Topic Committees

NISO maintains three Topic Committees:

As part of NISO's organizational structure, topic committees that bring together leaders in specific subjects have been created to provide direction to the organization for standards development in those umbrella topic areas.

The topic committees are charged with the following tasks:

  • Track standards development within NISO and in other standards organizations related to the topic.
  • Identify where new standards may provide solutions in their specific area.
  • Convene Thought Leader meetings to incubate new standards activities.
  • Create and provide guidance and oversight to standards working groups under their purview.
  • Manage the five-year reaffirmation process for approved standards.

Topic Committees provide quarterly reports to the NISO Architecture Committee.

Topic Area Plans

Each Topic Committee (TC) works with the community it serves to develop and maintain the plans necessary to sustain an active standards program for its area. This may include a research and learning plan, a standards development plan, and an implementation plan for its area of work. It then manages the work necessary to carry out those plans.

Standards Development

Topic Committees may establish Working Groups (WG) to develop a NISO standard or to accomplish some other piece of work. The Topic Committee monitors the progress of all Working Groups it establishes through quarterly progress reports to ensure work is progressing according to plan. Topic Committees may convene meetings to advance understanding in the area that they manage or to explore need for further standards development, including through Thought Leader meetings.

Topic Committee Work/Approval Process

A Topic Committee approval and/or input occurs throughout the standards development process (see an outline in PowerPoint format), at each key stage:

  • Phase 1: Idea to Proposed Work Item 
    For proposed standards, the TC approval vote sends the proposal to the NISO members for final approval. For other proposed work, the TC approval vote initiates the project directly (NISO member approval not required).
  • Phase 2: Approved Work Item 
    Once a work item is approved, the TC engages to, when necessary, assist with the creation of the WG roster, and formally approves the final roster.
  • Phase 3: Creating Work Plan 
    Once Working Groups are established, they need to establish a work plan. The TC then approves the work plan.
  • Phase 4: Work Plan to Draft Standard/Recommended Practice/Etc.
    During the development of the work item, the TC receives quarterly progress reports from WG.
  • Phase 5: Working Draft to DSFTU/Final Publication
    Prior to the release of a draft document as a draft standard for trial use, or the release of a DSFTU for final approval (either to vote as a formal standard by the NISO membership, or directly to publication for non-standard documents), the TC reviews and approves the document.
  • Phase 6: Approval
    The TC will assist with the promotion of the final document.
  • Phase 7: Maintenance 
    The TC identifies and recommends the selection of Maintenance Agencies or Standing Committees and monitors the work of the appointed Maintenance Agencies and Standing Committees. Included in this stage is conducting regular standards reviews and making recommendations on reaffirmation ballots.

The Topic Committee may also approve the publication of a Working Group's deliverable as another type of NISO document. For example, if a working group initially set out to develop a standard,but then decided that the document would be better released as a recommended practice, it may approve the new document type as the working group's formal output.

Topic Committee Chair Role & Responsibilities

The TC Chair(s) lead the group by:

  • Encouraging committee members to approach committee work in a collegial rather than adversarial fashion.
  • Establishing agendas and ensuring that committee work goals are met.
  • Ensuring that minutes for TC meetings and calls are kept and distributed to TC members
  • Coordinating with the NISO office and Standards Program Manager on TC meetings and goals.
  • In coordination with TC members, setting TC priorities and timelines.
  • With TC members, identifying specific TC outcomes and working with TC members to make sure those are met.
  • Making sure that TC members report back to the committee on designated projects.
  • With TC member input, devising a plan for the TC to keep informed of developments—within and without NISO—that might have an impact in their topic area, and identifying areas where NISO might be engaged, including potential partnerships.
  • Working with committee members to identify topics for Thought Leader meetings.
  • Providing TC input to NISO on related NISO educational events.
  • Providing (or designating a committee member) regular updates on TC work at NISO Update sessions at ALA annual and midwinter conferences as well as to inform the NISO Board at its meetings.
  • Serving as a member of NISO’s Architecture Committee.
  • Working with committee members to correct any problems; and potentially asking the Board of Directors to dismiss a member (grounds listed in Section 2.3.3. of the NISO Procedures).
  • Coordinating with the NISO office to make sure that TC approval ballots are cast in a timely fashion.

Topic Committee Member Role & Responsibilities

Members must:

  • Attend meetings on a regular basis and contribute to the work of the committee. Failure to attend more than three consecutive meetings, failure to accept or complete assignments, and/or disruptive behavior are grounds for dismissal.
  • Contribute to TC awareness of ongoing work in the topic area.
  • Be informed of TC work portfolio and cast votes on TC approval ballots in a timely fashion.