CORE: Cost of Resource Exchange

The CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange) proposal (available here) was approved by the NISO membership as a new work item in June 2008. See the press release for more information.

CORE: Cost of Resource Exchange Protocol (NISO RP-10-2010) was published as a NISO Recommended Practice in August 2010 (see the press release).

The purpose of this specification is to facilitate the transfer of cost and related financial information from an Integrated Library System (ILS) Acquisitions module (the source) to an Electronic Resource Management System (ERMS) (the requestor). The population of ERMS financial data from the ILS Acquisitions system makes cost-per-click and other cost-related reports in the ERMS all the more possible. Note that the CORE standard should not be seen as limited to ILS->ERMS data exchange; any two business applications could make use of this format for simple and efficient data exchange.

CORE is maintained by the CORE Standing Committee, which falls under the purview of the NISO Business Information Topic Committee.

Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol Schemas

These are the CORE schemas that are referenced in CORE: Cost of Resource Exchange Protocol(NISO RP-10-2010).

Version 0.1

CORE Namespace

The CORE namespace is:

  •[version no.]

where [version no.] represents the relevant version number. Note that the "dot" in the version number is expressed as an underscore in the namespace. So the namespace for version 1.0 would be:

CORE Press and Presentations

March 2, 2011
CORE Update (Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference)
NISO CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange) update presented at ER&L Conference 2011, by CORE Standing Committee member Bob McQuillan (Senior Project Manager, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.).

Press Release: August 31, 2010
NISO Publishes Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol as a NISO Recommended Practice
NISO is pleased to announce the publication of its latest Recommended Practice, Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol (NISO RP-10-2010; available from This Recommended Practice defines an XML schema to facilitate the exchange of financial information related to the acquisition of library resources between systems, such as an ILS and an ERMS. Read the full release.

January 16, 2010
LITA E-Resource Management Interest Group Meeting Update: NISO CORE Draft Standard (ALA Midwinter)
The CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange -- standard was released for trial use in April 2009; the draft phase will end March 2010. Co-chairs Ted Koppel and Ed Riding presented the status of the document and next steps

June 10, 2009
CORE: Exchanging Cost Information Between Library Systems

Presentation by Ted Koppel (AGent Verso (ILS) Product Manager, Auto-Graphics, Inc.) and Ed Riding (Technical Product Manager, SirsiDynix), CORE co-chairs, at NISO's June 2009 webinar, "Library Systems & Interoperability: Breaking Down Silos." 

June 5, 2009
Moving Mountains of Cost Data: Standards for ILS to ERMS to Vendors and Back

NASIG 2009 conference report by Anna Creech (Eclectic Librarian blog) on Dani Roach's (University of St. Thomas, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, and member of the CORE Working Group) June 2009 presentation at NASIG 2009. Excerpt: "CORE could be awesome, but in the mean time, we need a solution. Roach has a few suggestions for what we can do."

Press Release: April 1, 2009
NISO Announces Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol as a Draft Standard for Trial Use
NISO's CORE Working Group announces the publication of Z39.95-200x, Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol as a Draft Standard for Trial Use (DSFTU). The CORE standard is being issued for a one-year trial use period, to run from April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010. Following the DFSTU phase will be an evaluation and correction period before final publication. Read the full press release.

March 18, 2009
CORE - Cost of Resource Exchange - Combining Cost and Use Data in Libraries
Presentation by Jeff Aipperspach (Senior Product Manager, Serials Solutions), member of the CORE Working Group, at NISO's March 2009 webinar, "Data Movement & Management."

CORE Presentation
ER&L 2009

Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference Update, February 2009. Presented by Jeff Aipperspach, Senior Product Manager, Serials Solutions.

January 23, 2009
LITA E-Resource Management Interest Group Meeting: CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange) Working Group Update (ALA Midwinter)
Update provided by Ted Koppel (AGent Verso (ILS) Product Manager, Auto-Graphics, Inc.), CORE Working Group co-chair.

