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Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

December 2013

Last summer, I started running with the modest goal of just getting out the door every day. One thing I've noticed is that no matter how long or short your run, if you choose to, you can kick a bit harder—at least for a short while—for a burst of speed, say near the finish line to place in a race, for a better time, or even just to see if you can. This is often one way of looking at the end of the year—a sprint to the finish line—and in some ways that is what this December is shaping up to be at NISO.

NISO is wrapping up another incredibly successful year. In the closing weeks of 2013, we are powering through a number of loose ends to end on a very high note. The Mellon Foundation-funded NISO Bibliographic Roadmap Project, with which we began the year, is winding up. Tomorrow we will be hosting our final virtual meeting about the initiative, with an open discussion about paths forward. Through the open meeting last spring, several in-person discussions, and an online idea ranking site, we have narrowed down the dozens of potential ideas to three or four identified as the most pressing to pursue. During tomorrow's virtual meeting we will discuss these ideas and what can be accomplished as next steps. It's not too late to RSVP or to contribute your thoughts or comments on the project ideas. The final report of the project will be distributed in early 2014.

Another project that is nearing completion is the Sloan Foundation-funded partnership with the Open Archives Initiative to develop a standard on Resource Synchronization. The beta specification has been available for testing and feedback, and we expect a final American National Standard to be published in early 2014. Training resources on the new specification are already available and more recordings will be posted in December including a webinar recording from earlier this week and a tutorial that took place at the LITA Forum in St. Louis. Nettie Lagace and I will also be talking about this project along with the Open Access Metadata and Indicators initiative at the CNI meeting in Washington next week.

Finally, NISO is moving quickly forward with the first phase of the Alternative Assessment Metrics initiative, another project supported by a grant from the Sloan Foundation. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 11 in Washington, DC following the CNI meeting. While the in-person meeting room slots are filled, there is plenty of "virtual space" available for those who want to livestream and there's no registration fee. Please RSVP if you're interested to ensure you receive access instructions. A final in-person meeting will take place on Thursday, January 23, 2014 in Philadelphia, prior to the start of the ALA Midwinter Conference. There is still space to attend that meeting in-person and, of course, virtually. Registration for that free meeting is available now.

As we round out this busy year and move quickly into 2014, I would like to take a moment to thank the many members of our community who make all of NISO's work possible. In addition to the terrific staff at NISO, we owe our gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute so much of their time, expertise, and effort to help make NISO as successful an organization as we have been. Nothing could have been accomplished without their many meaningful contributions. Finally, I'd like to personally thank all of the organizations that support NISO financially through their memberships, which ensures our work can continue. Each of you adds something important to the process of standards development, be that formal participation or balloting that shape the work we do, driving standards adoption at your institutions and encouraging your suppliers to comply with standards, or even simply by educating yourselves about what we do, how, and why. Thank you so much for supporting NISO and I wish you all the best this holiday season and into the New Year.

With kindest regards,

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NOTE: January NISO Newsline will be distributed on January 8 due to the New Year's Day holiday.

NISO Reports

NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol Standing Committee Replaces Former Maintenance Agency

The maintenance agency for the two-part American National Standard on the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP), ANSI/NISO Z39.83, has been replaced with a Standing Committee for ongoing maintenance of the standard. NCIP addresses the need for interoperability among disparate circulation, interlibrary loan, consortial borrowing, and self-service applications by standardizing the exchange of messages between and among computer-based applications. The NCIP protocol is widely supported in integrated library systems (ILS) and resource sharing software.

Maintenance agencies were typically established for certain types of information system standards where the community requires implementation support and the tracking and resolution of problem reports. In 2009, NISO moved the NCIP standard to continuous maintenance, which allows for regular submittal and review of proposed changes and more frequent updating of the standard. The NCIP Implementers Group was changed at that time to a Standing Committee to oversee the continuous maintenance process. In 2013 EnvisionWare, who had been the Maintenance Agency for the standard, decided to step down from that role and the NCIP Standing Committee agreed to take over those responsibilities. Staff at EnvisionWare are to be commended for the excellent oversight they provided for the NCIP standard for many years.

