NISO Issues "Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context"

Freely Available Document Recommends Ways To Leverage Web Services

BETHESDA, MD - September 19, 2006 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Web Services and Practices working group has completed NISO RP 2006-01, Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context. This new Recommend Practice publication covers the following areas: HTTP caching, filtering of user input, reuse of output formats, security, and throttling. The document also describes typical output formats used in web services -- DTD, XML schema, RDF, Relax NG, and DSD.
For those implementing web services in a library context, an appendix provides an overview of typical services: discover, locate, request, deliver, and common web services. The appendix also includes a brief introduction to interoperability issues.

"The NISO Web Services and Practices Working Group brought together interested parties on an international scale," noted Candy Zemon, Senior Product Strategist for Polaris Library Systems and the Working Group co-chair. "We are pleased to have produced this Recommended Practice and trust that it will be useful to folks interested in how web services might be leveraged in the library industry. As technicians ourselves, we see the use of web services expanding rapidly, largely unregulated, but highly useful. We suspect that NISO may have another leadership role in some particular niche problem areas identified by the Web Services Group." Ian Davis of Talis Information, Ltd. served as Zemon's co-chair on a Working Group composed of experts from 19 companies and academic institutions.

Before disbanding, the group recommended that NISO continue to monitor, evaluate and engage in the development of standardized system frameworks and architectures for web services. There was consensus that NISO should work with existing efforts like the UK-based e-learning efforts and others in development.

This Recommended Practice publication is the first to be released under NISO's new RP designation. These documents are intended to provide guidance in emerging areas where formalized standards may inhibit innovation. "The creation of the RP Series is part of NISO's larger strategy to develop a more robust and flexible standards development process," said Todd Carpenter, NISO's Managing Director. NISO will also be reassigning several existing documents to this new designation.

About the National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire life cycle of an information standard. NISO ( is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

NISO is sponsoring two fall workshops: Managing Electronic Collections: Strategies from Content to Users in Denver, CO on September 28-30, 2006 and Discovery to Delivery: Solutions to Put Your Content Where the Users Are in Beltsville, MD (outside Washington, DC) on November 2-3, 2006.