Newsline November 2017

Technology constantly builds on other technology. This computer-delivered editorial is the result of advances in electronics that allowed for the creation of computers, which in turn led to breakthroughs in the software running on those machines and to the formats that support display and distribution. Standards build upon each other, too. They create a complex network of interconnected documents, interlinking references, and dependencies; some normative, others not. And despite advances in digital distribution in recent decades, the distribution of standards has been hampered by a lack of consistent structures that allow us to free our documents from the limitations of PDF and move them into robust use.

Last month, NISO published the NISO Standards Tag Suite (NISO STS), a derivative of the NISO standard Journal Article Tag Suite (NISO JATS). NISO JATS is a great example of how standards can facilitate interconnected documentation and ideally an example of how standards can be adapted to offer fully robust content. Similarly, the new NISO STS could affect broader interconnectedness in the standards development community and improvements in how people use our outputs.

Ideally, if adoption of NISO STS is successful, several things will happen. First, the cost to standards developing organizations to create XML documents will fall as vendors expand their market and reduce the need to customize their tools. This should lead to reduced production costs for standards developers of all sizes. Next, tools for using and distributing standards will show increased functionality and lower costs. This should boost the availability of standards and allow for more functional end-user tools. Finally, a more robust network of interlinked documents will allow for easier navigation and engagement with published standards. Ideally, this will lead to greater conformance with those works.

In conjunction with the launch of NISO STS, NISO hosted our first meeting outside of North America, a Geneva, Switzerland forum on XML for Standards Publishers. The meeting was a tremendous success; it attracted more than 70 participants and allowed us to further extend NISO's reach outside the United States. Over the years, we have increasingly focused on the international ecosystem of content distribution, discovery, and interoperability. We hope these efforts mean that NISO is recognized as working both domestically and internationally and not simply as a 'National' organization (despite our full name). We have long operated outside of U.S. borders, and this project helps us to extend that practice.

I've strongly encouraged our community to think and operate globally. One of my favorite quotes is from St. Augustine of Hippo, who said, "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." NISO's work--not only that on XML for standards--travels the globe and reaches a worldwide community.