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Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

December 2009

As this decade nears its end, we can look back at what will be seen as a transformative time in the provision of library services and in publication distribution. A decade ago web-based electronic subscriptions were still a niche part of library collections. Back in 2002, at the same time that the Digital Library Federation's E-Resource Management Initiative was launched, the often-cited ARL Library Statistics reports didn't include the number of electronic serials that ARL libraries held (although their impact was referenced and data was collected and reported elsewhere). A decade from now, ARL will likely return to not segregating electronic journals—most likely because the presumption will be that serials are online and not in print. Much like serials, e-books are trending toward electronic distribution, although much more slowly than serials.

This year has also been NISO's 70th Anniversary and as part of this recognition, NISO has been publishing a series in Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ) of NISO milestones since the organization's inception as the Z39 committee in 1939. We have posted the timelines openly on the NISO website. It's a fascinating trip through the past of library and information standards development. In addition, the Fall issue of ISQ, due out this month, completes the anniversary series with a feature article on future trends and issues impacting NISO. I encourage you all to read it and the other feature article on Library Automation in India as well as the opinion columns, NISO reports, conference reports, and noteworthy items. If your organization is not yet a subscriber to ISQ, it is something you should consider adding to your collection. (NISO Voting and Library Standards Alliance members receive ISQ as a membership benefit.)

With an eye toward the future, NISO has begun work on a review of electronic resource management (ERM) issues as a follow-up to the original DLF ERMI work. The original initiative led to standards work on usage statistics (SUSHI), cost data interoperability (CORE), and license expression (ONIX-PL) as well as many projects outside of NISO. In the coming months, we expect the ERM gap analysis to be completed and identify priorities for further work in this area into the new decade.

Finally, NISO has announced its 2010 educational program schedule. Over the course of the past year, early 3,000 people from more than 1,000 sites have participated in NISO webinars. Next year's schedule is full of great programs, including three in-person events, and there are several discount options for multiple webinar registrations. Take a look at the schedule; there's something there for just about everyone.

On behalf of the entire NISO community, we wish you a pleasant holiday season and a successful new year for your organization.

With kindest regards

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

December Webinar: ONIX for Publication Licenses: Adding Structure to Legalese

Once license terms for e-resources have been negotiated, they have to be communicated to both library staff and end users. ONIX for Publications Licenses (ONIX-PL), developed by EDItEUR, is an XML format that both publishers and libraries can use to add machine-readable structure to license terms. NISO and EDItEUR's joint ONIX-PL Working Group, created in 2008, is charged with the continued development of the ONIX-PL standard for license expression to ensure it is fit for use by all types of stakeholders. They are also doing outreach, such as this webinar, to educate the community about ONIX-PL.

NISO's webinar ONIX for Publication Licenses: Adding Structure to Legalese, to be held December 9 from 1:00-2:30 EST, will update participants on the ONIX-PL specification and how it can be used to simplify and communicate license information.

Speakers for the webinar are:

  • Rick Burke, Executive Director, SCELC - Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium
  • Wilma Mossink, Juridisch Adviseur/Legal Adviser, SURF Foundation
  • Mark Bide, Executive Director, EDItEUR

For more information and to register, visit the event webpage. 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. A student discount is also available.

This webinar is sponsored by EBSCO and Swets.

January Webinar: From ILS to Repository and Back: Data Interoperability

NISO will hold a webinar on January 13, 2010, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on From ILS to Repository and Back: Data Interoperability.

While institutional repository (IR) systems are meant to focus on the storage of digital objects, most repositories contain not only objects, but also metadata about those items. One of the main functions of library systems is to help facilitate the discovery of items and content using metadata. Where is the line between IR systems and the discovery and management tools the libraries use to manage their collections? What are some strategies that libraries can employ to integrate these systems? Is anyone having success?

As libraries increasingly become the home to special digital collections and scanned materials, finding simple ways to exchange information and ensure discoverability of IR content will be critical to efficient management of both systems. This webinar will provide attendees with an overview of recent research in this topic as well as real-world examples from organizations who are working toward interoperability.

Speakers will discuss recent catalog/repository interoperability studies and projects underway to improve interoperability.

