Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

August 2013

As summer starts winding down, inevitably the pace of activity starts to accelerate. This may be a disappointment to many, but I've always looked forward to fall as a time of possibility and opportunity. While many are enjoying their beach vacations, we are putting into place plans for the fall and beyond.

After the summer break, our highly regarded educational programs restart next week with a session focused on legal decisions around copyright and technology. Later this fall, we'll have a lot of interesting sessions on e-science and curating research data, mobile technologies, new alternative metrics, and linked library data. Our joint webinar series with the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative continues in September with linked data in developing countries. We're also planning two more virtual conferences this year, one on the impact of electronic content, and another on web-scale discovery services.

As part of the initiative to define standards and best practices for alternative assessment metrics, we are in the process of completing plans for two open meetings this fall to discuss and propose potential community needs around Altmetrics. More information will be distributed later this month about those meetings and how you can participate.

Now is also the time that we begin plans for the coming year. The NISO Topic Committees have been reviewing community input on potential new work directions, along with several potential project ideas. As always, if you have ideas or suggestions about which directions NISO should take, we would love to hear them. The leadership committees will put forward their horizon plans later this fall.

The coming year will also find NISO hosting the 2014 ISO Technical Committee 46 meeting week in Washington, DC next May, with the kind support of the Library of Congress. If you've been involved with ISO projects, this is a great opportunity to meet your international colleagues in person. And if you haven't yet been involved, come and see first-hand what it's all about. Details will be distributed in November, so interested participants will have time to make travel plans.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and its relaxed pace as we look forward to the fall activities. For me, leading a small organization is most exciting and the most fun when things get busy. Hopefully, you agree and the remainder of the year will produce some important and meaningful results.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

August Webinar: Copyright Decisions: Impact of Recent Cases on Libraries and Publishers

The Digital Age has spurred a number of disruptive innovations in information dissemination and access that rely on fair use and teaching exceptions in Copyright Law. Globalization has also provided means for exchange of content that had not existed before. In response to these innovations, publishers have filed several high profile lawsuits in an attempt to protect their business models and regain control by stemming the flow of these new delivery methods.

NISO's August 14 webinar, Copyright Decisions: Impact of Recent Cases on Libraries and Publishers, will shed some light on these recent lawsuits and discuss the ramifications the decisions may have on information flow now and in the future.

Topics and speakers:

  • HathiTrust, Google, and the Future of Mass DigitizationLaura Quilter, Copyright and Information Policy Librarian, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

  • Kirtsaeng, ReDigi, and the Future of First SaleSkott Klebe, Manager of Special Initiatives, Copyright Clearance Center

  • Georgia State and the Future of Fair UseBrandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives, Association of Research Libraries

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on August 14, 2013 (the day of the webinar). Discounts are available for NISO and NASIG members and students. NISO Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members receive one free connection as part of membership and do not need to register.

Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

NISO Publishes Themed Issue of Information Standards Quarterly on Altmetrics

The Summer 2013 issue of Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ)—a special themed issue on the topic of Altmetrics—has been published on the NISO website. Since Eugene Garfield's pioneering work in the 1960s, assessment of published research has been through citation reference counts and the Journal Impact Factor. A new field of alternative metrics—often called altmetrics for short—has recently emerged to provide methods of measurement that better reflect online reader behavior, network interactions with content, and social media. ISQ Guest Content Editor, Martin Fenner, Technical Lead Article-Level Metrics for the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Project Manager for the ORCID DataCite Interoperability Network (ODIN), has assembled a set of articles that go beyond the basics of what altmetrics are to look at emerging best practices and challenges presented by this burgeoning field. "Altmetrics have grown up," states Fenner, "and the articles in this issue of ISQ reflect this shift in the discussion."

Articles include discussions of issues encountered when using scripting interfaces to obtain data from the four largest article-level metrics providers: PLOS, ImpactStory, Altmetric, and Plum Analytics; how altmetrics has begun to address the needs of institutions and the key roles that librarians can play as partners, liaisons, and advocates in such endeavors; how altmetrics can be classified into different categories and how PLOS developed a new ontology to make sense of it all; how altmetrics can expand our vision of scholarly communication and social impact, well beyond what bibliometrics and citation has done; and how the addition of papers to the Mendeley academic social network can provide a different view of research impact both within and beyond a particular discipline.

