KBART Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is KBART?

KBART, which stands for “Knowledge Bases and Related Tools,” is a NISO Recommended Practice. Very simply, KBART recommends best practices for the communication of electronic resource title list and coverage data from content providers to knowledge base (KB) developers. KBART specifies file format, delivery mechanisms, and fields to include, and it applies to both serials and monographs.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is an extensive database maintained by a knowledge base developer that contains information about electronic resources such as title lists, coverage dates, inbound linking syntax, etc. Knowledge bases typically organize the resources provided by a content provider into collections or databases that reflect specific content provider offerings, for example packages of e-journals, e-books, or other materials. Knowledge bases can be customized by individual institutions to reflect their local collections.

Why is KBART important?

Knowledge bases are used to provide data for OpenURL link resolvers and to populate library discovery systems with an institution’s e-resource holdings data. Many libraries also use knowledge base data in library catalogs, for e-journal title lists, in electronic resource management systems (ERMs), and in other tools. If a knowledge base contains inaccurate information or is not updated regularly, these discovery and management tools will fail. By providing a recommended practice for communicating information from content providers to knowledge base developers, KBART helps ensure the integrity and functionality of knowledge bases.

Questions that a content provider might ask

Why should content providers work with vendor knowledge bases?

Knowledge bases are at the heart of modern library tools and systems for e-resources. Quality KB data delivered following the KBART Recommended Practice makes it more likely that users will connect with your content through OpenURL, discover your content through the library's catalog, browse your titles using journal and book portals or A-Z lists, and find your content through discovery services. Using KBART, one format is all you need for KB feeds and librarian title list information.

How does a content provider’s KBART data work in vendor knowledge bases?

Vendors obtain KBART data from the content provider directly, preferably through a publicly-accessible web page, and vendors and content providers communicate with each other regarding the details of the provider’s content and any known issues. Vendors ingest the data into their KBs, and libraries then select the packages and titles that they have access to. These library-specific selections provide the holdings data needed to support vendor products for linking and discovery. These tools help get library users to the content provider’s platform, using whatever authentication methods (IP, Shibboleth/Athens, username/password, etc.) the content provider has for that library to ensure legitimate access. KBART makes it easier for libraries and users to discover and engage with a provider’s content.

As a content provider, how can I get started using KBART?

See our KBART For Content Providers page, which includes all of the information that you need to start developing KBART lists, including templates, a KBART Style Guide with additional details and examples of the Recommended Practice, and information about getting additional help, advice, or feedback with your data and files.

Questions that a librarian might ask

How can libraries contribute to the KBART effort?

While content providers bear the primary responsibility for creating and disseminating KBART files, librarians are the ones who benefit from accurate, high-quality metadata in their knowledge bases. Librarians can encourage publishers to endorse the KBART standard, report knowledge base errors to vendors and publishers, and in some cases request KBART-compliant files for use within their systems. Check the KBART Registry to see if a specific vendor follows the KBART Recommended Practice.

Does KBART have any specific uses for librarians?

Librarians primarily interact with KBART-compliant files as consumers of knowledge base data. However, some librarians have successfully used KBART to create files for custom local and consortial packages and load them into their local knowledge bases. Some librarians also find KBART title list files useful for understanding a content provider’s offerings or determining the contents of a standard package they have purchased.