LSA Welcome
Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

May 2013

Knowing when the time is right for formal standardization is as much art as it is science. Simply because the community can sense a problem and can even envision or agree on a solution, does not necessarily mean that the solution will be incorporated into systems or that it will have widespread adoption. It is nearly impossible to know exactly when we are at the tipping point of demand, need, interest, and engagement all coalescing to make an initiative successful. Often, the best we can do is simply to keep pushing until that critical mass is reached.

Such is the case with license encoding. NISO has been engaged in this topic for a bit more than a decade now. First as part of the DLF ERMI initiative, then with the now defunct License Expression working group that was succeeded by the ONIX for Publications Licenses (ONIX-PL) working group, NISO and a group of dedicated organizations have been pushing the community toward adoption of machine-readable license term encoding to improve license management and patron adherence to agreed terms.

Finally, with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and JISC Collections, we may have reached a breakthrough point on adoption of encoded licenses. A few weeks ago, NISO announced the launch of a project to gather and encode publishers' template licenses, then post those encodings for all to import into their electronic resource management systems. Following the success that JISC Collections has had with sharing of license encodings among JISC member institutions, NISO will be extending that model using template licenses and making them more widely available. Templates are available for all to read and as a rule do not contain confidential business terms between publishers and individual institutions. They serve as a baseline for negotiations, but in most cases the final agreed-upon terms are not radically different from the template. By encoding the template licenses and distributing them freely from the central repositories GoKB and KB+, we hope to complete the initial 80-90% of the work of encoding that would be necessary for ERM librarians. Once a library has agreed to a license (or even before negotiation starts), a librarian can import the relevant template encoding into the local system and then make the minor adjustments required to match the negotiated license terms. This should save countless hours by the community and will hopefully encourage all systems suppliers to build the functionality necessary to import license terms into their software. More information about the project is available on the NISO website. Later this year, we will be posting a variety of training resources to that webpage to educate the community on how to use these newly-created encodings.

Another topic, whose time may have finally arrived, is digital annotations. This idea was embedded in the core notions of what the World Wide Web should be and would become in Sir Tim Berners-Lee's original research paper at CERN describing an interconnected "mesh" of scientific documents. This work has been continued by a dedicated group of supporters, some of whom (including me) met in San Francisco last month to discuss the state-of-the-art with digital annotations, where they can be applied, and what tools are being advanced. That meeting, iAnnotate, was another great example of how a committed group is continuing to advance an approach to technology that one day—hopefully soon—will push through to a tipping point. I summarized the meeting in a post yesterday in the SSP Scholarly Kitchen blog, where I regularly contribute. Your thoughts about the work, both at NISO and elsewhere would be extremely valuable. Please contribute your ideas in the comments on that blog post.

Looking back a few years from now, let's hope we can say that 2013 was the tipping point for both the ONIX-PL and the digital annotation initiatives.

On a final note, I would like to congratulate Barbara Preece, Director, Loyola/Notre Dame Library (MD) on her election as Vice President/President-Elect of OCLC Global Council. Barbara currently serves NISO as the Chair of our Board of Directors. We wish her luck in this role serving the OCLC community.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

Bibliographic Roadmap Development Project Meeting Report

On Monday and Tuesday, April 15-16, NISO hosted the first meeting of its Bibliographic Roadmap Development project, a project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Participants at this open meeting were both onsite in Baltimore and virtual, watching and communicating via Ustream and Twitter. The goal of the Bibliographic Roadmap project, as described in the grant application, is "to collectively determine the needs and requirements of the library, higher education, and non-profit networked information communities to ensure they are able to use and exchange bibliographic data in an increasingly networked, linked data environment." The initiative endeavors to bring together representatives from various communities who will be impacted by this new environment to better understand what will be necessary to support the most efficient work.

The meeting consisted of a series of brainstorming exercises, in which participants contributed ideas. Once these items were sorted into themes, smaller breakout groups discussed the issues at greater length, fleshing them out into the general categories of: goals, business models, interoperability, prototyping, open/shared, rules, provenance/authority, and users. All material from the meeting, including notes and video recordings, is available at the project page. Next steps will be the organization of several follow-up discussions via WebEx/conference call, which will be announced to the project mailing list, and the drafting of a report to the Mellon Foundation.

