Welcome New LSA Members
Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter


October 2013

Does "one size fits all" ever really work? Anyone who has purchased clothing that states that claim on its label knows that isn't always the case. But it seems an odd question for the head of a standards organization to make, because that is, in part, what standards are meant to do. The distinction is how broadly you classify "one size." A specification might work for one community or one niche, say trade book publishing, but not magazine publishing or dataset publishing. It is these distinctions that often drive the variety of specifications in our community. Metadata for sales purposes (for example, ONIX) might work in some use cases, but not as well in others (such as for bibliographic description). There may be overlaps and cross-over opportunities, but the complete set of vocabularies or structures eventually narrow down to use-specific needs, which require tweaking or new specifications.

Balancing the competing needs of universality and specificity is the challenge of each standards organization. This was the point of a panel presentation that I gave last month at the W3C Publishing and the Open Web Platform workshop in Paris. As digital publishing has evolved from its earliest days, the tools and structures that publishers use to produce their content have grown more robust and widespread. Content providers are also butting up against the commercial needs and expectations of a more varied and diverse content delivery community. How realistic is it to expect that tools optimized for data management, video distribution, or selling auto parts will be simultaneously optimized for the textual display of every form of content in every language?

This seems to be the direction in which some technologists are hoping to head—to be fair, the demands of consumers are driving this too—while failing to recognize the significant challenges of retooling systems for each technological shift, the very specific needs of content producers, and the varying expectations of content consumers of information. Another challenge is ensuring that community groups are represented and present in the room when these conversations are underway. This appears to be one of the faults of the W3C effort to define publishing standards; there was dearth of publishers in the room participating in the discussions. Use cases that are not forcefully argued "in the room"—virtually or not—are either dismissed or not considered. Certainly, every standards initiative has this challenge: only those constituencies that are active can be represented. I fear that in the balance of competing interests, standards developed specifically for the needs of technology companies and large media markets will under-support the needs of cultural institutions and specialized publishers, particularly if those interests cannot or choose not to participate.

The question remains: how do we bring together creators, intermediaries, and end-users? As an accredited ANSI standards developer, NISO makes aggressive attempts to bring those groups together in all our initiatives. We are also committed to bringing that diversity of views to all the work we engage in. One example of this is the formation of a new ISO joint working group to internationalize the EPUB 3.0 standard that was just announced this week. We have been pushing to engage both the traditional publishing and library communities in the software and device manufacturing communities in this international effort. I encourage all of you to consider how you might contribute to that effort.

Another effort that will be kicking off next month, where NISO is endeavoring to bring together these groups, is the brainstorming effort that is Phase 1 of the alternative assessment initiative. The first in-person meeting will take place next week on October 9 in San Francisco. Other meetings will be held in Washington, DC on December 11 and in Philadelphia on January 23-24, 2014. Assessment touches not only software providers and content providers, but also consumers of assessment criteria such as administrators and grant funding bodies. To this point, not all of these groups have been engaged in discussions about new assessment forms, or altmetrics. Again, we hope a diverse group of you will contribute your ideas to this project as well. If you can't join us in-person, there will be a virtual stream of the October San Francisco meeting, so you don't need to be "in the room" to provide your ideas and thoughts. Please RSVP here.

Finally, we are pleased to announce our 2014 schedule of educational events. This is another way in which our diverse information exchange community can learn about technology impacting them. In the coming year, NISO will provide another terrific program to the community. Library Standards Alliance Members receive the entire program of monthly NISO webinars as part of their membership. More information about the program is available on the NISO website.

I look forward to hearing your ideas and to seeing your name on one of our working group rosters!

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

Free Training Webinar for the ONIX-PL Encodings Project

In April 2013, NISO was awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to encode a collection of template licenses for e-resources into the ONIX for Publications Licenses (ONIX-PL) format and deposit the encodings into the GOKb and KB+ knowledgebase for free distribution to the library, publishing, and library systems community. Selden Lamoureux (SDLinforms) was hired by NISO to undertake the encodings.