All of the authors describe issues and challenges in this evolving field that lend support for the new project—described in the NISO Reports article and supported with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation—to study, propose, and then develop community-based standards and recommended practices in the field of alternative metrics.

ISQ is available in open access in electronic format on the NISO website. Both the entire Summer 2013 Altmetrics issue and the individual articles may be freely downloaded. Print copies are available to subscribers and as print on demand.

Update to Metrics Data Dictionary for Libraries and Information Providers Issued

A new fifth edition of the standard ANSI/NISO Z39.7, Information Services and Use: Metrics and Statistics for Libraries and Information Providers – Data Dictionary has been approved and published. The purpose of the Z39.7 Data Dictionary is to assist the information community in the identification, definition, collection, and interpretation of statistical data used to describe the current status and condition of libraries in the United States. It absorbs many of the de facto definitions established in various national surveys and data collection programs to provide a body of valid and comparable data on American libraries.

Originally published in 1968 with the title Library Statistics, the standard has evolved through its subsequent editions, culminating in an online data dictionary and new title in the 2004 edition. In 2008, NISO moved the standard from periodic to continuous maintenance and established the Z39.7 Standing Committee to maintain the standard.

"The importance of addressing our digital environment with integrative thinking is apparent in the new standard," stated Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director, ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs, and Chair of the Z39.7 Standing Committee. "In addition to reformatting and better organization, the e-metrics that were introduced in the 2004 edition as a separate section have been updated and integrated into the body of the standard to make them easier to use. Additional data gathering tools were added and all survey references were updated."

"In addition to evaluating suggestions from the community, the Z39.7 Standing Committee regularly reviews other metrics-related standards and best practices with an eye of continuously improving the Data Dictionary," explained Steve Hiller, Director of Assessment and Planning, University of Washington Libraries, member of the Z39.7 Standing Committee, and incoming Chair of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Subcommittee on Quality – Statistics and performance evaluation (TC464/SC8). "Currently, we are assessing the forthcoming revision to the ISO standard on international library statistics (ISO 2789) for areas where the standards can be better aligned and for proposed new statistics and methods."

The Z39.7 Data Dictionary is available in open access on the NISO website. A downloadable PDF version of the standard is also available. Users of the standard are encouraged to submit suggestions to the Z39.7 Standing Committee at any time. Information on the continuous maintenance process is available from the Committee's webpage.

September Two-Part Webinar: Research Data Curation

NISO will be holding a two-part webinar on 11 and 18 to discuss Research Data Curation. Part 1 will discuss the new role of E-Science Librarian. In Part 2, speakers will explore the role of libraries in managing and curating big data. You can register for either or both parts.

Part 1: E-Science Librarianship – Presenters will discuss the role of the library in the academic research enterprise and provide an overview of new librarian strategies, tools, and technologies developed to support the lifecycle of scholarly production and data curation. Specific challenges that face research libraries will be described and potential responses will be explored, along with a discussion of the types of skills and services that will be required for librarians to effectively curate research output. Scheduled speakers are:

  • Elaine Martin – Editor, Journal of eScience Librarianship, University of Massachusetts Medical School

  • Chris Shaffer – University Librarian and Associate Professor, Oregon Health & Science University Library

Part 2: Libraries and Big Data – Faculty in all disciplines are increasingly creating and/or incorporating big data into their research and institutions are creating repositories and other tools to manage it all. There are many challenges to effectively manage and curate this data—challenges that are both similar and different to managing document archives. Libraries can and are assuming a key role in making this information more useful, visible, and accessible, such as creating taxonomies, designing metadata schemes, and systematizing retrieval methods. Our panelists will talk about their experience with big data curation, best practices for research data management, and the tools used by libraries as they take on this evolving role. Scheduled speaker (with additional speakers to be announced) is:

  • Lisa Johnston – Research Services Librarian, Co-Director of the University Digital Conservancy, University of Minnesota Libraries

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on September 11 for Part 1 and September 18 for Part 2 (the days of the webinars). Discounts are available for NISO and NASIG members and students. NISO Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members receive one free connection as part of membership and do not need to register.

