Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

September 2013

Many libraries are wrestling with understanding a potential new responsibility within their institutions: data management. While records management has always been an activity that libraries and archives have undertaken, the management of digital resources, including datasets, is rapidly becoming a service that is being recognized as a critical component of the management of a modern information organization—be that an academic institution, a corporation, a government agency, or an association supporting a research community. Data management is rising in importance due to the inclusion of requirements from several funding bodies for data management strategies as part of their grant proposals. The importance of this issue came to the forefront earlier this year with the release of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy memo directing agencies to develop strategies for increasing access to and discovery of scientific research products funded by the federal government. Several potential solutions are available, and libraries and archives could play an important role in this process.

Data preservation and management bring with them a variety of challenges that traditional analog archives do not present. Preservation of digital content requires strategies and practices for forward migration of the content. The scale and pace of data creation poses challenges for the infrastructure. Privacy, access, and data controls add another layer of complexity and potential legal liability. There are also large cultural implications of operating in a world that includes data, not just publications. The tie between traditional publications and associated supplemental materials is one example of this type of challenge. Developing a culture of proper data citation policies is another. Describing and identifying these objects is a third level with implications specific to data management. There are many, many more areas of future work in this arena, as noted in the story in this issue of Newsline on Tracking Citations and Altmetrics for Research Data.

Standards play a critical role in data management, in particular the preservation and records management standards that form a foundational basis for digital curation. File structures, metadata, packaging, and business-policy best practices are components of this process where NISO has been engaged. Last year, NISO published a best practice addressing a broad range of issues related to supplemental journal article materials. Earlier this year, NISO launched an important initiative exploring open access metadata and indicators. More recently, NISO launched a project on packaging and exchanging digital serials content information. Looking forward, there are several standards-related activities nearing completion, including the ICSTI-CODATA task group on data citation, which NISO has been engaged in, that is finalizing its recommendation report. There are also ISO TC46 activities in which NISO represents U.S. interests related to electronic records management, such as the draft technical report DTR 18128, Risk assessment for records processes and systems or the new project NP 30302, Management systems for records – Guidelines for implementation. Finally, as part of NISO's educational webinar program, this month NISO is hosting a two-part webinar series on e-science librarianship and data management in libraries.

Data management is an important area of focus for our community and NISO is working, with your support, to advance the needs and values of the community to ensure interoperability and efficiency. There are several potential new initiatives on the horizon, both from within NISO and from other organizations in our community. We'll continue looking for additional areas where it makes sense for NISO and our community to engage.

With kindest regards,

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

Draft KBART Recommended Practice Revision Available for Comment

NISO and UKSG have released a draft for public comment of a revision to the Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) Recommended Practice. Originally issued in 2010, the recommended practice provided all parties in the information supply chain with straightforward guidance about metadata formatting to ensure the exchange of accurate metadata between content providers and knowledge base developers. Building on the initial recommendations, the draft revision focuses on the more granular, complex issues that cause problems in metadata supply, including consortia-specific metadata transfer, metadata transfer for open access publications, and metadata transfer for e-books and conference proceedings.

Since the first Recommended Practice was issued, over 50 publishers and content providers have endorsed KBART and demonstrated their commitment to good quality metadata provision. The experience of the endorsing publishers and feedback from a survey of libraries and consortia identified the areas of focus for this expanded KBART revision.

The KBART Phase II draft is open for public comment through October 4. To download the draft or submit online comments, visit the KBART Information Hub.

Educational Opportunities for Forthcoming ResourceSync Standard

The jointly sponsored NISO and Open Archives Initiative (OAI) project to develop a standard on Resource Synchronization is nearing completion. A beta version of the specification, which describes a synchronization framework for the web consisting of various capabilities that allow third party systems to remain synchronized with a server's evolving resources, is currently available for review and comment. Two upcoming events will offer discussion and training on the new standard.

On September 9, NISO will hold an open teleconference call where working group members Herbert Van de Sompel (Los Alamos National Lab and Co-chair ResourceSync Working Group), Martin Klein (Los Alamos National Lab), and Simeon Warner (Cornell University) will review the standard and respond to questions or discussion. The call will be held from 3-4 p.m. eastern time, is open to the public, and does not require registration. A recording will be posted on the NISO website for those who cannot participate in real-time. For call-in information visit the NISO event webpage.

A more in-depth three-hour tutorial on ResourceSync will be given on Sunday, November 10, following the LITA Forum in Louisville. Herbert Van de Sompel will lead this session where attendees can learn specifics about how the ResourceSync standard can be used to synchronize web resources between servers. This post-conference tutorial is available at no cost, however for logistics planning we ask that you select the post conference checkbox on the LITA Forum registration form.