On October 3 from 1:00-2:00 p.m., NISO will hold the first of several planned virtual training sessions to discuss the project and explain how to use the encodings. In this first session, Todd Carpenter will provide an overview of the ONIX-PL standard, followed by a presentation by Selden Lamoureux reporting on the project work to date, the timeline, and the plan for additional training sessions.

This training event will be provided as a webinar and is free to attend. Registration is required so that we can send the relevant connection and call-in information to all interested attendees. For more information and to register, visit the ONIX-PL Encodings project webpage.

The webinar will be recorded and made freely available on the NISO website for those who are unable to attend the live presentation.

NISO Altmetrics Project First Meeting Scheduled for October 9 in San Francisco

As previously announced, NISO is undertaking—with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation—a two-phase initiative to explore, identify, and advance standards and/or best practices related to a new suite of assessment metrics for the scholarly community. The first phase of the project is intended to expose areas for potential standardization and collectively prioritize those potential projects.

The first in-person meeting in support of this work will take place on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 in San Francisco. The objectives of this one-day meeting will include a short opening keynote on topic of assessment, lightning talks on related projects, brainstorming for identification of topics for discussion, and prioritizing proposed work items. Attendance is free but space may be limited; to reserve your place, fill out the online registration form. NISO will also live-stream the event, and those recordings will be available on the NISO website.

Two additional meetings have also been scheduled: December 11, 2013 in Washington, D.C. and January 23-24, 2014 in Philadelphia. RSVP forms are available for both.

Visit the project webpage for more information and to access the RSVP forms.

October Webinar: Knowledge in Your Pocket: Mobile Technology and Libraries

Mobile technology has become the preferred method for connecting to the Internet, especially for busy library patrons, faculty, researchers, and students. To meet this need, many publishers are adding mobile options to their resources, either through an app, site optimization, or other platforms.

Attend NISO's webinar, Knowledge in Your Pocket: Mobile Technology and Libraries, on October 9 and hear discussions on how libraries are managing the various mobile options now available for their users, how librarians are keeping up with this modern trend, and what skills are necessary to deliver enhanced user services.

Topics and speakers are:

  • Libraries on the Run: Adding Mobile Access to Academic LibrariesTerry Ballard, Special Projects Librarian at the College of New Rochelle

  • Using Mobile Technology for Assessment, Data Visualization, and AdvocacyRachel Besara, Assistant Librarian, Strozier Library, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

  • mHealth and mLearning: Global and Local Initiatives and Strategy at Penn LibrariesAnne K. Seymour, Associate Director, Biomedical Library, University of Pennsylvania

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on October 9, 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. (The LSA member webinar contact will automatically receive the login information.) All webinar registrants and LSA webinar contacts receive access to the recorded version for one year. Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

NISO Virtual Conference: Revolution or Evolution: The Organizational Impact of Electronic Content

The impact of electronic content cannot be understated. Through constantly evolving technologies, electronic content has made its way into almost every facet of our lives. Platforms are evolving and improving at a breakneck pace, prices for devices are accessible in a way that they weren't just a few years ago, the e-content is becoming richer and more interactive, and publishers are developing profitable business models to respond. Many higher education institutions find it an ongoing challenge to respond to the latest technology changes. Compounding this problem is the fact that electronic content has now become a priority and expectation for the academic and publishing community.

NISO's third virtual conference—to be held on October 16, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)—examines the issues and opportunities this rapid growth of electronic content has presented and challenged our community with, as well as thoughts on the future and how information organizations can successfully serve their patrons.

