NISO Update @ ALA
Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

June 2013

People often think of a single type of output when it comes to standards development; obviously they think of formal standards. However, there is a continuum of consensus outputs that includes much more than formal specifications. There is no doubt that traditional formal standards are certainly a critical output of NISO's work and will continue to be such. However de jure standards are not the only types of consensus, or indeed, the only work of NISO. There is a variety of reasons why formal specifications are not always an appropriate outcome. The technology might be nascent and not yet implemented or validated in a way that can be finalized and enshrined as a formal standard. Similarly, work that might be well-structured and considered, but not yet implemented, can hardly be called a standard. Additionally, there is a range of practices filling a space around a specification that are not technically normative, nor the core part of the standard, but are informative and descriptive about implementation. Over the past five years, NISO has been focused equally on the development of lower-level consensus efforts as it has been on formally designated standards. This has made our organization and the community stronger, in my opinion.

We have needed work on formal specifications such as SUSHI, DOI, JATS, the DAISY Authoring and Interchange Format, and the forthcoming ResourceSync. Similarly, we have needed to advance community understanding with recommended practices on supplemental journal article materials, institutional identification, knowledgebases with KBART, journal title presentation with PIE-J, and on authentication systems through ESPRESSO. In addition to recommended practices, NISO has focused on the development of research and educational outputs that improve community understanding of NISO initiatives. Education and training is a critical component of standards development and I am proud of the educational program NISO has developed over the past five years. Importantly, the research aspect of NISO's work also advances our understanding of the ways that NISO specifications can be improved or be more efficiently employed.

I am pleased to report that recently NISO's Technical Report and Recommended Practice series took an important step forward this month. Under the expert direction of Adam Chandler at Cornell University, NISO is pleased to publish the final report of the Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics (IOTA) project, along with recommendations for link resolver providers. This project has gathered literally millions of OpenURL resolution logs and conducted an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, working to glean a better understanding of how the community can improve the application of the OpenURL system. This project has fed important information to the KBART initiative as well. The new recommendations will hopefully provide a framework for publishers to better understand the data that they are supplying to the discovery service layers in our community. I commend the report and recommended practice to all in our community. In addition, NISO owes a debt (perhaps better termed "another" debt) of gratitude for Adam Chandler's dedication and thoughtful insight into our understanding of the management of electronic resources.

We look forward to a variety of new research projects advancing within NISO in the coming years. NISO needs to invest not only in gaining consensus when technology is suitably advanced, but it also needs to invest in advancing community understanding and ensure we are working toward goals which will have the greatest impact. The Board of NISO instructed the Architecture Committee to gather information and recommendations about where to invest next. With the help of our three Topic Committees, and a survey of NISO's membership, we are moving closer to identifying our next area of investment. We hope that later this summer we will be in a position to announce some of our findings and the focus of our development program over the coming months and years. It is certainly not too late to contribute your ideas to that process. If you haven't yet provided feedback, please complete the survey and let us know what your ideas are.

I hope that many of you will also be able to join us at the American Library Association meeting later this month. The full program of NISO sessions is on the NISO @ ALA 2013 webpage but I want to particularly recommend to you the free NISO/BISG Changing Standards Landscape forum on Friday afternoon. This will be the seventh annual event of this type and it appears to be one of our strongest yet. You can RSVP here. One of the other things we do at ALA is to hold our NISO Update on Sunday afternoon. Among the things we will be discussing at that session is the successful completion of the IOTA work, in addition to other NISO projects underway. I hope you can join us.

I look forward to seeing many of you.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

Recommended Practice and Technical Report on Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics Published

NISO has published a new recommended practice, Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics (IOTA): Recommendations for Link Resolver Providers (NISO RP-21-2013). These recommendations are the result of a three-year study performed by the NISO IOTA Working Group in which millions of OpenURLs were analyzed and a Completeness Index was developed as a means of quantifying OpenURL quality. By applying this Completeness Index to their OpenURL data and following the recommendations, providers of link resolvers can monitor the quality of their OpenURLs and work with content providers to improve the provided metadata-ultimately resulting in a higher success rate for end users.

