Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

March 2011

During a NISO Business Information Topic Committee call last month, Linda Beebe, Senior Director of PsycINFO at the American Psychological Association, made the comment that "It seems like this is the year of the e-book, but then again so was 2006 and 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010." While we may often overstate the impact of changes underway, we can also underestimate how important the steps that have gotten us to a tipping point. This is absolutely the case with electronic books, where more than a decade ago NISO and NIST hosted a series of annual conferences on e-books. As Ray Kurzweil has pointed out, we don't notice exponential growth trends until they overwhelm us. E-books appear to be at that overwhelming stage, pushing those boundaries both in content type (expanding), content scale (increasing), and costs (declining).

As I stated in last month's Newsline, we still have many problems and challenges with e-books. One of those deals with page numbers, which in a print environment is a concept that dates back to 16th century when numbering was used primarily to keep track of the pages that were printed out of order in early presses. But what does a page mean in a digital environment? In a PDF version, a publisher can re-create pages and numbers to match the print version. But with manipulable content, the amount of text you see on a screen varies by the size of your screen, the file format, the settings on your device, and the font size used. Device manufactures commonly use line numbers, but these too can change based on font settings. Chapter and verse systems, similar to those used in biblical studies, is another approach as well, but isn't always practical or implemented by publishers. Amazon announced early in February a new software release for their Kindle system that will provide page numbering that matches the print version. However, this system does not apply to every book, nor does it sound like a publisher-supplied content element. Book groups in particular were requesting the Kindle page numbering so that members using both print and e-book versions could interact. Apparently traditional modes of interacting with content have their value, especially during a transition period.

I am certain that other structures from the print realm will be retained in e-books, even if they don't make technological sense. There is a social aspect to reading that we should not jettison as we move toward greater digital distribution. What we in the standard community need to focus on is how to build the structures such as page numbers, interactive references, accessibility, and preservation into the e-book model and workflow at the outset, rather than re-engineering or reincorporating them after the fact. As George Kerscher of the DAISY Consortium said recently, "It's easier to design a building with accessibility in mind than to retrofit that building once it's built." The same is true for so many of our traditional publishing and distribution systems as they move to the digital environment.


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

March Webinar: Patrons, ILL, and Acquisitions

Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA) is emerging as a new library collection development model and challenging existing business and service models for vendors and publishers. PDA is moving beyond individual projects and becoming yet another model to build and maintain library collections. What guidelines and standards will be required to support PDA? NISO's March webinar Patrons, ILL, and Acquisitions, to be held on March 9 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time), will provide perspectives from three libraries on this new acquisition model.

During this event you will hear an overview of the introduction and evolution of PDA, learn about the various types of PDA that libraries have put into place, hear about PDA workflow and issues surrounding current workflow mechanics, and learn about the impact of PDA on library budgets. The speakers for the webinar and the focus of their presentations are:

  • Peter Spitzform, Collection Development Librarian, University of Vermont
    Focus: Setting the Stage and Print PDA

  • Lynn Wiley, Head of Acquisitions, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    Focus: Print Consortial PDA

  • Nancy Gibbs, Head, Acquisitions Department, Duke University
    Focus: E-books PDA

For more information and to register, visit the event webpage.

NISO/DCMI Joint Webinar Series Kicks Off with Metadata Harmonization

NISO and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) are pleased to announce that they will be continuing their educational partnership in 2011 with three joint webinars.

The first webinar in the series will take place on March 16, 2011 on the topic of Metadata Harmonization: Making Standards Work Together, featuring as speakers Mikael Nilsson, a PhD in media technology from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and Thomas Baker, Chief Information Officer of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative.

The second webinar on International Bibliographic Standards, Linked Data, and the Impact on Library Cataloging will take place on August 24 and the third, The RDA Vocabularies: Implementation, Extension, and Mapping, will take place on November 16.

Each of the webinars in the series will take place from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). NISO and DCMI members can register at the member discount rate. Anyone who registers for all three DCMI webinars can attend NISO's June 8 webinar on Semantic Web Linking for free, equivalent to a 25% discount on the four events.

For more information and to register, visit the NISO/DCMI webinar webpage.

April Two-Part Webinar: RFID Systems

A new three-part ISO standard on RFID in Libraries (ISO 28560) has been approved (see related story in this issue of Newsline). NISO has a revision underway for the recommended practice, RFID in U.S. Libraries (NISO-RP-6-2008) to provide U.S. implementers with guidance on how to provide RFID in a way that adheres to the ISO work. NISO's two-part April webinar on RFID Systems will provide background on the use of RFID in libraries and bring attendees up-to-date on the recent standards and what they mean to both system vendors and libraries.