First 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. Deposit of the first set of licenses is expected in late September.

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. A more detailed agenda will be posted on the project webpage. Attendance is free but space may be limited; to reserve your place, fill out the online registration form. You can also use this form to volunteer for a five-minute lightning talk.

September Two-Part Webinar: Research Data Curation

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

In Part 1: E-Science Librarianship, presenters will discuss the role of the library in the academic research enterprise and provide an overview of new librarian strategies, tools, and technologies developed to support the lifecycle of scholarly production and data curation. Speakers are: Elaine Martin (Journal of eScience Librarianship), Chris Shaffer (Oregon Health & Science University Library), and Megan Sapp Nelson (Purdue University).

In Part 2: Libraries and Big Data, the panelists will talk about their experience with big data curation, best practices for research data management, and the tools used by libraries as they take on this evolving role. Speakers are: Lisa Johnston (University Digital Conservancy, University of Minnesota Libraries), Sayeed Choudhury (Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University), and Carly Strasser (UC Curation Center, California Digital Library).

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

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

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

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

Speakers are Johannes Keizer and Caterina Caracciolo, both with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, who have been involved with the Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) Initiative and AGROVOC.

Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

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. How are libraries managing the various options now available for their users? How are librarians 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

Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

ARMA International, Call for Participation: Understanding Electronic Records Storage Technologies

ARMA International's Standards Development Program's is seeking volunteer participants for its newest technical report publication project, Understanding Electronic Records Storage Technologies. As proposed, the report will include a comprehensive discussion of secure storage technologies/service offerings for electronic records. It will not be industry or sector-specific and will offer general best practices guidance applicable to a wide range of organizational settings. To volunteer, contact standards@armaintl.org with the subject line "Join Storage Technologies Project" by October 1, 2013.

ARMA International, Call for Participation: RIM Review Group

ARMA International's RIM Review Group is recruiting volunteer members. This Group assists ARMA International in the provision of responses and/or comments related to various proposed standards and initiatives where a RIM perspective is relevant. Examples of past assignments include: the Sedona Guidelines, AIIM Standards and TRs, and NISO or ISO Standards. In addition, members may serve as peer reviewers for various documents created under the auspices of ARMA International. Contact standards@armaintl.org using the subject line "Join RIM Review Project" to receive an application form. There is no application deadline for the RIM Review Group, as recruitment is ongoing. To learn more, visit the ARMA International Standards/Best Practices webpage.

FIPS PUB 186-4, Digital Signature Standard (DSS)

First published in 1994 and revised several times since then, this standard specifies a suite of algorithms that can be used to generate a digital signature. Digital signatures are used to detect unauthorized modifications to data and to authenticate the identity of the signatory. In addition, the recipient of signed data can use a digital signature as evidence in demonstrating to a third party that the signature was, in fact, generated by the claimed signatory. This is known as non-repudiation, since the signatory cannot easily repudiate the signature at a later time.

ISO 27729/Cor1:2013, Technical Corrigendum to ISO 27729, International Standard Name Identifier

Corrects an error in Annex A, Method for calculating the check character of an ISNI. The equation in Table A1, row 5 for computing the check number incorrectly showed addition (+) instead of division (/).

ISO 2789:2013, Information and documentation – International library statistics

Edition 5 of the standard that specifies rules for the library and information services community on the collection and reporting of statistics. The appendix on Measuring the use of electronic services from the previous edition was updated and incorporated into the body of the standard. The contents of the standard were also enhanced to address areas such as digitization, open access for e-materials, impact of libraries, and preservation/conservation.

W3C Launches Web and Mobile Interest Group

A new W3C Web and Mobile Interest Group has been chartered to accelerate the development of Web technology so that it becomes a compelling platform for mobile applications and the obvious choice for cross platform development. Initial planned deliverables include a new version of the Core Mobile Web Platform 2012 report, a gap analysis of the differences between the Web as a platform on mobile and other popular platforms, a broad look at all the Web technologies under development that are particularly relevant to mobile devices, and additional reports on use cases and scenarios for context-relevant user experiences, multi-device and cross-device user experiences on the Web, and usability and efficiency considerations.

W3C RDFa Working Group, Three RDFa Recommendations Published

The RDFa Working Group published three RDFa Recommendations. Using RDFa, authors may turn their existing human-visible text and links into machine-readable data without repeating content. HTML+RDFa 1.1 defines rules and guidelines for adapting the RDFa Core 1.1 and RDFa Lite 1.1 specifications for use in HTML5 and XHTML5. The rules defined in this specification not only apply to HTML5 documents in non-XML and XML mode, but also to HTML4 and XHTML documents interpreted through the HTML5 parsing rules. The group also published second editions for RDFa Core 1.1 and XHTML+RDFa 1.1, folding in the errata reported by the community since their publication as Recommendations in June 2012; all changes were editorial. The group also updated the RDFa 1.1 Primer.

