Newsline November 2016

Efficient investment of resources isn't something that only corporate entities need to focus on. Every organization must be aware that the things required to get projects completed, such as time, funds, and volunteers, are all finite and possibly in short supply. While NISO has been extremely effective in using our limited resources to greatest effect, a focus on continual improvement is an important element of our success. This drive to improve has enabled NISO to triple the number of ongoing efforts we are able to manage. We have been able to effectively manage our resources while adding staff and investing in technology that contributes to our success.

As part of this process, one thing we have not yet done is reflect on the work that we have done and have published. Even the published standards and recommended practices in our portfolio require some investment of resources to confirm and maintain. There are standards and recommended practices that were important at the time they were developed, but as technology has changed, some parts of our portfolio simply aren't as important as they once were. Even when those standards or recommended practices remain in use, their application is limited, or practices related to those technologies have long since stabilized, and we need to ask ourselves whether the use of the standard justifies the time and energy necessary to maintain it. Of course, even when a specification is deprecated that does not necessarily mean that the related technology ceases to be in use, and occasionally, even when a standard is in use, we find it difficult to locate parties willing to participate in revision processes. These situations, too, are signals that NISO's efforts could be more usefully directed elsewhere.

As with everything at NISO, we strive to make our development decisions a consensus effort. The leadership committees within NISO have determined that we should gather community feedback on these decisions. We are circulating a survey that will help us to gather information about which of our standards provide value and are used in the community. We will continue to invest in maintaining the standards that are in widespread use; some of these are unlikely to change and will be placed into a stabilized maintenance status, reducing the administrative burden required for upkeep, whereas others will be regularly advanced and updated as required. Some long-standing standards may be withdrawn, because if the community isn't invested in retaining a standard, NISO should turn its attention to efforts that have a broader potential impact.

Since the implications of this survey could be significant, we would like to gather opinions from the most diverse constituency possible. While the survey might be a bit time-consuming, we encourage you all to invest some of your time and professional expertise in commenting on which of NISO's activities are most valuable to your organization and our community. In addition to exploring those efforts that are perceived to be most valuable, we are simultaneously reviewing how we've grouped these activities, and may realign our Topic Committee structure to address changing technology trends in our industry. We hope that through this analysis we can provide a next generation of standards on new technology areas and better match the future of information distribution.

We appreciate your feedback and input on these future directions for our Organization and for the information distribution ecosystem.

With kindest regards,

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director