Topics and speakers are:

  • Keynote: Envisioning a 21st Century Information OrganizationDavid W. Lewis, Dean of the Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) University Library

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services: Supporting Institutions in Meeting 21st Century ChallengesRobert Horton, Associate Deputy Director, Office of Library Services, Institute of Museum and Library Services

  • Library/Press Collaborations: Serving A Spectrum of Scholarly Publishing NeedsCharles Watkinson, Director, Purdue University Press, Head of Scholarly Publishing Services, Purdue Libraries

  • The Impact of Cloud, Mobile, and Managing the Changing Platforms of Digital CollectionsCarl Grant, Associate Dean, Knowledge Services & Chief Technology Officer, University of Oklahoma Libraries

  • Good Connections Are Always Worth Preserving: Publishing and Social TechnologiesJill O'Neill, Director of Planning & Communication, NFAIS

  • Latest Trends in Data Analysis for the Scholarly and Academic Publishing CommunityLee-Ann Coleman, PhD, Head of Science, Technology and Medicine, The British Library

  • Looking to the Future: What's the Mindset for a Successful Information Organization?Keith Webster, Dean of the Libraries, Carnegie Mellon University

  • Conference Roundtable

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on October 15, 2013 (the day before the virtual conference). Discounts are available for NISO members and students. All virtual conference registrants receive access to the recorded version for one year. Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

NISO/DCMI Webinar: Metadata for Public Sector Administration

One key challenge for e-government programs around the world has been the lack of easily accessible information about the metadata schemas, controlled vocabularies, code lists, and other reference data that provide interoperability among a broad diversity of data sources. Libraries that collect government information will benefit if such information is based on a common set of these "interoperability assets," making it easier to aggregate information from multiple sources.

Join NISO and DCMI on October 30 for the webinar Metadata for Public Sector Administration, which introduces the Asset Description Metadata Schema (ADMS) and discusses examples of its implementation. ADMS was developed for exchanging common reference data. The schema was developed with support from the European Commission with the objective of facilitating interoperability across e-government programs in Europe, but it is already proving its usefulness in a wider context, for example to describe specifications maintained by DCMI and W3C. One key implementation of ADMS is a federation of semantic asset repositories on the Joinup server.

Speakers are:

  • Makx Dekkers, an independent information professional who has been the editor in the development and consensus process for ADMS.

  • Stijn Goedertier, Manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers Belgium, and a key participant in the ADMS project.

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on October 30 (the day of the webinar). Discounts are available for NISO and DCMI members and students. All registrants receive access to the recorded archive for one year. Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

Book Industry Study Group Metadata Committee, Best Practices for Product Metadata: Guide for North American Data Senders and Recipients

BISG's Product Metadata Best Practices was first published in 2005 and provided a clear roadmap for accurate data throughout the supply chain in order to increase efficiency between trading partners and to improve discoverability. This new edition outlines practices that address the sometimes competing interests for both senders and recipients. It reflects the current state of digital workflows and will be updated frequently to keep them relevant to the changing business and technology environment. It combines recommendations for both data senders and receivers in one handbook. It includes better support for digital products; the use of marketing data points for increased discovery; usage tips and links for ONIX 3.0; and covers both Canadian and US markets.

Cloud Security Alliance, Cloud Controls Matrix, Version 3.0

Provides fundamental security principles to guide cloud vendors and to assist prospective cloud customers in assessing the overall security risk of a cloud provider. The foundations of the Cloud Security Alliance Controls Matrix rest on its customized relationship to other industry-accepted security standards, regulations, and controls frameworks such as the ISO 27001/27002, ISACA COBIT, PCI, NIST, Jericho Forum and NERC CIP. It is intended to augment or provide internal control direction for service organization control report attestations provided by cloud providers. Version 3.0 includes five new control domains (mobile security; supply chain management, transparency & accountability; interoperability & portability; and encryption & key management), improved harmonization with the Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Cloud Computing v3, improved control auditability throughout the control domains, and an expanded control identification naming convention.

