and distributed in physical formats. Resource sharing of physical formats-whether books, DVDs, CDs, or audiocassettes-continues to play an important role in library services. Moving library materials between libraries has been a hidden component of resource sharing activities. Numerous activities have focused on improving resource sharing workflow, but little attention has been paid to how materials are moved from one library to another, and from a library directly to a patron (e.g., to a home or office). The issues around how to deliver library materials quickly, securely, and cost-effectively are equally immense. What are the best ways to provide physical delivery of library materials?

The first webinar speaker will provide an overview of library delivery services today. The second speaker will discuss the charge, current work plan and emerging recommended practices of NISO's Physical Delivery of Library Resources Working Group. The final speaker will talk about efforts to provide a delivery service directly to library patrons.

Registration is per site (defined as access for one computer). NISO and NASIG members may register at a discounted rate. A student discount is also available. Can't make it on the scheduled date or time? Registrants receive access to the recorded version for one year, which can be viewed at your convenience. For more information or to register, visit the event webpage.

NISO @ ALA Annual 2010 and Pre-conference NISO/BISG Forum

NISO and BISG will co-host the fourth annual Changing Standards Landscape on June 25, 2010 from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m., directly prior to the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Washington, DC. This year's free, half-day program will focus on how the information supply chain is reacting—and needs to react—to the demands of content consumers from the changing forms of digital distribution and communication. Users increasingly expect to be able to interact and engage with content and serving those needs creates many challenges for publishers, distributors, and libraries. Exploring the standards issues related to identification and description, discovery and retrieval, as well as use and measurement, this program will provide both publishers and librarians a view of ongoing work and potential new directions in electronic distribution of content. Visit the event webpage for more information and to view the full agenda. No registration is necessary but we ask that you RSVP to assist us in our preparations.

NISO also has several presentations and events at ALA open to all conference attendees:

  • AVIAC (Automation Vendors Information Advisory Committee) Meeting
  • Three S's of Electronic Resource Management: Systems, Standards and Subscriptions – Todd Carpenter, NISO Managing Director to speak
  • LITA Standards Interest Group – NISO projects to be discussed: Institutional Identifiers (NISO Z39.94) and Standardized Markup for Journal Articles (NISO Z39.96)
  • NISO Update: Simplifying Digital Content: Standards from Creation to Distribution and Access

Visit the NISO @ ALA webpage for more information on dates, times, places, and speakers.

NEW! Working Group Connection

Beginning next Wednesday, Newsline subscribers will receive a quarterly supplement called Working Group Connection, providing the latest news from NISO's working groups and committees. NISO currently has more active working groups than ever before in its history. NISO also has two standards in a continuous maintenance mode with standing committees and several published standards have designated maintenance agencies. Working Group Connection will keep you up-to-date on the progress of all of the standards and recommended practices in development and maintenance, letting you know both what is new and what is forthcoming. Watch for the first issue in your e-mail on April 14.

New Specs & Standards

EDItEUR, Agency Terms in ONIX

In Issue 11 of the ONIX Code Lists, new code values have been added so that, in both ONIX 2.1 and ONIX 3.0, price terms under an agency model can be specified. In an agency model, the publisher sells to the end-customer at a price set by the publisher, treating the retailer as a sales agent to whom a commission is paid on each sale. Details of the agreed approach, with examples, are included in a new guidelines document, How to specify different terms of supply in different territories.

ISO 2146:2010, Information and documentation – Registry services for libraries and related organizations

The third edition of the standard that establishes the rules for registries operating in a network environment to provide the information about collections, parties, activities, and services needed by libraries and related organizations to manage their collections and deliver information and documentation services across a range of applications and domains. It presents a data element directory that may be used as a framework for collecting the appropriate data and sharing it with other registry services, providing access to registry data through standard protocols whenever it is needed as part of an automated business workflow, publishing registries in electronic or print form, and archiving registry data when the data exists only in electronic form.

PARS Task Force on Audio Preservation Metadata, Metadata Standards And Guidelines Relevant To Digital Audio

This summary table provides a quick overview of metadata standards and guidelines that are in use with digital audio, including metadata used to describe the content and properties of the files including how they were created and (for digitized content) the original analog object, and metadata used to manage and preserve digital files.