The Completeness Index was developed as a method of predicting the success of OpenURLs from a given provider by examining the data elements that provider includes in the OpenURLs from its site. This metric can serve as a tool to help determine which content providers are more likely to cause linking problems due to missing data elements in their OpenURLs and can identify exactly what the problems are. The Recommended Practice explains how to implement the measures so that problems can be clearly identified and steps taken with the content providers to improve the quality of the metadata.

The project is summarized in a technical report, IOTA Working Group Summary of Activities and Outcomes (NISO TR-05-2013), which was published along with the recommended practice. The IOTA Recommended Practice and Technical Report are both available for free download from the IOTA Working Group's page on the NISO website.

June Webinar: A Content Stream Runs Through It: Managing Streaming Media Collections in Libraries

It is estimated that more than 50 percent of academic libraries offer streaming video services, and many faculty are incorporating streaming video content into their classes. Libraries are making excellent strides in supporting this information need.

Join NISO for the June 12 webinar, A Content Stream Runs Through It: Managing Streaming Media Collections in Libraries. Collection and acquisition options and strategies, as well as legal issues associated with streaming video, will be highlighted during the webinar.

Topics and speakers are:

  • Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily: Wading into Streaming Videodeg farrelly, Media Librarian, Arizona State University Libraries

  • Streaming and Digital Collections: Legal Responsibilities and PitfallsTerrence McCormack, Associate Director and Head, M. Robert Koren Center for Clinical Education, Charles B. Sears Law Library, University at Buffalo

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on June 12, 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/BISG 7th Annual Changing Standards Landscape Forum: E-Books: Discovery & Metadata Exchange, File Formats and Functionality, and Meeting Patron Needs

NISO and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) will be holding their 7th Annual Changing Standards Landscape Forum on June 28, 2013, from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. CDT, in Chicago as a pre-conference to the ALA Annual Meeting. This free forum, open to the public, will focus this year on E-Books: Discovery & Metadata Exchange, File Formats and Functionality, and Meeting Patron Needs. Rather than concentrate on differences and divergent needs, the program will highlight the commonalities between publishers and libraries and what each group can learn from the other. In this way, we hope to draw out where cooperative approaches can solve common problems.

Topics and speakers:

  • Bibliographic Roadmap UpdateTodd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

  • Metadata/Linked Data: Guiding Folks to our ResourcesRichard Wallis, Technology Evangelist, OCLC

  • E-Book Discovery and Requirements for MetadataJohn Law, Vice President, Discovery, Serials Solutions

  • File Formats and Functionality: BISG Device Support MatrixLen Vlahos, Executive Director, BISG

  • Reading for All: Accessibility in a Digital WorldSuzy Haines, Digital Content Manager, Benetech, and author of EPUB3 Accessibility Guidelines

  • User Practices and NeedsRoger Schonfeld, Program Director for Libraries, Users, and Scholarly Practices, ITHAKA

This event is free of charge; however, we need to know the attendance for logistics planning, so please RSVP via this short online form.

For more information, visit the event webpage.

New Specs & Standards

EDItEUR, ONIX for Books Codelists Issue 21

This issue introduces a very small number of additional codes requested by national groups, which were agreed upon by the International Steering Committee at its meeting during the London Book Fair. Among the additions are three new product forms (List 7): DO – Digital product license key; ZG – E-book reader; ZH – Tablet computer.

W3C, Two Notes Published by the Government Linked Data Working Group

The W3C Government Linked Data Working Group has published two new Group Notes. The Registered Organization Vocabulary 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. Asset Description Metadata Schema (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.

