NISO Launches Two New Initiatives to Develop Standards and Recommended Practices: Digital Bookmarking and Annotation Sharing and Open Discovery Initiative

Digital Bookmarking and Annotation Sharing

The electronic book has any advantages over its print counterpart. But one area where print still has the advantage is in the creation and sharing of bookmarks and annotations. It’s difficult to reference a quote from page 157 of a particular e-book, because in an environment where text is reflowable and reformattable based on screen size, device orientation, or user preference, the concept of “page 157” is meaningless. likewise, if a user of one e-book platform creates an annotation in her copy of Pride and Prejudice, there is no easy way for her to share this annotation with a user of a different e-book platform.

For both casual readers as well as professional and academic researchers, such pointers and sharing capability needs to work across reading systems to enable social uses of books, articles, and grey literature that range from personal memory aids to citations and critical analysis, as well as deep inter-linking. the ability for social sharing of bookmarks and annotations represents a huge potential opportunity in the e-book marketplace.

At present, no standards exist in this space although a number of proprietary, platform-specific solutions exist for some, but not all, pieces of the problem. Some community- specific efforts have also proposed solutions. One of these, the Open annotation Collaboration, has defined a distributed architecture for annotations based on a customizable resource Description framework (rDf) syntax; however, other functionality such as location (bookmark) syntax has not yet been specified. the International Digital Publishers forum (IDPf), who developed the open EPUB standard, is exploring a syntax for locating a text location within a file, based on some work initially done by Adobe.

To address the need for cross-platform standards in this space, NISO and the Internet archive, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, held two standard incubation workshops in October 2011 in conjunction with the Frankfurt Book fair (Frankfurt, Germany) and the Books in Browsers meeting (San Francisco). representatives from major stakeholders in all areas of the e-book supply and delivery chain discussed requirements, critical components, and possible approaches.

Following the meetings, NISO initiated a new working group to use the meeting output and develop a syntax specification for how bookmarks and annotations are located in digital books. a preliminary goal has been established for a trial use standard in late 2012.

An interest group e-mail list has been established for anyone interested in following the group’s work.

Digital Bookmarking and Annotation New Work Item Proposal

E-book Annotation Sharing and Social Reading Meetings

E-mail Interest Group List

International Digital Publishers Forum

Open Annotation Collaboration

Open Discovery Initiative

A new generation of library discovery services has entered the marketplace in the last few years. unlike their federated search predecessors, the new services follow the web search engine model of creating and searching their own aggregated index of the relevant content. By indexing the content in advance, discovery services have the ability to deliver more sophisticated services with instant performance.

In order to create effective indexes, these discovery services depend on the cooperation of the information providers to provide access to metadata and often to the full-text of information resources. Often, the indexes have been built based on private agreements and ad hoc exchange methodologies between information providers and discovery service creators.

Libraries increasingly rely on these index-based discovery services as the strategic interface through which their patrons gain access to the breadth of information that is available to them. the content for these services comes from a range of information providers and products including licensed, purchased, open access, and local institutional sources. libraries need a clear understanding of the degree of availability of that content in their discovery service of choice. unfortunately, it is often not clear what specific information is available; whether it is indexed in full text, by citations only, or both; and whether the metadata derives from aggregated databases or directly through the full-text.

At the 2011 ALA annual Conference in New Orleans, Marshall Breeding (Vanderbilt University), Oren Beit-Arie (Ex Libris), and Jenny Walker (Ex Libris consultant) convened an invitational meeting to gauge interest in establishing a more standard set of practices for the ways that content is represented in discovery services and for the interactions between the creators of these services and the information providers whose resources they represent. representatives from the major stakeholder groups—libraries, information providers, discovery service providers, NISO as a standards development organization, and NFAIS whose members were also discussing discovery services—were overwhelmingly positive about working together on standards or best practices. NISO agreed to launch a new Open Discovery Initiative to pursue the proposed work.

Among the areas proposed for the new working group to address are:

  • A standard way for information providers to provide content to discovery service creators
  • Clarity in the business rules that apply to the content once indexed
  • A standard exchange of data describing what rights to the content apply within the discovery service
  • Models for fair linking from the discovery service to the publisher content
  • Clear descriptors regarding the extent of indexing performed for each item or collection of content and the level of availability of the content
  • A standard approach to exchanging data in support of usage reports

An interest group list for this project is available for those who would like to receive updates on the working group’s progress and provide feedback to the group on its work.



Open Discovery New Work Item Proposal

E-mail Interest Group List

Jason Vaughan. Web Scale Discovery What and Why? In: Web Scale discovery Services. Library Technology Reports, volume 47, number 1, January 2011, pp 5-11. p2148444086n7r7t/fulltext.html