[Link back to NISO KBART Standing Committee]

Problem Statement

In early 2006, information industry association UKSG commissioned a research report (Link Resolvers and the Serials Supply Chain) 'to identify the new relationships and information exchange requirements ... [necessary] to maximise the benefit of OpenURL linking.' Central to the efficient operation of the OpenURL is the knowledge base, which consists of data supplied by content providers including publishers. The report found that a lack of awareness on the part of many publishers of the OpenURL's capabilities and requirements is impacting the quality and timeliness of data they provide to populate knowledge bases, and thus undermining the potential of this sophisticated technology. A program of education and advocacy, particularly among smaller publishers, will be key to improving the efficacy with which OpenURL is currently implemented, and thus to improving its impact on the library community.

The group was publicly launched by UKSG and NISO in January 2008. See the January 13, 2008 press release, NISO and UKSG Partner to Tackle Inefficiencies in OpenURL Supply Chain.

Statement of Work: Project Goals

The joint NISO/UKSG KBART (Knowledge Bases And Related Tools) Phase I Working Group was set up to progress the recommendations of the UKSG commissioned research report (Link Resolvers and the Serials Supply Chain). The group, co-chaired by UKSG and NISO, worked to:

  1. Develop and publish guidelines for best practice to effect smoother interaction between members of the knowledge base supply chain. Knowledge base providers and their customers (primarily academic libraries) will benefit from provision of higher quality data by content providers. Publishers will benefit from accurate linking to their content and subsequently the possibility of increased usage.
  2. Provide educational events that will address the roles of each (relevant) party in the supply chain, the functions each needs to carry out to improve supply of data to knowledge bases, and the value of doing so in each case. Content providers will benefit from a greater understanding of the needs and activities of those to whom they supply data; knowledge base providers and libraries will again benefit from improvements that can be expected when content providers are better educated.
  3. Deliver a centralised information portal, to support educational activities and provide a comprehensive resource for further learning, e.g.:
    • Glossary
    • Entry-level explanation of OpenURL: purpose, methodology, value
    • Introduction to knowledge base supply chain parties: roles, needs, responsibilities, value
    • "How to" guides: outputting holdings data etc.
    • Links to other (selected) OpenURL literature
    • Guidelines for best practice: knowledge base format and terms of provision; inbound linking syntax
    • Relevance of other standards/initiatives/technologies, e.g., ONIX, metasearch
    • Contact details of those willing to provide assistance to the bewildered

KBART Phase I Working Group Members


  • Peter McCracken, co-founder and Director of Research, Serials Solutions peter@serialssolutions.com
  • Charlie Rapple, Group Marketing Manager, Publishing Technology plc charlie.rapple@publishingtechnology.com


  • Adam Chandler, Coordinator, Service Design Group, Cornell University Library
  • Anna Gasking, Product Manager, Informaworld, Taylor and Francis
  • Simon Haggis, British Medical Journal,
  • William Hoffman, Information Architect, Swets Information Services
  • Louise Jones, Director of Library Services, University of Leicester
  • Nettie Lagace, SFX/Verde Product Director, Ex Libris, Inc.
  • Chrissie Noonan, Technical Library Information Specialist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Sarah Pearson, E-Resources & Serials Coordinator, University of Birmingham
  • Oliver Pesch, Chief Strategist, E-Resource Access and Mgmt Svcs, EBSCO Information Services
  • Jason Price, Life Science Librarian, Claremont Colleges
  • Liz Stevenson, Electronic Resources Librarian, University of Edinburgh
  • Margery Tibbetts, Senior Development Programmer, California Digital Library
  • Tom Ventimiglia, East Asian Library Technical Support Specialist, Princeton University Library
  • Jenny Walker, Vice President, Marketing, CredoReference