Call for participation – ISO/IEC Joint Working Group re EPUB 3 and METS

NISO is issuing a call for participation in a new joint working group (JWG) between the ISO TC46/SC4 (Technical interoperability) committee and two other committees – ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 (Document description and processing languages) and IEC/TC 100/TA10 (Multimedia e-publishing and e-book technologies). This JWG will initially investigate the means for improving the archivability of EPUB 3 through the creation of a METS profile. The scope of the JWG may later be extended to other file formats such as OOXML and ODF; the charter of the group has intentionally been left generic to allow for future efforts. TC46/SC4 will have primary responsible for METS profiling. Metadata requirements for long-term preservation will be established jointly. Please consider nominating persons who have experience in long-term preservation in general and in METS usage in particular. Familiarity with textMD (Technical metadata for text) and PREMIS preservation metadata specifications is a bonus. A document describing the JWG is available on the NISO website.

These groups do most of their work via teleconference or videoconference, but may occasionally meet in person. However, attendance at the in-person meetings is not a requirement for participation. NISO can only nominate individuals from the U.S. If someone outside the U.S. is interested in participating, that person needs to contact his/her national standards body. To nominate yourself, please use NISO's web comment form. (NISO members of the U.S. TC46 TAG should use the online ballot; refer to the e-mail you received about this ballot.) Include the name and full contact information for the nominee. Also, include a brief description of the individual's expertise as related to the group's planned work regarding EPUB 3 and METS. We will only be able to nominate 2-3 people, so this description will be needed to identify the best-qualified participants. Deadline for nominations is October 18, 2013.

Media Stories

How the Marrakesh Treaty Opens Vistas for Print-Disabled Readers
American Libraries, September/October 2013; by Jonathan Band

At a June 28, 2013 conference of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled was adopted. Signing countries agree to exceptions to their copyright laws for the provision of accessible-format versions of documents. Currently, many copyright laws prevent the creation of accessible formats, such as Braille [or DAISY], or the import/export of such formats. The treaty utilizes the same three-step test as in the Berne Copyright Convention to specify minimum exception requirements. The treaty was based on a U.S. proposal that is very similar to the Chafee Amendment to the US Copyright Act. Although 51 countries have already signed, formal ratification is necessary and 20 countries need to ratify before the treaty takes effect. Due to the Chafee Amendment, the U.S. can ratify without having to pass any additional legislation. The treaty expands the Chafee Amendment by allowing more imports of accessible-formats created in other countries. (Link to Web Source)

Don't Dumb Down: A New Mantra for the Mobile Web
American Libraries, September/October 2013; by Bohyun Kim

Early interface designs for mobile devices were based on the assumption that users would be doing simple tasks and would be in a hurry. Actual behavior with smartphones has shown the error of these assumptions. Luke Wroblewski in Mobile First identifies four types of mobile users: Lookup/Find, Explore/Play, Check In/Status, and Edit/Create. Many of these tasks can be complex or longer duration than a few minutes. A significant number of smartphone users only access the Internet through their mobile device (some 20% in the US and UK; over 50% in Asia and Africa) and many use them heavily at home—not just when away. This trend is also true of library users. Tablets are blurring the boundaries between desktop and mobile devices. "That is why offering only a basic set of information and limited features on the mobile web is no longer a viable strategy." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: To learn more about how libraries are utilizing mobile technology, attend NISO's October 9 webinar Knowledge in Your Pocket: Mobile Technology and Libraries.

Patron-Driven Acquisition of E-Books Satisfies Users' Needs While Also Building the Library's Collection
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 8 (3), 2013; by Giovanna Badia

The University of Iowa Library conducted a one-year pilot using patron-driven acquisition for e-books. A selection of some 12,000 titles was chosen from ebrary and loaded into the library's catalog. After 10 clicks by users on any of the pages of an e-book, the book was automatically purchased. The library acquired 850 e-books via PDA, spending approximately $90,000 ($106 average per book). The subject areas most frequently acquired this way were in medicine, sociology, economics, and education. Standardized test preparation workbooks accounted for two of the top three titles. Where a print copy of a purchased e-book already existed in the library's collection, circulation of the print editions dropped 70%. The library also subscribed to ebrary's Academic Complete collection; 15% of those titles were used during the study. The authors conclude that PDA "can be a useful and effective tool for meeting user needs and building the local collection," particularly in "satisfying the sometimes unrecognized demand for interdisciplinary materials often overlooked through traditional selection methods." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO's working group on Demand-Driven Acquisition (DDA) of Monographs is developing recommended practices for managing patron-driven acquisition models.

