Newsline, August 2018

Letter from the Executive Director

The publication of a standard is an important step in the development of that document. However, publication is only the beginning. Adoption is also critically important. Standards that sit on the shelf, but are never used, are not terribly practical. The reality is that it takes a tremendous amount of work after publication to ensure that the standard is used.

NISO encourages the ongoing work of maintenance committees and outreach and marketing groups, as well as the more formal maintenance agencies for NISO standards post-publication. These groups support ongoing development work and promote the standards' adoption. These requirements exist not only at NISO, but for outputs of other communities as well. 

In late July, we received word that NISO has been awarded a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support the implementation of MathML in the Chromium open source browser. MathML is a mathematical markup language, an application of XML for describing mathematical notations and capturing their structure and content. It is a standard published by the W3C but it has faced trouble in receiving native support in many web browsers -- and by extension, most reading systems, which are based on web browser software. Gecko-based browsers (e.g., Firefox and Camino) have robust native support of MathML thanks to their open source communities. Unfortunately, Google removed support of MathML from Chrome in 2014, claiming that architectural security issues and low usage did not justify Google’s engineering time. Fortunately, with support from the Sloan Foundation, NISO can now help advance the implementation of MathML in Chromium, which is the open source project that forms the foundation of the popular Chrome web browser. More information about the initiative will be forthcoming as details are finalized regarding the project. We are grateful to the Sloan Foundation for supporting this initiative.

We’re just about to begin our fall educational programs and I’m particularly excited about the upcoming schedule.  We have some fascinating sessions lined up with lively speakers. We will also be kicking off another multi-week, in-depth training program, this time focused on how to analyze the data your institution is collecting. More details will be released soon.  

I hope you enjoy the remaining weeks of summer!

Todd Carpenter
Executive Director