Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

June 2014

There is a famous quote about money in politics, popularized by the film All the Presidents Men—even though the quote never appears in the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. To understand the true motives and true implications of a situation, we are encouraged to "follow the money." Money, or at least the proxy for money in terms of the deals taking place in our community, appears to have been the theme for the past month.

Just two months after the announcement of its deal to acquire Polaris, which I mentioned in April's Newsline introduction, Innovative Interfaces just announced it had acquired VTLS and that it would be incorporating it into the III umbrella. Interestingly, back in April when Marshall Breeding published his report on library technology in American Libraries, he spoke of the fierce competition among providers and the growing trends toward strategic cooperation, integration, and acquisitions. As equity investments in library systems provide for greater consolidation resources, will we soon reach a point where integration among library services becomes less challenging because of the significantly reduced number of players? An unanswered question moving forward is to what extent will these new equity-funded businesses focus their resources on product development instead of industry consolidation through purchasing market share.

On the publishing services side of the NISO community, HighWire Press announced that it would be spinning out of the Stanford University Library (both NISO members), where it was founded in 1995. With an infusion of equity capital, HighWire Press will now add "Incorporated" to its company title and rid itself of the bureaucratic overhead and limitations of operating within the context of a university system. Of course, these systems provide a range of benefits in prestige, customer retention, and other intangibles. The potential of the freedom and opportunity that might come with equity funding apparently outweighed these benefits and thus HighWire Press, Inc. was launched on Monday with funding from Acell-KKR. I wrote a post on the Scholarly Kitchen blog earlier this week, describing what I think to be some of the rationale, benefits, and potential impacts of the move.

Finally, from the perspective of big money moving in and out of the community, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would be winding down its investments in the library community. Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Global Libraries Initiative, announced the decision in a post on the Foundation website describing a three to five year transition. In 2011, according to its annual giving snapshot, the Foundation provided more than $50 million in grants to libraries around the world, of which $12 million were awarded to libraries in the United States. In describing this transition in a Library Journal article covering this change in funding priorities, Jacobs compared the work of the Gates Foundation to that of Andrew Carnegie in the early 20th century. Much of the funding from the Global Libraries Initiative went to building technology infrastructure for libraries, which has been effective. However, I wonder how long-term these investments will be since technology doesn't age as well as the granite edifices that Carnegie invested in. While many library services are moving to the Internet, libraries still remain places where people come to engage with content and where services—even digital ones—still need to be transacted. I'm sorry to hear of this move on the part of the Gates Foundation, but it provides a concrete platform on which the library community itself can step up and build off the "catalyzing investments" that the Foundation has made.

These shifts in resources could bode well for customers of these services. There might be opportunities in scale or in access to resources or in leveraging past investments. However, there are equally worrisome potential outcomes of these transitions. Fewer suppliers could reduce competition and offerings, or raise prices for customers who will have fewer options. Potentially, too, investments without ongoing support could languish and progress made could falter. Which direction these transitions lead us will in part be a result of the community's reaction. Every change is an opportunity for growth and advancement. Let's hope these transitions lead to greater success.

We'd love your thoughts on these transitions and their implications. And we look forward to seeing many of you in the coming month at the variety of industry meetings NISO is participating in.


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

June 11 Webinar: Fragmented Publishing: The Implications of Self-Publishing

In the six years from 2006 to 2012, the number of self-published books grew an astounding 270% to more than 235,000, almost as many as were published "traditionally." The easy access to publication tools and distribution mechanisms has ushered in a new era of how content is created and disseminated. No longer do authors need to work through a publisher to have their content accepted, processed, and distributed. The impacts of this revolution in publishing extend well beyond what used to be called "vanity publishing." A variety of best-selling books in recent years have come out from successful self-publishers sharing their tips on how others can follow in their footsteps.

NISO's June 11 webinar Fragmented Publishing: The Implications of Self-Publishing—to be held from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT—will explore the issues and the impacts of the self-publishing movement on both publishers and libraries.

Topics and speakers are:

  • When Authors Assume Their Own RiskLaura Dawson, Product Manager for Identifiers, Bowker

  • Self-Publishing with SmashwordsMark Coker, Founder, CEO and Chief Author Advocate, Smashwords

  • Helping Libraries Help Themselves: The Library Publishing ToolkitAllison Brown, Editor & Production Manager, Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo

Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

June 18 Virtual Conference: Transforming Assessment: Alternative Metrics and Other Trends

For decades, the landscape of assessment has been reasonably stable with traditional metrics, primarily the Journal Impact Factor (JIF). With the growth of social media, open access mandates, and greater emphasis on articles over the journal "package," new methods of assessing quality and impact have exploded on the scene. The new "alternative metrics" are not without their own issues. As with any new measures, different interpretations of the definitions exist, the metrics are inconsistently applied, or data from comprehensive ranges of sources are limited. NISO initiated a project in 2013 to identify issues around the new altmetrics that could be solved with standards or best practices.

NISO's June 18 Virtual Conference Transforming Assessment: Alternative Metrics and Other Trends—to be held from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT—will explore the range of new metrics forms and the infrastructure necessary to create reliable measures across the range of platforms, publishers, and authors. It will also discuss the current status of the NISO Altmetrics initiative and what standards are forthcoming in this area.

Topics and speakers are:

  • Keynote Address: Altmetrics at the Portfolio LevelPaul Groth, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the VU University Amsterdam

  • Snowball Metrics: University-Owned Benchmarking to Reveal Strengths within All ActivitiesDr. Lisa Colledge, Snowball Metrics Program Director, Elsevier

  • The Intersection between Library Management and Informatics Scholarship: Understanding, Assessing and Reporting Research ImpactKristi L. Holmes, Ph.D., Director, Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine

  • What Do Alternative Metrics and the 'Flight of the Bumblebee' Have in Common?Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director of Statistics and Service Quality Programs, Association of Research Libraries (ARL)

  • Identifying the Invisible Impact of Scholarly Publications: A Multi-Disciplinary Analysis Using AltmetricsEhsan Mohammadi, Ph.D. Candidate, Wolverhampton University

  • Three Publishers' Perspective on Using Altmetrics: PLOS, PKP, and eLifeJennifer Lin, Senior Product Manager, PLOS; Juan Pablo Alperin, PhD Candidate, Public Knowledge Project, Stanford University; and Ian Mulvany, MPhys, Head of Technology, eLife sciences

  • Virginia Tech's Response to Research Data Needs: The Center for Digital Research and ScholarshipJulie G. Speer, Associate Dean for Research and Informatics, University Libraries, Virginia Tech

  • NISO Altmetrics Initiative: A Project UpdateMartin Fenner, Technical Lead for the PLOS Article-Level Metrics project

  • Conference Roundtable: Finding Acceptance and Value: Why Altmetrics Matter

For more information and to register, visit the event webpage.

NISO/BISG 8th Annual Changing Standards Landscape Forum: Managing an Increasingly Complex and Interconnected World of Content

NISO and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) have again partnered to explore how standards trends impact publishing, libraries, and technology standards in the 8th Annual Changing Standards Landscape Forum. This year's event—to be held on June 27, 2014 from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in Las Vegas— will focus on Managing an Increasingly Complex and Interconnected World of Content.

Digital content creation, distribution, and access is a worldwide endeavor that is much more complex than printing and shipping physical books or journals. Identification, description, file formats, purchasing models, and measurement have all been transformed by the trends of globalization and digitization of content distribution. For each of these trends, the role of standards in making these processes more efficient is a critical element and something all publishers and librarians should follow closely. Both communities have a lot to learn from each other regarding how standards work undertaken in the publishing community affects libraries and vice-versa.


  • Welcome and IntroductionsTodd Carpenter, Executive Director, National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and Len Vlahos, Executive Director, Book Industry Study Group (BISG)

  • Thema: The New Global Standard for Subject ClassificationJulie Morris, Project Manager: Standards & Best Practices, BISG

  • Linked Content Coalition: Rights Management ToolsTodd Carpenter, Linked Content Coalition Board Member

  • EPUB: Walled Gardens and the Readium FoundationJames English, Director of the Library Simplified Project, New York Public Library; member of the Readium Foundation Board

  • New Forms of Discovery and Purchasing in Libraries: Demand Driven AcquisitionsMichael Levine-Clark, Professor / Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication and Collections Services, University of Denver Libraries

  • Where Digital is Going? E-book Adoption by the NumbersLen Vlahos, Executive Director, BISG

  • Assessing Digital Output in New WaysMike Taylor, Research Specialist, Elsevier Labs

Please RSVP if you plan to attend. This event is free of charge; however, we would like to get an estimated count of attendance for logistical purposes. For more information, visit the event webpage.

This event is sponsored by Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate.

NISO Standards Update @ ALA Annual

Join NISO for the Annual Standards Update in Las Vegas during the ALA Annual Conference. NISO's program will be held on Sunday, June 29 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. in Room N113 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. No registration is needed.

The NISO Update provides the latest news about NISO's current efforts, including standards, recommended practices, and community meetings covering many areas of interest to the library community. Working group members will provide updates on projects newly underway or recently completed including:

  • Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) – Speaker TBA

  • Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) – Laura Morse, Director, Library Systems, Harvard University

  • Presentation and Identification of E-Journals (PIE-J) – Speaker TBA

  • Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) and 'SUSHI Lite' Initiative – Nettie Lagace, Associate Director for Programs, NISO

  • NISO Altmetrics Initiative – Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

And be sure to drop by NISO Booth #1829 in the Exhibits area.

Recordings of NISO Education Programs Available to Post-Event Registrants

NISO records all of its webinars and virtual conferences and makes the recordings available to registrants for one year after the event. If you'd like to view a recording, you can even register after the event has occurred to obtain access. The registration links are kept open to allow such post-registration.

Within two days of registration of an event that has already occurred, you will receive an email with information on how to access the recording. For questions, contact Juliana Wood (jwood@niso.org), NISO's Educational Programs Manager.

New Specs & Standards

ISO 11620:2014, Information and documentation – Library performance indicators

This third edition of ISO 11620:2014 offers accepted, tested, and publicly accessible (i.e. non-proprietary) methodologies and approaches to measuring a range of library service performance, applicable to all types of libraries in all countries. However, not all performance indicators apply to all libraries. Limitations on the applicability of individual performance indicators are listed in the scope clause of the description of each indicator. Performance indicators can be used for comparison over time within the same library. Comparisons between libraries can also be made, but only with caution. Comparisons between libraries will need to take into account any differences in the constituencies of the libraries and library attributes, with a good understanding of the indicators used, limitations to comparisons, and careful interpretation of the data).

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, Revised Structure for DCMI Technical Specification Development

Kai Eckert, the co-chair of the newly formed DCMI Technical Board, provides an update on new officers for this Board and its Committees, as work proceeds on the new governance model for DCMI. The separation of the important maintenance functions necessary to keep core DCMI assets current and relevant from the critical exploratory work that has been a hallmark of DCMI is reflected in the three committees that have been formed under the Technical Board; all chairs have been filled for these committees and each is beginning to develop work plans for the coming year. The Board's three standing committees are: the Usage Committee (UC, the former Usage Board), the Standards and Liaisons Committee (SLC), and the newly created Community Specifications Committee (CSC).

Library of Congress, BIBFRAME Profiles: Introduction and Specification, Draft for public review

This document introduces and defines BIBFRAME Profiles, and describes how they are created, maintained and used. It gives an overview of the purpose of BIBFRAME Profiles, describes how they can be used to support unique community's descriptive practices, and provides specific examples of how profiles can be constructed. Send general comments about this document to the listserv bibframe@loc.gov or via email to bfcomments@loc.gov.

W3C, Standards for Web Applications on Mobile: Current State and Roadmap

W3C has published the April 2014 edition of Standards for Web Applications on Mobile, an overview of the various technologies developed in W3C that increase the capabilities of Web applications, and how they apply more specifically to the mobile context. A deliverable of the HTML5Apps project, this edition of the document includes changes and additions since January 2014, including a new set of features highlighting what tools the Web platform offers in serving user security and privacy.

Media Stories

Comparing Formats for Still Image Digitizing
The Signal, May 14 and 15, 2014; guest post by Carl Fleischhauer

"The Still Image Working Group within the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) recently posted a comparison of a few selected digital file formats. We sometimes call these target formats: they are the output format that you reformat to. In this case, we are comparing formats suitable for the digitization of historical and cultural materials that can be reproduced as still images, such as books and periodicals, maps, and photographic prints and negatives. …In this first blog of two, I'll sketch a bit of background and offer some notes about the tried-and-true TIFF-file-with-uncompressed-picture-data. The second blog will offer some thoughts about JPEG 2000-one motivation for the format comparison was to size up JPEG 2000-and also PNG." (Link to Part 1 full story; Link to Part 2 full story)

NISO Note: NISO has a standard related to still images: Data Dictionary – Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images (ANSI/NISO Z39.87-2006 (R2011)).