For more information and to register, visit the event webpage. Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the webinar for one year. NISO and NASIG members receive a discounted member rate. A student discount is also available.

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

Book Industry Study Group, BISAC Rights Committee New Initiative

Over 30 BISG members have formed a Rights Committee to "develop, maintain and advocate industrywide best practices that support the standardized electronic transmission of a defined set of rights information between trading partners, now and in the future." The committee plans to build on the ONIX for Reproduction Rights Organizations (RROs) with the intent of adding to and/or adapting their Code List. Additional early goals are to identify and prioritize the rights transactions to be covered and define the relevant trading partners. The Rights Committee will hold its next meeting in January in NYC to tie in with Digital Book World (January 26-27, 2009). For more information, contact Angela Bole.

IETF Internet Draft, A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for Sources of Law (LEX)

This document describes a Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace Identification (NID) convention as prescribed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for identifying, naming, assigning, and managing persistent resources in the legal domain. "Sources of law" include any legal document within the domain of legislation (including bills), case law, and administrative acts or regulations.

IFLA, Full ISBD Examples

Compiled by the ISBD Examples Study Group, this supplement to the preliminary consolidated edition of the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) provides full examples of cataloging in sixteen languages to make it easy to understand the structure of the ISBD.

ISO 704:2009, Terminology work – Principles and methods

The third edition of the standard that establishes the basic principles and methods for preparing and compiling terminologies both inside and outside the framework of standardization. It also describes the links between objects, concepts, and their terminological representations.

ISO/TR 10255:2009, Document management applications – Optical disk storage technology, management and standards

This technical report gives recommendations and provides guidance for maintaining archival optical disk collections including guidance for the finite life of digital optical storage devices and a plan to ensure the migration path of digital information to future technologies and media. Addresses all forms of optical disk media including WORM, MO, CD, DVD, and newer technologies.

Media Stories

Opening Up Library Systems through Web Services and SOA: Hype, or Reality?
Library Technology Reports, v. 45, no. 8, November-December 2009; by Marshall Breeding

Both open source and proprietary library systems are using APIs, web services, and service-oriented architecture to increase interoperability of the ILS. With so many claims of openness, it can be difficult to determine exactly what capability is available. "This report aims to take a close look at the major ILS products on the market and describe the approach that each offers in delivering open access to its data and functionality. Of particular interest are the APIs that each system offers to the libraries using its product…and the extent to which each product offers these APIs through Web services, the preferred approach in the current phase of information technologies." The report focuses on integrated library system products commonly used in the U.S. and excludes discovery interfaces, link resolvers, federated search, digital collection management, and institutional repositories. The ILS represents a library's largest technology investment and to take full advantage of that investment libraries increasingly are looking for interoperability, extensibility, and vendor independence—all of which require robust APIs. Examples of what could be accomplished include: OPAC replacement or enhancement, connectivity with self-check and automated materials handling equipment, single sign-on and authentication services, financial system integration, and detailed reporting. Detailed API evaluations are provided for ILS products from Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, The Library Corporation, Polaris, SirsiDynix, Talis, VTLS, and open source vendors Koha and Evergreen. Although the analysis found much improvement in openness, opportunities for additional API functionality were identified. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: ALA TechSource and WebJunction are hosting a webinar on December 10 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time to coincide with the LTR publication. Marshall Breeding and representatives from vendors in the field will discuss new features and capabilities available in the most modern library software, and what it really means for these tools to be customizable.

Data and the Journal Article
Digital Curation Blog, November 18, 2009; by Chris Rusbridge

Research funders and some journals are increasingly requiring that the data supporting an article's conclusions be made available to other researchers. Four possible ways of doing this are envisioned: 1) supplementary materials, 2) citations and references to external data, 3) databases integrated with the article, or 4) data encoded with the article text. A study of Nature journal articles found that most supplementary data were in PDF files and a few in Word, but none in a re-usable CSV or spreadsheet format. More specialized journals, such as Chem-Comm, also had data in PDF even for "electronically enhanced articles." An ideal situation would be for data encoded in standardized formats with ontologies and schemas and standardized approaches to describing the context and metadata. Where a commonly accessible database exists, deposit of data should be a requirement for article publication. Proper citing of datasets through following such initiatives as DataCite is important to making the data accessible. The overlay data journal makes the data the focus as exemplified by the Nucleic Acids Research Database Issue and the OJIMS project. Internet Archeology is the only known example of the "databases as integral part of article" approach; possibly because this approach is just too difficult. Articles with data need to be semantically enriched, allowing the data to be extracted and re-used. Currently a lack of authoring tools is hindering this approach. Librarians should be interested in tackling the thesis area, since they are often involved in managing repositories that contain theses but not the associated data. Universal best practices for research article data are still far off.
(Link to Web Source)

