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Content Provider Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why was the conformance checklist developed?

The conformance checklist was developed so that discovery services and libraries could understand, at a glance, the degree to which a particular content provider conformed to the Open Discovery Initiative’s Recommended Practice (2020). It is meant to provide a high-level overview of the content and metadata the provider makes available to the discovery service.

2. Who is it intended for?

The Content Provider Conformance Checklist is intended for use by any content provider, defined in the Recommended Practice as: 
"The organization providing dissemination of the content (literature or information). May be a publisher, aggregator, OA or institutional repository, or A&I service provider. The same content may be available from multiple content providers.”
Any content provider which contributes in materials to one or more discovery services is requested to complete a conformance checklist.

3. Where can I find a sample ‘Content provider Conformance Statement’?

4. How does one go about achieving “conformance”? Is there a process I need to go through or any audits or approvals I need to submit?

There is no formal auditing mechanism in place. Conformance statements are published by each content provider on their website and linked to from the NISO ODI website at Library and discovery service staff who access a content provider’s materials may review statements and verify that information in them corresponds to their expectations and experience. 
ODI requests that content providers send the URL of completed conformance statements to so that they may be included in the directory.

5. Should I publish my conformance statement if I am not perfect and not fully in conformance?

Yes. The Open Discovery Initiative does not audit conformance statements; they are designed to promote transparency and set expectations for libraries and discovery services about what content is included in discovery services and available to library users.
The conformance statement describes the degree to which a content provider meets the broad strokes of the Open Discovery Initiative Recommended Practice. For each item in the statements, content providers are asked to indicate their degree of conformance: Yes [fully conformant], Partial [partially conformant], or No [not conformant]. In the case of a “Partial” or “No” response to any particular item, content providers are invited to provide an explanatory note describing the response.

6. Where should I publish my conformance statement?

Conformance statements should be published on your organization’s webpage.

7. How do I let ODI know so they can add me to the list of those with conformance statements?

Once you have published your conformance statement to your organization’s webpage, send an email to with the name of your organization and a link to the posted conformance statement.
ODI will then add your link to the list of completed conformance statements on the NISO website.

8. We have many databases and not all are treated the same in discovery services. How should I reflect differences across the products I make available for discovery?

If you offer both discovery services and content, please submit the appropriate conformance statement for each.
If you are a content provider offering many types of content, please feel free to submit as many conformance statements as are needed to accurately disclose the level of conformance for each product offering.
If you have specific questions, please feel free to consult with us at

9. The statement says I must supply "core metadata and underlying full-text/original content” - what if a discovery partner only uses title lists or metadata? Are they compliant?

The recommendations do not currently include a provision advising discovery services to use all content supplied by a content provider. If you provide core metadata and underlying full-text/original content to discovery services, and the discovery service chooses not to index a portion of the content provided, you are still in conformance with the recommendations. However, if you are aware that some of your content is not being indexed, in the spirit of transparency and avoiding confusion, we would advise that you note in the comments that not all discovery services index all data provided.

10. What if there is a minor difference in one of the metadata elements or don’t provide it for all of our products?

If a metadata element does not apply to the content provided, you are still in conformance. If you do not provide a relevant data element for a particular product, you are probably in partial conformance and should detail the discrepancy in the comments section. If you are unsure and would like to consult with us, please feel free to contact us at

11. How are we supposed to do the following: “provide a statement of participation in the discovery services, including disclosure of coverage depth”? What is recommended or at least considered best practice?

Section 3.2.2 of the recommendation details the level of disclosure requested; namely, coverage, content provided to discovery services, types of content provided and the discovery services to which the content was provided.
The recommendation does not specify how this statement should be disseminated to libraries. We suggest placing this information on your website although you can also provide it to librarians on an as needed basis. If you make such a disclosure statement available on your website, we recommend that you add a link to it in your conformance statement as a note.

12. How can I get in touch with other content providers who are working on similar areas?

Several managers at various content providers have formed a Google Group to facilitate connections: 

13. What are the major differences in the 2014 and 2020 versions of the ODI Recommended Practice for content providers? Core Metadata

Two new fields are added to “Table 1: Core metadata elements to be provided by content providers” :

  • Author Identifier - One or more standard identifiers for the authors of the item (e.g., ORCID/ISNI VIAF, etc.). The identifier should be preceded by a label indicating the type of identifier.
  • Language - Language of the content item. The list of MARC language codes at is recommended to be used for this fields content.

“Table 3: Enriched content to be provided by content providers” no longer exists. The elements in this table is moved into “Table 1: Core metadata elements to be provided by content providers”:

  • Indexing Data - One or more keywords (from controlled or uncontrolled vocabularies) to describe the content of the item.
  • Abstract/Description - Either a text summary on the content or (for non-text materials) a description of the item.

3.2.5 Link Resolution

In this new section, ODI recommends that Content Providers should continue to provide fair linking, meaning at a minimum data to support OpenURL Resolution.

3.2.6 Support Tools

In this new section, ODI recommends that Content Providers should create clear channels for reporting discovery related support issues. It is preferable that these tools be available online. 

14. What changes are added to the 2020 ODI Content Provider Conformance Statement?

  • Author Identifier
  • Language
  • Indexing Data
  • Full Text/Transcript 
  • Abstract/Description

15. Whom should I contact for questions about ‘Content provider Conformation Statement’?

Please feel free to contact us at