Below are listed questions that were submitted during the NISO/ALCTS Webinar, along with questions that have been submitted by the presenters. Not all the questions could be responded to during the live webinar, so those that could not be addressed at the time are also included below.

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about library and technical services standards, standards development, or if you have have suggestions for new standards, recommended practices, or areas where NISO and ALCTS should be engaged.

NISO/ALCTS Webinar: Demystifying Library Standards
Webinar Questions and Answers
June 18, 2008

Question: I attended a training session this morning from Thomson on Web of Science and the trainer indicated Thomson was in the process of creating Researcher IDs. The trainer described these as "social security numbers" for researchers, i.e., unique identifiers for authors (see Is NISO involved in any similar initiative?
Answer (Karen Wetzel): Currently, NISO is engaged in author identification at the international level, within ISO's Technical Committee 46, Subcommittee 9, with the ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) standard. See more on the ISNI from Angela D'Agostino's recent presentation, "The International Standard Name Identifier & Identifying Textual Works," at the NISO/BISG Forum at ALA Annual 2008 (available online at There are also a number of areas where author IDs are coming up-identifiers in general are a very big issue right now. For instance, CNI had a recent meeting on author IDs ("Authors, Identity Management and the Scholary Communication System" - see, and will be issuing a report of that meeting. In addition, a recent NISO Thought Leader meeting on Digital Libraries and Digital Collections (held June 17, 2008) also addressed author identification and in the report of this meeting will be summarized different recommendations where NISO could be involved in this area. On their count, the identified 27 different projects happening in this space, and NISO will be looking at possibly partnering with these various groups so that the work can be tied together and coordinated.

Question: How can we use the federated search standards to parse LexisNexis and Westlaw?
Answer (Pamela Bluh): I double-checked with our research librarians, and it is correct that Lexis and Westlaw-at least in the law school environment-are proprietary databases and cannot be searched together with other databases. In the law school setting, only authorized law students and faculty affiliated with the law school have access to Lexis and Westlaw.

What does NISO do if they discover different groups working in a parallel, independent fashion on the same standard?
Answer (Karen Wetzel): In 2007, NISO underwent an organizational change that, in part, helps to address this. In order to provide oversight to standards development and to ensure that NISO projects are timely, proactive, and coordinated not only within NISO but also with related work or organizations, three Topic Committees were created to help review proposed new work and identify areas where NISO might engage. These three Topic Committees are: Business Information; Discovery to Delivery; and Content & Collection Management. In addition, the chairs of each of these committees communicate together and sit on NISO's Architecture Committee, which helps to provide vision and identify emerging areas of concern for the organization. In addition to an organizational restructuring, NISO adopted new Procedures in fall 2007 (approved by ANSI in May 2008) that specifically charge each new working group (which are created based on approval by the NISO membership) to, at the onset, develop a work plan with a timeline that accounts for data gathering to ensure that a full understanding of the environment, including related development, exists. Perhaps most importantly, NISO has long been an organization that has close ties to like organizations and a history of partnering with other standards developers. In cases where there is parallel work being done, rather than duplicating that work, NISO recognized the advantage to partner where like interests overlap to develop together tools and standards that can benefit all players that will be impacted by the standard. We are committed to continuing in this fashion and welcome any suggestions for future partnering. Finally, if you are interested in joining a Topic Committee, please do let us know. The member terms are for three years, and we are currently soliciting interest in joining the committees. More information can be found under the "Topics" tab on our website; NISO procedures can be found in the "Documents" section under the "About NISO" tab.

Question: Is anybody talking to the vendors about making their products comply with the NISO standards?
Answer (Karen Wetzel): NISO's AVIAC committee (Automation Vendors Industry Advisory Committee) engages vendors in standards compliance (if you represent a vendor and would like to join this committee, feel free to contact me at We have also been looking at models where we might be able to create benchmarks for compliance with specific standards, as well as possible tools and other options. One thing we hear most often, however, is that speaking directly to vendors and asking for compliance in your contracts is perhaps the simplest and most effective approach at this time.

