NISO Issues SUSHI Draft Standard in Record Time

Z39.93 Aids Collection of COUNTER Statistics; Field Testers Needed

BETHESDA, MD - September 19, 2006 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) set a new record with the release of Z39.93 The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol, as a Draft Standard for Trial Use, after a mere 14-month development cycle. The DSFTU meets the need of libraries to collect COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) usage statistics more efficiently. SUSHI represents a web-services approach to solving the challenges of COUNTER statistics retrieval and consolidation.
NISO is issuing the SUSHI protocol as a DSFTU to gain field experience before it takes it to ballot. The SUSHI trial period runs from September 20, 2006 through May 20, 2007. NISO welcomes participation in this trial; information on participating in the trial is available at

"The approach to this initiative represents NISO's new strategic direction in standards development," stated SUSHI co-chair, Oliver Pesch, Chief Architect and Senior Vice President EBSCO Information Services. "The problem was clearly scoped, pilot implementations were developed to validate assumptions, and in the end, the draft standard was proven to work before it was released for trial use. This approach, coupled with an energetic and dedicated committee, allowed us to create the SUSHI draft standard in record time."

Launched in 2002, Project COUNTER is designed to help librarians and publishers in the recording and exchange of usage statistics for electronic resources. By following COUNTER's Code of Practice, vendors can provide libraries with data using standardized formats and data elements. The SUSHI protocol is a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) request/response Web services "wrapper" for the XML version of COUNTER reports.

Adam Chandler, SUSHI co-Chair and Information Technology Librarian at Cornell University Library, added, "NISO provided the infrastructure required to move SUSHI from a good idea to an industry standard. NISO is an institution our community needs to nurture and support."

"The technical precision of the SUSHI protocol is impressive, but equally impressive is the vision of the working group in anticipating next-generation needs," noted Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of NISO. "For example, although the group initially conceived of a protocol only for COUNTER reports, SUSHI can also accommodate non-COUNTER reports."

Technical Details

In the protocol, a transaction begins when a client service running as part of an application developed by a library - or running as part of a usage data consolidation service or ILS / ERM system - identifies itself, identifies the customer whose statistics are being requested, and specifies the desired report to the SUSHI server service running at a data provider. In response, the server provides the report in XML format, along with the requestor and customer information - or an appropriate error message. The SUSHI developers envision a system in which the client system is programmed to retrieve reports automatically for all the COUNTER-compliant vendors with which the library does business.

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.