NISO Releases Draft STS: Standards Tag Suite for Public Comment

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the release of a draft version of NISO Z39.102-201x, STS: Standards Tag Suite, for public comment. STS provides a common XML format that standards developers, publishers, and distributors can use to publish and exchange full-text content and metadata of standards. It is expected that this "standard for standards" will be published in the fall as an XML document marked up in the STS standard after comments on the draft version are addressed and it is approved by NISO Voting Members and by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.

"Before STS, there were several DTDs used for tagging standard-type information. This variation impeded interoperability across standards and inhibited collaboration between our organizations," said ASME Director of Publishing Technologies, Robert Wheeler, co-chair of NISO's STS Working Group. ASME joined other associations, standards development organizations, and government entities in creating this new work that builds upon an existing, heavily used standard for journal publishers, ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2015, JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite and the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) version of STS.

Users of JATS will be immediately familiar with the STS model. "In many ways, the body content of articles is very much like standards content. The core structural components are the same, though the metadata is different," explained the Working Group's other co-chair, Bruce Rosenblum, CEO of Inera, Inc., in a recent teleconference discussion on STS. "This draft is an important milestone following a great effort by members of the two groups involved in this work over the past 18 months, the steering and the technical working group," further commented Rosenblum. NISO Executive Director Todd Carpenter also appreciates the synergy between JATS and STS. "Many standards publishing associations have robust journals programs," he noted. "Having those systems aligned is a win for those associations, and we expect that the two standards will evolve in lockstep in the future as well. Like all of our standards, these will be maintained so that changes and expansion of needs are catered for."

Adoption of STS will offer significant benefits at every step of standards development and use, Wheeler and Rosenblum remarked. Different groups will be able to co-publish standards much more easily, and the advantages continue through to distribution. "When everyone had proprietary models, that often meant that you were locking your XML into a proprietary distribution channel," said Rosenblum. "When the community coalesces around a standard, it opens up a lot more opportunities and flexibility for small and medium-sized publishers."

The NISO STS proposed standard is open for public comment from April 24, 2017 to May 24, 2017. The proposed standard, in PDF form, is available from NISO at All input is welcome. To comment, please go to and follow the described steps.

About NISO
NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, 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 information standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO website.


Todd Carpenter

Executive Director
Todd Carpenter joined NISO as Executive Director in September 2006. ...