Question: What advice do you have for keeping updated about new and emerging standards?
Answer (Karen Wetzel): NISO's free e-newsletter, Newsline, is a great source for keeping up-to-date not only about standards that are being developed within NISO, but also about related information standards development and implementation. You can sign up on the NISO website at or view current and past issues at In addition, NISO's education events--in-person and online--are a wonderful place to hear from experts about new standards, standards in development, and areas where standards or similar (e.g., recommended practices, technical reports) might be needed. Information about these, as well as presentations from past events, are available at

Question: How do you get involved with a working group? Is there a place on the NISO website to "sign up?"
Answer (Karen Wetzel): We have recently redesigned our website and are working on implementing an online "sign up" form. At the moment, however, we send out information about new working groups via the NISO Newsline and post that information on our website. If you are interested in joining a working group or if you would like to be part of an interest group for a new working group, please contact Karen Wetzel, NISO's Standards Program Manager, at

Question: Is there a single source that lists all library-related standards created by various organizations?
Answer (Trisha Davis): Good question; we wish there were. Given that "library-related" cannot be easily defined and that "library-related" standards are issued from many different agencies, there is no simple way to compile such a source and maintain it in an accurate and current version. NISO does have a list, however, of related organizations that develop standards at

Question: Is there an ethical standard for academic libraries to receive/fetch MARC records into its OPAC in general?
Answer (Trisha Davis): Standards only address the content of bibliographic records, not how they are used. It would be considered unethical for a library to load bib records donated from another library that had paid for them with the condition that they not be shared further. Most purchases of bib records involve some type of license or contract that stipulates how the records may be used and shared. To copy a bib record from another library's catalog and key it into yours also would be unethical, if not illegal, under the copyright law. You need go directly to the source of the cataloging and acquire a copy legally or risk being unethical.

How does NISO set its priorities for development of new standards and revision of existing standards?
Answer (Karen Wetzel): NISO relies on its Board, Architecture Committee, and Topic Committees to provide leadership and set priorities for the organization. In addition, we actively encourage the community to contact us with new ideas or suggestions for revisions (these can be submitted online at In addition, the Topic Committees have adopted a set of criteria that they use to consider new projects or revisions. These criteria, initially developed by the Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee at their first in-person meeting, are available on the website at: If you are interested in joining a Topic Committee, please contact me at

Question: Will the OpenURL webinar in August provide more detail on how the standard works and what it's being used for?
Answer: Karen Wetzel: NISO's upcoming 2008 webinars--which ALCTS members can sign up for at the NISO discount rate--will focus more concretely on existing and developing standards. The OpenURL webinar will, therefore, absolutely provide more details and give viewers a chance to learn more carefully about the standard, how it's being used, and changing developments. In addition, we will have a speaker to talk about how issues with OpenURL impact effective knowledge bases, and the work of the NISO/UKSG KBART Working Group (see More information about the OpenURL and other 2008 NISO webinars can be found at:

Pamela Bluh: ALCTS also plans a number of webinars on standards--the first one is tentatively set for end of September 2008 and will look in detail at ONIX for Serials. Our hope is that we can coordinate with NISO on this series of webinars, so that working together we can provide the community with a body of information on standards and standards development. We anticipate announcing the details for the ONIX for Serials session at the end of August or beginning of September. NISO members will be able to sign up at the ALCTS member rate.

Question: Could you tell me more about the CORE project? What specifically are you trying to quantify?
Answer (Karen Wetzel): The CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange) Working Group aims to facilitate the exchange of cost, fund, vendor, and invoice information between Integrated Library Systems (ILS), Business Systems, Electronic Resource Management Systems (ERMS)and other interested parties such as Subscription Agents. The group will do this by: refining the list of data elements exchanged between an ERMS, ILS, business systems and other systems holding acquisitions metadata to support the population of the ERMS with financial and vendor information; creating a transport protocol to move these data elements from one system to another; and writing use cases to help explain the capabilities of the protocol. More information is at