NISO May Webinar: Taking Full Advantage: Discovery of Open Access Content

The publication and management of Open Access material now plays a central role in the academic research infrastructure, although its impact may differ across disciplines. If, as Heather Joseph of SPARC has written in College and Research Library News, "the full accessibility and utility of articles is a critical part of the design of the research system," then how can the library ensure that this material, which may be generated via an array of various processes from multiple sources, is easily available for its patrons to discover and use?

Join NISO's presenters on May 8, 2013, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT, for the webinar Taking Full Advantage: Discovery of Open Access Content for a lively discussion on this timely topic.

  • Supporting the Library in the Discovery and Re-use of Open Access ContentWilliam Gunn, Head of Academic Outreach, Mendeley
  • Ex Libris Primo Support for Open AccessTamar Sadeh, PhD, Director of Marketing – Ex Libris
  • An Astronomy Library's Quest for Greater Access to Literature and DataChristopher Erdmann, Head Librarian, The John G. Wolbach Library Harvard – Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

For more information and registration, visit the event webpage.

NISO/DCMI May Webinar: Semantic Mashups Across Large, Heterogeneous Institutions: Experiences from the VIVO Service

NISO and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative will be holding a joint webinar on May 22, 2013, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT, on Semantic Mashups Across Large, Heterogeneous Institutions: Experiences from the VIVO Service.

VIVO is a semantic web application focused on discovering researchers and research publications in the life sciences. The service, which uses open-source software originally developed and implemented at Cornell University, operates by harvesting data about researcher interests, activities, and accomplishments from academic, administrative, professional, and funding sources. Using a built-in, editable ontology for describing things such as People, Courses, and Publications, data is transformed into a Semantic-Web-compliant form. VIVO provides automated and self-updating processes for improving data quality and authenticity. Starting with a classic Google-style search box, VIVO users can browse search results structured around people, research interests, courses, publications, and the like—data that can be exposed for re-use by other systems in a machine-readable format.

This webinar will be presented by John Fereira, a veteran at the Albert R. Mann Library Information Technology Services department at Cornell, where the VIVO project was born. He presents the perspective of a software developer on the practicalities of building a high-quality Semantic-Web search service on existing data maintained in dozens of formats and software platforms at large, diverse institutions. The talk will highlight services that leverage the Semantic Web platform in innovative ways, e.g., for finding researchers based on the text content of a particular webpage and for visualizing networks of collaboration across institutions.

For more information and registration, visit the event webpage.

NISO 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, 2013, webinar A Content Stream Runs Through It: Managing Streaming Media Collections in Libraries—to be held from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT— to learn about collection and acquisition options and strategies, as well as legal issues associated with streaming video.

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

For more information and registration, visit the event webpage.

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/Discovery/Linked Data – Speaker TBA
  • 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
  • DAISY/Accessibility in EPUBSuzy Haines, Digital Content Manager, Benetech, and author of EPUB3 Accessibility Guidelines
  • User Engagement and Patron NeedsRoger Schonfeld, 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.

NISO @ ALA Annual

Visit NISO at Booth #1564.

NISO will be holding the following sessions at ALA that are open to the public:

  • NISO Annual Update – Sunday, June 30,, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
  • NISO Bibliographic Roadmap Development project – Monday, July 1, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

A number of NISO committees and working groups will also be meeting in Chicago. Visit the NISO @ ALA webpage for a list of all the NISO sessions and meetings, their locations, and other standards-related sessions of interest to the NISO community.

New Specs & Standards

Book Industry Study Group, Pilot Draft of Thema Global Subject Codes Published

The Thema standard is intended to provide a single unified scheme for the categorization of book content for the global book trade. By combining a robust selection of shared subject categories with an expansive list of subject qualifiers ontaining national variants and extensions, Thema provides a structure that has global application while meeting local needs. The hope is that additional national groups from countries around the world will review, comment on, and ultimately adopt the Thema standard. Interested communities are urged to treat this initial draft as a beta version. The draft is available for download from the Panthema website.