The first part of the webinar, to be held on April 13 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time), will provide a broad look at RFID, giving libraries a better understanding of what RFID tags might do to help libraries and giving attendees some information about how what roles various players in the supply chain play in the provision of RFID tags and associated services. Speakers will provide both a library (user) perspective and the supply chain perspective from both a technology supplier and a service supplier.

The second part, to be held on April 20 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time), looks more closely at the ISO RFID standard and the NISO Recommended Practice on RFID in U.S. Libraries. This webinar will focus on key portions of the documents to help attendees better understand what they might need to know when implementing RFID locally in order to ensure interoperability. In particular, speakers from NISO's RFID working group will discuss the data model, security issues, and privacy and vandalism.

You may register for either or both parts of the webinar; registrants to both part of the webinar receive a 25% discount. NISO and NASIG members can register at the member rate. There is also a student discount. Can't make it for the live webinar date? Registrants get access to the recorded version for one year. For more information and to register, visit the event webpages: Part 1; Part 2

Mobile Technologies in Libraries Forum

NISO will be holding a one-day in person forum in Philadelphia on May 20, 2011 on the topic of Mobile Technologies in Libraries. The visibility and utility of mobile hardware, software, and connectivity continue their exponential increase. Libraries are finding it difficult to ignore the implications of a perpetually connected user base that want to use mobile devices to access information resources traditionally confined to desktop or laptop computer access. Library patrons stand to benefit enormously if libraries can effectively offer their information resources in the now-ubiquitous mobile medium.

Topics and speakers for the forum include:

  • Introduction: How Standards Fit (or don't fit) in Mobile Computing – Todd Carpenter, Managing Director, NISO

  • Opening Keynote – Brian O'Leary, Founder and Principal, Magellan Media

  • Using Surveys to Find out What Uses Want with Mobile Devices – Bennett Claire Ponsford, Digital Services Librarian, Texas A&M University Libraries

  • MedLine Mobile: The Why, What, and How – Loren Frant, Head of the Health Information Products Unit, National Library of Medicine (NLM)

  • Instructional Technologies Gone Mobile – Speaker TBA

  • Embracing Mobile Devices: Libraries and Mobile Technology – Speaker TBA

  • Mobile Interfaces & the Impact on (and Opportunities for) Publisher Content – Speaker TBA

The agenda, registration, and hotel information are available on the event webpage. Get the early bird discount by registering before May 1. NISO members and students receive a discounted rate.

Two New Projects Approved Related to SERU and SUSHI

NISO's Business Information Topic Committees has approved two new projects that build on prior work within NISO.

  • Revision of the NISO SERU (Shared E-Resource Understanding) Recommended Practice (NISO-RP-7-2008) – When SERU was originally developed by the SERU Working Group, the members of that group deliberately chose to focus on subscriptions; the SERU language reflects this. In the two years since SERU was published, several libraries and publishers have successfully used SERU for back-file purchases and e-books. The revision project will update SERU so that it may be more appropriate for use with many types of electronic resources, including e-books. For more information view the SERU revision project proposal.

  • Improving SUSHI Servers through Enhanced Reporting – One of the critical steps in implementing a SUSHI client is testing against real SUSHI servers. This initiative is intended to seek two areas of improvements in SUSHI servers: first, to simplify the testing of SUSHI clients by recommending SUSHI servers adopt a standardized approach for offering test access to their service; and second, to introduce a simple report that allows the SUSHI server to report its status to the client. For more information view the SUSHI Servers project proposal.

New on the NISO Website

  • Using Authority Data to Enhance the Semantic Web Webinar: Presentation slides and Event Q&A

  • February Open Teleconference Recording: SERU (Shared E-Resource Understanding) Update

  • New logo available for use by SERU registrants

  • New CORE: Cost of Resource Exchange logo

New Specs & Standards

ANSI/NISO Z39.83-1-2008-v 2.01, NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP), v 2.01

This two part standard is a maintenance release revision to the 2008 version 2.0. Version 2.01 is aimed primarily at correcting defects identified in the standard and ensuring that the standard and the NCIP schema agree with one another. Further, some structural changes have been made in the standard to improve the presentation of the information and make it more usable for implementers. Two substantive changes have been made. First, Bibliographic Record Id has been made repeatable within Bibliographic Description. This makes it possible, for example, for an initiator to send an Accept Item message passing both an OCLC number and a Library of Congress Catalog Number. Second, Request Item has been changed so that it now accepts both Bibliographic Record Id and Item Id, and both elements are now repeatable. In earlier versions, Request Item accepted either a single Bibliographic Record Id or a single Item Id. The two parts are: Part 1: Protocol and Part 2: Implementation Profile 1. There is an accompanying XML schema 2.01.

