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NISO Launches New Projects to Develop Standards for Bibliographic Vocabulary Exchange

Interested participants from libraries, library system vendors, A&I services, and developers or users of standardized vocabularies and metadata for describing resources are encouraged to contact NISO

Baltimore, MD - March 18, 2015 - The voting members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved three new projects to develop standards to better support exchange and interoperability of bibliographic data. These projects were identified as high priorities in NISO's Bibliographic Roadmap pre-standards initiative, which was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The goal of that project was to collectively determine the needs and requirements of the new bibliographic framework in a global, networked information environment and to develop community consensus for a roadmap of activities needed in this space. Following the issuance of the Bibliographic Roadmap final report in April 2014, NISO's Content and Collection Management (CCM) Topic Committee evaluated the recommendations and prepared a new work item proposal focusing on three of the top prioritized areas: Vocabulary policies on use and reuse, Vocabulary documentation, and Vocabulary preservation requirements.
"Differences in vocabularies and the communities that manage them are often seen to be a hurdle to interoperability," explains Marti Heyman, Executive Director, Metadata Standards and Services at Cengage Learning, and Co-Chair of the CCM Topic Committee. "Different vocabularies also present challenges because quality control, maintenance strategies, and usage policies vary across the sets. Provenance of vocabulary data is critical to understand the management needs of aggregated data as it ages and changes."

"One barrier to vocabulary exchange and interoperability is the lack of policies relevant to use and re-use of vocabularies by organizations other than the owner or maintainer of the vocabulary," states Betty Landesman, Head of Technical Services and Content Management at University of Baltimore, Langsdale Library, and Co-Chair of the CCM Topic Committee. "Documentation of vocabularies is also important for their users, and a minimum set of information to be documented should be defined. Many vocabularies are developed under a short-term funded project and the long-term sustainability and preservation of the vocabulary is endangered when the project funding ends. Pathways forward for managing and supporting such "orphan" vocabularies need to be defined."

"We are looking for a diversity of participants in these projects beyond just libraries," said Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Program Director. "In addition to libraries involved in the bibliographic framework design and implementation, we are encouraging organizations such as library system vendors, abstracting and indexing (A&I) services, and developers or users of standardized vocabularies and metadata for describing resources to volunteer their experts to help develop these new standards."

The approved proposal for the vocabulary projects and the final report from the Bibliographic Roadmap project are available on the NISO website at: Anyone interested in participating on one of the vocabulary working groups should use the online contact form ( and indicate in which of the three projects you are interested.

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: