For release: 15 Nov 2005

NISO Initiative to Standardize Online Usage Statistics Harvesting

Bethesda, MD (USA) - November 15, 2005 - Vendor and university members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have come together to solve the problem of how librarians can track usage of online content. Following an early-2006 release of a NISO Draft Standard for Trial Use, which NISO will make freely available, the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) will conduct a Spring 2006 workshop to introduce the Initiative to a larger community of stakeholders.

Although content providers are now providing usage data routinely, these usage statistics are not available in a standard data container. Libraries and their partner-vendors are finding that the administrative cost of individual provider-by-provider downloads is high.

Noting that Project COUNTER has defined useful and widely adopted guidelines for counting usage and reporting models, Initiative Co-chair Adam Chandler of Cornell University stated, "Librarians want to make use of their COUNTER reports, but the process of collecting the reports from all the different Web sites is very, very time consuming. The protocol we are developing will allow ERMS and other vendors to retrieve and import reports from compliant content providers into local systems automatically. That will free us to spend our energy analyzing the data." Other founding members of the Initiative are Ivy Anderson, Harvard University / California Digital Library (from December 2005); Patricia Brennan, Thomson Scientific; Ted Fons, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.; Bill Hoffman, Swets Information Services; Tim Jewell, University of Washington; Ted Koppel, Ex Libris; and Oliver Pesch (co-chair), EBSCO Information Services.

Peter Shepherd of COUNTER added, "Since the publication of the first COUNTER Code of Practice in January 2003, it has been implemented by a large number of vendors and the resulting usage reports are now used by librarians worldwide. We are pleased to support this NISO-led initiative to develop a protocol to automate the retrieval and importing of COUNTER usage reports into local systems. This will significantly enhance the utility of the COUNTER reports for librarians."

The Initiative plans to hold discussions about the work at the American Library Association Midwinter meeting, which will be held in San Antonio, TX, from January 20-25, 2006. The project website is

About NISO

NISO, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation. NISO Standards, information about NISO's activities and membership are featured on the NISO website


COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) is a multi-agency initiative whose objective is to develop a set of internationally accepted, extendible Codes of Practice that will allow the usage of online information products and services to be measured more consistently. Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for journals and databases was published in January 2003 and is now widely implemented. COUNTER is actively supported by the international community of librarians and publishers, and by their professional organizations.

For More Information, Contact:

Maryann Karinch
NISO Consultant
Phone: 970-577-8500
Email Maryann Karinch