Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

January 2009

Happy New Year! Although we are just beginning 2009, I'm excited to say that we are entering the new year with a head start. In 2008 NISO and its members and partners in the information community made some significant progress in developing new standards and recommended practices as well as in incubating ideas that will lead to the launch of new initiatives this year. We are now starting to see the fruit of these past labors, with advancements being made across various projects that were begun in 2008: Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE), Institutional Identifiers (I²); the joint NISO/USKG Knowledge Base and Related Tools (KBART) project; and the revision of the DAISY standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.86, Specifications for the Digital Talking Book) are all progressing rapidly. In fact, we expect to announce the availability of a CORE draft standard for trial use at the end of this month! You can follow the progress of these and other NISO projects from the workrooms webpage.

In 2008, NISO held for the first time a series of Thought Leader meetings that focused on specific areas where standards development could provide assistance: institutional repositories; digital libraries and collections; e-learning and course management systems; and research data. As a result, NISO is poised to launch several new projects early this year that are direct outcomes from the recommendations from these meetings. Reports from all four meetings are available on the Thought Leaders webpage. We are also working with several other partner organizations to launch research, best practice, or standards projects in the near term. Among these initiatives are: a shared research project on improving metadata, and therefore helping to reduce the costs associated with poor metadata problems; a new NISO Board of Directors Chair's Initiative aimed at improving single-sign-on (SSO) authentication; and the researching of methods for improved mechanisms for depositing research in institutional repositories. We will be discussing several of NISO's current and upcoming projects at various standards-related meetings during the ALA Midwinter Conference in Denver later this month. See the Newsline article in this issue and the NISO@ ALA webpage for more information. We look forward to seeing you there.

I am also pleased to announce that NISO will be introducing this year a new series of monthly open community teleconferences as reported below. Beginning in February, these free teleconferences will provide an informal and engaging venue to discuss standards, standards-related initiatives, and community action—both those that are currently underway as well as areas where action might be needed. In addition, these teleconferences are a regular opportunity to learn about NISO's ongoing activities and other technology-related projects and a way for you to provide us with feedback so that we can truly represent our members' and the information community's needs.

Finally, 2009 will be packed with many informational education opportunities, both in person and online, starting with a January 14th webinar looking at three current efforts in digital preservation. I hope that you will be able to attend this and our other planned events this year; topics and registration details are available on the NISO 2009 events webpage.

We will certainly have a busy year ahead of us. But we already have a strong foundation from which to start, and, with the support of NISO's members and volunteers, I know we can look forward to a 2009 full of successes.

With kindest regards,

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

NISO Webinar on January 14: Digital Preservation: Current Efforts

NISO's 2009 webinar series will kick-off on January 14 (1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST) with Digital Preservation: Current Efforts. Preservation of digital content is an ongoing and iterative process. The actions we take now could have profound implications for the availability of digital content for future generations. This webinar will show three projects—an international, a national, and a local preservation initiative—that will highlight for attendees some of the opportunities and challenges particular to digital content preservation.

Speakers and topics are:

  • Introduction by Mary Alice Baish, Director, Government Relations Office, American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).
  • Digital Preservation: The Stanford Digital Repository by Keith Johnson, Stanford Digital Repository Preservation Architect
  • CLOCKSS, A Global Archive: Libraries and Publishers Preserving the Past for the Future by Victoria Reich, CLOCKSS Board member and Director, LOCKSS Program, Stanford University Libraries
  • Going from Zero to Live with an Automated Digital Preservation System: Planning, Process and Results Based on the New Zealand Experience by Carl Grant, President, Ex Libris North America

A Q&A period will conclude the webinar. Visit the event webpage for more information and to register.

Ex Libris is generously sponsoring this webinar.

NISO@ALA Midwinter

Join NISO at the ALA Mid-winter meeting in Denver where we will be hosting two sessions and greeting visitors at Booth 2443.

The NISO AVIAC Meeting (Friday, January 23, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Denver Convention Center, Room 301) will discuss issues of interest to the Automation Vendors Information Advisory Committee members, including an update on RDA.

