Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

February 2009

Monday was Groundhog Day and for those who believe in old wives' tales and shadowy projections, unfortunately the news wasn't good. Punxsutawney Phil, the official spring weather prognosticator, saw his shadow, which indicates six more weeks of a cold, hard winter. Coming off the heels of the American Library Association Midwinter conference in Denver, this is an apt, if unfortunate analogy for the state of the economy and its affect on our community—things will in all likelihood continue to be cold and unpleasant at least for the short-term. Having grown up in upstate New York where February can be a particularly brutal month, it's important to remember that we can still have fun in the snow and that the spring thaw is just around the corner.

Although the attendance of Midwinter was down significantly from previous years, participation was up at NISO events. We drew our largest crowd to the NISO Update in years, and NISO projects were discussed frequently throughout the program at a number of interest group and section updates. Thanks to all who participated and spoke on behalf of NISO initiatives. Presentation slides from the NISO Update and some other NISO-related sessions are posted on our NISO@ALA Midwinter 2009 webpage.

During ALA midwinter, there was much talk of finding increased efficiencies. One of the areas where the entire community can find efficiencies is in the use and sharing of metadata. NISO is partnering with OCLC to conduct some research prior to an upcoming symposium (see Newsline article below) on the topic of improving metadata in the supply chain of information. This issue was one of the top recommendations from last year's Thought Leader meeting on digital libraries and digital collections.

Finally, NISO is looking for a few good volunteers. The terms of many of our senior leadership on the Architecture and Topic Committees are ending soon. We are looking for active and engaged members of our community to participate in helping to guide NISO's work programs. If you would like to add your voice to setting a direction for NISO, please email nisohq@niso.org. We welcome your nominations to participate in the process.

With best wishes for a quick spring thaw,

Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

Single-Sign-On (SSO) Authentication Webinar on February 11

This year NISO has launched a Chair's Initiative—a project of the chair of NISO's Board of Directors, focusing on a specific issue that would benefit from study and the development of a recommended practice or standard. Oliver Pesch (Chair, NISO Board of Directors, and Chief Strategist, EBSCO Information Services) has identified user authentication as the issue that he would like to see NISO address, specifically the question of perfecting single-sign-on (SSO): achieving seamless item-level linking through single sign-on authentication technologies in a networked information environment.

To kick off the initiative, NISO will be holding a webinar on SSO Authentication: Understanding the Pieces of the Puzzle. The webinar will feature speakers providing three different perspectives:

  • Library Perspective: How does SSO authentication fit into libraries and libraries' service to their patrons? Provided by Adam Chandler, Coordinator, Service Design Group, Digital Library and Information Technologies, Cornell University Library. Steven T. Carmody, IT Architect, Computing and Information Services, Brown University, will also be available for questions related to Shibboleth and InCommon.
  • Authentication Tools Perspective: How are authentication tools/softwares expanding into SSO authentication? In this presentation, you will hear about Athens/OpenAthens and the speakers' experiences and views on trends both in the UK and internationally; about broader trends in Access and Identity Management technology and standards and potential implications; and about specific challenges around usability, taking deep-linking as key example. Provided by Keith Dixon, Access & Identity Management, Eduserv; David Orrell, Identity Systems Architect, Eduserv; and Lyn Norris, Athens Manager, Eduserv.
  • Content Provider Perspective: When authentication fails, the opportunity to reach the user -- and for the user to access the publisher or content provider's resource-is lost. Learn more about just how big a problem this and how seamless sign-on can help. Speaker TBA.

The webinar will be held on February 11 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., eastern time. For more information and to register visit the event website.

Call for Participation: Join a NISO Topic Committee!

Are you interested in taking a leadership role in standards development? Do you want to help NISO and its members identify areas where standards work needs to be done and provide direction to NISO standards development? Help set goals for our future and provide guidance and oversight to current NISO work by joining one of our three Topic Committees:

  • Business Information – Issues regarding the management structure surrounding the acquisition, licensing, purchasing, and analysis of information

  • Content and Collection Management – Issues regarding developing, describing, providing access to, and maintaining content items and collections

  • Discovery to Delivery – Issues regarding the finding and distribution of information by and to users, including OpenURL, Metasearch, interface design, web services, etc.

