Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

April 2009

This week, about 750 colleagues and I are in the scenic English town of Torquay for the UK Serials Group conference. While there's a lot of talk here about the impacts of the economic downturn, what is more interesting are the projects that are percolating in the community. It's interesting to see that some technological initiatives are more advanced and more widely adopted in the U.K. than they are in the U.S.—probably due to support from the government, the JISC, and other agencies. By exploring some of these projects we can envision where technology adoption of library systems is headed in the next few years.

The U.K. has been near the forefront of institutional repository systems development and support for several years. Supported by central organization and increasingly strong financial commitments from the JISC and the seven Research Councils, repositories exist at almost every significant U.K. institution, a much higher implementation rate than in the U.S. Last year, CLIR produced a report of U.S. institutions and their plans for deploying IR systems. That report found that in the U.S. only 10.8% of organizations surveyed had a working IR implementation and another 15.7% were in the planning stages. How the community can better leverage IR tools, and increase their use has been an ongoing question and one that is discussed in today's issue of Newsline in the articles on Institutional Repositories: Thinking Beyond the Box and Are Data Repositories the New Institutional Repositories.

The U.K. has also pushed further then the U.S. in adopting improved authentication structures. Again, this is driven by support and strong recommendations from central agencies, which is lacking in the U.S. However, a lot can be learned from the experiences of the U.K. and the Swiss (among others) in setting up identity management systems. For example, the UK Access Management Federation for Education and Research, which was organized by JISC and Becta and operated by JANET(UK), "provides a single solution to access online resources and services for education and research." The federation has nearly 700 members. This compares to the U.S. InCommon Federation, which only has 102 members. Granted, there are other federations using Shibboleth and other similar services, but there's no question that U.S. adoption has been slower.

One area of focus for NISO has been outreach to other organizations, such as the JISC and EDItEUR in Europe, the Book Industry Study Group, DLF, CLIR, and other similar organizations in our community to coordinate and build awareness of similar projects in different segments of the community. Hopefully, we can reduce some of the duplication and conflicting efforts that are underway and develop even better outcomes through the synergy created. When times are lean, such coordination of efforts is especially critical and the wider base of involvement should result in broader applicability and faster adoption.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

April Webinar: KBART and the OpenURL

NISO will be holding a webinar on KBART and the OpenURL: Increasing E-Resource Use through Improved User Access on April 8, 2009 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) is a joint project with the UK Serials Group (UKSG) to improve the quality and workflow of data in knowledge bases used for OpenURL linking. The Working Group is expected to release initial results of its work in the spring of 2009. This webinar will discuss the group's draft recommended practice in the areas of terminology, supply chain workflow, effective transfer of metadata to knowledge bases, needed education, and plans for Phase 2 of the project. Using the KBART recommendations will help to improve the accuracy and timeliness of streams of OpenURL and holdings metadata that facilitate OpenURL link resolution.

Significant interest in the project was expressed after presentations at the ALA Midwinter and ER&L conferences. Up-to-date information on the project will also be presented at the upcoming ACRL, UKSG, and NASIG meetings.

For more information on the webinar and to register, visit the event webpage. NASIG members may register at the NISO member rate.

May Two-Part Webinar: COUNTER and Usage Data

NISO and COUNTER will jointly be holding a two-part webinar on COUNTER and Usage Data on the first and second Wednesdays in May.

Part 1 on May 6, 2009 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) is A How-To Guide to COUNTER that will introduce librarians to COUNTER reports, definitions, and formats. Last summer COUNTER released the third version of the Code of Practice for Journals and Databases, which has an August 31, 2009 deadline for implementation. In addition to providing new consortium reports, the new release requires data providers to offer reports in XML format and to support the SUSHI protocol for automating the retrieval of COUNTER reports.

Part 2 on May 13, 2009 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on New Applications of Usage Data will explore broader issues surrounding the applications of usage data reports, the transfer of usage data via SUSHI, and developing issues related to e-books and multimedia.

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the webinar. NISO and NASIG members receive a discounted member rate. There is also a 25% discount for anyone registering for both webinars. A student discount is also available. For more information and to register, visit the event webpages:
Part 1; Part 2.

Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol Trial Begins April 1

NISO's Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) working group and Business Information Topic Committee have issued a draft standard NISO Z39.95-200x, The Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol , for a one-year trial from April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010.

The CORE Protocol defines an XML schema to facilitate the exchange of financial information related to the acquisition of library resources between systems. The two systems may be within the same organization, e.g., an ILS and an ERMS, or from two different organizations, e.g., a subscription agent and a library.

