Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

December 2010

One of the most prolific creators and disseminators of information in the world is the US Government. Not all of this information is meant to be shared. However, this past week, another trove of secret government documents was released by the website WikiLeaks. The scale of the document distribution is astounding, totaling some quarter million documents, or approximately 37 times more than the infamous Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. The public release of these documents is something that politicians, diplomats, and historians will likely discuss for years. From the perspective of the publishing and library community, there are a few matters of related interest.

First, of course, are the issues of piracy and security. Many publishers and content providers have had their content in all types of media pirated. Even NISO, which posts its publications freely on our own website for all to download, has had our standards and other publications posted on websites, such as Scribd and Biadu, without permission and in violation of copyright. We do what we can to ask these sites take the pirated content down, but we have limited time and resources to pursue this leakage aggressively. Other publishers are more aggressive not only because they have more resources to throw at the problem, but also because they have much more to lose. There are many in the music industry who bemoan illegal file sharing. What is surprising is that these "Secret" government cables apparently have less digital rights management than your average Kindle e-book file. According to the Guardian Article about the security of the files, the documents were shared on the semi-closed internal government network SPIRNET. Millions of people apparently have access to the network and the security rules have been eased to afford greater usability. The balance between ease of use and security is always difficult. However, there are certainly cases, such as transmission of secret documents, when security should trump accessibility. An interesting element in this discussion is that at the same time the US Government is making it easier to shut down websites that are hosting pirated movies and music, it seems unable or unwilling to do the same for its own classified information. Perhaps copyright owners have a stronger friend in the Department of Justice than they realize.

Another issue is the question of document authenticity when things are posted to the Internet. Who is to say that the text-only documents on WikiLeaks haven't been "edited" in some fashion? How could one really know for sure? Having never seen a diplomatic cable, I wouldn't know if the files that have been posted are real or not. Far too few people are as skeptical of the veracity of electronic documents as they should be. This past summer, the Government Printing Office hosted a workshop on Document Authentication and discussed its own use of digital signatures and validation icons. CrossRef's work to develop CrossMark for identification of versions of record of scholarly content is related and equally important. Understanding the validity and provenance of publications is something our community will need to spend a great deal of time on in the coming years.

In support of accessibility and wider availability of content, I'd like to remind you all of the challenges of those with print-reading challenges. Our community has made terrific strides with the accessibility of content and we will be highlighting those initiatives this month in NISO's webinar on Unprecedented Access: Improving the User Experience for People with Print Disabilities. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, December 8th at 1:00 EST. There's still time to register. And take a look at the 2011 schedule of webinars-registration is open.

In closing out 2010, I hope that all of you have a joyous holiday season and all the best for the new year!

With kindest regards,

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

December Webinar: Unprecedented Access: Improving the User Experience for People with Print Disabilities

Digital texts are often not fully accessible to people with any of a range of print disabilities. As e books become more mainstream, in part because of the improvements in digital reader technology, this information needs to be equally available to the print-disabled. Librarians who provide either full-text or abstracting and indexing systems to their communities of scholars, students, and the general public must ensure that these complex and rapidly-evolving resources are equitably accessible to everyone they serve. Publishers need to either provide this accessibility with their content or enable the libraries and end users to create this accessibility.

NISO's December webinar (December 8, 2010 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern time) will cover the current state of print accessibility standards, how standards are adopted and translated into action, and how publishers are responding to increasing customer demand for accessible information products.

Speakers and topics are:

  • The State of Information Resource Accessibility Standards: DAISY and WCAG
    George Kerscher, Secretary General, DAISY Consortium

  • Collaboration with Publishers: The Institutional Response to Accessibility
    Jon R. Gunderson, Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology Accessibility, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Opportunities and Challenges in Serving Customers with Print Disabilities: The Publisher's Response to Accessibility
    Alicia Wise, Director of Universal Access, Elsevier

For more information or to register, visit the event webpage.

January Webinar: The Three S's of Electronic Resource Management: Systems, Standards, and Subscriptions

Electronic Resource Management (ERM) encompasses a variety of practices and services that impact library staff and patrons. In this session, three panelists from the system vendor, subscription agent, and academic library communities converge to discuss benefits and challenges of "three S's" integral to ERM: systems, standards, and subscriptions.

This high-level overview on January 12, 2011 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time) is ideal for libraries that might be considering ERM solutions and existing ERM libraries that would benefit with an update on current developments.

Speakers and topics are:

  • The First S: Standards for Organizing and Distributing Information – Todd Carpenter, Managing Director, NISO, will give an overview of current standards relevant to ERM and implementation challenges for stakeholder.

  • The Second S: Systems for Electronic Resource Management – Bob McQuillan, Senior Product Manager, Innovative Interfaces, will review ERM systems and their benefits for both library staff and patrons.

  • The Third S: Subscriptions to Electronic Resources – Oliver Pesch, Chief Strategist, E-Resources, EBSCO Information Services, will discuss the evolving role of electronic resource subscription services and the benefits to customers.