W3C, User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0 and Implementing UAAG 2.0 Working Drafts

The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (UAWG) published updated Working Drafts of User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0 and Implementing UAAG 2.0, which define how browsers, media players, and other "user agents" should support accessibility for people with disabilities and work with assistive technologies. These drafts have new examples of how UAAG applies in the mobile environment, an updated conformance section, and new definitions of level A, AA, and AAA. Learn more in the call for review e-mail and read about the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

Cottage Labs, ResourceSync Use Case Experimentation

Members of Cottage Labs involved in the NISO ResourceSync project to develop a standard for synchronization of web resources have posted descriptions of several use case test experiments. These include Generating ResourceSync Documents in DSpace, Representing ResourceSync Resources in DSpace, Meeting The OAI-PMH Use Case with ResourceSync, and Serving DSpace Metadata Through ResourceSync.

Media Stories

Digital Content: What's Next
American Libraries E-Content Supplement to June 2013 issue

This third special supplement on ebooks and digital content is introduced by Alan S. Inouye, Program Manager of ALA's Digital Content Initiative, who emphasizes the need for balance between focusing on ebook issues with the Big Six publishers and other developments in the larger space of ebooks. In the article ALA, Future of Libraries, Digital Content, and Ebooks, Barbara Stripling et al. reflect on the work over the past year of the ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group's pursuit of "more aggressive strategies to get ebooks into the hands of library patrons at a reasonable cost." Patrons were educated about high prices of ebooks to libraries as well as about publishers who refused to distribute through libraries. Grassroots librarian and patron involvement was encouraged, media were alerted of the issues, and meetings were held with publishers. While progress was made, much work still needs to be done. Working Directly with Publishers by Rochelle Logan discusses the lessons learned when the Douglas County, Colorado, Libraries worked with various publishers to purchase ebook files. They found that while some of the Big 6 were not receptive, many medium to small publishers were more willing to work with them and even provide a discount. They used a short Statement of Common Understanding rather than a legal contract in making agreements. Clifford A. Lynch discusses what one can expect for Ebooks in 2013 and paints a picture of unmet expectations due to license constraints, non-use of or restrictions on accessibility technology, and, particularly, the limitations placed on libraries to acquire or license ebooks. Ebook users can no longer loan, resell, or often even gift their ebooks to others. Library license renewal requirements make preservation of collections near to impossible, leaving the survival of these works in the hands of the publishers. As ebooks evolve from being a supplementary format to being the only format, "both the access and preservation functions of our libraries will be gravely threatened" by these implicit agreements (referred to by the author as Faustian bargains). James LaRue discusses the library as publisher in Wanna Write a Good One. Libraries should consider taking on roles in encouraging and managing the rising number of self-published e-books. In The Unpackaged Book, Peter Brantley remarks on the new trend of using web technology to publish books, serial publications, mini-magazines, and more, where publications are no longer a single downloadable file but are instead subcompact parts "bound together through hypertext links" and "the publishing platform of the future is the network." Maureen Sullivan et al. reveals how Librarians Working Together outside of their individual library or even consortium silos is essential for taking back control over e-content acquisition and management.
(Link to Web Source)

Spotlight on PRELIDA – Preserving Linked Data
Europeana Professional Blog, May 14, 2013; by Beth Daley

The European Commission-funded project called Preserving Linked Data (PRELIDA) was launched this January and will hold its first major working group meeting this June. "The project aims to build bridges across the digital preservation and linked data communities." With the immense volume of data being stored, exchanged, and consumed, the data economy is expected to outpace the software industry in importance. Linking related data will be critical to the successful implementation and use of this data industry. But the key features of linked data—RDF format, URI identifiers, shared vocabularies—are what also makes this data challenging to preserve. PRELIDA intends to report on the current state of linked data preservation and needs as well as develop a roadmap of the best paths forward to ensure preservation can and will occur. "The main partners for the project are CNR-ISTI (Italian National Research Council of the Institute of Science and Information Technology), APA (the Alliance for Permanent Access), the University of Huddersfield in the UK and the University of Innsbruck in Austria." (Link to Web Source)

Digital Publishing: Are You Getting the Most Out of EPUB 3?
Book Business, May 2013; by Bill Kasdorf