The standard also describes three use cases: 1) Exchange of information for a single order; 2) Exchange of information for a single product; and 3) Exchange of information for all orders for all products. A number of data scenarios are offered to show the steps of the CORE data transfer, establish requirements for the data transfer mechanism, and delineate expectations of the various systems, specifying who is responsible for what.

The Draft Standard For Trial Use (DSFTU) phase allows the standard to be tested and validated by implementers and the marketplace prior to final publication. The trial work will also serve as an opportunity for the information community to provide the CORE Working Group and NISO with feedback on the draft, including the identification of any errors or omissions that may arise during the trial. The intent of this period is to discover and subsequently address such issues, with the goal of creating a more perfect CORE standard.

The Working Group is actively soliciting trial users. Trial participants will be asked to implement the CORE protocol in their own organization (or with another trial implementer), participate in a discussion list during the trial to share experiences, and provide feedback on any needed changes to the protocol prior to final issuance of the standard. The Working Group will be available during the trial to provide guidance and answer questions.

For more information and a copy of the draft standard and schema, visit the CORE Working Group webpage.

Third Annual NISO/BISG Forum on The Changing Standards Landscape at ALA Annual

NISO and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) are holding their third annual free forum on The Changing Standards Landscape prior to the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. This year's forum, scheduled for Friday, July 10 from 12:30 - 4:00 p.m., will focus on standards initiatives and needs in the e-book marketplace. Segmented to focus on the different stages of creation, distribution, and use, the forum will touch on critical areas of identification, formatting, DRM, and the specific use needs of libraries.

Scheduled sessions for the forum are:

  • Identify and Describe
    • The New ISTC Agency: An Emerging Standard
    • ISBN and E-Books: The Use of ISBN for Electronic Texts
  • Format, Discover, and Retrieve
    • Toward a Common E-Book Format Standard: EPUB
    • Discovering Online Book Content: BISG's BookDROP
  • Purchase and Use
    • DRM Use in E-Books
    • Developing E-Book Sales Models
    • Use of E-Books in a Library Context

Additional information on location and specific speakers will be added to the NISO/BISG Forum event webpage as it becomes known. No registration is required for this free forum, but prospective attendees are asked to RSVP online at www.niso.org/contact.

NISO will also be holding a Standards Update session at ALA on July 12 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and hosting an open meeting of the Automation Vendors Information Advisory Committee (AVIAC) on Friday, July 10 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. More information on these meetings and other standards-related sessions at ALA can be found on the NISO@ALA Annual 2009 webpage.

Reviews Underway for Z39.50 and the U.S. National Z39.50 Profile

NISO recognizes that its standards require regular review to remain effective. For ANSI/NISO standards, this review is done five years after the ANSI approval date. Voting pools have been formed from NISO voting members and review ballots are now underway for two related standards:

In accordance with NISO's Operating Procedures, all review ballots are accompanied with a recommended action from the leadership group managing the review. Both standards are in the Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee's portfolio and the committee has recommended a vote of "Reaffirm" for both. If this action is approved, the standards would remain active and unchanged for another five years.

The public is invited to comment on either standard; see the At Ballot webpage for more information.

Technical Standards Update at SLA's 2009 Annual Conference

The Special Libraries Association's Technical Standards Update at their annual conference will be held on June 16, 2009, from1:30-3:00 p.m. and will include what's new in standards around the world as well as the latest from NISO.

During the last year and a half NISO has held a series of Thought Leader Meetings on the topics of Institutional Repositories, Digital Library Collections , E-learning and Course Management Systems, and Research Data. NISO convenes Thought Leader meetings with a group of experts on a particular topic to identify potential areas where NISO can lead a standards-based or recommended practice solution to recognized barriers. NISO's role in these meetings and the development of educational programs and materials following the meetings will be discussed.

Speakers: Marjorie Hlava, President and Chairman, Access Innovation Inc. and Todd Carpenter, Managing Director, National Information Standards Organization.

The 2009 SLA Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO is being held at the Washington Walter E. Washington Convention Center June 14-17, 2009. For more information about this program contact John Latham.

New Specs & Standards

DAISY Consortium, Obi 1.0 Open Source Multimedia Authoring Tool

Obi 1.0 is a free audio recording tool for the production of audio books which provide meaningful navigation; conformant with ANSI/NISO Z39.86, Specifications for the Digital Talking Book.

