This time of the year brings out the pundits who like to look back on the past year and also predict the future. Fortunately, that isn't how I make a living, since my crystal ball is frequently misted and cloudy. Just keeping up with all the e-readers and tablets is a challenge. A few weeks ago, I was among the first to receive the latest glitzy gadget to add to my collection: an Amazon Kindle Fire. I had ordered one the morning they went on sale, so when it arrived, I was of course excited to kick its tires, so to speak. There have been many reviews and critiques of its features, which I won't add to. However I believe the implications of the device and the trends it represents will reverberate through the coming years.
One of the more interesting of these trends is an increasingly rapid shift to the "cloud" for networked storage and server-side processing. The Fire is a full-throated call to move to the cloud. In part to keep its price down, the Fire is available with only 8 GB of storage (6 GB available for user content), which only allows for a limited amount of movies, music, applications, and books to be stored on the device. Relying on streaming movies and applications is almost a necessity with such relatively modest capacity. Of course, this positions Amazon well for the on-demand rental market for content—the method that will be, in all likelihood, how content will be consumed in the years going forward.
I've written about the issues with renting versus owning on several occasions. While I am a fan of Netflix, Spotify, online streaming, etc., I move forward with renting with trepidation. Content owners should likewise move cautiously, although they may not have that luxury as Amazon, Apple, and other technology companies squeeze them on all sides. While there are potential benefits from this model, there are added responsibilities that content providers should be aware of. Many of the potential responses to these challenges are standards related.
One considerably innovative feature of the Fire is its browser, Silk, that uses pre-cached websites stored on Amazon's Web Services. While I haven't identified any problems that Silk is aiming to solve or noticed that speeds are increased appreciably, I can see the logic in Amazon's approach. Silk seems more of an opportunity to filter and analyze web traffic pushed through Amazon's portal, and thereby control web traffic presentation options. We should all be very leery of services that purport to provide a better web experience by piping content through a consolidated web interface rather than via open, standards-based communication.
On an entirely different note, it is appropriate that each year we take a moment to recognize and reflect on those who passed in the prior year. While there were several notable luminaries in the tech and information world who we lost in 2011, there was one who was quite close to NISO, who passed away unexpectedly in December. Larry Dixson worked at the Library of Congress as a Systems Analyst in the Network Development and MARC Standards Office for more than 30 years. He was deeply knowledgeable about and engaged in standards development, having served on a variety of working groups and contributing to standards initiatives from MARC and Z39.50 to metasearch and OpenURL. Most recently he had served as a member of NISO's Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee since its founding. His passing is a great loss to our community. On behalf of all in our community who knew Larry and worked with him, our deepest condolences and sympathies go to his family and close friends. He will certainly be missed.
Finally, I hope that we will see many of you during the NISO annual members meeting during the ALA Midwinter conference in Dallas on Sunday, January 22nd. All are welcome. More information is below.
I wish you all the very best of luck and prosperity throughout 2012.
New Specs & Standards
January Webinar: Identify This! Identify That! New Identifiers and New Uses
Just about everyone is familiar with the ISBN for books and the ISSN for serials. But new identifiers and new identifier standards have been developed for resources and for people and organizations. NISO's January 11 webinar, Identify This! Identify That! New Identifiers and New Uses, to be held from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST, will provide updates on three of the newest identifiers.
Speakers and topics:
Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.
NISO @ ALA Midwinter
NISO will be holding several sessions open to the public at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Dallas, TX, in January. Please join us for any or all of the following and drop by our booth (#1259).
More information about these and some additional standards-related sessions is on the NISO @ ALA Midwinter 2012 event webpage.
February Webinar: Embracing the Cloud: Real Life Examples of Library Cloud Implementation
Cloud computing, a concept that has leapt onto the scene in the last few years, is available to libraries in the form of hosted systems for an ILS or for e-resource access. These systems take advantage of cheaper computing power, increased availability of services such as Amazon Web services, and new development strategies from library vendors. What does moving library information to a networked environment do to improve the overall management of the system? How can libraries leverage cloud-hosted and managed collections? Are there tradeoffs in terms of local control?
Learn the answers to these and related issues at NISO's February 8 webinar, Embracing the Cloud: Real Life Examples of Library Cloud Implementation. Speakers will be announced shortly.
For more information or to register, visit the event webpage.
NISO/DCMI Webinar: Taking Library Data from Here to There
NISO and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) kick off their joint webinar series on February 22 with Taking Library Data from Here to There, to be held from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST.