W3C Working Draft, HTML+RDFa: A mechanism for embedding RDF in HTML

Defines the rules and guidelines for adapting RDF for use in the HTML5 and XHTML5 members of the HTML family. RDFa is intended to solve the problem of machine-readable data in HTML documents by providing a set of HTML attributes to augment visual data with machine-readable hints. Using RDFa, authors may turn their existing human-visible text and links into machine-readable data without repeating content. This specification is an extension to the HTML5 language.

Media Stories

Toward a New Alexandria: Imagining the Future of Libraries
The New Republic, March 12, 2010; by Lisbet Rausing

Realizing the dream for a new Library of Alexandria that is electronic, in the public domain, searchable with universal standards, and uses open source-ware to easily integrate new and legacy information is not unimaginable with the continuing revolution in technology. But such a venture would require cooperation, government funding, and a trusted hosting source. The question is whether scholars and gatekeepers will be able to collaborate and to meet the changes that are coming their way. Libraries, historically, have operated from a viewpoint of scarcity where they preserved the world of print from destruction and decay. In today's electronic abundance, the issue is not only what to keep, but what to discard. What about gray literature, primary data sets, ephemera? What if the next poet of the ages twitters or blogs? Will that output be legal deposit material? In the past, constituencies were narrow; scholars mostly wanted scholarly archives for other scholars. Today the public is more engaged. Consider the "40,000 PlayStation 3 volunteers [who] help Stanford scientists fold proteins" and the "amateurs [who] help digitize The New York Times' back catalogue." Yet much of scholarly literature is still hidden behind expensive walls with high fees, even though the public helped pay for much of the research. Copyright further limits access, with a Ph.D. thesis protected for the author's lifetime plus 70 years. Scholars sign over their copyright to commercial journals, pay page charges, and then buy back the journals through the academic library subscriptions. Google Books and the Rights Registry will have similar results on digitized books. Open access journals show some hope for change and some universities are putting their faculty's scholarly articles in publicly accessible repositories. PLoS, OpenCourseWare, the Internet Archive are other examples of cooperation and public access. Libraries must join together and not duplicate materials-essentially creating shared mash-up collections. What about changing copyright to have a presumption of open access? Why can't journal articles cost the same as a song from the iTunes store? Why can't publicly generated Wikipedia articles be linked to source material in JSTOR? The obstacles to reformation are not just the publishers, but also scholars who accept this state of affairs. "Each one of us, in our own station, can help to open up scholarship to the public." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: JSTOR (Ithaka), the Library of Congress, and the British Library are NISO members.

Identification of E-books
Learned Publishing, Volume 23, Number 2, April 2010 pp. 166-168; by Peter Kilborn

The recommendation in the 2005 revision of the ISBN standard that different digital book products receive separate ISBNs, as is done with print products, is being challenged from two occurrences. The first was the decision by some publishers to group all digital versions under a single e-ISBN. This typically happened early on in the e-book marketplace when product variations were few. However, expansion in the market has only raised more concerns about possible ISBN and system bloat if separate ISBNs are assigned to every different file format of an e-book, not to mention all the fragments of books sold separately. Publishers are also deterred by the cost of purchasing additional ISBNs. Some even predict that the new 13-digit ISBN could run out of numbers much sooner than envisioned. The second occurrence was the International Digital Publishing Forum's e.pub standard. Some originally thought this would solve the problem with a single e.pub file (with a single ISBN) being converted to all the needed reading device formats. In actuality, each distributor often modified the file, e.g. with DRM or customize rendering, creating a new product. The core function of the ISBN is for uniquely identifying products for trading in the supply chain. Thus all stakeholders in the supply chain, not just publishers, are affected by the decision of when to use a separate ISBN for an e-book. BIC has issued a Code of Practice supporting the standard's guidelines of separate ISBNs. The Code of Practice does take a practical stance, though, advising "that unique identification is only important if the product is being traded externally and in situations where the product has to be specifically and absolutely defined." New intermediaries in the supply chain have created new challenges and the ISBN Agency has agreed to allow those intermediaries to assign their own ISBNs "as a last resort." The Code of Practice strongly recommends that publishers and intermediaries work closely together "to ensure that only one number is assigned to any given product." Who provides the metadata is also a gray area. It remains to be seen whether the ISBN processes designed for the print world can effectively transfer to the digital environment. (Link to Web Source)

