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NISO Announces SUSHI Schemas Supporting Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases Finalized

Schemas, Greatly Improved Supporting Materials, Now Available to Assist Adoption

Baltimore, MD - November 4, 2008 - The NISO SUSHI Standing Advisory Committee has announced the approval and final release of the schemas (and related files) providing full support of Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases. Notable in this latest release of the COUNTER Code of Practice is the requirement that content providers implement SUSHI as a means of delivering their reports. With the schemas now finalized, content providers can be confident about setting their development agendas for implementing SUSHI.
The SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.93 - 2007) defines an automated request and response model for the harvesting of electronic resource usage data, utilizing a Web services framework. Designed as a generalized protocol extensible to a variety of usage reports, it also contains an extension designed specifically to work with COUNTER usage reports. COUNTER reports have become a mainstay of collection analysis for many libraries; SUSHI serves to automate the time consuming and error prone process of manually running, retrieving and loading these reports.

NISO's SUSHI Standard Advisory Committee, formed last summer to maintain the standard, has used community feedback to identify additional needs for implementation and to examine the standard for areas that may need updating or improving. In addition to addressing the needs of the schemas, the Committee's charge also includes the goal of making SUSHI easier for implementers to understand and work with. As part of that effort, the schemas have been annotated with descriptions and examples for key elements, and the website ( now includes clear graphical representations of the schemas. In addition, the FAQs on the site are being updated and include sections specifically for librarians and for developers. Further documentation on the site includes material covered in NISO's SUSHI webinar on October 2, a list of clients (ERM and Usage Consolidation services) supporting SUSHI, and a list of SUSHI compliant content providers, and other supporting information.

Also on the site is a link to the draft, "How to Start Building a SUSHI Service." This work in progress by Thomas Barker, Software Engineer, IT and Digital Development at the University of Pennsylvania Library, is a valuable tool for those interested in getting started with building a client.

"I am thrilled we no longer have to download spreadsheets to retrieve Counter data," said Barker. "With SUSHI, we can conveniently automate data processing since it adheres to a common web service standard. Additionally, standardization could create a general solution to COUNTER data harvesting, which in turn encourages sharable solutions within the SUSHI community."

"We commend the publication of the SUSHI protocol as a key building block enabling us to create the resources to help publishers streamline the way they deliver their COUNTER compliant usage reporting to their subscribers," noted Colin Cooper, Commercial Director of ISSEL. "The standardized protocol will drive efficiencies and time saving for both the publisher and the subscriber, allowing them to focus on the true value of the data rather than being tied down by the logistics of the process."

History and Technical Details
Launched in 2002, 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.

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 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 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 engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: