Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

February 2010

The "theme of the month" in January seemed to be game-changing announcements or products. Times of economic turmoil are often periods of great creativity and it seems we may be in the midst of one of those periods.

Probably the most anticipated product announcement was the Apple iPad. Since the device won't be available for a few months, the initial prognostications about its market success or failure seem premature. However, just by its entry into the e-book reader and online bookseller marketplace, Apple's actions have shaken up the industry. I wrote a few initial thoughts on the NISO blog about the iPad and specifically its use of standards. What remains to be seen are the impacts on our industry of the new e-book distribution channel, the iBookstore; Apple's adoption of the EPUB format; and how DRM might be used. A lot will depend on the device's adoption curve.

Another newly announced initiative was a software development kit for the Amazon Kindle, which will be available in March. An obvious response to the open development platform popularized by Apple with the iPhone, the Amazon toolkit will allow software developers to create applications specifically for the Kindle.

Both of these initiatives by key players in the content delivery landscape could usher in a new era of innovation in digital content as developers find innovative ways to take advantage of the new technology to add functionality to and push the boundaries of the e-book reading experience.

NISO, too, started off the year with new initiatives. In the January issue of Newsline, we told you about the new working group on OpenURL Quality Metrics. The related KBART project (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools), jointly sponsored with UKSG, has completed their first phase with the publication of a recommended practice (see story below). In conjunction with NFAIS, NISO held a roundtable discussion in late January on the issue of supplemental materials to journal literature. A report describing the meeting and with potential next steps, will be available shortly. Finally, Information Standards Quarterly will be delivered to the community through the variety of subscription content services offered by EBSCO Publishing. ISQ issues beginning with Winter 2009 are expected to be online later this spring.

Our year is certainly off to a busy start and I'm looking forward to the many innovations yet to come.


Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

February Webinar: What It Takes To Make It Last: E-Resources Preservation

Thirty years into the digital revolution, we are still grappling with how best to preserve electronic content. Whether born digitally or the electronic version of analog content, electronic resources are relied upon more and more, and their long-term usability must be ensured. NISO's February webinar to be held February 10, 2010 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time) will address What It Takes to Make It Last: E-Resources Preservation. This webinar will provide attendees with an overview of current digital preservation issues and standards and an example of a working collaborative digital repository.

  • Priscilla Caplan, Assistant Director, Florida Center for Library Automation will provide an introduction to digital preservation and provide a closer look at the PREMIS (PREservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies) Data Dictionary standard.

  • Jeremy York, Assistant Librarian, University of Michigan Library, will discuss the work underway by HathiTrust to build and preserve a comprehensive and cooperative digital library to archive and share electronic resources. The repository already contains over 195 terabytes of information.

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. NISO and NASIG members receive a discounted member rate. A student discount is also available.

This webinar is sponsored by CrossRef.

March Two-Part Webinar: Identifiers: New Problems, New Solutions

NISO will be holding a two-part webinar on the 2nd and 3rd Wednesdays in March from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time) on Identifiers: New Problems, New Solutions.

Topics and speakers for Part 1, What's in a Name? Latest Developments in Identifiers, on March 10 are:

  • Linking Names: the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), and the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) – Dr. Thomas B. Hickey, Chief Scientist, OCLC

  • Why Name Identifiers – Robert Wolven, Associate University Librarian for Bibliographic Services and Collection Development, Columbia University

  • I2 (Institutional Identifiers) Working Group: Where We Are Now, What's Ahead – Helen L. Henderson, Vice President, Marketing Research & Development, Ringgold, Inc.

Topics and speakers for Part 2, Content Identification: What's New, on March 17 are:

  • Using Identifiers to Facilitate the E-book Supply Chain (Whatever That Turns Out to Be) – Brian Green, Executive Director, International ISBN Agency

  • ARK: Archival Resource Key – John A. Kunze, Preservation Technologies Architect, California Digital Library

  • New Applications of DOIs – Speaker TBA

Each part is independent; you may register for either one or both. Registrants for both parts receive a 20% discount. NISO and NASIG members may also register at a discounted rate. Registration is per site (defined as access for one computer).Can't make it on the scheduled date or time? Registrants receive access to the recorded version for one year, which can be viewed at your convenience. For more information or to register, visit the event webpage.

This two-part webinar is sponsored by CrossRef.

NISO Forum on Discovery to Delivery: Creating a First-Class User Experience

Join NISO for a one-day forum on Discovery to Delivery: Creating a First-Class User Experience on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center, Atlanta, GA. There is information everywhere today and access to it relies on a seamless discovery process that offers all appropriate options to the unassisted information seeker. The journey between discovery and delivery is accomplished with a variety of differing technologies and processes, many of which depend on a reliable and accurate knowledge base of coverage information. As demands on these technologies change and expand, NISO supports a variety of efforts to strengthen and improve them. This forum will explore new and innovative ways to meet user's needs and expectations for discovery and delivery of content in the networked world.

Speakers and topics for the forum are:

  • Keynote Address – Joan Lippincott, Associate Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information

  • Maintaining the OpenURL Registry – Phil Norman, Director Reference and Resource Sharing Development, OCLC

  • Seamless Access to Resources – Adam Chandler, Database Management and E- Resources Librarian, Cornell University Library

  • Usability in Georgia – Ameet Doshi, User Engagement & Assessment Coordinator, Georgia Institute of Technology

  • bX™ Recommender Service – Nettie Lagace, Product Director, Ex Libris, Inc.

  • Improving Single Sign On (SSO): Perfecting a Seamless, Item-Level Linking through SSO Authentication – Harry Kaplanian, Director, Product Management, Serials Solutions

  • The BookServer Project – Peter Brantley, Director BookServer Project, Internet Archive

Early bird discounts are available through March 12, 2010. A student discount is also available. For more information and to register, visit the event webpage.

UKSG and NISO Release First KBART Recommendations for Improved OpenURL Data Supply

UKSG and NISO have announced the publication of the first report by the KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools) Working Group, a joint initiative that is exploring data problems within the OpenURL supply chain. The KBART Recommended Practice (NISO RP-9-2010) contains practical recommendations for the timely exchange of accurate metadata between content providers and knowledge base developers.

The KBART Recommended Practice, a report from Phase I of the project, provides all parties in the information supply chain with straightforward guidance about the role of metadata within the OpenURL linking standard, and recommends data formatting and exchange guidelines for publishers, aggregators, agents, technology vendors, and librarians to adhere to when exchanging information about their respective content holdings.

"Six years after NISO's ratification of the OpenURL standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.88-2004), many stakeholders in the information supply chain still have a limited understanding of how best to share data to maximize the value of OpenURL linking," says Peter McCracken, NISO co-chair of the KBART Working Group (Phase I). UKSG's co-chair (Phase I), Charlie Rapple of TBI Communications, adds, "It was important for us to get back to basics and provide step-by-step guidance to address some of the fundamental problems that were occurring. With their track records for practical leadership and their reach across the extended information community, UKSG and NISO have been ideal project sponsors."

Sarah Pearson, E-Resources & Serials Coordinator at the University of Birmingham, is taking on the role of UKSG co-chair for KBART's Phase II. "As a librarian who has struggled with poor quality, outdated holdings data and the frustration this causes our users, I'm pleased to see some really practical guidance being made available. I hope to see widespread adoption of KBART's recommendations as they will lead to more reliable access for users, increased traffic for publishers, easier data management for vendors and reduced administration for librarians."

The KBART Working Group will shortly embark on the project's Phase II, which will build on the foundation phase to address more complex data issues, including different types of content, emerging business models, and customized licensing. The UKSG Committee and the NISO Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee are in the final stages of approval.

For more information, to review the KBART Recommended Practice, or to find out how to get involved in future phases of KBART's work, visit the group's webpage.

New Specs & Standards

New DCMI/NKOS Task Group Established

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative has established the DCMI/NKOS Task Group to develop a Dublin Core Application Profile for KOS (Knowledge Organization Systems) resources based on the work of the NKOS group. This Task Group is led by Marcia Zeng of the School of Information and Library Science at Kent State University, and Gail Hodge of Information International Associates, Inc.

ISO 12620:2009, Terminology and other language and content resources – Specification of data categories and management of a Data Category Registry for language resources

2nd edition of the standard that provides guidelines concerning constraints related to the implementation of a Data Category Registry (DCR) applicable to all types of language resources-terminological, lexicographical, corpus-based, machine translation, etc. It specifies mechanisms for creating, selecting, and maintaining data categories, as well as an interchange format for representing them.

ISO/IEC 12785-1:2009, Information technology – Learning, education, and training – Content packaging – Part 1: Information model

This new standard defines the data structures that can be used to exchange language, education, and training (LET) content among systems that wish to import, export, aggregate, and disaggregate packages of LET content. It illustrates the conceptual structure of the Content Packaging Information Model and defines the structural relationships, data-type, value-space, and number of occurrences permitted for each kind of information object.

Library of Congress, MARC Discussion Papers: ISNI & ISTC, URIs, ISBD Punctuation

The Library of Congress Network Development and MARC Standards Office has issued three discussion papers on proposed changes to MARC to address other standard developments in the community. The three are: 1) Encoding the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) and the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Format (2010-DP03); 2) Encoding URIs for controlled values in MARC records (2010-DP02); and 3) ISBD punctuation in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format (2010-DP01). For information on how to comment on these issues, visit the MARC Development Overview webpage.