Using Cloud Services for Library IT Infrastructure
Code4Lib Journal, Issue 9, 2010-03-22; by Erik Mitchell

Cloud computing includes 3 subtypes: 1) software as a service (SaaS), in which applications are access via a networked hosted service; 2) platform as a service (PaaS), where a computing platform with space and computing resources are hosted on which organizations can deploy their own applications; and 3) infrastructure as a service (IaaS) where the organization where the entire infrastructure is outsourced but sized and configured by the organization. Libraries with their service orientation and often limited IT support are well-positioned for cloud computing, especially SaaS and PaaS. Many libraries are already using hosted services for OpenURL and federated searching, and there is a growing interest in hosted ILS. The Z. Smith Reynolds Library has been migrating to hosted environments over the past two years, initially with smaller services on SaaS and PaaS. The ILS was migrated to their current system vendor's PaaS system. Amazon's EC2 service was selected as an IaaS solution for website, discovery, and digital library services. The success of the Amazon implementation was measured through quality and stability of service, impact on library services, and costs. Cost-benefit analysis showed similar costs but operational benefits in flexibility and ability to respond to new developments. Although cloud computing has been successful, there were challenges in the need for staff training, close attention required for security, and coordination with campus IT services.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Serials Solutions, mentioned in this article, is a NISO voting member.

The International Standard Text Code (ISTC): A Work in Progress
BIC and BISG Discussion Paper, March 2010; by Michael Holdsworth

The new international identifier standard, ISO 21047, International Standard Text Code (ISTC), differs from the ISBN in that it uniquely identifies the creative textual work, regardless of format or product type, i.e. all manifestations of the same core content. The International ISTC Agency, licenses Registration Agencies to manage the allocation of the ISTCs and issues supporting documentation. With EDItEUR, a suite of XML messages, ONIX for ISTC, was developed to simplify submission of requests for ISTCs. Registration agencies also verify whether a proposed new work has already been registered, which requires that accurate metadata be supplied with works. Benefits of the ISTC include: simplified collocation of all manifestations of the same underlying text during a search; ability to aggregate data for the same work in multiple formats for sales data or library loan analysis; differentiation for rights management especially for territorial rights in the international marketplace; an accurate and validated form of uniform title control; elimination of metadata duplication and redundancy for multiple manifestations in publishers' internal systems. Derived works (e.g., abridged works, excerpts, translations, etc) at registration must reference the ISTC of the source from which they are derived allowing collocation of these derivations. Recommendations for moving forward are for: publishers to look at ISTC registration as part of their ONIX for Books metadata process; booksellers to articulate use benefit cases for ISTC in retail; publishing software vendors to integrate ISTC as a key for aggregating product records; and registration agencies to work with publishers to take ownership of the backlist registration process. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO is the Secretariat for ISO TC46/SC9, the subcommittee responsible for the ISTC standard.

Information and documentation – Standards for Interoperability Among Library and Related Systems
Touchstone/Business, Issue 14, March 2010, by Standards New Zealand

ISO's Technical Committee 46, subcommittee 4 on Information and documentation – Technical interoperability has recently completed two important standards supporting library system interoperability. ISO 2146, Information and documentation - Registry services for libraries and related organizations, provides an abstract model and standard data elements for the creation of registries that describe collections, parties, activities, and services provided by libraries. The abstract model can easily be converted to XML. Registries provide the information and services that support inter-system discovery to delivery. The second standard, ISO 8459:2009, Information and documentation - Bibliographic data element directory for use in data exchange and enquiry, provides definitions for the data elements that are used in protocol message exchanges between library systems. The standard was originally published in five parts for the different functional areas. Part 4, for example, dealt with circulation and was used as the foundation for the development of NCIP, the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (Z39.83). Consolidating the five parts was done by mapping data elements to existing protocols, adding missing elements, and discarding elements no longer in use. The resulting standard contains 588 elements, of which 137 are newly added. More elements were mapped than were included in the final document and the total mapping is available online. Both of the new TC46/SC4 standards should make it easier to develop new interoperability standards and protocols by inheriting the names and definitions of the two standards' elements. (Link to Web Source)