For more information or to register, visit the event webpage.

NISO @ ALA Midwinter 2011

In addition to NISO's Annual Meeting and Update sessions on Sunday, January 9, 2011 at the ALA Midwinter Conference in San Diego, many of NISO's working groups are presenting at various sessions. You can find the complete schedule and locations of NISO-related events on the NISO @ ALA Midwinter webpage.

NCIP Implementer Registry Now Available

The NCIP Standing Committee (through the efforts of members Susan Campbell and Mary Jackson) has created the NCIP Implementer Registry that collects information about vendors' implementations of the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) (ANSI/NISO Z39.83, Parts 1 and 2).

The registry allows vendors to enter information about their implementations of both Version 1 of the standard, now deprecated but still widely used, and Version 2 of the standard, the current version of the standard adopted in 2008. In 2010 the NCIP Standing Committee defined two sets of core messages for accomplishing essential tasks: the Resource Sharing and the Self-Service. All required messages must be enabled for a vendor to claim support for a core message set. Depending on the role the vendor is playing in the transaction, the vendor may either support the messages as an initiator or responder. (There is no independent verification of the information provided by the vendors.)

By making this information publicly available, libraries will be able to see which vendors currently support NCIP, which version(s) of the standard are supported, and which messages in the standard are implemented. Information on the site can be accessed by several different views including: vendor full profile, by version and initiator or responder type, and by specific messages in the core set for each version/type. Each of these views can be further filtered by vendor name and by service type (Resource Sharing or Self-Service). The information can also be downloaded in Excel spreadsheet form.

The NCIP Standing Committee is working to develop additional user tools. For more information, visit the NCIP website or the NCIP maintenance agency home.

New on NISO Website

  • November Webinar Presentation Slides: The Case of the Disappearing Journal: Solving the Title Transfer and Online Display Mystery

  • November Open Teleconference Recording: DAISY Revision Working Group Update

  • SUSHI Server Registry – New entries from American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Optical Society of America (OSA), Project MUSE, and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). This brings the total of registered SUSHI servers to 34.

  • NCIP Schema version 2.01 – Updated schema to allow two elements to be repeatable and to add an optional Problem-related element.

New Specs & Standards

International ISBN Agency, Guidelines for the Assignment of ISBNs to E-books

The International ISBN Agency has issued a set of guidelines and FAQs to assist national ISBN agencies, publishers, intermediaries and other interested parties in the appropriate identification of digital publications, including "apps".

ISO 16175-1:2010, Information and documentation -- Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments -- Part 1: Overview and statement of principles

Part 1 of the three part standard that establishes the fundamental principles and functional requirements for software used to create and manage digital records in office environments. This part defines the guiding principles and the implementation guidelines as well as description of risks and their mitigation.

ISO 16175-3:2010, Information and documentation -- Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments -- Part 3: Guidelines and functional requirements for records in business systems

Part 3 of the three-part standard that establishes the fundamental principles and functional requirements for software used to create and manage digital records in office environments. This part specifies guidelines for the appropriate identification and management of evidence (records) of business activities transacted through business systems. It includes guidelines for the export of records to a system that is capable of long-term preservation activities, or for the ongoing migration of records into new systems.

ISO/TR 13028:2010, Information and documentation - Implementation guidelines for digitization of records

The first edition of the technical report that establishes guidelines for creating and maintaining records in digital format only, where the original paper, or other non-digital source record, has been copied by digitizing. It establishes best practice guidelines for digitization to ensure the trustworthiness and reliability of records and enable consideration of disposal of the non-digital source records; establishes best practice guidelines for the trustworthiness of the digitized records which may impact on the legal admissibility and evidential weight of such records; establishes best practice guidelines for the accessibility of digitized records for as long as they are required; specifies strategies to assist in creating digitized records fit for long-term retention; and establishes best practice guidelines for the management of non-digital source records following digitization.

ISO/IEC 24800-4:2010, Information technology -- JPSearch -- Part 4: File format for metadata embedded in image data (JPEG and JPEG 2000)

The fourth part in the series of standards that specifies a framework for interoperability for still image search and retrieval. This first edition defines JPSearch, which provides an interoperable data exchange format for metadata that is embedded in a JPEG or JPEG 2000 image between various devices and platforms. It includes extensions of several existing file formats and file-format-independent metadata formats.

ISO/IEC 18000-3:2010, Information technology - Radio frequency identification for item management - Part 3: Parameters for air interface communications at 13,56 MHz

Edition: 3 of the standard that specifies the physical layer, collision management system and protocol values for RFID systems for item identification operating at 13.56 MHz, the frequency typically used in library applications. The standard defines three non-interfering MODES of operation, intended to address different applications. The detailed technical differences between the modes are shown in parameter tables.