You can register for either or both parts. There is a 25% discount if registering for both. Visit the event webpages to register and for more information: Part 1 webpage; Part 2 webpage

September NISO/DCMI Webinar: Implementing Linked Data in Developing Countries and Low-Resource Conditions

Open data is a crucial prerequisite for inventing and disseminating the innovative practices needed for agricultural development. To be usable, data must not just be open in principle—i.e., covered by licenses that allow re-use. Data must also be published in a technical form that allows it to be integrated into a wide range of applications.

The joint NISO/DCMI webinar, Implementing Linked Data in Developing Countries and Low-Resource Conditions, to be held on September 25, 2013, will describe the technical solutions adopted by a widely diverse global network of agricultural research institutes for publishing research results. The webinar will be of interest to any institution seeking ways to publish and curate data in the Linked Data cloud.

The talk focuses on AGRIS, a central and widely-used resource linking agricultural datasets for easy consumption, and AgriDrupal, an adaptation of the popular, open-source content management system Drupal optimized for producing and consuming linked datasets. Agricultural research institutes in developing countries share many of the constraints faced by libraries and other documentation centers, and not just in developing countries: institutions are expected to expose their information on the Web in a re-usable form with shoestring budgets and with technical staff working in local languages and continually lured by higher-paying work in the private sector. Technical solutions must be easy to adopt and freely available.


  • Johannes Keizer has worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN since 1998, primarily as head of the FAO documentation group. The bibliographic database AGRIS and the multilingual concept scheme AGROVOC were completely remodeled under his leadership. The AIMS Agricultural Information team he leads provides the technical backbone for the global Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) Initiative and has channeled the results of innovative European research into the international work of FAO to combat hunger and poverty in the world.

  • Caterina Caracciolo is senior information specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). After working at the National Council of Research (CNR) in Pisa, she joined FAO in 2006. Since then, she has worked on various aspects related to information management and sharing, with special focus on metadata. She is currently involved in the SemaGrow project and part of the AGROVOC management team at FAO. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Amsterdam.

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on September 25 (the day of the webinar). Discounts are available for NISO and DCMI members and students. Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

EDItEUR, ONIX for Books Codelists, Issue 22 for Release 2.1 and 3.0

The new issue includes a handful of codes to support the full description of 'open access' e-books—free-to-download academic e-books published under a Creative Commons or some similar license, primarily in the humanities and social sciences—pioneered within the OAPEN projects in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. New code proposals from Sweden, Russia, Germany are included, plus a correction for a couple of barcode indicator codes used almost exclusively in the United States, and a recommended method for describing the revised or new features of an e-book.

ISO/IEC 21000-20:2013, Information technology – Multimedia framework (MPEG-21) – Part 20: Contract Expression Language

Specifies a language for representing contracts in the Multimedia Framework formed for the transaction of MPEG-21 Digital Items or services related to the MPEG-21 Framework.

ISO/IEC 21000-21:2013, Information technology – Multimedia framework (MPEG-21) – Part 21: Media Contract Ontology

Specifies MPEG-21 Media Contract Ontology (MCO), which may be used to represent contracts for content directly or for services on content based on MPEG-21 technologies. This is implemented by using some of the classes and properties defined in ISO/IEC 21000-19 (Media Value Chain Ontology) and by extending its ontology. Media Contract Ontology is able to represent the most common rights in contracts in the media field and the conditions appearing the most in those documents. A mechanism for defining further future extensions is in place.

ISO/IEC 15444-6:2013, Information technology – JPEG 2000 image coding system – Part 6: Compound image file format

Defines a normative but optional file format for storing compound images using the JPEG 2000 file format family architecture. A compound image is an image that may contain scanned images, synthetic images or both, and that preferably requires a mix of continuous tone and bi-level compression methods. Besides defining a binary container for a mix of continuous-tone and bi-level images, this format defines a composition model that describes how the multiple images are combined to generate a compound image.

UKSG Transfer Working Group, Transfer Code of Practice, version 3.0, Draft for Public Comment

The UKSG Transfer Working Group has released version 3.0 of its Code of Practice for public comment. The Transfer Code of Practice is a set of voluntary guidelines for publishers involved in any journal transfer. It covers thorny issues including ongoing access provision to online content, exchange of subscriber lists, DOI and URL transfer, as well as perpetual access rights to journal content. Key updates in Version 3.0 deal with new content types, HTTP redirects, subscriber types, nomenclature, and communication. Public review and comment are invited through September 6, 2013.

W3C Government Linked Data Working Group, Three Notes and a Last Call Draft

The Government Linked Data Working Group has published three Group Notes and a Last Call Working Draft:

  • Group Note of Use Cases and Lessons for the Data Cube Vocabulary – Many national, regional, and local governments, as well as other organizations in- and outside of the public sector, collect numeric data and aggregate this data into statistics. There is a need to publish these statistics in a standardized, machine-readable way on the Web, so that they can be freely integrated and reused in consuming applications.

  • Group Note of Registered Organization Vocabulary – This is a profile of the Organization Ontology for describing organizations that have gained legal entity status through a formal registration process, typically in a national or regional register.

  • Last Call Working Draft of Data Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT) – DCAT is an RDF vocabulary designed to facilitate interoperability between data catalogs published on the Web. This document defines the schema and provides examples for its use.

  • Group Note of Asset Description Metadata Schema (ADMS) – ADMS is a profile of DCAT, used to describe semantic assets (or just 'Assets'), defined as highly reusable metadata (e.g. xml schemata, generic data models) and reference data (e.g. code lists, taxonomies, dictionaries, vocabularies) that are used for eGovernment system development.

Comments are welcome through August 30, 2013.

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web ICT: Final Draft

This document describes how the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and its principles, guidelines, and success criteria can be applied to non-web Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), specifically to non-web documents and software. After the comments from this review period are addressed, WAI expects to publish this as an informative (that is, non-normative) W3C Working Group Note. Comments are welcome through August 15, 2013.

Media Stories

How Institutionalized Are Model License Use Terms? An Analysis of E-Journal License Use Rights Clauses from 2000 to 2009
College & Research Libraries, July 2013, 74 (4): 326-355; by Kristin R. Eschenfelder, Tien-I Tsai, Xiaohua Zhu, and Brenton Stewart

Both libraries and publishers promote the use of model licenses or standard license terms, for e-resources, which become the basis of the final negotiated license. These models "are attempts by stakeholders to institutionalize certain use terms as standard operating procedures or—even stronger—as values to which everyone ought to adhere." This study looked at how much the terms in model or standard licenses were present in final licenses, how the use terms have been changing over time, variations in terms between single site and consortia licenses, and variations in license terms between publishers, especially between commercial and non-commercial publishers. Libraries typically include fair use in their model terms, but these clauses are often missing in final licenses. Other more restrictive terms appear in the final licenses related to ILL and e-reserve limitations, although over time e-reserve uses became less restrictive. Publishers tended to have two to three different standard licenses. A significant percentage of licenses had downloading restrictions. Over time, there was "a statistically significant drop in the number of licenses prohibiting any external e-distribution," i.e. scholarly sharing. Print-first ILL requirements did not change significantly over time and are more likely to occur in consortia licenses. Consortia licenses, though, are also more likely to allow e-reserves with few limitations. Commercial publishers were much more likely to allow hyperlinking from e-reserves to full-text articles. The study found, in general, that use terms are becoming more institutionalized, i.e. final terms are more likely to match the model license, and that this was somewhat more likely in consortia licenses. Non-commercial publishers are less likely to use model terms. All of the publishers included in the study were compared for their likelihood of using various model terms in their final licenses, with Sage, Wiley, and Springer getting the top three scores. Several areas for follow-up future research are proposed. It is hoped that such studies as these "can be used by both publishers and libraries to normalize use terms and to reduce the burden of negotiations by providing data about what peers are doing." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Shared Electronic Resource Understanding Recommended Practice (RP-7-2012) is an alternative for libraries and publishers to a negotiated license. A Registry of participating organizations and other resources are available from the SERU workroom webpage. NISO has a current project underway to encode template licenses in ONIX-PL and deposit them in public knowledgebases for public distribution; free training will be available in the fall. The following organizations, mentioned in this article, are NISO members: American Chemical Society, Emerald, ITHAKA (JSTOR), John Wiley & Sons, Reed Elsevier, Sage, and University of California, San Diego.