DAISY Consortium and Microsoft Corp., Save as DAISY Word Plug-in, version 2

Save as DAISY is a free, open source add-in for Microsoft Office Word that allows documents to be saved in the DAISY/NISO "Talking Book" format as specified in ANSI/NISO Z39.86. With the integration of DAISY Pipeline Lite, version 2 produces a full DAISY multimedia publication with synchronized text and MP3 audio, enabling users to transform Word documents into accessible multimedia formats for people unable to read print due to a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. Full press release.

ISO 21047:2009, Information and documentation – International Standard Text Code (ISTC)

Defines the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) identifier that is applicable to any textual work, whenever there is an intention to produce such a textual work in the form of one or more manifestations. For example, the ISTC can be used for the purposes of collocating subsequent manifestations of the same textual work or derivations of the same textual work in applications involving electronic rights administration or information retrieval. The International ISTC Agency is the official Registration Authority for the ISTC. Full press release.

Microsoft Corp. and Creative Commons, Ontology Add-in for Microsoft Word 2007

This new Microsoft Office Word 2007 add-in enables authors to easily add scientific hyperlinks as semantic annotations, drawn from ontologies (shared vocabularies in a particular domain), to their documents and research papers. Science Commons, a division of Creative Commons, is incubating the adoption of semantic scientific publishing through creation of a robust database of ontologies. Full press release.

OASIS, Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA), version 1.0

UIMA standardizes semantic search and content analytics, providing a common method for meaningfully accessing data contained in text such as e-mails, blog entries, news feeds, and notes, as well as in audio recordings, images, and video.

W3C Working Draft, SKOS Simple Knowledge Organization System Primer

The Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) is an RDF vocabulary for representing semi-formal knowledge organization systems (KOSs), such as thesauri, taxonomies, classification schemes, and subject heading lists. This document is intended to help users who have a basic understanding of RDF to represent and publish their concept schemes as SKOS data. The Primer aims to provide introductory examples and guidance in the use of the SKOS vocabulary.

Media Stories

Map of Knowledge
New York Times (03/16/09) ; Wade, Nicholas

Scientists at the research library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a map of knowledge that better reflects the actual use of information by scholars. The map is based on the electronic data searches of users as they move from one journal to another, and associations between the journals are established. The electronic data searches produced a hub and wheel arrangement for the map, with the humanities at the center and the sciences arrayed around them. The journals are color-coded, with physics in light purple and chemistry in blue, for example, and there are interconnecting lines that represent the likelihood that a researcher will click from one journal to another on the computer screen. Scholars may click from one journal to another based on a text search, an email message, and other kinds of links, says Johan Bollen, the leader of the research team. "What we have is a map of worldwide scientific activity," he says. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Los Alamos National Laboratory is a NISO voting member.
This research was part of the MESUR project. Johan Bollen, also from Los Alamos, discussed MESUR in his presentation at the November 2008 NISO webinar on Performance Measures The slide presentation is available for free download.

Institutional Repositories: Thinking Beyond the Box
Library Journal (03/01/09) ; Albanese, Andrew Richard

The Harvard University Art and Sciences faculty unanimously passed a historic open access mandate last year that, for the first time, required faculty to give the university copies of their research and a nonexclusive license to distribute those copies electronically. At the center of Harvard's vision for new research collaboration is a library-administered institutional repository (IR) that will replace the "closed, privileged, and costly system" the school currently uses, says Harvard librarian Robert Darnton. He says that Harvard's mandate, and the IR, will lead to a "digital commonwealth in which ideas will flow freely in all directions." Modern IRs are largely empty, ineffective, and hindered by a variety of obstacles, including questions over their purpose to outdated technology to a lack of meaningful institutional engagement. If the new IR is to succeed as Harvard hopes, the next generation of IRs will require a significant reinvention and a greater level of institutional commitment. However, these changes may be difficult, particularly because of the economic crisis, organized publisher resistance, institutional dysfunction, and rapidly changing technology. The Harvard mandate suggests that the future for repositories is leaning toward publishing services. "The Harvard mandate is not something that can be accomplished in the library," says University of Wisconsin IR manager Dorothea Salo. "That was carried out by faculty. But once you have your fire-breathing faculty, that's where the library has to step up and say we can be the solution for this."
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Association of Research Libraries and the California Digital Library are NISO voting members.

