Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

February 2017

One of the most ironic truths about standards is that there are so many of them. Unfortunately, along with this multiplicity, there is also a lot of overlap and duplication. For various reasons, two or more specifications are often developed that serve the same purpose, or possibly address different components of a larger problem. Over time, technological solutions for managing an issue could change, requiring new standards to be developed, leaving both solutions to exist in the market simultaneously. Since old technologies hardly ever die off completely, those legacy systems and the newer ones will likely need to interoperate at some level, so that the standards that support them must be mapped or translated and thus both need to be continually maintained. Of course, there are also social, business, and political reasons why people choose to implement a given solution. This description is only a portion of the puzzle as to why multiple specifications exist and are advanced. I often state the adage that 90% of standards issues have nothing to do with technology; that 90% causes the majority of problems related to duplication in standards work.

A few examples of this phenomenon come to mind this month. First, a new specification related to transferring of rights information is being considered by ISO TC 46/SC 9. The proposal was developed simultaneously half a world apart by two groups that are concerned about the availability of rights information for cultural content yet weren't communicating with each other. One group, led by Europeana and the Digital Public Library of America, released a set of rights statements for cultural heritage institutions last spring. Meanwhile, a group in Japan suggested that the ISO community that develops identification and description standards address the same problem. Neither group is the first to explore the issue of rights information, nor to include it in metadata. Dublin Core included rights as early as 1999, though in an unstructured form. Several rights expression languages have been developed. And now it seems yet another effort may move forward.

Another example: during the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta, NISO hosted a meeting to discuss the variety of circulation-related exchange standards in the community. This isn't a case of multiple organizations pursuing related work, but in fact a rationalization of NISO's portfolio. Work on improving the SIP standard has been in progress since 3M transferred SIP 3.0 to NISO several years ago. At the same time, the NCIP standard is managed through a continuous maintenance procedure, and NISO has recently launched new work on standardizing APIs to exchange information for electronic resources. Beyond NISO, UK-based BIC (Book Industry Communication) has been working on its Library Communications Framework (LCF). ISO standards for some of these services exist as well. Each of these efforts serves its own role and function in the world of library systems, but our community isn't so big and the number of suppliers isn't so large that we couldn't and shouldn't consolidate these related endeavors. Such a rationalization was the topic of discussion during the meeting in Atlanta. We plan to extend this conversation with a public webinar on the morning of March 23rd, so be on the lookout for more information on that.

NISO is also making a broader effort to reorganize and consolidate our varied portfolio of current and future work. We need to be efficient, focused on those efforts that provide the greatest value to our members and our community. We must keep asking ourselves whether what we are focused on developing serves the greatest number of users in the most robust way possible. We began this reorganization process last fall with a community survey to which many people contributed. NISO's leadership is now reviewing this data and considering which of our efforts have had the greatest impact. We are also looking at how to restructure our portfolio while retaining close connections to our various communities to make sure that maintenance of legacy activities doesn't inhibit us from advancing new and critical work to help all of you remain effective and productive. This process includes re-grouping our work to bring it more closely in line with functional activities, stabilizing long-standing standards, and expanding participation on those leadership groups.

NISO shouldn't advance every project or every idea. We need to be selective and to work together to ensure that our projects have the best impacts. Sometimes that means partnerships, sometimes it means deprecating efforts or standards. Occasionally being selective means stopping work after it has begun, in favor of other newer, better ideas when they are raised. It also requires there be a willingness to set aside social preferences that might lead to multiple efforts, in support of singular projects. Sometimes complexity is appropriate, because we live in a complex world; other times, complexity just adds to overall confusion instead of helping to solve problems. NISO is committed to being more efficient and reducing that complexity whenever possible.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

NISO Releases "Understanding Metadata" Primer

NISO continues its Primer Series with the publication of Understanding Metadata by Jenn Riley, Associate Dean, Digital Initiatives at McGill University Library, Montréal, Québec, Canada. The guide, which Current Cites calls "required reading in library and information science curricula everywhere," offers a comprehensive overview of information about an item's creation, name, topic, features, and more. It updates NISO's 2004 advice on the subject and follows on the "Research Data Management" Primer published in 2015.