Why Publishers Are Making a Push for EPUB3 Now
dbw, July 25, 2013; by Bill McCoy

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) recently announced their commitment to EPUB3 adoption with a major new initiative. Since most e-books being sold today are text-centric, some are questioning why the impetus to go to EPUB3, which is especially useful for multimedia publications. While there are certainly reasons to be forward-looking to more interactive e-publications, there are excellent reasons for publishers to use EPUB3 now to lower their production costs and ensure delivery to the multitude of ever-growing mobile devices that are used to access content. Functionality that EPUB3 provides (building on HTML5 and CSS3) falls into four major areas: styling and layout enhancements, global language support, rich media and interactivity, and accessibility features. While both interactivity and language support are important, layout enhancements and accessibility are the bigger driving forces for EPUB3 adoption. The layout functions provide more reliability in reflowing text, even with today's text-heavy publications. Accessibility is increasingly being mandated, especially in educational settings, and its support in EPUB3 means publishers won't have to create a separate DAISY book. (Plus the new DAISY formats are utilizing EPUB3.) Many distribution channels already have good EPUB3 support, but a large number of retailers and reading apps and devices have not upgraded from EPUB2, which makes things more difficult for content publishers who have to make multiple versions. There is a lot of content that doesn't work well digitally with EPUB2, but could be very successful with EPUB3, such as e-textbooks, comics, children's books, and magazines. Most of these can be accommodated with just the enhanced style and layout features of EPUB3. E-textbooks will be much more interactive and require the more advanced features. Comics are evolving into "motion books" that will also need the interactivity features. As publishing moves to more web platform delivery (replacing PDF documents), EPUB3 becomes almost mandatory and will be continue to be aligned with web delivery developments on an ongoing basis. EPUB3 migration has been in process for over a year and initiatives like those by the AAP and the Readium Foundation should help publishers and platform providers speed up this transition. Once this infrastructure is in place, everyone can focus on the interesting work of "truly reinventing books and other publications…for the digital world." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The latest DAISY specification, Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing Specification, is a NISO standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012 http://daisy.niso.org/standards/z39-98-2012.html), and was developed to use EPUB3 as a delivery tool (though not limited to this as the only delivery mechanism) The DAISY Consortium is a NISO voting member.

The Persistent Lure of the Impact Factor—Even for PLOS ONE
The Scholarly Kitchen, July 30, 2013; by David Crotty

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) are among two organizations with policies against the use of the Journal Impact Factor to assess researchers. Nonetheless, the Impact Factor still shows tremendous usage. Phil Davis' June 20 post on The Rise and Fall of PLOS ONE's Impact Factor is the most-read post on The Scholarly Kitchen since that post date, and has exceeded any other Scholarly Kitchen post readership for at least a year. Interest in PLOS ONE and its use of the impact factor is not limited to this blog; Google Trends shows an ongoing rise in the use of these combined search terms. Phil's blog and a recent faculty survey by Ithaka suggest that the high impact factor of PLOS ONE is a major reason for interest in the journal. Although complaints about the Impact Factor are rife, publishers continue to look for ways to improve their impact score due to the continued use of this metric by both authors and readers. (Link to Web Source)

Curating the Analog, Curating the Digital
Archive Journal, Summer 2013, Issue 3; by Patricia Hswe and Erin O'Meara

The Archives, Remixed section of this issue of the Archive Journal contain five articles that link data curation and archival practice. Digital and analog collections have similar processes involved in their management and curators of them can learn from each other. The long-term preservation strategies used for archives need to be adapted to incorporating digital materials while new repositories for datasets can build on these long-time analog strategies. Bailey's article proposes curating born-digital resources using the archival principle of respect des fonds. Palmer, Weber, Muñoz, and Renear's article emphasizes the importance of understanding the culture of research as well as collection management and the representation of information to effectively curate data. Asher and Jahnke look at the researcher's perspective and address ethical issues regarding personal field notes vs. public data. Donahue discusses preservation issues related to video games and similar formats and uses a comic to illustrate her points. Sisters Kristin and Lynn Yarmey, a digital services librarian and data curator respectively, document a conversation about the similarities and differences in their work. In summary, the authors of this collection "advocate for close collaborations between archivists, data curators, and researchers.…In essence, this issue explores the various roles, perspectives, and practices grounded in the commitment to preserve data, for the purpose of making it discoverable, accessible, and usable over the long term. It presents a narrative about data and data curation in archival, educational, research, and library settings that we think will prove relevant to readers of Archive Journal." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: To learn more about e-science librarianship and the role of libraries in data curation, attend NISO's two-part September webinar on Research Data Curation.