NISO Launches New Project to Develop Recommended Practices for Exchanging Serial Content

Interested participants from libraries, publishers, content aggregators, and repositories are encouraged to contact NISO

Baltimore, MD – June 26, 2013 – The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) voting members have approved a new project to develop recommended practices for Packaging and Exchanging Serial Content. Many different organizations—libraries, archives, indexing services, content aggregators, publishers, and content creators—need to exchange and work with digital files that make up serial content. Generally, the files are aggregated in some type of "package" that can vary significantly in format and structure and contain anywhere from several files for a single article to over a million files for a full journal title backfile. This new NISO initiative will develop a recommended practice defining the rules to be used to create a package of serial content, allowing both the exchange of content and the automation of processes to receive and manage this content.
"The Library of Congress routinely collects digital materials for our national collection through copyright mandatory deposit," states Leslie Johnston, Chief of Repository Development at the Library of Congress and one of the project proposers. "In our proof of concept phase for delivery of e-serials, we accepted all publisher-submitted metadata and content file types and, as expected, we saw significant variance in file and directory naming, part identification, file format combinations, and the accompanying manifest (which was often missing). To efficiently receive and process e-serials on an ongoing basis and scale the processes to manage expected future volumes, we need a standardized protocol for how these e-serials will be provided."

"Standards like the Journal Article Tag Suite (ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2012) provide a model for creating an XML structure for an article," explains Kimberly A. Tryka, Staff Scientist at the National Library of Medicine and a project proposer, "but related items in the article are referenced by linking and not as part of a package. The EPUB 3 specification includes the packaging of digital content, but it is designed for viewing of that content in an e-reader. There are no standard methods that specifically address the need for packaging e-serial content in a way that it can be interchanged and machine-processed for storage, archival, and retrieval purposes. This new NISO initiative will seek to fill that gap."

"NISO's Recommended Practices for Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials (NISO RP-15-2013) recommends the use of a standardized packaging format to transfer digital content," states Nettie Lagace, NISO's Associate Director for Programs. "This NISO project will define that standard packaging practice and complement the recommendations about supplemental materials."

Participation in the new NISO initiative is encouraged from libraries, publishers, content aggregators, and repositories. Individuals interested in participating on this working group should contact Nettie Lagace (

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: For more information please contact NISO at (301) 654-2512 or via e-mail at