NISO Professional Development Events in February and March

NISO Webinar
Providing Access: Ensuring What Libraries Have Licensed Is What Users Can Reach
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
1:00pm - 2:30pm, Eastern time

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Adam Rusbridge, Project Manager, EDINA, University of Edinburgh
  • Athena Hoeppner, Electronic Resources Librarian, University of Central Florida
  • Jennifer Leffler, Technical Services Manager, University of Northern Colorado

All stakeholders have an interest in ensuring that properly licensed content is made accessible and usable to the authorized communities. Content providers want to minimize cancellation due to under-utilization while maximizing efficiencies in their business. Libraries want to ensure that users aren't blocked from content to which they should have rights. Speakers will discuss their experiences in balancing the needs of various stakeholders in the community. For more information and registration details, please visit the event page.

NISO Virtual Conference
Institutional Repositories: Ensuring Your IR is Populated, Useful, and Thriving
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
11:00 am - 5:00 pm, Eastern time

Automatically included with your registration for this virtual conference is access to the associated Training Thursday, Metadata for the IR, Thursday, February 23, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm.

The keynote address for this event will be provided by Cliff Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). Other confirmed speakers are:

  • David Wilcox, Product Manager, Duraspace
  • Kate Byrne, Repository Tools Product Manager, Symplectic
  • Todd Digby, Chair, Library Information Technology, University of Florida and Robert Phillips, Digital Collections Applications Programmer, University of Florida
  • Violeta Ilik, Head, Digital Systems and Collection Services, Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University
  • Sarah Shreeves, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies, University Libraries at University of Miami

Other speakers will be confirmed soon! For more information and registration details, please visit the event page.

NISO Two-Part Webinar
Understanding The Marketplace

  • Part One - Consolidation: The Long Term Impact and the New Owners
    Wednesday, March 8, 2017
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm, Eastern time

  • Part Two - Creating The New Information Product: Workflow, Software, and Content
    Wednesday, March 15, 2017
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm, Eastern time

The information industry continues to adapt to changes in technology, in user expectations, and in the library marketplace. Those adaptations have taken the form of consolidation in specific areas (such as the consolidation in integrated library systems). Who are the new players? What exactly does a venture capitalist do and why are they entering this chaotic information ecosystem? The first portion of this two-part webinar on March 8 will review exactly what's happening in this rapidly shifting industry.

Product is re-invented in new forms, buoyed by new business models. Providers that used to be in the business of journal publishing now are developing and licensing complex workflow environments. The second half of this two-part webinar, held on March 15, will feature discussions of how product design and development operates now. Some time may be given over to how librarians might best work with content providers to ensure that practical requirements are understood, negotiated, and satisfied by these new players and providers.

Confirmed speakers for this two-part webinar include:

  • Joseph Esposito and David Lamb, Partners, STM Advisors
  • Judy Luther, President, Informed Strategies
  • Eric Swenson, Director, Product Management, Elsevier
  • Representative, American Psychological Association
  • Alex Humphreys, Associate Vice President, JSTOR   Director, JSTOR Labs, JSTOR/ITHAKA
  • Olivia Humphrey, CEO, Kanopy

Remember that NISO offers a variety of registration options. Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members will automatically receive access to both sessions of this two-part event. Non-members of NISO may register for one session or for both at a packaged rate. Access to an archived recording of the event is included in that registration fee. For more information and registration details, please visit the event page.

Package Deals!

Library Standards Alliance members receive the full series of NISO webinars with their membership. Not a member? Join now, as the 2017 NISO Webinar series will provide your staff with 14 opportunities for engagement with experienced professionals on emerging areas of concern. It will include in-depth attention to the burgeoning information marketplace, innovative information products and services, and the underlying technologies that support discovery, authentication, and access.

Do you need to maximize the reach of your organization's training budget? For NISO webinars, registration is per site, not per individual computer. Gather your team to watch the live broadcast as a group; colleagues not available on those Wednesdays will always be assured of access to the event's recording. Sign up for the Buy 9, Get 5 Free package, and ensure access to all 14 of the NISO webinars. Or, select the Buy 5, Get 4 Free package, and choose 9 webinars from the 2017 line-up:

For more information on webinar subscription packages, visit: http://www.niso.org/news/events/2017/webinars/

NISO Virtual Conferences offer in-depth examination of current topics of interest, including institutional repositories, open educational resources, image digitization and preservation, and more! See the scheduled events and the available subscription packages here.