American National Standards Institute, United States Standards Strategy, 3rd edition

"The United States Standards Strategy serves as a statement of purpose and ideals resulting from a reexamination of the principles and strategy that guide how the United States develops standards and participates in the international standards-setting process. It provides a framework that can be used by all interested parties to further advance trade issues, and a vision for the future of the U.S. standards system in today's globally competitive economy."

International Digital Publishing Forum, EPUB 3 Public Draft

EPUB 3 is a set of four individual specifications for the semantics, content, and format of digital publications. It defines how to represent, package, and encode electronic content into a single-file format for distribution and interchange. This third version of EPUB increases the capabilities of the standard for e-books, including requirements for more complex layouts, rich media, interactivity, and global typography. A separate document describes changes from EPUB 2.0.1.

Unicode Consortium, Unicode 6.0.0 (full specification)

Unicode 6.0.0 is a new major version of the Unicode Standard and the first major version of the standard to be published solely in online format. Version 6.0 adds 2,088 characters, adds new properties and data files, corrects character properties for existing characters, corrects character properties for existing characters. This latest version of the Unicode Standard is synchronized with the forthcoming second edition of ISO/IEC 10646:2011. That second edition represents the republication of ISO/IEC 10646:2003 plus the rolled-up content additions from Amendments 1 through 8. The repertoire for Unicode version 6.0 includes all the characters of the second edition, plus one additional character U+20B9 INDIAN RUPEE SIGN, which is still in the process of addition to ISO/IEC 10646.

Media Stories

At Last, A Library RFID Standard
Book Industry Communication Blog, February 18, 2011; by Peter Kilborn

The international standard for RFID in Libraries, ISO 28560, has finally been approved for publication. It is a three-part standard, two of which are alternate encoding methods. One of the encodings is fixed-format, based on a Danish standard. The other, more flexible, encoding is expected to be more widely adopted, especially in the UK. The long delay in getting the standard approved resulted in some libraries investing in RFID tags they thought would be compliant with the standard, but now are not. Publication of the standard is only the beginning of the process to get all RFID system manufacturers to comply with the standard and thus enable interoperability between library systems. The BIC/CLIP RFID in Libraries Group has been providing UK input for the standard and position on library RFID. The group has endorsed the encoding method in Part 2 of the standard, published a profile for the UK tag structure format, and has provided guidance on implementation. Members of the RFID Alliance, the major RFID suppliers, are peer-testing each other's tags to verify compliance with the standard.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For further information about the new ISO RFID standard and the forthcoming revision of NISO's recommended practice, RFID in U.S. Libraries, attend NISO's April 2-part webinar on RFID Systems. More information about the NISO RFID project can be found on the working group's webpage.

HarperCollins Puts 26 Loan Cap on Ebook Circulations
Library Journal.com, February 25, 2011; by Josh Hadro

Shortly after OverDrive issues a letter to customers indicating that a licensing change was coming due to "certain publisher" restrictions on e-book checkout, HarperCollins admitted that it was the publisher that made the changes. They are imposing a limit of 26 check-outs for an e-book, after which the license to the book expires. HarperCollins stated that the typical lifespan of a print book and its circulation "wear and tear" were factors used to come up with 26 as the number of allowed e-book circulations. They also stated that the limit will apply to any vendors or distributors of their titles to libraries. With a three-week lending period, a popular e-book title could expire within 18 months. HarperCollins is not alone in their library restrictions; Macmillan and Simon & Schuster do not allow their e-books to be circulated by libraries at all. At the Tools of Change for Publishing conference, Katie Dunneback of East Central Library Services emphasized that the publishers are "overlooking the value added by librarians in promoting books and fostering book culture." Blogger Sarah Houghton-Jan from the San Rafael Public Library "fault[s] the publishers for not realizing what a huge mistake they are making by not realizing the new formats are opportunities-not threats to be quashed" and also criticizes the e-book vendors for giving in to the demands and librarians for not standing up for the users. OverDrive's communication about the licensing change cites publisher concerns related to library card issuance practices across geographical boundaries and consortial size and collection sharing. (Link to Web Source)

In-Library eBook Lending Program Launched
Internet Archive Blogs, posted on February 22, 2011

The Internet Archive announced a partnership with OpenLibrary.org and 150 libraries to allow unrestricted library lending of over 80,000 e-books with no restrictions. A Unisphere Research and Information Today, Inc. library survey reported that 73% are seeing increased demand for digital resources with 67% reporting increased demand for wireless access and 62% seeing a surge in demand for web access." Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive says the move is to help libraries spend money smarter and also increase e-book lending. A larger collection of books could be made available if more libraries join the project. Library patrons with an OpenLibrary account can borrow a total of 5 e-books at a time for two weeks each. Available formats are a browser-based version that uses the Internet Archive's BookReader app, PDF, or EPUB. The latter two formats are supported by a number of e-reader devices. Libraries are contributing a variety of books including older books too fragile to circulate that have been digitized and rare books such as family histories. Boston Public Library and Allen County Public Library both indicate genealogists as some of their targeted user base. Publishers who are participating by selling their e-books to the lending libraries include Cursor and OR Books, who cite the project as a way to extend the readership of their materials. While OpenLibrary.org has over a million e-books available to users, the books in the lending program are only available to patrons of the library partners of the project.
(Link to Web Source)

