Welcome to NISO!

The NISO Team

Our vision is a world where all can benefit from the unfettered exchange of information. Learn more about how we’re working toward achieving this in these top 10 frequently asked questions — and watch this video on Engaging with NISO

  1. What is NISO? We are the National Information Standards Organization, a not-for-profit membership organization that identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information. Learn more in What We Do.

  2. What is a standard? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a standard as: “Something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example.” As well as technical standards, we also develop less formal recommended practices, technical reports, and white papers.

  3. Why do we need information standards? Information standards increase efficiency, reduce errors, and improve the user experience — making it easy for customers to find a book online, ensuring your website is fully accessible, being able to trust your usage data, and much, much more.

  4. What sort of standards does NISO develop? Our standards fall into three main categories, each of which is managed by a Topic Committee:

  5. Who decides which standards to develop? The brief answer is, you do! As a community-based organization, we welcome suggestions from anyone who sees a need to standardize an information or content-related process or tool and is willing to work with stakeholders from across the library, publishing, and vendor communities to find a solution. All suggestions are reviewed by the relevant Topic Committee and, if an idea is accepted, NISO voting members then vote on whether to approve it.

  6. What is the process for developing a standard? NISO is an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) accredited organization, so we follow their process for formalizing standards. As well as full standards, we also publish recommended practices, which follow a lighter-weight version of the ANSI process. Creating NISO Standards provides a high-level overview of the process, and ANSI/NISO Standards Development Timeline includes more detail about each stage. 

  7. Who uses NISO standards? Our standards have been adopted by a wide range of organizations around the world and implemented in numerous systems and platforms. You can find examples here — we welcome other suggestions, so please contact us if you have examples of your own that you’d like to share.

  8. How are NISO standards kept up-to-date? Once a standard or recommended practice is published, we set up a Standing Committee that is charged with helping to promote adoption, deciding when updates are needed, and proposing changes for review by the community (which then follow the same process as outlined in Q6).

  9. Where can I learn more about NISO standards? Education is an important part of our mission, and we run regular webinars (free for NISO members), online training, and open teleconferences, as well as in-person events including the annual NISO Plus conference. You can also sign up to receive our Information Organized newsletter and other updates — please contact nisohq@niso.org for details.

  10. How can I get involved? There are lots of ways to engage with NISO; here are a few suggestions:

    • Review and comment on proposed NISO standards — contact us to receive regular updates on new and upcoming standards
    • Adopt our standards — and let us know, so we can share your use cases
    • Help promote NISO and our standards in your community — we are creating a handy toolkit for you to use (please check back for updates!)
    • Volunteer to join a Working Group or Committee — NISO members can join multiple groups, while non-members may join one