MIT Faculty Open Access to Their Scholarly Articles
MIT News (03/20/09) ; Richards, Patti

In an effort to improve access to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) research and scholarship, the university's faculty unanimously voted to make their scholarly articles available to the public for free on the Web. The new policy gives MIT nonexclusive permission to disseminate faculty members' journal articles for open access through DSpace, an open source software platform developed by the MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard that launched in 2002. The policy gives the schools and faculty members the right to use and share articles for any purpose other than making a profit, and authors may opt out on a paper-by-paper basis. The DSpace repository contains the digital research materials of MIT faculty and researchers, and allows for those materials to be saved, searched, and shared worldwide. A faculty committee will work with MIT Libraries on the implementation of the new policy and will determine a workflow for adding articles to DSpace. The new open access model means that thousands of papers published by MIT faculty could be added to DSpace each year and made available for free on the Web through search engines such as Google. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Stanford University is a NISO Library Standards Alliance Member.
See also The Future of DSpace slides from John Erickson's presentation at NISO's forum on Getting the Most Out of Your Institutional Repository.

National Science and Technology Council Releases Strategy for Digital Scientific Data
National Science Foundation (03/23/09) ; Topousis, Dana

The U.S. National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has developed a plan for making digital scientific data produced by and for the federal government available via data.gov and agency Web sites, and for preserving it. In the report "Harnessing the Power of Digital Data for Science and Society," NSTC envisions "a digital scientific data universe in which data creation, collection, documentation, analysis, preservation, and dissemination can be appropriately, reliably, and readily managed, thereby enhancing the return on our nation's research and development investment by ensuring that digital data realize their full potential as catalysts for progress in our global information society." NSTC recommends creating an interagency subcommittee under NSTC to oversee cooperative efforts at the agency level to reach its goals. Departments and agencies would lead the way in developing agency digital scientific data policy and making it publicly available. All agencies would be charged with promoting a data management planning process for projects that produce scientific data for preservation. NSTC's Committee on Science, under the auspices of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President produced the report. OSTP plans to create a central, online repository called data.gov.
(Link to Web Source)

(Link directly to NSTC report.)

NISO Note: Some 22 federal agencies contributed to this report. NISO members who contributed directly or through their parent agency are: the Defense Technical Information Center (Department of Defense), the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Agricultural Library (U.S. Department of Agriculture), and the National Library of Medicine and NIH Library (National Institutes of Health).

Are Data Repositories the New Institutional Repositories?
Weibel Lines (03/03/09) ; Weibel, Stuart

The National Science Foundation's DataNet solicitation has promised to award five $20 million grants to data curation teams dedicated to protecting research investments while developing sustainable business models that will increase the capability of science through reuse and repurposing data. Accomplishing such a task will be difficult, as the process is full of conflicting goals, uncertain and untested methodologies, and unresolved incentive structures. The institutional repository community is largely skeptical because after launching numerous intellectual repositories and library repositories, the field is still plagued by numerous problems, including design issues, usability issues, and jurisdictional issues. A key to the success of the DataNet solicitation will be the ability to make faculty's lives easier while also serving the larger technological and economic needs. A common thread joining institutional repositories and data repositories is the belief that the learning and research communities of the future need to include the capabilities of both types of repositories in some form, or risk losing digital data. Despite difficulties in the past, repositories must continue to be made and tested until they are done correctly, as they will be an essential element of an infrastructure that supports communities, institutions, disciplines, and academic faculty. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: In 2008, NISO held Thought Leader meetings on Institutional Repositories and on Research Data o identify areas where NISO can lead a standards-based or recommended practice solution to recognized barriers. Among the barriers identified was the curation of research data. The Architecture Committee is currently evaluating the meeting recommendations to determine next steps.

Google Rolls Out Semantic Search Capabilities
IDG News Service (03/24/09) ; Perez, Juan Carlos

Google has added semantic technology to its Web search engine, which will enable it to identify associations and concepts related to a query, improving the list of related search terms Google displays next to the results. "For example, if you search for 'principles of physics,' our algorithms understand that 'angular momentum,' 'special relativity,' 'big bang,' and 'quantum mechanic' are related terms that could help you find what you need," write Google's Ori Allon and Ken Wilder in a company blog. Google has been criticized for using what is considered an aging approach to solving search queries by analyzing keywords and not truly understanding their meaning. However, Google executives have acknowledged that semantic search technology will be an important component of search engines in the future. "Right now, Google is really good with keywords and that's a limitation we think the search engine should be able to overcome with time," says Google's Marissa Mayer. "People should be able to ask questions and we should understand their meaning, or they should be able to talk about things at a conceptual level." Mayer says semantic search technology will not replace traditional keyword searches, but instead will be part of an algorithmic mix. "I think the best algorithm for search is a mix of both brute-force computation and sheer comprehensiveness and also the qualitative human component," she says.
(Link to Web Source)