Forthcoming ISO Ballots

NISO Voting members participate in the development, revision, and evaluation of standards. Voting members are able to influence the standards process and mold the future of the industry. The following NISO ballots are five-year systematic reviews of standards. Each concerns the transliteration into Latin of another script and closes on March 6, 2017. If you are a NISO Voting Member, log into your NISO page and you'll see the ballots linked there.

  • Systematic Review of ISO 9:1995 (Ed 2, vers 3) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Cyrillic characters into Latin characters -- Slavic and non-Slavic languages
  • Systematic Review of ISO 9985:1996 (vers 3) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Armenian characters into Latin characters
  • Systematic Review of ISO 15919:2001 (vers 3) -- Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts into Latin characters
  • Systematic Review of ISO 259-2:1994 (vers 3) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Hebrew characters into Latin characters -- Part 2: Simplified transliteration
  • Systematic Review of ISO 259:1984 (vers 4) Documentation -- Transliteration of Hebrew characters into Latin characters
  • Systematic Review of ISO 233-2:1993 (vers 5) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Arabic characters into Latin characters -- Part 2: Arabic language -- Simplified transliteration
  • Systematic Review of ISO 233:1984 (vers 4) Documentation -- Transliteration of Arabic characters into Latin characters

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

New Roadmap for Future of Publishing is Underway as W3C and IDPF Officially Combine

The combining of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the plan for which was announced in May 2016, has been completed, said W3C on February 1, 2017. The new organization, called Publishing@W3C, has already announced a roadmap for the work ahead.

U.S. Access Board Releases Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Final Standards and Guidelines

Taking effect on March 20, 2017, this new rule revises and updates accessibility standards for electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It also covers guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934.

NIST Issues Draft Update to Cybersecurity Framework, ANSI Encourages Stakeholders to Comment

NIST has issued a draft update to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, or the Cybersecurity Framework. The update, states NIST, "provides new details on managing cyber supply chain risks, clarifying key terms, and introducing measurement methods for cybersecurity, and aims to further develop NIST's voluntary guidance to organizations on reducing cybersecurity risks." NIST welcomes comments on the draft until April 10, 2017.

Media Stories

Intellectual Craftsmanship and Scholarly Engagement: JSTOR's Ideas for Redesigning the Digital Monograph
The Scholarly Kitchen, Jan. 12, 2017; by Jill O'Neill

Curious that JSTOR Labs might be exploring the restructuring of the monograph, NISO Educational Programs Manager Jill O'Neill considers a Labs report published in December 2016, Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers.

NISO Note: JSTOR/ITHAKA is a NISO Voting Member.

Pew Report on Americans and Cybersecurity
Pew Research Center, January 26, 2017; by Kenneth Olmstead and Aaron Smith

Conducted as part of Pew's Privacy and Safety study series, this survey examines Americans' cybersecurity habits and attitudes. It finds that "a majority of Americans have directly experienced some form of data theft or fraud, that a sizeable share of the public thinks that their personal data have become less secure in recent years, and that many lack confidence in various institutions to keep their personal data safe from misuse." At the same time, Pew notes that many of us fail to follow privacy and security best practices in our personal lives.

Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in U.S. Public and State Libraries
OCLC Research, Jan. 2017; by Kendra Morgan and Merrilee Proffitt

This report presents the results of a needs assessment and gap analysis of public library digitization activities that sought, explains OCLC, to "gauge the extent to which US public libraries are positioned to support the growth of the national digital platform (NDP)." The work was conducted by OCLC, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), the Public Library Association (PLA), and the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS).

NISO Note: OCLC is a NISO Voting Member.

Data Privacy Day: Will You Ever Have Control of Your Personal Info?
CNET, Jan. 26, 2017; by Laura Hautala

"It's easy to get worried about the future being discussed on the 10th floor of Twitter headquarters in downtown San Francisco, where Data Privacy Day took place Thursday. But the 150 people who gathered for this event, put on by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, were largely optimistic about how our data will be stored and used in the future."

A Famed Journal Blacklist is Dead. Long Live a Blacklist!
Stat, January 27, 2017; by Ivan Oransky

Following the mysterious shuttering of Jeffrey Beale's list of predatory OA journals, Oransky looks at why many publishers and some scholars found the list objectionable and what could take its place.