Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

February 2016

We always love the brand new. The shiny car straight off the lot, the new snow blower (an important investment in Baltimore last week!), or the latest phone. This desire is something that also applies to technical standards. People are excited about participating in the launch of projects and there is often competitive pressure to be atop the latest trends and developing technologies. Occasionally, innovations get all the attention while existing or stable technologies languish in staid obscurity.

That is of course until something breaks; we always care about infrastructure when it crumbles or no longer suits our needs. One approach to solving a broken or aging system is to replace it. This approach isn't without its risks or costs, however. Creating a system, testing it, and building a network of adopters is no small task, especially with emerging technologies. Another approach is to update and improve existing systems to suit the current environment.

Much like fresh paint or modest repairs to an aging, but still solid, building, refreshing and updating a standard can make a tremendous difference. Not every overhaul needs to be a massive renovation, to continue with the building analogy. Small changes and updates can radically improve a standard's ability to work with today's systems.

While there is a steady stream of new projects, we at NISO are constantly maintaining our existing portfolio of standards. Many of the more recent projects have continued since publication with maintenance and support groups that provide guidance, adoption assistance, and regular review and tweaks of specifications. Meanwhile, other, more established standards receive periodic review and reaffirmation. This is an important part of NISO's ANSI-accredited standards process.

This year, NISO is reviewing a number of important standards and considering them for revision. These include ANSI/NISO Z39.18-2005 (R2010) Scientific and Technical Reports - Preparation, Presentation, and Preservation; ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 (R2010) Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies; and ANSI/NISO Z39.29-2005 (R2010) Bibliographic References.

On January 18, Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Director for Programs, provided a terrific overview of the standards being considered for revision during the monthly NISO Open teleconference. A recording of that call is available here. At present, a couple of these standards are being considered for review and potential revision. I expect that several will be put forward for revision and groups will be organized to update the standards. In the coming months, additional standards will be up for review. This is a critical activity that members should take very seriously in order for these standards to remain relevant and vital. If you are not a member, but have experience or comments about these existing standards, we would like your feedback, too. Please contact Nettie for more information or to provide your feedback.

Much like maintaining a house or a car, we need to do regular check-ups on our standards to ensure they are serving the purpose for which they were developed. If they can be improved to serve the community better, we want to know and we want to improve them. And to do that, we need the support of the entire community.


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

NISO Launches New Project to Develop Recommended Practice for Tracking Link Origins

NISO voting members have approved a new project: the development of a Recommended Practice for Tracking Link Origins in a Networked Information Environment. As libraries strive to improve the ways in which users access their collections, gaining a definitive understanding of where a user began his or her library search before ultimately arriving at library-licensed content is an important factor for library staff in determining the value of a platform and how to allocate resources. Anyone interested in participating on this working group should contact NISO at nisohq@niso.org

NISO Announces 2016 Virtual Conference Series

NISO's 2016 series of Virtual Conferences offers useful six-hour programs featuring recognized professionals discussing topics of immediate and practical value:

With a paid subscription to this package, access to a follow-up Training Thursday webinar is included for three of the six conferences. Included are:

Those Training Thursday events are FREE if an organization purchases one of the two available subscription package options:

NISO LSA and Voting members have the opportunity to purchase all six of this year's virtual conferences for the price of three: Buy 3, Get 3 Free. All others have the option of the Buy 4, Get 2 Free subscription. For specific payment and registration instructions, visit NISO's website.
The first virtual conference is just weeks away; don't miss out!

NISO Announces Educational Programs for 2016

NISO continues its robust series of educational programs in 2016 with 14 webinars, six virtual conferences with subsequent training sessions, and a variety of on-site and collaborative events. The 2016 programs focus on current and emerging issues of concern to those whose daily workflow involves new and traditional forms of research output as well as information tools, systems, and services.

Webinar topics include programs oriented towards scholarly retractions and the need to ensure reproducibility, the impact of start-ups on scholarly communication, data collection and privacy protections, support for women and minorities in technology, successfully integrating library services into research activities on campus, associating identifiers with research output, library management systems, open access, the Internet of Things, digital security, and support for maker spaces.

Virtual conferences, each lasting five hours, address the implementation of open source software at the institutional level, linked bibliographic data, data curation, e-books, and the archiving of digital resources. NISO's Training Thursday sessions serve as follow-up assistance in developing specific skills.

Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director, stresses that education is a core element of NISO's central mission. "Whether employed by academic institutions or private enterprise, information professionals seek to be well-informed and well-equipped in supporting research activities within their organizations" he stated. "The intent of NISO programs is to encourage those professionals in best practices and standards-based deployment of serious solutions."

For those interested in maximizing their training dollars, subscription options are available. For webinars, NISO members may sign up for the Buy 9, Get 5 Free package, and ensure access to all 14 of the NISO webinars. Alternatively, members may opt for the Buy 5, Get 4 Free package, and choose nine webinars from the 2016 lineup. For specific payment and registration options, visit NISO's website.

A full roster of events is available at: niso.org/news/events/2016. Organizations pay a single fee to enable viewing access for multiple team members in a collaborative group setting. (Note that webinar registration is priced per site, through use of a single computer.) Webinar registrants hold access to the recorded version for a full year, allowing even greater opportunity for staff to benefit from that single registration.

February 10 Webinar: The Start-Up Effect: How Startups are Changing the Culture of Scholarly Communications

For an industry that just celebrated its 350th anniversary, scholarly communications is in the midst of a period of disruption. Long established companies are joining new start-ups in fostering a culture of innovation and iteration in this once staid community. New applications, tools and even new content forms are being tested and adopted by researchers and library patrons. Understanding the drivers of this change and its broader effects will be vital to planning near- and long-term technology investments, staffing needs, and training investments.

This session will explore the organizational and cultural characteristics that support innovation from the perspective of both new and traditional organizations. It will also explore the impacts the culture of start-ups has already had on scholarly communications and what might be forthcoming from this innovative explosion.

Confirmed Speakers and Topics:

  • Small is Beautiful: The Rise of Niche Services and the Breakdown of Silos
    Melinda Kenneway, Executive Director, Kudos
  • The Web is Changing What We Publish, How We Publish, and What Happens After Publication
    Lenny Teytelman, Founder, Protocols.io
  • Doubling Up: Leveraging the Cultures of Innovation and Librarianship To Transform Scholarly Communication
    Robin Champieux, Scholarly Communication Librarian, Oregon Health & Science University

Check out the 2016 webinar subscription packages, where you can buy 5 and get 4 free or buy 9 and get all 14 NISO 2016 webinars.

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

February 17 Virtual Conference: Using Open Source in Your Library

Open-source technology is broadly adopted in a variety of contexts and has long since proven its value in many technology environments. With their significant advantages, open-source technologies can allow community priorities to be addressed, flexibility for implementers, community interactions and support, as well as potential cost savings. There are challenges, costs, and potential pitfalls posed by an open-source approach as well. Understanding the benefits, risks, costs, and opportunities is vital to determining the best option to choose in selecting a solution to large-scale software management.

During this virtual conference, we will explore the variety of decision points regarding an open-source investment to ensure a successful implementation. The session will cover investments necessary in staffing and technology resources, as well as legal issues to consider. We will cover integration issues, collaboration, and support networks that can either hinder or propel a project's realization. Case studies of open-source successes and disappointments will be described.

Confirmed Speakers and Topics:

  • The Open Source Landscape
    Beth Camden, Director, Information Processing Division, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania
  • Working On Open Source Projects In Academic Environments
    Maureen P. Walsh, Associate Professor and Institutional Repository Services Librarian, The Ohio State University
  • The Real Costs of Free Software
    Demian Katz, Library Technology Development Specialist, Villanova University
  • Supporting Services and Care
    Galen Charlton, Vice President, Data Services, Equinox; Lori Bowen Ayre, Library Technology Consultant, The Galecia Group.
  • Yes, It Can Be Done! Library Case Study I: VIVO, an Open Source Research Networking System: A Case Study at the Scripps Research Institute
    Brian Lowe, Scripps Research Institute
  • Yes, It Can Be Done! Library Case Study II
    Ursula Pieper, National Agricultural Library, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Yes, It Can Be Done! Libraries and the Long Now: Practices of the Project Hydra Digital
    Bess Sadler, Stanford University Library Manager for Application Development, Stanford University Library Community

NEW! All registrants to this virtual conference will receive a login to the associated Training Thursday on GitHub: How to Use it to Greatest Effect, to be held on February 25. (Separate registration to the training event only is also available.) If you are unable to attend the Training Thursday in person, you can view the recording of the session.

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

February 25 Training Thursday: GitHub–How to Use it to Greatest Effect

About the Training
GitHub is a repository primarily for open source software. It has become an important central resource for many open source projects. Understanding how to use it, what can be done with it, and how the community uses the service to share resources is an important fundamental skill for those wanting to implement an open source solution. This session, guided by Arfon Smith, Chief Scientist, GitHub; Shawn Averkamp, Manager, Metadata Services Unit, New York Public Library; and Shaun Ellis, Digital Collections Users Interface Developer, Princeton University Library, will introduce participants to the GitHub service and describe its key features. This introduction will provide a foundation for future work with open source tools and software.