Characterising and Preserving Digital Repositories: File Format Profiles
Ariadne, Issue 66, January 2011; by Steve Hitchcock and David Tarrant

Institutional repositories (IRs) can play a pivotal role in providing open access on the Web to scholarly content and have an associated role in preserving that content. Repository software has been more focused on the collection and dissemination aspects than on preservation, but recently more preservation tools are being made available. The ever-changing formats of digital content provide a challenge to IRs in developing their preservation plans. The JISC KeepIt Project worked with four different types of repositories-research papers, science data, arts, and educational and teaching-in their project looking at IR preservation issues. Three of the four IRs for KeepIt adopted the EPrints preservation bundle of apps, including the DROID open source tool for format identification. The JHOVE tool provides validation and characterization as well as file format identification. Format profiles for IRs reveal the number of files stored in each format type. Most repositories show a dominance of one type with a "long tail" decline in numbers for other formats. PDF was the dominant format for the KeepIt research papers repository. Format profiles inevitably contain a number of unknown formats, which are particular important to assess when preparing a preservation plan. For the KeepIt scientific data repository, two specialized formats (CIF and CML) were added to the identification tool to cut down on the number of "unknowns," but this was not totally successful. JPEG, not surprisingly, was the most common format for the arts repository, but unknowns were the fourth highest file type. The education and teaching repository was also, somewhat surprisingly, visual in nature with JPEG as the most common format, followed by LaTEX, which had to be added to the DROID tool. Again, there was a long tail of a large variety of other formats, many of which could be identified by their file extension. The value of format profiling has been questioned by some due to the increasing rate of format obsolescence. Others emphasize that profiling is the "the best means of extracting, updating and monitoring this information efficiently."
(Link to Web Source)

Smarter Metadata – Aiding Discovery in Next Generation E-book and E-journal Gateways
The Scholarly Kitchen [blog], February 17, 2011; by Alix Vance

Content aggregators are adding e-books to their online platforms marking a shift from separate electronic journal and book providers. ProQuest has acquired ebrary and JSTOR has announced expanded e-book coverage. Researchers are using gateway services as their "new librarians" and are also shifting to skimming a larger number of items than in-depth reading of articles. Vendors are responding with better tools for discovering relevant content. The critical difference between e-books and e-journals is at the metadata layer, which can have a significant impact on how mixed content databases handle discovery and navigation. An article in The Atlantic Wire highlighted the drawbacks of Google-style searches for researchers. These could be addressed through metadata layers built on semantic technologies and linked data. In particular these databases need to address lack of consistency in record quality and greater granularity. Most of the metadata records are created by clearinghouses and publishers have little incentive for improving the data themselves. Metadata granularity could be improved by relating it to smaller units or chunks of content. And the metadata needs to have durable linking, e.g., a DOI-type identifier, and hierarchical structure. Cleaning up and enhancing the metadata currently appears to be competitively advantageous only for some, but not across the board. More automated processes for reliable and structured metadata creation need to become commonplace. The next wave of semantic-based research gateways should take lessons from best practices in library science for organizing and describing content. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO members mentioned in this article are: ARL, EBSCO, JSTOR, OCLC, and ProQuest.

There Is More to Discovery than You Think…
Lorcan Dempsey's Weblog, February 5, 2011; Lorcan Dempsey

A new University of Minnesota Libraries' report on library resource discovery rightly focuses on it as an "environment" that goes beyond any individual system or service. Libraries have typically focused on the "outside-in" requirements of discovery, i.e. catalogs, resolvers, and metasearch for acquired content and databases. Increasingly, though, "inside-out" discovery is needed for an institution's own information or digitized materials that are unique to them and have an external audience. The University of Minnesota report explores discovery needs for both types of resources and addresses such issues as inventorying both external and institutional resources, determining which external services to disclose internal resources to, how to integrate both types into local discovery systems, identifying different categories of users and their usage behaviors, and metadata used for internal resource description. "Describing resources as owned, licensed and freely-available is probably more helpful than the print/electronic/digital schematic that is sometimes used." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO members (or their products) who were mentioned in this article are: EBSCO, Ex Libris, OCLC, and Serials Solutions.