The NISO Update (Sunday, January 25, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, Denver Convention Center, Room 702) agenda topics are:

  • NISO Thought Leader Meetings Reports and Next Steps:
    E-Learning Systems and Content – October Ivins
    Digital Libraries and Digital Collections – Judy Luther
    Institutional Repositories, Research Data – Todd Carpenter
  • Update of Topic Committees and Working Groups – Karen Wetzel
  • Update on ISO TC 46 activities – Todd Carpenter
  • Summary of Goals for 2009 – Todd Carpenter
  • Open Discussion of standards projects underway or needed

NISO projects will also be discussed in a number of other sessions including the Independent Reference Publishers Group (IRPG), the LITA ERM Interest Group, the LITA Standards Interest Group, the ALCTS Continuing Resources Section (CRS) College and Research Libraries Interest Group, the ALCTS CRS Committee for Holdings Information, and the ALCTS CRS Standards Committee.

Visit the NISO @ ALA webpage for a listing with times and locations of these and other standards-related sessions.

Chair's Initiative on Single Sign-On Authentication Launched at February Webinar

This year NISO is introducing the NISO 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) Authentication in an Imperfect World—how to achieve seamless item-level linking through single sign-on authentication technologies in a networked information environment.

The NISO February webinar (February 11, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST) is the first step in addressing the issue of SSO authentication. It is essential that we look at this issue as a community, considering how this fits into the larger landscape of use. And to do that effectively, we first need to clearly define the problem and together take ownership of it.

The problems caused by having to manage multiple identities on each platform for a digital resource collection have led to the development of so-called "Single Sign-On" (SSO) authentication technologies, such as Athens and Shibboleth. With these technologies, the user can access all compliant content platforms using the same identity. But SSO authentication is no easy problem. Like a puzzle, the problem of user authentication has many pieces—institutional affiliation; authentication method; various discovery and content provider platforms; the impact of crossing over and using different sources, search engines, computers, or locations... the list goes on and on. And even when we start to understand all those pieces, we are still left with the problem of putting them together—trying to make them fit in order to see the big picture and solve the puzzle.

SSO Authentication: Understanding the Pieces of the Puzzle will look at how the theory behind a pure technical implementation is broken and why, so that we can then take that next step of asking, "How can we make this better?" Three speakers will address the issues from the library perspective, the content provider perspective, and the authentication tool perspective. Register today at the event webpage and join us in discussing how SSO Authentication can be improved.

International ISTC Agency Open for Business

Although the approved standard, ISO 21047, Information and documentation – International Standard Text Code, has not yet been officially published, the ISTC Agency is already open for business. Founded in 2008, The International ISTC Agency is responsible for the promotion, coordination, and supervision of the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) standard and system. A consortium made up of Bowker, Nielsen, CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), and IFFRO (The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations) were appointed to manage the Agency.

The ISTC provides a means of uniquely and persistently identifying textual works in information systems, and facilitates the exchange of information about such works between publishers, authors and author associations, collective management organizations, libraries, search engines, and others on an international level. More information regarding the ISTC standard is available at www.ISTC-International.org, the new official web site of the International ISTC Agency.

ISTC registration will operate through designated registration agencies. Bowker and Nielsen Book have been authorized as the first two ISTC Registration Agencies. Both are offering pilot programs that will provide free registration of ISTCs on a semi-limited basis through May 2009. Within these programs, participants are encouraged to exchange required metadata about their works and groupings of works that are intended for ISTC assignment, for which selected portions shall be validated for ISTC assignments for free during the pilot program period. Visit the ISTC Pilot Program webpage for more information.

The International ISTC Agency encourages entities that wish to apply to become an ISTC Registration Agency to participate in the expression of interest process. Visit the ISTC Registration Agencies webpage for information about an agency's responsibilities and contact information.

The ISTC standard is part of the ISO committee, TC46, Information and documentation, SC9, Identification and description. NISO is the current Secretariat for this committee.

Free Standards Teleconference Forums

In 2009, NISO will initiate a new forum to discuss standards initiatives and community action that is either underway or needed. On February 9, from 3:00 - 4:00 pm EST, NISO will host the first of a regular series of teleconferences to be held each month throughout 2009. The open teleconference for all interested participants will provide an opportunity for the community to provide feedback as well as to receive regular updates of NISO activities, and discuss other technology-related projects. Membership in NISO is not required, nor is there any registration for this free event. To join, call 1-877-375-2160 on February 9 at 3:00 pm EST and, when asked, enter the code: 17800743.