ISO/IEC 10918-5:2013, Information technology – Digital compression and coding of continuous-tone still images: JPEG File Interchange Format (JFIF)

This new international standard specifies the JPEG File Interchange Format (JFIF), a minimal file format to enable JPEG bitstreams to be exchanged between a wide variety of platforms and applications. JFIF files are compressed using the techniques in the JPEG standard; hence JFIF is sometimes referred to as "JPEG/JFIF".

Media Stories

So That's What "RAND" Means?: A Brief Report on the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in Microsoft v. Motorola
PatentlyO [blog], April 27, 2013; by Jorge L. Contreras

The April 25 finding in the patent litigation between Microsoft and Motorola (since acquired by Google) over smartphones is the first case law that addresses the reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) licensing when a patent is part of an industry standard. Standards organizations typically require organizations that participate in standards development to agree to RAND (or FRAND, which is "fair" RAND) licensing of any of their patents that are critical to complying with the standard. The Microsoft/Motorola case resulted when Microsoft was unhappy with the royalty formula related to the ITU H.264 video coding and the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standards, claiming the royalties were not reasonable. The decision by Judge Robart offers a precedent for future RAND disputes. The decision specifically cites the benefits from widespread standards adoption where RAND royalties can be necessary to ensure such adoption. Where multiple patent holders are involved, the aggregation of royalties (referred to as "royalty stacking") must be taken into consideration when any individual royalty is determined. Judge Robart also emphasized that the assessed royalty must correspond to the value that the particular technology provides to the overall standard. The judge did a lengthy calculation of what royalty range from Motorola would be RAND for this case and "sets out, for the first time, a logical and consistent methodology for computing a RAND royalty." It is uncertain whether that methodology will become a widely used guideline for future disputes, due to its complexity and the difficulty in determining a particular patent's value with respect to a standard. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Microsoft is a NISO voting member.

Separated At Birth: Library and Publisher Metadata
The Digital Shift, April 29, 2013; by Julie Halverstadt and Nancy Kall

In acquiring (rather than licensing) some 22,000 electronic titles directly from publishers, the Douglas County Libraries in Castle Rock, Colorado, needed an effective way of obtaining MARC records for the titles for import into their catalog. Many publishers provided their metadata in the ONIX for Books format and even then there were differences in the versions and elements used. A consultant was used to create a crosswalk between the received ONIX records and the desired MARC records. Using the MarcEdit tool, the library also developed a method to convert data received in a structured spreadsheet they developed. Some 56% of publishers ended up supplying their metadata in the spreadsheet format, 16% in ONIX, and 28% provided MARC records. Since batch loading of metadata is necessary for efficiency, quality control editing is also done in a batch mode. Challenges encountered when working with ONIX data include: the use of BISAC rather than LC subject headings, names inconsistent with the LC NACO authority file (which could make a physical book and an electronic book appear to have different authors), inclusion of HTML tags or "non-MARC" UTF-8 characters due to copying data from a web environment, and mismatches between the metadata and the actual content file. The required turn-around to get new e-content cataloged and available to patrons reduces the amount of record clean-up that can be done and additional automated processes are being developed to deal with repeat issues, as well as a database maintenance project. Once the clean-up projects are completed (which will be done by publisher), the records will be added to the OCLC holdings. Workflow and procedures are continually fine-tuned as the library works with more publishers and lessons are learned on both sides. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more on the metadata "gap" between libraries and publishers, see NISO's white paper Streaming Book Metadata Workflow by Judy Luther. NISO members mentioned in this article include: Gale (Cengage), Library of Congress, and OCLC.