The NCIP standard and the supporting tools and documentation are freely available at:

Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Project Second In-person Meeting and Livestream

NISO will be providing a free livestream for the second meeting of the Altmetrics project on December 11 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (ET). (In-person registration is closed; there are no more seats available.) The agenda of this one-day meeting will include a short opening keynote on the topic of assessment, lightning talks on related projects, brainstorming for identification of topics for discussion, and prioritizing of proposed work items.

This is the second meeting in the first phase of the project to explore, identify, and advance standards and/or best practices related to a new suite of potential metrics in the community. The project is funded through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Additional information on the December meeting, including recordings, documents, and other output from the first meeting held in October 2013 are available from the project webpage.

Virtual attendees need to RSVP to ensure you are sent the access instructions for the event.

December Webinar: Library Linked Data: From Vision to Reality

The library and cultural institution communities have generally accepted the vision of moving to a Linked Data environment that will align and integrate their resources with those of the greater Semantic Web. But moving from vision to implementation is not easy or well understood. A number of institutions have begun the needed infrastructure and tools development with pilot projects to provide structured data in support of discovery and navigation services for their collections and resources.

Join NISO for the December 11 webinar, Library Linked Data: From Vision to Reality, where speakers will highlight actual Linked Data projects within their institutions—from envisioning the model to implementation and lessons learned—and present their thoughts on how linked data benefits research, scholarly communications, and publishing.

Topics and speakers are:

  • Historypin: A Global Community Collaborating around HistoryJon Voss, Strategic Partnerships Director, We Are What We Do

  • The Linked Jazz Project: Revealing the Relationships of the Jazz CommunityMatt Miller, Front End Developer, NYPL Labs at the New York Public Library

  • Linked Data Demystified: The University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) Linked Data ProjectCory Lampert, Head, Digital Collections, and Silvia Southwick, Digital Collections Metadata Librarian, UNLV University Libraries

Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

2014 NISO Education Events – Subscription Packages Available

NISO is offering several subscription packages for the 2014 education events that will provide substantial discounts for attending multiple events. The available packages are:

  • Buy 9 NISO Webinars and Get 5 Free. Get all fourteen 2014 NISO webinars at more than a 35% discount.

  • Buy 5 NISO Webinars and Get 4 Free. You pick which nine NISO webinars you want.

NISO and NASIG members and students receive a discounted subscription rate to NISO webinars. For more information and to register for one of the packages, visit the 2014 NISO Webinars webpage.

NISO Library Standards Alliance members get one free connection to all 14 NISO webinars as part of their membership. Visit the NISO members webpage to see if your library is already a member. For information on joining, contact the NISO office at

NISO is also offering, for the first time, a subscription package for the 2014 Virtual Conferences:

  • Buy 4 NISO Virtual Conferences, Get 2 Free. Get all six of the Virtual Conferences for 1/3 off.

And for NISO members only (voting and LSA), there is a limited time offer from now through February 18, 2014:

  • Buy 3 NISO Virtual Conferences, Get 3 Free. Get all six of the Virtual Conferences for half off.

For more information and to register for the virtual conferences package, visit the 2014 Virtual Conferences webpage.

For information on all 2014 NISO education events, visit the 2014 NISO events webpage.

New Specs & Standards

ISO 3166, Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions

Minor revisions to all three parts of the Country Code standard were published. The third edition of Part 1: Country codes comprises a consolidation of all changes agreed by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (MA), and published in the ISO 3166-1 Newsletter VI-1 to VI-14. It also more clearly defines the alpha-2 and alpha-3 sets of codes to distinguish them from the sets of code elements available to users. The third edition of Part 2: Country subdivision code comprises a consolidation of all changes published in the ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-1 to II-3. The second edition of Part 3: Code for formerly used names of countries comprises a consolidation of all newly obsoleted codes as published in the ISO 3166-3 Newsletters I-1 to I-6.

ISO/TR 14873:2013, Information and documentation – Statistics and quality issues for web archiving

This new ISO standard from TC46/SC8 defines statistics, terms, and quality criteria for Web archiving. It considers the needs and practices across a wide range of organizations such as libraries, archives, museums, research centers, and heritage foundations. The published terminology reflects the wide range of interests and expertise of the potential audiences, striking a balance between computer science, management, and librarianship.

ISO/IEC JTC 1 Working Group Developing International Standard for Electronic Discovery [for court proceedings]

The International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, Subcommittee (SC) 27, IT Security techniques, Working Group (WG) 4, Security controls and services, has begun work on an International Standard for electronic discovery. The new standard, ISO/IEC 27050, Information technology - Security techniques – Electronic discovery, reflects the growing role that electronically stored data (ESI) plays in modern society throughout the world. In the U.S. this standard could be relevant to both civil and criminal proceedings, as well as patent disputes, U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and other related areas. While still in an early stage, the multi-part standard is expected to address key aspects of electronic discovery in its initial four parts: Part 1: Overview and concepts; Part 2: Guidance for governance and management of electronic discovery; Part 3: Code of Practice for electronic discovery; Part 4: ICT readiness for electronic discovery. [This committee has a liaison with ISO TC46/SC11 so the expectation is that members of TC46/SC11 will be able to comment on drafts.]

ISO/IEC 13250-3:2013, Information technology – Topic Maps – Part 3: XML syntax

Second edition of the standard that defines an XML-based interchange syntax for Topic Maps, which can be used to interchange instances of the data model defined in ISO/IEC 13250-2. The syntax is defined with a RELAX-NG schema, and more precision is provided through the mapping to the data model, which also defines the interpretation of the syntax.

ISO/IEC 2382-36:2013, Information technology – Vocabulary – Part 36: Learning, education and training

Second edition of the standard to facilitate international communication in information technology for learning, education, and training. It presents terms and definitions of selected relevant concepts and identifies relationships among the entries.

Media Stories

Libraries Applaud Dismissal of Google Book Search Case
Library Copyright Alliance Press Release, November 14, 2013

Following the court's dismissal of Authors Guild v. Google, a case that was filed almost eight years ago, the Library Copyright Alliance—comprised of the American Library Association, the Association of College & Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries—issued a press release welcoming the judge's decision. Judge Chin referred to an earlier amicus brief filed by the Library Copyright Alliance in explaining his decision. "ALA applauds the decision to dismiss the long running Google Books case," said Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association. "This ruling furthers the purpose of copyright by recognizing that Google's Book search is a transformative fair use that advances research and learning." Carol Pitts Diedrichs, president of the Association of Research Libraries, indicated that the Google Books decision further supported the decision in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust to allow mass digitization for purposes of search, preservation, and access for the print-disabled. An appeal is still pending in the HathiTrust case, but the Google decision suggests that the appeal will not be successful. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Other views and reports on the Google Book Case were published by ARL, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Information Today, Scholarly Kitchen, and the Authors Guild who say they plan to appeal. ALA and ARL are NISO voting members.

E-book Optimism and Lingering Concerns
PW News/Check it Out, Nov 08, 2013; by Mike Kelley

Although more publishers like Macmillan and Penguin are making their e-books available for library lending, the current model is not sustainable. The author talked with a number of librarians about e-books. Among their concerns were:

  • High prices
  • Lack of options for simultaneous use
  • Delay in availability of e-books following publication of the print version
  • Inadequate selection tools for collection development
  • Library staff who are not adept with all the technology changes and have difficulty helping users
  • DRM limitations that add complications and troubleshooting issues
  • Variety of formats, often tied to specific devices

New, low-fee e-book streaming services offered directly to users are not expected to have a large impact on libraries, as many library users are looking for free services. But this could change in the next few years, just as video and music have been changed by the Internet. Librarians are frustrated that their issues with e-books are not being addressed more quickly. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Cengage Gale and Penguin Random House, mentioned in this article, are NISO voting members.

The Natural Limits of Gold Open Access
The Scholarly Kitchen, Nov 19, 2013; by Joseph Esposito