During the first call, Jeremy Frumkin, Assistant Dean / Chief Technology Strategist at the University of Arizona Libraries and the newly appointed Chair of NISO's Architecture Committee will discuss some of the ongoing work of the Architecture Committee. This is NISO's senior strategic planning committee responsible for setting strategic direction for NISO, gathering information on NISO-related work taking place in other organizations, and coordinating NISO's work plan with the Topic Committees.

Regular agenda items for these teleconferences will be a Director's report of current NISO activities, an update of recent actions of the Topic Committees and working groups, and a description of new projects that are under consideration or taking place in the community. The call, which will last between thirty and sixty minutes depending on the amount of participation, will end with an open discussion of any information standards or information technology related topic that the group would like to talk about.

New Specs & Standards

ARMA International Call for Participation, RIM Review Group

ARMA International is recruiting records and information management (RIM) subject matter experts to participate on a Review Group that will assist with the solicitation of responses to various proposed standards and initiatives where a RIM perspective is relevant and serve as peer reviewers for the ARMA International Standards Development Program. For more information and to apply, visit the Projects in Progress webpage and select RIM Review Group from the drop-down menu.

ISO 30042:2008, Systems to manage terminology, knowledge and content – TermBase eXchange (TBX)

First edition of the TBX framework that is designed to support various types of processes involving terminological data, including analysis, descriptive representation, dissemination, and interchange (exchange), in various computer environments. Intended application areas include translation and authoring.

ISO/IEC 19757-2:2008, Information technology – Document Schema Definition Language (DSDL) – Part 2: Regular-grammar-based validation – RELAX NG

Establishes requirements for RELAX NG, a schema language for XML that specifies a pattern for the structure and content of an XML document using a regular tree grammar. This second edition revises the 2003 edition and incorporates the 2006 amendment.

ISO/IEC 19757-8:2008, Information technology – Document Schema Definition Languages ( DSDL) – Part 8: Document Semantics Renaming Language (DSRL)

First edition of the standard that specifies a mechanism that allows users to assign locally meaningful names to XML elements, attributes, entities and processing instructions, without having to completely rewrite the Document Type Definition (DTD) or schema against which they are to be validated.

Unicode Common Locale Data Repository Beta Phase Begins for Version 1.7

The Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR) provides a standard repository of locale data used for software internationalization and localization. It allows software to be adapted to the conventions of different languages for such common tasks as formatting of dates, times, time zones, numbers, and currency values; sorting text; choosing languages or countries by name; and many others. This updated version, now available for beta testing, has mainly been rewritten for performance.

W3C Recommendation, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Final approved version of the specification that covers recommendations for making Web content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and a combinations of these. Supersedes WCAG 1.0 issued in 1999.

Media Stories

More Libraries and Publishers Join SERU Agreement from NISO for E-Resources
Library Journal (1/5/2009) ; Hadro, Josh

Significant growth has been reported in the number of publishers, libraries, and consortia that have registered as users of NISO's Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU). SERU is a best practices document that can be used as a non-binding mutual agreement for the acquisition of electronic resources. According to the SERU FAQ, "it is designed to be a true alternative to a license agreement with no negotiation beyond pricing or related issues." Endorsing SERU are 45 new libraries and the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) consortium bringing the total libraries and consortia to 65. Fifteen new publishers have signed up including Springer Science+Business Media, Taylor & Francis, and White Horse Press, bringing the publisher total to 27. LJ Online Databases columnist Carol Tenopir has previously written about the quick development of SERU and the considerable interest it has garnered in the library and publishing communities.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The SERU recommended practice (NISO-RP-7-2008) and the SERU Registry are both available from the SERU website. Contact Karen Wetzel, NISO Standards Program Manager, for further information on joining the registry.

'Hundreds of Titles,' 'Dozens of Publishers' – Magazines Going Into Google Book Search
Information Today (12/18/08) ; Quint, Barbara

Google Book Search has expanded its content to include magazines, and though the company says that hundreds of titles are already available, it has not provided a titles list. The articles will have a "Magazine" tag, which can be searched for in the Advanced Search section. Google Book Search will acquire magazine articles from publisher partners involved in the project, instead of from library partners, with Google providing free digitization. Earlier this year, Google also offered publishers free digitization for those that were willing to share their archives in the Google News Archive. Google's Jim Gerber says that many of the publishers will be shipping hard copies of their magazine archives to Google, which will use sheet-fed scanners for the digitization. Gerber says that all of the scanning done with library partners uses nondestructive scanning, so the sheet-fed method being used with magazines should produce higher-quality images, though using both types of scanning will create improvements for all scans, particularly in developing bibliographic data. "We are doing things at the back end to clean and improve bibliographic data, so over time we will get better bibliographic information," he says. Google users will be able to see full-color articles, browse through magazine issues, and view all issues of a magazine. Gerber says that eventually all Google Book Search content will be made available through the main Google.com service. OCLC has expressed interest in linking the magazines in Google Book Search to library collections through WorldCat. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: OCLC is a NISO voting member.