June 29, 2008 - CORE Update (ALA Annual)
Update provided by Ted Koppel, AGent Verso (ILS) Product manager, Auto-Graphics, Inc. & NISO Content & Collection Management Topic Committee Chair at the NISO Update meeting at ALA Annual 2008.

COREInfo Mailing List

CORE Standing Committee


The CORE Standing Committee provides maintainence support for the CORE Recommended Practice. It was formed in September 2010, following publication of the CORE document.

The Standing Committee is charged with monitoring the uptake of the Recommended Practice, providing support and outreach on the protocol, and conducting an annual review of the document with the aim of making future recommendation for re-release as a standard publication.

The original CORE Working Group -- the members of which developed the CORE Recommended Practice -- roster can be found at:


Standing Committee Chairs

Ted Koppel (Chair)
AGent Verso (ILS) Product Manager
Auto-Graphics, Inc.

Kathy Klemperer (Vice-Chair)
Project Manager

Standing Committee Members

Rafal Kasprowski
Electronic Resources Librarian
Rice University

Joyce McDonough
Director, Continuing & E-Resources Management Division
Columbia University

Bob McQuillan
Senior Project Manager
Innovative Interfaces, Inc.

Rose Nelson
System Librarian
Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries

Dani Roach
Head of Serials
University of St. Thomas

Clara Ruttenberg
Electronic Resources Librarian
University of Maryland


General Questions

  1. What is CORE?
    CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange) (NISO RP-10-2010) was published as a NISO Recommended Practice in August 2010. CORE is a communication format for exchanging information about the cost of resources. It was developed to facilitate the exchange of cost, fund, vendor, and invoice information between Integrated Library Systems (ILS) and Electronic Resource Management Systems (ERMS). This recommend practice can also be used for exchanging such information between any system that wants cost information and any system that can provide it (such as a subscription agent’s system).
  2. What does the CORE acronym stand for?
    CORE stands for Cost of Resource Exchange.
  3. What is a NISO Recommended Practice?
    It is a "best practice" or "guideline" for methods, materials, or practices that can give guidance to a user. Unlike a standard, use of any or all elements of a Recommended Practice is discretionary; it may be used as stated or modified by the user to meet specific needs.
  4. Why is CORE a Recommended Practice and not a NISO Standard?
    CORE was originally released as a draft standard in April 2009 for a one-year period. It was published as a NISO Recommended Practice in August 2010, however, because of the lack of systems vendor (ILS or ERMS) implementations during the trial period. The lack of testing during the trial period was in large part due to the economic downturn, rather than from lack of interest. The ultimate goal of the current CORE Standing Committee is to help CORE Recommended Practice continue to move toward becoming a NISO Standard.
  5. How does CORE Work?
    The CORE protocol is generalized to be useful for a variety of transaction partners by identifying and defining data elements that are generally supported by ILS, ERMS, subscription agents, and materials vendors. It provides an XML schema for the exchange of financial data for use by these systems. It also identifies three different scenarios where the exchange of cost information would be useful.
  6. What are the benefits of using the CORE protocol? 
    CORE allows one system with cost information to share it with another system. The fields that are to be shared and the circumstances under which they are shared are decided by the exchanging partners. This system-to-system sharing of cost data eliminates the need for redundant input of cost data and will reduce human errors that come with manually keying in data.
  7. Do I need an ERM system to use CORE?
    Not necessarily. The two major systems that are envisioned to make use of cost information are the library ILS (specifically, financial information contained in order records) and an ERM which allows for tracking of financial information to perform related calculations such as cost per use. Serial vendors are another source of cost information that may use the CORE protocol to exchange that data with an ERMS. The specific module names of the client and server are less important than their function. The client needs information and asks for it from the server. The server locates the desired information and sends it back.
  8. Who are the various parties that need to work together to make this work?
    Vendors that develop systems which contain cost information such as ILS and ERMS vendors, library staff, and entities that sell resources are critical to the process.
  9. Which library system or serial vendors have adopted CORE? 
    None have adopted CORE to date. The lack of implementation is the direct result of the worldwide economic downturn, not a lack of demand from librarians or interest from vendors. The original CORE Working Group and the current CORE Standing Committee have representatives from many of the major subscription vendors, ILS systems, and ERMS vendors. Education, promotion, support, and outreach related to CORE are the goals of the current Standing Committee.
  10. What is the relationship of CORE to other standards, such as SUSHI and COUNTER?
    There is not a direct relationship between CORE and these other standards; the ultimate goal is for them to complement one another. In the process of gathering cost-per-use statistics for an institution’s online holdings, CORE, SUSHI and COUNTER might all come into play. In the ideal scenario, if SUSHI enabled the automatic harvesting of COUNTER compliant usage statistics and CORE was able to exchange cost information from an existing system (e.g., an ILS) to another where the usage was stored (e.g., ERMS), calculating cost-per-use would be greatly facilitated.
  11. What is the relationship of CORE to EDI?
    CORE is an example of an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standard. Many librarians use the terms EDI and EDIFACT interchangeably. In reality, EDIFACT is a specific EDI standard describing business transactions such as orders, claims, and invoices between libraries and suppliers. CORE differs from such standards in that it is used to convey information between two systems, rather than the business transactions handled by EDIFACT.
  12. What are the available CORE schemas and what are their differences?
    There is currently one CORE schema is available on the NISO website, at
  13. I want more details. Where can I look?
    The CORE Workroom on the NISO website is updated regularly. COREinfo is an open list available for anyone interested in the work of the CORE Standing Committee. COREinfo serves as a way to communicate regularly about the work of the group, to solicit feedback, as a forum for questions, and more. Subscribe now by sending an e-mail to