Discovering Reciprocity
Library Journal, April 16, 2013; by Michael Kelley

Web-scale discovery systems are a major topic of discussion by libraries, as was evident at the March Electronic Resources & Libraries conference in Austin. Amira Aaron (Northeastern University) was the sole librarian on one panel and emphasized her concerns that "the players, the content providers, the aggregators, are not playing with each other's discovery systems." Liane Taylor (Texas State University - San Marcos) spoke on another panel where she presented data showing that their EBSCO Discovery Service was successfully retrieving non-EBSCO content in the top 50 results. This belies the belief that discovery vendors may be biasing searches in favor of their own content. NISO's Open Discovery Initiative was established to address some of the cross-vendor issues in discovery services. These services are critical to libraries in competing with Google as their patrons' preferred search. It is to the vendors' benefit to cooperate in making web-scale discovery products that will aid libraries in providing search across all their resources. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more information on the NISO Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), visit their workroom webpage. NISO members mentioned in this article are: EBSCO, Ex Libris, ITHAKA, ProQuest, and Serials Solutions.

The Many Faces of Article-Level Metrics
Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology, April/May 2013; by Jennifer Lin and Martin Fenner

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) utilizes both traditional citation metrics as well as alternative metrics (altmetrics) for its articles. While a single metric might be expedient, different things need to be measured that can't be done with a single metric. Early attention to an article is best demonstrated in social media sharing and web views of the article, including the ratio of HTML views to PDF downloads. Scholarly bookmarking services like Mendeley and CiteULike take longer to demonstrate interest in an article but don't diminish as quickly as social media mentions. Interestingly, Mendeley references and citation counts do not have a strong correlation, while usage (HTML views and PDF downloads) do correlate well with scholarly citations. Non-scholarly citations through blog posts, while fewer in number, provide a more in-depth discussion of articles. The time lag in measuring scholarly citation impact is two to five years. A suite of metrics might be the most relevant approach to address the various audiences, dimensions, and timeframes. PLOS now provides "signposts" for each article that include "an aggregated view of usage stats, social shares, academic bookmarks and scholarly citations." Such a set of metrics provide a broader outlook and allow the use of the metric most relevant to a particular user and purpose. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology April/May 2013 is a special issue on Altmetrics: What, Why and Where?, with additional articles that may be of interest to Newsline subscribers. NISO will be holding a webinar on October 9 on New Perspectives on Assessment How Altmetrics Measure Scholarly Impact; registration is open now.

A Matter of Perspective – Elsevier Acquires Mendeley… or, Mendeley Sells Itself to Elsevier
The Scholarly Kitchen, April 8, 2013; by Kent Anderson

Mendeley, both a reference manager and social network, was acquired by Elsevier at a price that equates to about $30-45 per current user. Victor Hennning from Mendeley and Olivier Dumon from Elsevier were interviewed by the author about the deal. Elsevier has publicly confirmed its commitment to the Mendeley freemium model and has already boosted the allowable storage maximums. A Mendeley blog post stated that, "Mendeley will become Elsevier's central workflow, collaboration, and networking platform, while we continue on our mission of making science more open and collaborative." Elsevier did not commit to whether the Mendeley Institutional Edition would be included in any future "Big Deal" licenses, although the author predicts this will happen. While Mendeley has not yet been the target of lawsuits over copyright and licensing of full-text content, the Elsevier acquisition may open up this avenue since Elsevier has bigger pockets. Elsevier's Dumon indicated a need to do better user validation with Mendeley but also felt the company would "drive traffic to publisher's Web sites," which should reduce potential lawsuits. The author, however, has concerns about the continued viability and availability of PDF sharing through Mendeley. Perhaps publicly available usage data would alleviate some concerns about how much sharing is occurring and of what. Elsevier's "Article of the Future" work was cited as a model for how the content format in Mendeley may move beyond PDF, likely with more emphasis on HTML. Dumon and Henning also confirmed that the product will continue to be publisher neutral. Whether the various publishers will be neutral about Elsevier's ownership of Mendeley remains to be seen. The recent Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) mandate could offer the opportunity for Mendeley to become a cross-discipline archive of literature (like PubMed is for biomedicine) and "a discipline-spanning scientific search engine to end all search engines." Elsevier has already demonstrated their interest in this arena with their Clinical Key search product. Developments following this acquisition will be worth watching. (Link to Web Source)