OAI-ORE, PRESERV2 and Digital Preservation
Ariadne (10/08) No. 57 ; Rumsey, Sally; O'Steen, Ben

OAI-ORE is a new framework for the description and sharing of aggregations of Web resources, and the architecture has practical use in digital preservation and continued access to files. OAI-ORE is a tool digital content managers can employ to manage their repositories, to render their content more transportable and thus more usable and reusable. OAI-ORE can support the PRESERV2 project model of provision of preservation services and interoperability for digital repositories. The PRESERV methodology is based upon the recognition that the foundation of effective preservation is comprised of three basic actions on data: copy, move, and monitor. Included in this is the replication and movement of data between different repositories, which is where OAI-ORE plays a role. The framework also contributes to interoperability to guarantee that repositories and other tools and services can communicate and exchange data and information. In this manner the project is generating and evaluating a flexible framework for an emerging spectrum of services and tools, to ensure support for long-term access to data placed in repositories. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For a discussion of three other digital preservation projects, join NISO's January 14 webinar on Digital Preservation.

The Economics of Data Preservation
UCSD News (12/16/08) ; Zverina, Jan

An interim report issued by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access highlights the urgency of the current state of affairs and identifies challenges to long-term, economically workable solutions. A recent IDC study concluded that the volume of digital data started surpassing storage capacity last year, and that this trend will continue into the future. The study projects that the total corpus of digital data will have increased tenfold over 2006's volume within three years. The preservation of digital data within the public interest is necessary for the maintenance of a complete and accurate "digital record" of human society. "The long-term accessibility and use of valuable digital materials require digital preservation activities that are ... provisioned with sufficient funding and other resources on an ongoing basis to achieve their long-term goals," says OCLC research scientist and taskforce co-chair Brian Lavoie. The group's interim report cites systemic obstacles such as a shortage of funding models to accommodate long-term access and preservation requirements; confusion and/or a dearth of correspondence between stakeholders, roles, and responsibilities in relation to digital access and preservation; not enough institutional, enterprise, and/or community incentives to uphold the collaboration necessary for reinforcing sustainable economic models; complacency that current practices are adequate; and worry that digital access and preservation is too big a challenge to tackle. The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access was launched by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Library of Congress, the Joint Information Systems Committee of the United Kingdom, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and the National Archives and Records Administration.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Council on Library and Information Resources, the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, and OCLC are NISO voting members.

Information Architecture for Digital Libraries
First Monday (12/08) Vol. 13, No. 12 ; Simon, Scott J.

The libraries of the 21st century will be Web-based, but the technologies, standards, and architecture that future digital libraries will use are still being defined, writes University of South Florida information scientist Scott Simon. As defined by the Association of Research Libraries, digital libraries require multiple resources; transparent connections between the numerous digital libraries and information services; universal access to digital libraries and information services; and the inclusion of digital artifacts that cannot be represented or distributed in printed formats. There is a difference between a digital library that offers digital content exclusively and one that offers both digital and physical content. Information architecture is a deep-seated element in the design and development of digital libraries, and the framework of a digital library is constructed through the integration of functional, technical, and landscape architectures. Defining and documenting those structures is the chief responsibility of the information architect, and among the common characteristics of digital libraries is the provision of user needs. User needs determine the spectrum of services that the architecture is designed to deliver, and these services are subsequently enabled by standards. Standards facilitate communication between components and effect interoperability, and a great deal of architecture boasts several interdependent layers of standards that come together to support specialized functionality. Scalability of architectural elements is enabled by standards to satisfy increasing demand, and the standards also enable extensibility. Therefore, a core architecture can support many design changes and enhancements that would be impossible otherwise. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more on web services for digital libraries, read NISO's recommended practice, Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context.
Z39.50 and The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set are NISO standards. NISO members mentioned in this article are: Association of Research Libraries, California Digital Library, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and the National Library of Medicine.