Librarian Questions

  1. What is the status of the CORE protocol?
    CORE: Cost of Resource Exchange Protocol (NISO RP-10-2010) was formally published as a NISO Recommended Practice in August 2010. CORE was originally released as a draft standard in April 2009 for a one-year period. It was issued as a NISO Recommended Practice, however, because of the lack of systems vendor (ILS or ERMS) implementations during the trial period. The lack of testing during the trial period was in large part due to the economic downturn, rather than from lack of interest. The ultimate goal of the current CORE Standing Committee is to help CORE Recommended Practice continue to move toward becoming a NISO Standard. Currently the CORE Standing Committee is providing support and outreach for this hopefully future standard. The CORE Standing Committee will review the document annually for the next three years.
  2. What are the benefits of using the CORE protocol for a library?
    CORE gives the library the ability to request financial data (for display or populating an ERMS) from ILS Acquisitions system without manually entering the same data in two different systems. This means that a library can have real-time lookups and cost-per-click and other cost related reports in the ERMS.
  3. What library system or serial vendors have implemented the CORE protocol?
    None have adopted CORE to date. The lack of implementation is the direct result of the worldwide economic downturn, not a lack of demand from librarians or interest from vendors.
  4. Will CORE work with consortia?
    Yes. CORE is designed to work with a request for data between an Integrated Library System Acquisitions system and ERMS within the same library, a book or serials vendor to a library’s ERMS or transfer of cost and transaction data between members of a consortium.
  5. Are there limits to how many times or how often CORE can be used?
    No. It has been designed to encourage rapid implementation and reusability.
  6. Is there a limit to the age of the cost information I want exchanged?
    No. The values for beginning and end dates for material can fall between January 1, 1900 and December 31, 2099.
  7. How do I influence my vendor(s) to implement CORE if they haven’t yet?
    Contact your sales representatives for your library systems and let them know the importance the transfer of financial data between these systems is to your institution and your decision-making process. Recommend that the CORE protocol be used to accomplish this task.

 Systems Developers & Subscription Vendors

  1. How does the CORE protocol work?
    The CORE protocol acts as a standardized interface between two systems that exchange financial information, such as an ILS and an ERMS. A system on either end of the exchange needs to create a one-time interface to the CORE protocol and can then exchange data with any other CORE-compliant system, as illustrated in Figure 1.

    The CORE protocol supports single-query requests with possible multi-part replies in either a client/server or peer-to-peer architecture. The basic element of the protocol is the COREDocument; all elements within the schema are children of the COREDocument element.