Playing the Numbers: NISO/NASIG Focus On Best Practices for Library Usage Statistics
Information Today NewsBreak, June 3, 2014; by Nancy K. Herther

"On May 21, NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, and the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) co-sponsored a webinar intended to help more "effectively understand and apply usage data," which is "an important skill for librarians to master as they attempt to analyze their collections and justify their expenses to administrations." Todd Enoch, chair of the NASIG Continuing Education Committee, introduced the program by stressing the critical need for all libraries to "defend their budgeting decision" and, with electronic resources now making up "the lion's share of library budgets," Enoch described the program as trying to provide a solid platform for librarians to better understand the many factors involved. …[T]he session was successful in pointing out how much progress has been made in statistical analysis of library resource usage in the electronic age." (Link to full story)

NISO Note: The slide presentations from this webinar are available on the NISO website.

The Linked Content Coalition (LCC) Project
D-Lib Magazine, May/June 2014; by Norman Paskin

"The Linked Content Coalition (LCC) is a non-for-profit consortium of international standards bodies whose aim is to facilitate and expand the legitimate use of content in the digital network through the effective use of interoperable identifiers and metadata. It builds on the output of the Linked Content Coalition (LCC) project, initiated by the European Publishers Council in April 2012 to improve access and licensing of digital content for any media and use. The LCC output will be used initially in The Copyright Hub, and the Rights Data Integration Project, each of which shares this aim." (Link to full story)

Ebook Pricing Hikes Amount to Price-Gouging
The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 27, 2014; by Susan Stearns and John Unsworth

Since about 2010, the electronic book, or ebook, has rapidly increased its market share in the publishing business, and in 2013 it accounted for 27 percent of adult trade-book sales. …Now—and probably not coincidentally—academic libraries find themselves facing sharply increased pricing for commercially published electronic books. …In the BLC [Boston Library Consortium] program, publishers charge libraries for ebooks based on a model that combines payment for short-term use of a title by a student or researcher with the purchase of the title after a few short-term uses. In this way, libraries pay full price for an ebook that meets the needs of multiple readers, and pay a fractional price for ebooks that are of use to only one or two people. This month the BLC was surprised to learn that a number of the publishers in this program planned immediate, significant, and unexplained increases in price. Even worse, the new pricing goes into effect at a time when library budgets are already committed for the 2015 fiscal year." (Link to full story)

NISO Note: Boston College Libraries, Brandeis University Libraries, Northeastern University Libraries, Tufts University Libraries, University of Connecticut Libraries, and University of New Hampshire Library are NISO Library Standards Alliance members. Electronic Resources & Libraries 2014 "was heavy on eBook licensing and usage;" a summary is available on the blog A Good Universe Next Door.

Integrating Identifiers into University and Library Systems
CNI Spring Membership Meeting, April 2014; presented by Micah Altman and Karen Smith-Yoshimura

"A number of approaches to providing authoritative researcher identifiers have emerged, but they tend to be limited by discipline, affiliation or publisher. This talk provides an overview of an OCLC Research task group's analysis of a complex ecosystem of systems and institutions that provide, aggregate and use researcher and name authorities: researcher identifier systems. The presentation reflects on the state of the practice and on the remaining challenges to the integration of researcher identifiers into the systems and practices of libraries, universities, funders, and publishers." (Link to video and presentation slides)

NISO Note: NISO members mentioned in this article are: CrossRef, Elsevier, Hindawi, IEEE, Library of Congress, OCLC, PLOS, Ringgold, Thomson Reuters, Wiley, Cornell University, Harvard University, Purdue University, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, and University of Notre Dame.

Balancing the Management of Electronic and Print Resources
Computers in Libraries, June 2014, 34 (5); by Marshall Breeding

"Libraries naturally strive to allocate their resources proportional with their overarching priorities. But accomplishing the proper balance is often easier said than done. …One of the common areas of disconnect involves the allocation of personnel in technical services relative to the media and formats of library materials. Most academic libraries, for example, now acquire most of their new materials in electronic formats rather than print and emphasize subscriptions to scholarly articles over monographs. …In an ideal world, how a library divides its efforts in processing its new acquisitions would be roughly proportional to its collections budgets. In many cases, however, libraries' staff report that they spend disproportional efforts in processing print materials. …One of the obstacles standing in the way of some libraries' ability to sync their workflow to high-level priorities lies in the legacy of the ILS. …Recent years have seen the emergence of a new genre of products that I call library services platforms, which differ in many important ways from the ILSs that previously dominated the library scene. …One of the key characteristics of these library services platforms lies in their orientation toward a more comprehensive model of resource management. These new products aim to provide support for managing many different types of library materials." (Link to full story)

NISO Note: Ex Libris Group, Innovative Inc., OCLC, and Serials Solutions are NISO members.