Committee members serve staggered three-year terms. Members join in bimonthly conference calls to discuss potential areas for development and ongoing work within the topic area, to provide input on related NISO educational events, to give guidance on approved NISO standards and their maintenance, and to identify specific outcomes and participate in committee projects. Topic Committee members have the opportunity to shape the future of standards development and give real leadership to the organization.

More information on each of NISO's Topic Committees can be found at www.niso.org/topics. If you would like to join a committee, please contact the NISO Office at nisohq@niso.org.

Transforming Metadata: an OCLC Symposium

OCLC is hosting, with NISO participation, an invitation-only symposium in March to bring together key participants in the supply chain to discuss the provision and use of metadata. Attendees will be asked to build a map of the supply chain, identifying the creation points and hand-offs of metadata between suppliers and recipients, as well as any transformations of metadata that are done along the way. The needs and uses of the different types of metadata at each stage will be identified as well as issues related to cost and quality.

Possible solutions to better interchange of metadata will be invited. Among these potential solutions might be an application of OCLC's Next Generation Cataloging pilot projects "to explore upstream metadata capture and enhancement using publisher and vendor ONIX metadata." Centralized federations of metadata are but one of many potential solutions to improving metadata. Other considerations may be the Book Industry Study Group's ONIX data certification project, or standardized crosswalks and transformation best practices.

NISO's goal for participating in the symposium is to build understanding among the variety of players of the needs of the many different users and uses of metadata in the chain. We will also be looking for opportunities for standards or best practices as possible solutions to identified metadata issues.

Check the April issue of Newsline for a report on the symposium.

In Brief: Working Group Updates

Visit the NISO workrooms webpage for more information on all the projects below.

  • KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools) – The Recommended Practice to provide a model for effecting smoother interaction between members of the knowledge base supply chain is in draft form and expected for release in spring 2009. KBART is a joint UKSG/NISO project chaired by Peter McCracken (SerialsSolutions) and Charlie Rappel (TBI Communications).

  • CORE (Cost of Resource Exchange) – A draft standard is in final editing and is expected to be released this month for a 12-month trial period. The standard provides an XML query/response protocol for exchanging cost and related financial information between ILS, ERM, and other systems. CORE's co-chairs are Ed Riding (SirsiDynix) and Ted Koppel (AutoGraphics).

  • DAISY Revision – ANSI/NISO Z39.86 - 2005, Specifications for the Digital Talking Book, commonly known as the DAISY standard, is undergoing revision to expand authoring and distribution capabilities (including the application of DAISY to interactive presentations). As part of the revision, the standard is being modularized for more flexible and simple implementation. The first part, which focuses on the authoring capabilities, is nearing completion; publisher input will be solicited prior to draft release in spring 2009. The Working Group chair is George Kerscher (DAISY Consortium).

  • I² (Institutional Identifiers) – The group is developing a standard that will identify institutions, as well as relationships between entities within institutions, for use across the supply chain. They are currently working on scenario development for Electronic Resources Supply Chain, E-learning/Courseware, Institutional Repositories, and Library Resource Management. Tina Feick (Harrassowitz) and Grace Agnew (Rutgers) are the co-chairs.

  • ONIX-PL (ONIX for Publications Licenses) – This NISO/EDItEUR joint group, evolved from the former License Expression Working Group, is charged with actively supporting and contributing to ONIX-PL development, and communicating about ONIX-PL to stakeholders. Chaired by Alicia Wise (PLS), the group recently has created an informative brochure to help promote ONIX-PL and is working on outreach plans.

  • SERU (Shared E-Resource Understanding) – The SERU Recommended Practice was published in early 2008, and the SERU Registry, which helps publishers and libraries identify interest in using SERU for electronic resources, now has approximately 70 libraries, six consortia, and nearly 30 publishers. The registry has an a new online sign-up form; the SERU FAQs are being updated and will be added to the site shortly; and the SERU advisory group, chaired by Judy Luther (Informed Strategies), is continuing with outreach. The group will be soliciting assistance in developing the SERU logo and brand to help identify products available via SERU; interested parties should contact NISO.