How Portable Are the Metadata Standards for Scientific Data? A Proposal for a Metadata Infrastructure
International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, Lisbon, Portugal, September 2013; by Jian Qin, Kai Li

Metadata standards for scientific data can be quite complex in the number of elements and their formats and syntactic relationships. The Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, for example, lists over 300 potential elements that need to be described. Most existing standards are for datasets at the end of the research process to enable preservation and reuse. A number of standards, e.g. ORCID and DOI, require the development and maintenance of a supporting infrastructure. "Metadata infrastructure by definition implies that metadata elements, vocabularies, entities, and other metadata artifacts are established as the underlying foundation upon which the tools and applications as well as functions of metadata services are built." Both semantic and technical components need to be addressed. Portability of metadata standards can be assessed by looking at the co-occurrence of semantic elements and the degree of modularity. Using these criteria, 16 different metadata standards were analyzed with a total of 5800 elements. Elements were grouped into 9 categories: administrative, context, descriptive, geospatial, generic, identify, semantic, temporal, and technical. The highest occurrences of elements were in the descriptive, generic, identity, and technical categories and match closely to the elements in the Dublin Core and DataCite standards. No elements co-occurred in all 16 standards, however Description and Title appeared in 10 standards. "The overall distribution of frequencies of co-occurrences is highly skewed with a very long tail," i.e., 2/3 of elements existed in only one standard. Only six of the standards had XML schemas available, a necessary criterion for assessing modularity. The current practice of developing domain-specific metadata standards has created many name variances for the same elements, as well as a large number of unique elements. Many of these standards are complex and difficult to use by both humans and machine programs. Identity metadata (through ORCID and DOI) present the possibility of becoming a separate infrastructure service that is not duplicated within the scientific metadata standard. None of the studied standards are taking advantage of this capability as yet. The study "findings so far suggest that a standardized, general semantic layer is both necessary and feasible for building a metadata infrastructure." A large gap exists between the existence of metadata vocabularies and elements and services that can easily use the metadata as part of a larger Semantic Web. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Two NISO standards were included in this study: The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (ANSI/NISO Z39.85) and Data Dictionary – Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images (ANSI/NISO Z39.87).

The Conversations We're Not Having – Overcoming Uncertainty, Chilling Effects, and Open Access Complacency
The Scholarly Kitchen, September 9, 2013; by Kent Anderson

Open access (OA) is being talked about everywhere but some critical discussions surrounding this topic are being avoided. The Budapest Open Access Declaration and the Bethesda Statement on Open Access are both over ten years old and don't address some evolving aspects of OA. The pros and cons of OA should be openly discussed without labeling positions as pro- or anti-OA. Libraries could be particularly hard-hit from an OA message that says subscription resources will no longer be needed. Funding could increasingly be taken away from libraries and moved to support institutional OA costs, a model that could ultimately be more expensive than subscriptions currently are. In the political realm, the perception that OA is adding value to taxpayer expenditures on research could be misleading, as government funding for OA could lead to more taxes. Professional societies often depend on subscription revenue and can focus on the quality of their publications in a competitive marketplace. An OA model with revenue from authors could encourage quantity over quality. Editors' roles in OA are greatly reduced and peer review becomes more about validation. Among OA advocates, many critical issues need discussion including predatory publishers, costs to taxpayers, impact on grant funding, sustainability, affordability, and whether it is ultimately good for science and research. For OA to become mainstream and a workable model, these discussions must take place openly, without fear. Questions and evidence-based data need to be welcomed even if the conclusions don't match some of the original designs. (Link to Web Source)