Just as traditional publishing has its limits, so does gold open access. The main limitation in traditional publishing is the marketplace economy, which means that scholarly research without a market often does not get published. Editorial review is as much about market gatekeeping as it is about quality. Green Open Access, where research is self-archived by authors in publicly-accessible repositories, appears to be separate from marketplace realities, but is actually subsidized by those same works being published and purchased through traditional publishing. Gold Open Access is a true replacement of traditional publishing, but one where the author pays, rather than the user. So from the marketplace perspective, the customer is the author, not the reader. This gives Gold OA the potential to become "vanity publishing." The obvious solution to that situation is that poor articles won't be read or cited. However, it's not always easy to tell what to ignore since many OA publications don't carry the "brand" respect of long-time traditional journals. While article-level metrics might help in this area, a better protection is the use of some level of peer review for OA journals. The author-pay model of Gold OA creates another limitation of richer disciplines, such as life sciences, having more funds to publish this way than disciplines such as humanities. Scientific disciplines also lend themselves to shorter research articles that fit well with a journal OA model, while humanities disciplines often publish in monograph lengths, which is too costly for the Gold OA approach. Some new innovations will be needed before Gold OA can be effectively applied to long-form scholarship. For Gold OA publishers to reduce their costs to a level that makes it affordable to publishers, they've had to make changes such as editorial reviews only for methodological rigor and elimination of copyediting. The latter is a particular disadvantage to authors not fluent in English. These limitations of Gold OA require further discussion and experimentation in approaches to overcome them. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO voting members Elsevier and PLOS are mentioned in this article.

Libraries in the Time of MOOCs
EDUCAUSE Review Online, November 4, 2013; by Curtis Kendrick

The advent of massive open online courses (MOOCs) offers librarians opportunities for new roles. "At a session of the recent OCLC conference, MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge? speakers emphasized that librarians are increasingly required to guide faculty on the proper scope of the fair-use provision with respect to copyrighted materials in a MOOC." MOOC participation continues to grow with a number of universities starting to offer credit for courses taken this way. If a student is taking a MOOC course for credit, libraries may be asked to provide some level of access to their licensed electronic resources, which most are not currently in a position to do both for technological and legal reasons. An entirely new licensing model will be required for such remote and international access to resources. One option would be to offer a "premium" service for a fee to students who wish to use the library's resources. This might include search access with additional per item charges for full-text downloads. Authentication credentials might need to be included with the MOOC sign-up for such students, requiring this set of students to be segregated from the larger MOOC population. An appropriate authentication scheme would allow libraries to track MOOC student usage separately from the main student population, which will likely be important for reporting to vendors and ensuring license compliance. Content producers may find this premium opt-in service can bring them additional revenues. MOOCs are still evolving and universities are still experimenting with how or even whether to utilize them. "[T]he type of services that [libraries] will offer to help deliver and create MOOCs will be defined by how this form of online education develops on our campuses. If our institution is a major producer of these courses, then library support might involve the production or provision of ancillary materials or the rights clearance of course materials. If, on the other hand, the institution is primarily a consumer of online education, the library might provide meet-up space, organize course materials, or otherwise support the learning experience." Librarians should join or lead teams that are discussing the use of MOOCs at their institutions, and take advantage of opportunities this may bring for libraries to show additional value to their organization. [Note: An overview of the MOOC environment, marketplace, major vendors, and pros and cons is discussed in the article but not summarized in this abstract, which focused on the library involvement.] (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO Library Standards Alliance members whose parent institutions are mentioned in this article include: Stanford University Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries, Harvard University Library, University of Tennessee of Knoxville Libraries, University of California Irvine Libraries, Georgia Institute of Technology Libraries, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries, and Syracuse University Library. OCLC, also mentioned, is a NISO voting member.

Despite Differences, University Libraries and Presses Partner More Often
Library Journal, November 5, 2013; by Ian Chant

The Purdue University Press began reporting to the library administration in 2009 and their collaborative work provides a model for others in academic publishing to follow. Not only did the move help the press financially, but it has resulted in new ways of managing digital and supplementary content, such as datasets. A partnership with the library can bring the university press more into the mainstream of the university and facilitate greater collaboration with faculty and especially students. Because funding models for presses and libraries are quite different, both sides have a learning curve in understanding the other. Publishers outside the university are also pursuing library partnerships. BioOne launched the online, open access journal Elementa, built on the PLOS digital platform, in partnership with libraries from Dartmouth, University of Michigan, University of Washington, University of Colorado Boulder, and Georgia Institute of Technology. Some universities, such as Amherst University, are creating new presses from within the library, often focused on open access and institutional repositories. Such new presses are often all electronic or use a print-on-demand publisher. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: BioOne, Dartmouth College Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Libraries, PLOS, Purdue University Libraries, University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, and University of Michigan Library are NISO members.