  • NCIP (NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol) – The NCIP standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.83 - 2008, parts 1 & 2), an open standard for the exchange of circulation data, was revised and published in late 2008. The revision provides a more streamlined and extensible standard, with improved self-service capabilities and error handling. The NCIP Implementers Group (NCIP IG) that led the revision was chaired by Candy Zemon (Polaris); Ms. Zemon retired from library work in December 2008. Gail Wanner (SirsiDynix) has recently been elected the new IG chair. The NCIP IG will be identifying areas where additional development and support for implementation is needed. More information can be found at www.ncip.info.

  • SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) – The SUSHI standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.93 - 2007) was created to provide an automated transport mechanism for the delivery of COUNTER usage data reports. With the recent release of COUNTER 3.0, the implementation of SUSHI is a requirement for COUNTER compliance, with a deadline of August 31, 2009. The SUSHI Maintenance Advisory Group, co-chaired by Adam Chandler (Cornell University) and Oliver Pesch (EBSCO), is working to provide improved implementation support and continued outreach and education about SUSHI. Recent work includes the addition of graphical schema representation and new presentations and other support material to the group's website.

Data Movement and Management Forum: Pre-ACRL Program in Seattle

NISO will be holding an educational forum on Data Movement and Management on March 11, 2009 in Seattle as a pre-ACRL conference program.

Modern libraries consist of a variety of complicated data systems, many containing a portion of the data needed to address any specific question. Often data needs to be extracted from one system and moved to or compared with information in another. Frequently, these systems don't communicate well. This in-person conference will explore a number of ongoing data transfer and transformation consensus projects. Whether it is collections or holdings information distributed via ONIX, pricing data via CORE, or usage data via SUSHI, the community is working on strategies and structures to easily transfer data from one system to another. Each of these initiatives will contribute to saving librarians time and eventually money in managing their operations. Confirmed speakers and topics for the program include:

  • Opening Keynote: The Landscape of data Movement and Management in Libraries by Tim Jewell (Director, Information Resources and Scholarly Communication, University of Washington Libraries)

  • The Extensible Catalog – Reusing LibraryMetadata by Jennifer Bowen (Director of Metadata Management, River Campus Libraries)

  • CORE: Cost of Resource Exchange– Combining Cost and Use Data in Libraries by Jeff Aipperspach (Senior Product Manager, Serials Solutions)

  • The OAI-ORE Project – What It Is and How People Can Apply It by Michael L. Nelson (Dept of Computer Science, Old Dominion University)

For more information and to register, visit the event website.

New Specs & Standards

CEN Workshop Agreement, Sharing eGovernment Resources: a Practical Approach for Designers and Developers, Part 1a: Reference Ontology and Metadata Schema

CEN (European Committee for Standardization) Workshop Agreements aim at bridging the gap between industrial consortia that produce de facto standards and the formal European standardization process. The eGovernment-Share Workshop was initiated in 2008 to provide designers and developers of eGovernment applications with open, vendor- and application-neutral specifications to facilitate the sharing of information across European agencies and borders. The Reference Ontology and Metadata Schema is one of the published workshop agreements. It "specifies a reference ontology for eGovernment resources and a metadata schema building on that ontology. It also lists mappings for selected metadata schemata to the reference ontology and the metadata schema."

DCMI Usage Board, Criteria for the Review of Application Profiles

New guidelines articulate the criteria by which the DCMI Usage Board reviews an Application Profile, a document (or package of documents) which describes a metadata application in order to facilitate broader reuse of its metadata.

ISO 20775:2009, Information and documentation – Schema for holdings information

First edition of the standard that specifies a schema for the holdings of all types of resources, physical and electronic, in all types of formats including printed text, visual images, sound recordings, videos, electronic media and resources published or issued once, such as monographs, or those published serially or in part. The schema is primarily designed to be included in responses to queries; the specific query and response method are outside the scope.

ISO/IEC 19796-3:2009, Information technology – Learning, education and training – Quality management, assurance and metrics – Part 3: Reference methods and metrics

First edition of the standard to. extend the reference framework for the description of quality approaches (RFDQ) defined in ISO/IEC 19796-1 by providing a harmonized description of the methods and metrics required to implement quality management and quality assurance systems for stakeholders designing, developing, or utilizing information technology systems in learning, education, and training.