Time-Travelling Browsers Navigate the Web's Past
New Scientist, November 16, 2009; by Paul Marks

Los Alamos National Laboratory's Herbert Van de Sompel and researchers at Old Dominion University are developing an improved method for finding earlier versions of webpages called Memento. Building on the already existing HTTP functionality of content negotiation between client and server, Memento negotiates on the basis of time. Only four lines of extra code are needed for the Apache open source web server to allow a browser with a Memento plug-in to specify the date and time of a webpage to be returned. The actual webpages need nothing extra, however website owners need to retain and store time-stamped versions of pages as they change. Memento is seen as particularly useful for sites such as wikis that have many frequently updated pages. The project is at a proof of concept stage but a demonstration client is available. The project was partially funded by the Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Library of Congress are NISO voting members.

Assessing the Business Case for Standards
JISC-CETIS Briefing Paper, November 2009

Universities and colleges have become increasingly dependent on information and communications technology yet are not fully exploiting the technologies or are slow to adopt new tools. Information is often locked within a particular system due to lack of support for interoperability standards. Such standards separate information from their applications and allow it to be more easily exchanged. Among the benefits standards provide are: reduction of re-keying, lower maintenance costs, durability of data, supplier independence, a strategic approach to development, a collaboration platform, and general system economies. Standards are liberating in the number of decisions that are not needed where there is process repeatability. When external relationships are involved, standards remove the complexity of supporting multiple differing internal operations. Where open standards do not exist or have not been adopted, an alternative is to use "glueware" that can translate data from one format into another. Proprietary standards may also have their place. Internet-wide web standards are preferable to domain-specific ones due to their maturity from widespread implementations. The business case for standards is a combination of tangible financial benefits and intangible but equally important considerations. (Link to Web Source)

Group of Magazine Publishers Is Said to Be Building an Online Newsstand
New York Times, November 24, 2009; by Brian Stelter

A group of magazine publishers are joining forces to create what is being called an "iTunes for magazines." Publishers who are expected to be partners in the new company, still in formation, include Time, Condé Nast, Hearst, and Meredith. Some newspaper publishers have also expressed interest. The goal would be to create a business model for purchasing both print and digital magazine content and to develop software standards for delivering content on a variety of mobile devices. John Squires, an executive at Time Inc., is rumored to be the interim chief executive of the company until the position is filled. A similar joint venture of television networks created the Hulu online website and several music labels will shortly be debuting Vevo, a music video website. While many magazine publishers have been slow in the digital arena, Condé Nast recently began selling a GQ issue as an iPhone app for $2.99. (Link to Web Source)

Amended Google/AAP Settlement
Coyle's InFormation, November 14, 2009; by Karen Coyle

The amended settlement between Google and the AAP for the Google Books project provides several changes impacting libraries. The settlement now covers only US, UK, Australian, and Canadian works, which lowers the value of the institutional subscriptions. These limitations only worsen the over-dependence of Americans on Anglo-American research. The provision for free access by public libraries now allows for more than one workstation under conditions that are left to the discretion of the Registry to determine. Microforms have been excluded from the materials that can be digitized. OCLC's previous exception from the definition of "institutional consortium" has been removed, possibly due to objections filed by Lyrasis and Nylink to the original language. Download formats have expanded from PDF to include e-books, but the custom publishing description was removed. Orphan works have some complex changes yet to be fully analyzed by the author. Rightsholders are now permitted to put a Creative Commons license on their works moving their treatment from copyright law to contract law. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: OCLC is a NISO voting member and Nylink is a NISO Library Standards Alliance member.