    The schema uses an object-oriented approach and is deliberately terse to encourage rapid implementation and lightweight profiles. Placing each major unit in its own sub-schema promotes schema reading and editing while enhancing reusability. Implementers may unit-test components with a validating parser by building an XML document from any of the sub-schemas. The entire schema has been kept as flat as possible; there are no unnecessary elements.
  2. How often will the CORE schema be updated?
    Changes to the schema that meet the standard's definition of allowable changes will be made as needed, but no more than annually.
  3. What are the various technologies involved with CORE implementation?
    • ERM: Electronic resource management (ERM) software is developed for the specific purpose of managing a library’s electronic resource collections and subscriptions. ERM systems, which can be either standalone or directly tied to a library system vendor’s other modules, usually track the life cycle of an electronic resource. This can include management areas such as: access, acquisitions, licensing, cost, invoicing, workflow, trial use of electronic products, and resource usage.

      Many of today’s ERM systems are based on the Digital Library Federation’s Electronic Resource Management Initiative report. Currently, there is work underway at NISO to review current ERM data standards and best practices, to be provided in an updated report mid-2011 (see
    • ILS: An integrated library system (ILS) is defined as:

      [A]n enterprise resource planning system for a library, used to track items owned, orders made, bills paid, and patrons who have borrowed.

      An ILS usually comprises a relational database, software to interact with that database, and two graphical user interfaces (one for patrons, one for staff). Most ILSes separate software functions into discrete programs called modules, each of them integrated with a unified interface. Examples of modules might include:
      • acquisitions (ordering, receiving, and invoicing materials)
      • cataloging (classifying and indexing materials)
      • circulation (lending materials to patrons and receiving them back)
      • serials (tracking magazine and newspaper holdings)
      • the OPAC (public interface for users)
      [Source: Integrated library system. (2011, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 25, 2011.]
    • XML schema: An XML schema is “is a description of a type of XML document, typically expressed in terms of constraints on the structure and content of documents of that type, above and beyond the basic syntax constraints imposed by XML itself. An XML schema provides a view of the document type at a relatively high level of abstraction.” [Source: XML schema. (2006, July 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 27, 2006.] More on XML can be found at:
  4. What is the difference between the cost-related information supplied by the client and the server in a CORE implementation?
    Using the defined CORE XML data schema, this recommended practice provides a common method of requesting cost-related information by a client application (an ERMS, for example) for a specific order transaction, a specific resource, or all resources that the library owns, within the boundaries of a payment period or access period. The client requester must supply sufficient request information (e.g., a unique order identifier, a date range) in its request, so that the responding system (an ILS, for example) can interpret the request, identify the appropriate financial record(s), and respond with the appropriate financial and/or resource data elements.
  5. What variable information has to be supplied in a CORE (client) request?
    The CORE protocol supports a single request, intended to retrieve a record (or set of records) that contain fields related to the product information, order transaction, and payment details. The requester may supply either a specific OrderId, a specific ProductId, or request all records, qualified by either access period (subscription period) or payment period (e.g., fiscal year), date range, and a CustomerId.
  6. What variable information has to be supplied in a CORE (server) response?
    The response will return a CORE Response record (or set of records) with payment detail, order transaction, and product fields. For any given requested OrderId or ProductId, there may be multiple PaymentDetailsRecords contained within the CORE Response, depending on how many payments were made during the date periods specified in the query. A query request for all records, whether date qualified or not, can result in a response with multiple transaction records (AcqRecords), each of which could contain multiple PaymentDetailsRecords.
  7. What is the transport mechanism for CORE (client) request and (server) response data?
    The CORE protocol describes a data structure and not the transport mechanism. While the NISO CORE Standing Committee recommends SOAP be used as the web services transport mechanism, the specifics of the SOAP configuration are beyond the scope of the CORE recommended practice and are left to trading partners to devise. Implementers of the CORE protocol may also use other transport mechanisms that are already in place, such as FTP or SMTP, or even physical transfer media.


Committee Roster

Approved by the NISO Business Information Topic Committee June 11, 2008.