ISO/IEC 29121:2009, Information technology – Digitally recorded media for information interchange and storage – Data migration method for DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, +R, and +RW disks

First edition of the standard that provides specifications for the data migration method for archival data storage which allow manufacturers' storage systems that use DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, +R, and +RW disks to classify the disk longevity potential on the basis of initial performance requirements and to allow users to monitor continuing conformance with the error limits required for the class of the drive/disk.

RDA/MARC Working Group, Discussion Paper No. 2009-DP01/2: Relationship Designators for RDA Appendix J and K

Summarizes the issues involved in accommodating RDA Appendix J (which lists possible relationships between works, expressions, manifestations, and items) and Appendix K (which lists possible relationships between persons, families, and corporate bodies) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority formats.

Media Stories

Search Web Services – The OASIS SWS Technical Committee Work
D-Lib Magazine (02/09) Vol. 15, No. 2 ; Denenberg, Ray

OASIS created the Search Web Services Technical Committee in 2008 to "define search and retrieval web services based on current technologies, most notably, Search and Retrieval via URL (SRU), Contextual Query Language (CQL), and OpenSearch." The group will also be producing revisions to SRU and CQL. SRU now incorporates its sister protocol, Search and Retrieve via Web Service (SRW), as a variant. Both SRU and SRW were developed as next generation internet-capable extensions of Z39.50. The foundation of the committee's work will be an Abstract Protocol Definition that defines search request and response elements. The abstractions will be mapped to either static or dynamic "bindings" for specific applications. Static bindings are human-readable, while dynamic bindings are machine-readable and can interface with any server that provides a self-description. OpenSearch was the inspiration for the abstract model/binding approach; however, OpenSearch specified only the request and not the response. The committee's updated SRU version 2.0 will include the ability to use query types other than CQL, use proximity queries that address the "in the same element" and "in the same window" requests, have alternate schemas for the response, have faceted search results, and estimated result size. Five draft specifications released last July will be updated and revised; these along with three new specifications will be issued for public review and comment in the first half of 2009. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Z39.50, Information Retrieval: Application Service Definition & Protocol Specification, is a NISO standard.

Work on the RDA Data Model
ALA TechSource (01/20/09) ; Hogan, Patrick

ALA Publishing, Metadata Management Associates, and the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Metadata Registry project are collaborating on the development of software for RDA. The Metadata Registry will create a central, stable area for maintenance that will most likely be needed as element lists and vocabularies for the new standard change. The software also is able to generate schemas that can be downloaded for free from the RDA Web site. The collaborative effort with the Metadata Registry started with the DCMI/RDA task group that was formed in the spring of 2007, and last spring RDA vocabularies were posted on the NSDL Metadata Registry. The Registry enables online registration of data elements and controlled lists, presented in a format that is readable for both humans and machines. URIs will provide a persistent location, and Registry tools will allow for maintenance and change management. Schema, generated by Registry's Application Profile Technology, will be based on the JSC's core and full element lists, but also will support extensibility from the community. Schemas will be created through specialized cataloging communities, using RDA elements and others. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: ALA is a NISO voting member.

PDF Seen Gaining on Paper as Storage Medium
Government Computer News (01/22/09) ; Marshall, Patrick

The PDF file format is being used by 90 percent of organizations for long-term storage of scanned documents, reports a new Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) study. The study also found that 89 percent of organizations are converting Microsoft Office files to PDF for distribution and archiving. The development of PDF/A as a dedicated archive format has led more organizations to embrace the PDF standard, says AIIM's Betsy Fanning. Although 43 percent of organizations still use microfilm or microfiche, this archiving option is projected to decline to 28 percent in five years. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: AIIM is a NISO voting member. You can follow the development of all the PDF standards at the PDF Standards Wiki ; free registration is required.