Media Stories

Tracking Citations and Altmetrics for Research Data: Challenges and Opportunities
Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology, August/September 2013, 39 (6); by Stacy Konkiel

The recent San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment's recommendations for research output evaluation is an example of the movement away from the journal impact factor and shows the growing importance of this issue. When looking at research data, rather than publications, the issues become even more complicated. There are no common practices or standards as yet even for citing data, let alone for tracking its impact. A panel discussed developments in this arena at the ASIS&T Research Data Access & Preservation Summit 2013 (RDAP13). DataCite registration of identifiers and metadata for a dataset is the closest to a standard practice for data citation to date. At a National Academies' workshop in 2012, various proposals about data citation and its functions were made, but no specific recommendations resulted. A project using Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) repository metrics devised a Data Usage Index, but it was designed for use with this particular repository and not easily generalizable. Other work is being done to measure the value that data curation adds to a dataset, since the way researchers are able to interact with a repository affects the usage and thus the metrics. The field is currently suffering from a "chicken-or-egg" issue since there is insufficient infrastructure to support dataset curation, which results in an inability to track and measure dataset usage, and thus limits the perception of data metrics value. A University of Michigan project identified five categories of impact measures: "data reuse, quality of publications that reuse data, diversity of publications that reuse data, size of network stemming from a single dataset and number of unique individuals who download a dataset." Data reuse is analogous to data citation. The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) produces a bibliography that tracks citations to its repository data in publications, but doesn't address downloads or reuse that is not formally cited. ICPSR is partnering with the ISI Data Citation Index (DCI) initiative to integrate its bibliography into the DCI database. The DCI and other databases, such as the Web of Knowledge, should improve the discovery of datasets and their linkages to published research output. Altmetrics is a method that can track impact beyond citations and many new tools and services are becoming available to support alternative metrics. Unfortunately, many data curators do not currently expose the metrics from their repositories and most altmetrics are still focused on publications not data. The issues of whether repositories should allow open-text mining of articles, open data, open metrics, and whether to allow "toll-free" APIs to collect and aggregate metrics are still controversial. "No metrics can be fully implemented until certain standards, such as DOI usage or commonly agreed-upon best practices for data citation, are widely adopted." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For another view on data sharing, see the New York Times article on How to Share Scientific Data. NISO is also initiating a two-phase project to develop standards for altmetrics; see the article in this issue of Newsline.

Promising Practices in Instruction of Discovery Tools
Communications in Information Literacy, 7 (1), 2013; by Stefanie Buck and Christina Steffy

Web-scale discovery tools are increasingly being implemented by libraries to provide improved search capabilities to their patrons across all the library's resources. Because these tools are both new and very different from previous systems, libraries are struggling with the best ways to provide instruction and ensure that users are getting the full benefits of the tools. In seeking best practices, the authors conducted a literature review, a survey, and interviews. The "single search box" approach of the new discovery services is controversial in the literature with positive remarks about the simplicity and that users don't need to "think like librarians" and negative perceptions that it "dumbs down" searching. One study of actual use of specific discovery tools found that users relied too heavily on the tool's relevance ranking and did not sufficiently make their own evaluations, resulting in their not selecting the best information sources. Few articles discussed best practices in teaching of the discovery tools and what is most effective. The survey and interviews found that many librarians were reluctant to instruct on the web-scale discovery tools due to lack of understanding of how the tools work, dislike of the tools compared to what was used in the past, or problems (bugs, inconsistencies) with the tool itself. Three factors that determined whether discovery tools were included in an instruction program were the tools relevance to "the level of the student, the course content, and the assignment." Discovery tools were seen by some librarians as relevant to lower level students doing general research, while subject-specific databases were seen as better tools for instruction to higher level students. However, discovery tools were identified as especially useful for cross-disciplinary research, which makes them suitable for teaching to the higher level students. Librarians felt it was important to explain how a discovery tool works so users can better understand when it is appropriate to use and how to evaluate results. Students, however, tended not to care about how or why it worked. Active learning was especially advocated through hands-on usage, though there was some disagreement as to whether to do hands-on before or after a demonstration. The large volume of information retrieved, including a great deal of irrelevant information, was the greatest source of frustration with the tools, both by librarians and students. The features of the tools cited as the most useful for bringing to students' attention during instruction were: limiting to peer-reviewed/scholarly resources, advanced search functions, and restricting by format or content type. Instruction in search refining was generally considered more important than instruction in managing results. Locating and retrieving full text was, surprisingly, not heavily emphasized in training. One promising instructional technique was to split the class and have the different groups do the same search in the discovery tool, Google, and subject-specific databases and then compare their experiences and results. Specific practices recommended by this study were: Determine the relevancy of the tool to your class. Develop a strategy for introducing the tool. Engage students in active learning. Manage information overload. Use instructional materials that support student learning (not just busy work). Emphasize the transferability of search skills. Share successful instructional practices and experiences. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO's Open Discovery Initiative project is developing recommended practices for the new generation of library discovery services that will help make these services more effective for content providers, service providers, libraries, and, ultimately, the end user. A draft for public comment is expected to be issued in September and will be available from the ODI group's workroom webpage.