Media Stories

ISBNs and E-books: The Ongoing Dilemma
Publishing Perspectives, November 2, 2010; By Erik Christopher

Assigning a separate ISBN to the different formats of an e-book can help distinguish the different formats of a title and allow publishers to track sales of those different formats. However, the issue of when something is a new format is not clear-cut. And the distributors or aggregators have a lot of involvement in the formatting of e-books and the requirement (or not) for an ISBN. Some like Apple iStore accept a completed EPUB file and want an ISBN for it. Others, such as Smashword require creators to supply a Word file and they format it for whichever channels they decide to use and may or may not assign an ISBN to it. There is also debate on whether adding DRM to, for example, an EPUB formatted e-book means you have a new format that needs a new ISBN. The author strongly recommends that the creators take control of the process and the decisions about ISBNs and other metadata for their e-books. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: See the separate Newsline article about the newly issued guidelines on ISBNs for e-books from the International ISBN Agency.

PDA [Patron-Driven Acquisition]: Heating Up in Libraries
Book Business, eBooks ... By the Numbers column, November 2010

In the patron-driven acquisition model, library patrons can browse e-books the library hasn't acquired yet and only when a patron "checks-out" the full e-book does the library add it to the collection and pay for it. Digital content provider ebrary is one of the latest vendors to offer a PDA service. Other vendors include Ebook Library, NetLibrary, and MyiLibrary. Duke's PDA project used up its $25,000 budget in 14 days without advertising its availability. Some publishers fear the PDA model may ultimately result in fewer books sold. Libraries see it as paying only for what library patrons will actually use. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more on this topic, see the slides from the presentation "Give 'em What They Want: Patron-Driven Collection Development" given at November's Charleston Conference by librarians from the University of Iowa.

PDF/A: A Viable Addition to the Preservation Toolkit
D-Lib Magazine, v. 16, no. 11/12, November/December 2010; by Daniel W. Noonan, Amy McCrory, and Elizabeth L. Black

The Ohio State University Libraries' Digital Initiatives Steering committee chartered a workgroup in 2007 to investigate using PDF/A as a preservation tool. PDF/A is an archival profile of the Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format and is defined in the standard ISO 19005-1 with two levels of compliance. The workgroup found more European examples of officially adopting the standard for a preservation format than U.S. organizations. After recommending the adoption of PDF/A for their Knowledge Bank repository, the workgroup conducted tests for converting documents to the format and settled on Adobe Acrobat Pro and Microsoft Word. They also identified a number of issues that could cause the final PDF/A to be non-compliant, such as fonts not embedded. Batch processing tools aided in fixing some problems as well as Acrobat Pro's built-in pre-flight fixes. Born digital files are significantly easier to convert to compliant PDF/A as are text-only documents. Scanning directly to PDF/A also had a high success rate. Two workflows were created for sending PDF/A to the repository, one where students convert their own documents and one where library personnel creates the PDF/A files. Full compliance with PDF/A-1a means the files meet both archival and disabled accessibility requirements. (Link to Web Source)

Information Overload
Internet Computing, November/December 2010, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp. 10-13; by Sonia Bergamaschi, Francesco Guerra, Barry Leiba

In the Information Age with 24x7 news available via multiple channels and people using e-mail, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to communicate, just about everyone has hit information overload. In this introduction to a special issue on the topic of information overload, the authors informally define it as "when the information available exceeds the user's ability to process it." Clay Shirky from NYU disagrees saying "there is no such thing as information overload, there's only filter failure." Production overlaid can occur both "spatially," where multiple sources publish basically the same information, or "temporally," where an article about a topic is updated multiple times over short timeframes. Computer scientists need to provide users with tools to "match users' information needs with available information." This requires extracting the semantic meaning from both user requests and information resources. W3C's Semantic Web initiative is developing standards and technologies to better convey the semantics of an information resource so that it can be machine-processed. Users make requests through query languages and keyword searching, which also don't do a good job of providing semantic context and relationships. Content producers are devoting efforts to search engine optimization to move their content to the top of an internet search query's results when it isn't necessarily the best or even the right information. Users then rely on the first search results which can result in overlooking more relevant information. The four articles in this special issue provide different perspectives on research into addressing the issues of information overload from managing complex queries, using a social tagging recommender system, using a "liquid journals" model and collaborative filtering and an integrated workspace that can analyze context and user behavior.
(Link to Web Source)

Global Adoption of W3C Standards Boosted by ISO/IEC Official Recognition
W3C News Release, November 3, 2010

The International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have approved the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as an "ISO/IEC JTC 1 PAS Submitter." JTC1 is the committee that develops international standards in the information technology realm. JTC1 has a procedure where a PAS (Publicly Available Specification) from an accredited organization can be submitted for direct balloting as an ISO/IEC standard without going through the normal development process. W3C can now submit "any stable core Web technologies produced by W3C that are also in scope of JTC1." W3C applied for PAS status to bring the W3C specifications to a wider audience and to address the issue in some countries where it is mandatory to use ISO/IEC approved standards. This accreditation should also help the two bodies better coordinate their standards work. W3C is in the process of establishing selection criteria and a formal process for identifying the standards that will be submitted to JTC1, but expects the first package to be in the Web Services area (e.g., SOAP 1.2) and to be submitted by the end of 2010. (Link to Web Source)