This session is meant to be a guided, step-by-step session that will follow the February 17 NISO Virtual Conference Using Open Source in Your Institution.

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

March Two-Part Webinar: Privacy

Part 1: What Data is Being Collected and By Whom?
Wednesday, March 16

In our current information ecosystem, respect for user privacy is a key distinguishing characteristic of libraries. Few communities have been as vehement and long-standing in their support of people's right to intellectual freedom and privacy protections as librarians have been.However, thereare core elements of library services that are now provided by third parties. These vendors might not have the same respect for patron privacy as librarians do and in order to ensure consistency in library services, librarians providing access to digital services and content to patrons need a thorough understanding of privacy in a library context.

This two-part webinar series will provide the community with a deeper understanding of the privacy implications of the services they are contracting. Part one will cover the types of data being collected about user behavior. Understanding what can and is being collected, for what purpose, and with whom these data are shared is a critical first component of being able to exert privacy controls on behalf of patrons. This session will discuss the technical side of data collection of personal information by providers. Some of this collection is acknowledged by the user, such as for the purpose of personal information management, while at other times data is processed without the awareness of users, or potentially even the library.

Confirmed speakers are Eric Hellman, GlueJar; Allison Macrina, Library Freedom Project; and Chris Conley, ACLA.

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

Part 2: Understanding Privacy Policies
Wednesday, March 23

The second part of this series will cover the privacy policies that govern engagement with user services. Some of these policies are dense and full of legal terminology, which few people have the time or expertise to comprehend fully. During this session, presenters will break down key components of privacy policies and describe the ramifications of agreeing to these policy terms. This session will provide an overview of privacy policy terminology, and a grounding of some of the relevant legal underpinnings of these policies.

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

Forthcoming ISO Ballots

NISO Voting members participate in the development, revision, and evaluation of standards. Voting members are able to influence the process and mold the future of the industry. The following NISO ballots are open and will close before the next newsletter is distributed.

  • Systematic Review of ISO 16175-1:2010 Information and documentation - Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments - Part 1: Overview and statement of principles
    This standard is in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This is Part 1. The aim of the Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Digital Office Environments project is to produce globally harmonised principles and functional requirements for software used to create and manage digital records in office environments. There currently exist a number of jurisdiction-specific functional requirements and software specifications. The project's objective is to synthesise this existing work into requirements and guidelines to meet the needs of the international archives, records and information management community and to enable that community to liaise, in a consolidated manner, with the global software industry. This ballot closes on February 26, 2016.
  • Systematic Review of ISO 16175-2:2011 Information and documentation - Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments - Part 2: Guidelines and functional requirements for digital records management systems
    This systematic review is in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. This is Part 2. The scope of this part is limited to products that are often termed 'electronic records management systems' or 'enterprise content management systems'. This part will use the term digital records management systems for those software applications whose primary function is records management. It does not seek to set requirements for records still in use and held within business systems. Digital objects created by email, word processing, spreadsheet, and imaging applications (such as text documents, and still or moving images), where they are identified to be of business value, should be managed within digital records management systems which meet the functional requirements set out in this part. This ballot closes on March 4, 2016.
  • Systematic Review of ISO 16175-3:2010 Information and documentation - Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments - Part 3: Guidelines and functional requirements for records in business systems
    This systematic review is in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This is Part 3. This document will help organizations to ensure that evidence (records) of business activities transacted through business systems are appropriately identified and managed. Specifically, it will assist organizations to:
    * understand processes and requirements for identifying and managing records in business systems; * develop requirements for functionality for records to be included in a design specification when building, upgrading, or purchasing business system software; * evaluate the records management capability of proposed customised or commercial off-the-shelf business system software; and * review the functionality for records or assess compliance of existing business systems This ballot closes on March 7, 2016.
  • Systematic Review of ISO 17933:2000 Information and documentation - GEDI - Generic Electronic Document Interchange
    This International Standard specifies a format for exchange of electronic document copies between computer systems. The format includes the definition of a GEDI Header containing information about the requester, supplier, and format of the document and relevant bibliographic information. This ballot closes on March 8, 2016.

New Specs & Standards

OMB Releases Revision to Circular No. A-119

The federal government's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released a revision of OMB Circular No. A-119, "Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities." Originally developed in 1995 and revised in 1998, the circular, the OMB explains, "established reporting requirements, and authorized the National Institute of Standards and Technology to coordinate conformity assessment activities of the agencies." This latest revision offers more detailed guidance for government agencies given technological changes, advances in open government, and policy developments.

First Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1 Available for Review

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has sent up some "trial balloons" in the release of the first Editor's Draft of EPUB 3.1. The new version of the specification, says the EPUB 3 Working Group that released it, aims to "bring EPUB 3 more in line with the Open Web Platform (OWP)," and means several controversial changes. These include a proposal that the HTML syntax of HTML5 should have required support in reading systems, necessitating a method for enriching the markup that can work in HTML and XHTML; use of the ARIA role attribute and the W3C Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module for semantics; and the dropping of support for EPUB 2 and some existing EPUB 3 features.

IEC Seeks Standards for Smart, Sustainable Cities

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is launching the first World Smart City online community on January 18. The ideas generated by the community will inform work at the upcoming World Smart City Forum, which is organized by the IEC in partnership with ISO and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and will take place in Singapore on July 16.

By 2050, ISO explains, around two-thirds of the world's population will live in urban areas, the kinds of places that currently suffer disorganization due to utilities being owned and controlled by various parties. Relevant standards could change that, with Kevin McKinley, Acting ISO Secretary-General noting that, "ISO standards help cities measure and improve their performance, for example with standards for city indicators, sustainable communities and city infrastructures. These standards provide best practices and harmonized solutions that can be used everywhere, and allow city planners and decision makers to benefit from global expertise."

W3C Plans Permissions and Obligations Working Group

W3C is planning a new working group called POE (Permissions & Obligations Expression Working Group"), because, the organization says, "the key area of permissions, obligations and licensing has not been addressed in Web standards to date." The work will address the issue of rights and permissions in online creations that combine multimedia from various sources. A related charter is currently under review, and interested parties are invited to send comments to public-ole-comment@w3.org

Media Stories

W3C Wins Emmy Award
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to Receive Emmy ® Award for Standards Work on Accessible Video Captioning and Subtitles. W3C News Release, January 5, 2016

On January 8th, the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) work on Timed Text Markup Language 1 (TTML1) was recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Technology & Engineering Emmy ® Award. W3C explains that TTML1 "is used for the purpose of authoring, transcoding and exchanging timed text information, and for delivering captions and subtitles to the Web, or more generally, the Internet," making web video more accessible to disabled viewers.

LYRASIS and DuraSpace Announce Intent to Merge
Duraspace news release, January 27, 2016

Not-for-profit organizations LYRASIS, which assists libraries, archives, and museums with content creation, and DuraSpace, which offers open-source repository software, have announced their intent to merge. The boards of the organizations explain that the move will bring five Community Supported Software (CSS) programs and seven hosted services together, with no changes to the delivery of the services that the organizations currently offer separately.

The decision is not yet final, and the respective boards of the organizations have now requested member and public comment as part of the due-diligence process. Interested parties are invited to contact both organizations at synergy@duraspace.org.

Pew Report on Data Privacy
Pew Research Center Internet, Science & Tech Report, January 14, 2016; By Lee Rainie and Maeve Duggan

When asked whether they will hand over personal data, Americans say the answer is, "it depends," says the Pew Research Center's report "Privacy and Information Sharing." Released on January 20, the document offers an in-depth look at the public's privacy awareness and practices and examines privacy concerns in scenarios related to the workplace, health, auto insurance, advertising, and more.

Big Data at Davos
World Economic Forum Archive

The World Economic Forum took place in Davos, Switzerland, from January 20-23, 2016. On the agenda were global, regional, and industrial topics, with big data taking the stage during the global discussions. Essays and reports published during the proceedings covered big-data topics such as balancing privacy and UX, how big data can help migrants, and "Is Small Data the New Big Data?"

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 Honored in Error Code
Tech Times, December 21; By Jan Dizon

"The newly approved error code 451 was proposed and championed by Tim Bray, a former Google engineer and XML specification author. It was inspired by the Ray Bradbury novel, 'Fahrenheit 451,' which delved into issues of book burning in order to prevent free thought."

Transforming Civil Service Technology Practices
No Quick Wins blog, January 19, 2016; by Glyn R. Jones

"At the moment," says English civil servant Glyn R. Jones on his No Quick Wins blog, "it's too easy to carry on using a clunky combination of email, attached documents and corporate file shares rather than put the effort into assessing whether an online collaboration tool is fit for purpose." His ideas for "the future digital strategy for transforming government" lean heavily on the use of ontologies and can be applied to business life outside the civil service and outside Britain.

Hacking Technology's Boy's Club
New Republic, January 31, 2016; by Anna Wiener

Ellen Ullman is the author of the novels The Bug and By Blood; a memoir, Close to the Machine: Technophilia and its Discontents; and essays including a New York Times op-ed called, "How to Be a 'Woman Programmer." The difficulties of the latter endeavor are covered in Anna Weiner's portrait of Ullman, which describes her life in the gender- and age-discriminating world that is Silicon Valley.