Voting Members Approve Work on Package Identifiers

Information Community News

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced in September a new project, recently approved by its voting members, to develop a Recommended Practice for Unique Electronic Resource Package Identifiers. Volunteers are now invited to join a new Working Group to create a set of draft recommendations for public comment.

E-resources are frequently purchased as packages, which can range in size from a handful of titles to hundreds of thousands. Currently, these packages can only be identified by their name in the supply chain, within elements such as invoices, publisher websites, knowledge bases, etc. However, names are inherently ambiguous, so this causes problems that affect all stakeholders—libraries, content providers and platforms, knowledge base providers, and even users.

The NISO Unique Electronic Resource Package Identifiers Working Group will evaluate and create recommendations for a unique identifier to enable disambiguation between packages, which can be used across the supply chain. This identifier will allow all stakeholders to streamline and simplify their processes, and to more easily track changes. It will also provide libraries with clear information about which titles a package contains, enabling them, for example, to manage claims when journals move between publishers. 

The Working Group is expected to conduct an initial analysis, create specific recommendations, and develop and implement a community engagement plan. Representatives are welcome from across all stakeholder groups, both those that provide and consume content, including: publishers, aggregators, and other content providers; subscription agents and book jobbers; electronic resources librarians; knowledge base providers; identifier, standards, and other infrastructure organizations.

For more information about the Working Group, or to volunteer to participate, please contact the NISO Office at

“There is widespread recognition of the need for a unique identifier for packages,” said project sponsor Athena Hoeppner, Discovery Services Librarian at the University of Central Florida. “We look forward to working with the information community on this new project, and warmly invite wide participation in the Working Group, to help ensure that we are successful.”

“NISO’s goal with this project is to create reliability across all systems and entities that are using package information, while ensuring that the recommendations are simple enough for all stakeholders to be able to adopt,” added Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Executive Director. “The response from our voting members was enthusiastic and we are confident that, with the support of the Working Group and input from a broad range of stakeholders, the eventual Recommended Practice will create efficiencies that benefit everyone.”