The EPUB 3.0 specification was announced some 18 months ago to huge fanfare. Although there are many systems now available that support EPUB 3 content, many publishers still are not taking advantage of the format. Quite a few tools have appeared to aid content producers including EPUBCheck to find coding errors, the Readium browser plug-in for viewing, many EPUB 3 samples from the IDPF, and the BISG EPUB 3 Support Grid. An EPUB 3 format is actually a collection of organized files packaged and incorporated into a zip file for delivery. The underlying format is based on HTML5, which, unlike previous versions of HTML, allows structural elements to have semantic meaning. EPUB 3 builds on this by including a "Structural Semantics Vocabulary." Navigation is improved, typography and layout are enhanced, and multimedia is supported. All of these features make EPUB 3 very attractive for textbooks, cookbooks, children's books, and others requiring special design. Scripting support allows EPUB 3 content to be interactive. Many of these "extra" features are optional, though, and won't be supported on all reading devices. The recommendation is to use "progress enhancement design"—start with the version having the most commonly supported features and build up to the richer designs. Accessibility for the print-disabled is a major feature of the new format. O'Reilly and IDPF recently published EPUB 3 Best Practices, on which this article was based, to help content creators get the most out of the new specification. The metadata documentation required for producing EPUB 3 content will ensure its findability and usability. (Link to Web Source)

Free-for-All: Open-Access Scientific Publishing Is Gaining Ground
The Economist, May 4th 2013

Government agencies, including the Research Council UK, the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the European Union, are issuing mandates about publishing the results of their funded research free to the public, within a year of the results. They are increasingly being joined by charities and research consortium, such as SCOAP. Commercial publishers, who have made profits for decades by selling these research results, are now competing with organizations that just cover their costs, usually through a model requiring the author to pay for publication. As a result, new open-access ventures are being launched by these commercial organizations. BioMed Central, part of Springer, has over 250 journal titles. Nature Publishing Group bought majority ownership in the Swiss open access platform, Frontiers. Elsevier has doubled the number of its open-access titles. The publications processes are also being changed. Frontiers has peer reviewers check only for accuracy, not for significance, which is now measured by post-publication usage and sharing. PeerJ uses author membership fees, rather than publication charges. Non-commercial open-access publishers are launching new ventures of their own, such as peer-reviewed journals without publication fees (eLife) and the Episciences Project, which will utilize the Cornell University ArXiv repository to store papers the Episciences group has refereed themselves. Open-access journals like Frontiers and PLoS, which accept 80-90% of their submissions, may not have the same "special" perception of journals like Nature and Science that reject 90% of submissions. Such selective review processes, though, are expensive and someone will need to pay if that model continues. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Elsevier and the Cornell University Library are NISO members.

What Governmental Big Data May Mean For Libraries
Library Journal, May 30, 2013; by Meredith Schwartz

CKAN was launched by Data.gov, within a few weeks of President Obama's open data executive order, as a central harvesting source of the expected new data inventories. The announcement memo also revealed tools that federal agencies can use, provided definitions of "information life cycle" and "open data," and emphasized the data would be both open and machine-readable. Free Government Information co-founder James A. Jacobs noted that libraries have an opportunity to provide preservation and user services that were not mandated in the Executive Order. James R. Jacobs at Stanford University Libraries also emphasizes the opportunities for libraries, particularly in "metadata standards, metadata creation, preservation, and managing the whole information life cycle." Some concerns were expressed about the mention of the use of open licenses, which would imply that the default is for closed access. Jacobs (Stanford) wants users of public domain data to be required to keep any re-uses of it also public domain. Data.gov is not currently compliant with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) standard. GPO is a possible additional repository for this government data, but their trusted digital repository process was placed on hold with the sequester. Keith Curry Lance of RSL Research Group is more cautious about how the open data policy will be implemented, expressing concerns about response time for information requests. He also points out that the directive does not cover existing historical data, only new datasets. Richard Pearce-Moses of Clayton State University questions where agencies, especially at state levels, are going to obtain the funds for implementation.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Stanford University Libraries is a NISO LSA member. For more on Research Data Curation, register for NISO's two-part September webinar, where Part 1 will discuss E-Science Librarianship and Part 2 will focus on Libraries and Big Data.