Does Digital Scholarship Have a Future?
EDUCAUSE Review, August 5, 2013; by Edward L. Ayers

The Internet and the Web have transformed the way people create and use information and connect with one another. But "the scholarship on which everything else is built remains surprisingly unaltered." An Ithaka S+R report confirmed that most scholars do not see "the value of integrating digital practices into their work as a deliberate activity." Many digital projects have been undertaken to build scholarly tools, digitize information, and build infrastructures. However, these efforts in digital scholarship are still lacking in the number of scholars participating in what institutions are creating or in developing innovations in scholarship using digital tools. Instead "the new digital networks have adapted themselves to print culture more than the other way around." Even MOOCs are mainly just using technology to deliver the same scholarship to a wider audience, but are not creating innovative digital scholarship. "Well-designed interactive digital scholarship projects could provide learners with discovery and collaboration tools that MOOCs otherwise do not possess.…Digital scholarship can reframe issues of enduring interest with broad arrays of information, it can integrate vast scholarly literature into more useful forms, and it can significantly broaden our temporal or spatial comprehension. In short, digital scholarship needs to do things that simply cannot be done on paper." Early efforts were mainly building archives and tools, but did not create new scholarship. They did show the tremendous interest in the availability of digital resources and interactive tools. New projects need to extend the archival nature to the advancement of scholarly conversation and their use in lifelong learning. The University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab is undertaking this challenge, starting with a new digital atlas of American history that will not only reach a wider audience, but will—hopefully—let scholars visualize and find new information and patterns that contribute further to the scholarship. This concept is called "generative scholarship—scholarship that builds ongoing, ever-growing digital environments even as it is used." The future of digital scholarship "is to align the core purpose of higher education with the possibilities of our time." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The following NISO members are mentioned in this article: Ithaka/JSTOR, Library of Congress, Modern Language Association, Brown University, Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard University, Ohio State University, Rice University, University of California – Irvine, University of Kansas, and Yale University.

Open Access to Research Publications Reaching 'Tipping Point'
STM Publishing News, August 22, 2013

The European Commission published a study in August that indicated some 50% of 2011 scientific articles were available for free, i.e. in open access. "The study looked at the availability of scholarly publications in 22 fields of knowledge in the European Research Area, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and the United States." Over 40% of peer-reviewed articles from 2004-2011 worldwide are available in open access. The fields where open access is most prevalent are general science and technology, biomedical research, biology, and math and statistics. Open access is most limited in social sciences, humanities, applied science, engineering, and technology. The European Commission has identified open access as "core means to improve knowledge circulation and thus innovation in Europe" and has made it mandatory beginning in 2014 for projects funded by their research and innovation programme. The funders reviewed in the study supported gold/hybrid or green open access and were willing to accept embargo periods of 6-12 months. Another study, however, found that open access to data, as opposed to publications, is not as widespread and few mandating policies are in place. The EU is starting a pilot on data open access in 2014. (Link to Web Source)

Google Calls Book Scanning "Transformative" in Latest Push for Fair Use Ruling
GigaOM, Aug. 27, 2013; by Jeff John Roberts

Google and the Authors Guild have both been preparing their final filings in their lengthy litigation over whether Google's book scanning violates copyright. Google is emphasizing that their project is "transformative," an argument that was key to a 1994 ruling that allowed use of a song sample. Although the transformative issue is only one factor in the typical four-part test regarding fair use, it may have more import in this case since one of the judges wrote the defining legal article on the issue. The Authors Guild brief rejects that Google is doing anything transformative. Both sides are pointing to practices by Amazon to bolster their case. Google compared their own snippets to Amazon's "search inside the book" while the Authors Guild says people who would have purchased books through Amazon are directed to free access through Google Books instead. Amazon's dominance was one of the reasons for an earlier settlement agreement between the two sides and various publishers; the settlement was later rejected by the courts. Both sides are also arguing over the security of Google's electronic books from being hacked. (Link to Web Source)