Always On: Libraries in a World of Permanent Connectivity
First Monday (01/09) Vol. 14, No. 1 ; Dempsey, Lorcan

The development of network-enabled services is an area of heavy concentration for libraries that is amplified and challenged by mobile communication, writes Lorcan Dempsey with the Online Computer Library Center. This has organizational ramifications as new relationships with other service organizations on campus are nurtured by a shift in focus toward workflow integration around the researcher or learner. This also holds implications for space usage, library skills, and collection development. Mobile communication can affect services in several ways, says Dempsey. Services may be crafted mobile-ready, as with special mobile interfaces for library services, alerting services, and so on. Furthermore, mobilization continues the reorganization of services, organizations, and attention that networking has facilitated. "As resources become more abundant we see that students and researchers are concerned about how they 'spend' their attention," observes Dempsey. "This poses challenges in how current services are provided, but also points to a reconfiguration of these services to better coordinate library resources in support of new patterns of information behavior."
(Link to Web Source)

Hakia Helps Librarians With Credible Search Results
Information Today (01/09) Vol. 26, No. 1, P. 1 ; Fox, Vanessa

The Hakia natural language search engine has rolled out an effort with librarians to recognize "credible" Web content to offer searchers a fast way to access lists of sites that professionals have assessed. Hakia employs semantic Web analysis, and the hakia.com site touts the search engine as "the first search engine to integrate librarians' collective knowledge of credible Web sites into search results to guide searchers." Librarians can suggest credible sites for available categories. The suggestions must fulfill a number of credibility criteria, including peer review, a lack of commercial bias, currency, and authenticity. Accessing credible results involves searchers visiting hakia's site, entering a query, and viewing lists of regular search results, news, images, and credible results. Librarian Kim Megginson suggests that casual searchers will probably be satisfied with the results from Google searches, while those seeking more specific or in-depth information might not be content with a single search engine's results. "Only with [librarians'] active contribution to Web search and to building resources of Web search engines, can we stop misinformation propagation," says Hakia president Melek Pulatkonak. (Link to Web Source)

Web 3.0 Emerging
Computer (01/09) Vol. 42, No. 1, P. 88 ; Hendler, Jim

Web 3.0 is generally defined as Semantic Web technologies that run or are embedded within large-scale Web applications, writes Jim Hendler, assistant dean for information technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He points out that 2008 was a good year for Web 3.0, based on the healthy level of investment in Web 3.0 projects, the focus on Web 3.0 at various conferences and events, and the migration of new technologies from academia to startups. Hendler says the past year has seen a clarification of emerging Web 3.0 applications. "Key enablers are a maturing infrastructure for integrating Web data resources and the increased use of and support for the languages developed in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Semantic Web Activity," he observes. The application of Web 3.0 technologies, in combination with the Web frameworks that run the Web 2.0 applications, are becoming the benchmark of the Web 3.0 generation, Hendler says. The Resource Description Framework (RDF) serves as the foundation of Web 3.0 applications, which links data from multiple Web sites or databases. Following the data's rendering in RDF, the development of multisite mashups is effected by the use of uniform resource identifiers (URIs) for blending and mapping data from different resources. Relationships between data in different applications or in different parts of the same application can be deduced through the RDF Schema and the Web Ontology Language, facilitating the linkage of different datasets via direct assertions. Hendler writes that a key dissimilarity between Web 3.0 technologies and artificial intelligence knowledge representation applications resides in the Web naming scheme supplied by URIs combined with the inferencing in Web 3.0 applications, which supports the generation of large graphs that can prop up large-scale Web applications. (Link to Web Source)

Digital Rights War Looms Ahead
BBC News (01/13/09) ; Shiels, Maggie

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) consortium, a coalition of entertainment, retail, and IT companies, is developing a new digital rights management (DRM) standard without the participation of Apple Computer. By not participating in DECE, Apple devices will likely be unable to play content created by DECE members, and DECE member content will not be made available by Apple. Apple recently dropped DRM restrictions on the 10 million songs in its iTunes store. More than 25 major companies, including Sony, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Microsoft, Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and Intel have joined DECE, which plans to create new DRM standards and specifications for phones, DVD players, streaming services, and computers. "All of the companies in this consortium realize if we can do this and do this right we have the potential for a very large market," says DECE president Mitch Singer, the chief technology officer at Sony Pictures. Singer says DECE wants to create a centralized "virtual locker" that consumers can use to buy from multiple storefronts and access content from anywhere on any device.
(Link to Web Source)