Libraries have been creating metadata for resources for well over a century. The good news is that library metadata is rules-based and that the library cataloging community has built up a wealth of knowledge about publications, their qualities, and the users who seek them. The bad news is that library practices were fixed long before computers would be used to store and retrieve the data. Library cataloging practice continues to have elements of the era of printed catalogs and alphabetized cards, and needs to modernize to take advantage of new information technologies. This metadata, however, exists today in tens of thousands of databases and there is a large sigh heard around the world whenever a librarian considers the need to make this massive change to the world of linked data.
This webinar will give an introduction to the types of changes that are needed as well as the value that can be realized in library services. Attendees will learn of some preparatory steps have already been taken, which should confirm that libraries have indeed begun the journey "From Here to There."
Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.
Updated Draft for SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding Issued for Public Comment
When A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU) (NISO RP-7-2008) was adopted as a NISO Recommended Practice (RP) in 2008, its focus was on e-journal transactions, and the parties involved were primarily libraries and publishers. Since then, with the many emerging models for acquisition of e-books, both libraries and e-book providers have requested that other types of electronic resources be incorporated into the SERU framework.
This updated version of the SERU RP recognizes both the importance of making SERU more flexible for those who want to expand its use beyond e-journals, and the fact that consensus for other types of e-resource transactions are not as well-established as they are for e-journals.
The draft document will be available for public review and comment from the SERU webpage from January 5 - February 19. An open teleconference will be held on January 9 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (EST) where co-chair Selden Lamoureux and other members of the SERU Standing Committee will review the changes to the RP and answer questions. The call is free and anyone is welcome to participate in the conversation. Just dial in at 3:00 p.m. to 877-375-2160 and supply the code 17800743# when prompted.
New on the NISO Website
New Specs & Standards
ISO/IEC 19788-3:2011, Information technology – Learning, education and training – Metadata for learning resources – Part 3: Basic application profile
The primary purpose of ISO/IEC 19788 is to specify metadata elements and their attributes for the description of learning resources. This includes the rules governing the identification of data elements and the specification of their attributes. ISO/IEC 19788 provides data elements for the description of learning resources and resources directly related to learning resources and is designed to help implementers with a starting point for adopting the standard by defining an application profile for how the element set, defined in Part 2 of the standard, can be used.
ISO/IEC 24760-1:2011, Information technology – Security techniques – A framework for identity management – Part 1: Terminology and concepts
ISO/IEC 29100:2011 provides a privacy framework that specifies a common privacy terminology; defines the actors and their roles in processing personally identifiable information (PII); describes privacy safeguarding considerations; and provides references to known privacy principles for information technology.
IFLA Cataloguing Section's ISBD Review Group, New Project to Develop ISBD/XML Schema
The main goals of this new project are: (1) to build a consensus on the raison d'être of moving the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) into the web environment, and define possible uses of such a product; (2) to develop an ISBD-XML schema; (3) to ensure the interoperability of the product with similar ones such as MARC/DCXML schemas, at least at the conceptual level, within the current Semantic Web technologies and services; (4) to liaise with relevant constituencies in the field; and (5) to propose further development of software tools and services.
Library of Congress, Geospatial Digital Formats
Thirty five descriptions of digital geospatial formats and two brief accompanying essays have been added to the Library of Congress website for Sustainability of Digital Formats. Geospatial digital formats are ones that can be used by geographic information systems (GIS) or other software applications to access, visualize, manipulate, and analyze geospatial data. Persons with specialized knowledge are encouraged to review and comment on the descriptions using this contact form.
W3C RDF Web Applications Working Group, First Public Working Draft for RDFa Lite 1.1
RDFa Lite is a minimalist version of RDFa that helps authors easily jump into the structured data world. It outlines a small subset of RDFa that will work for 80% of the Web authors doing simple data markup. While it is not a complete solution for advanced markup tasks, it does provide a good entry point for beginners.
W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group, Updated Techniques for WCAG 2.0 and Understanding WCAG 2.0
Techniques for WCAG 2.0 provides information to Web content developers that may be used in support of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 success criteria. It describes basic practices that are applicable to any technology as well as technology-specific techniques. Understanding WCAG 2.0 provides detailed information about each WCAG Success Criterion, including its intent, the key terms that are used in the success criterion, and how the success criteria in WCAG 2.0 will help people with different types of disabilities.
Libraries at Webscale
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NISO's free monthly e-newsletter reports on the latest NISO news, highlights new specifications and standards of interest including calls for public review and comment, abstracts significant media stories on topics of interest to the NISO community, and links to news releases of NISO member organizations
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