W3C Working Draft, Updated Draft: Use Cases and Requirements for Ontology and API for Media Resource 1.0

This working draft from the Media Annotations Working Group specifies use cases and requirements as an input for the development of Ontology for Media Resource 1.0, to support cross-community data integration of information related to media resources on the Web, and API for Media Resource 1.0, which will provide read access and potentially write access to media resources, relying on the definitions from the ontology. Comments can be sent to the public list for the Media Annotations Working Group.

Media Stories

Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata
Library Technology Reports, v. 46, no. 1, January 2010; by Karen Coyle

Library users are creating a need for libraries to transform their catalog of bibliographic records to a new paradigm of web-accessible hyperlinked data. What is necessary is metadata that is constructed (artificially created), constructive (for a specific purpose), and actionable (can be acted on). Actionable today means machine-actionable, providing new opportunities in the way information can be delivered. Library metadata began as an inventory of holdings, but has evolved to be used both to manage library operations and to answer users' information questions. While libraries have long shared their bibliographic metadata, the data was not designed for the purpose of combining it with external non-library data. There is very little linkage today between library records and the Web. In this report, the author describes the steps the library community needs to take to facilitate the transformation that allows library data elements to be linked with other types of Web data. (Link to Web Source)

"The Future of Our Business ... Is About Data": A Q&A With New Industry Study Group Executive Director Scott Lubeck
Book Business, Jan 29, 2010; by Heather Fletcher

The Book Industry Study Group's new Executive Directory, Scott Lubeck, described plans for new initiatives in an interview with Book Business. Just issued was the first of three studies about book buyers' attitudes towards e-books and reading devices. Lubeck argues that it's not about technology; it's about how readers' use content that needs to be driving the change in publishing and that this market is misunderstood. The recently revised BISG Product Data Certification (PDC) program is critical to the organization's mission because it focuses on the quality of data. And data is critical to every process in the book supply chain and in online discovery for the user. PDC can provide scorecards for publishers of all sizes and help them see the return on investment for effectively managing data. The mission ahead is "certification, education, evangelizing the importance of data [quality]. It will require collaboration with all the stakeholders around the world. (Link to Web Source)

Google Exposes Book Metadata Privates at ALA Forum
Go to Hellman [blog], January 18, 2010; by Eric Hellman

An ALA midwinter conference session on Mix and Match: Mashups of Bibliographic Data was the forum for Google to give an unprecedented presentation on how it processes book metadata for its Google Books project. The first presenter at the session, Renée Register from OCLC described metadata through the book supply chain and emphasized the silos of publisher data and library data in incompatible formats. Karen Coyle discussed the Open Library project, which uses URIs for each piece of data to align with the semantic web, rather than the standard library data record. Kurt Groetsch from Google described their processes and problems they've encountered, such as the massive reuse of identifiers like the ISBN on different publications. Progress has been made in a number of areas, especially in recording series and group data. A big problem has been "garbage records" and when found there is no current way to get corrected information back into the source system. Groetsch argued that libraries need to "move away from MARC." A Google engineer who handled record parsing stated that the first thing he learned about MARC is that it wasn't machine-readable. It was questioned whether libraries had a role in future metadata creation. Coyle said they should focus on the "rare and unique material in their collections." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more on book metadata in the supply chain, read the NISO and OCLC commissioned white paper by Judy Luther, Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow.

RDA Vocabularies: Process, Outcome, Use
D-Lib, v.16, no. 1/2, January/February 2010; by Diane Hillmann, Karen Coyle, Jon Phipps, Gordon Dunsire

The Resource Description and Access (RDA) standard will replace AACR2 rules for cataloging and applies to a broader scope of content and media. Although RDA was developed with the library community in mind, discussions and work are underway to align it with other metadata standards. A joint task group with the Dublin Core Management Initiative is re-defining RDA components as Resource Description Framework (RDF) vocabulary with a planned outcome of a Dublin Core application profile. RDF modeling will help in creating metadata that is independent of "any particular structure or syntax for data storage or display." Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS), an RDF vocabulary, can integrate RDA with other ontologies used in information retrieval. RDA's deliberate compatibility with three database scenarios- a relational or object-oriented database; a linked bibliographic and authority record database; and a flat file database-has made it difficult to extend "the relational database scenario into a pure RDF representation of RDA." Steven Miller (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) has attempted to categorize existing metadata standards into five categories: 1) Data structure standards, e.g. Dublin Core, MODS; 2) Data content standards, e.g., AACR2; 3) Data value standards, e.g., LCSH, AAT; 4) Data format / technical interchange standards, e.g. XML, MARC; 5) Data presentation standards, e.g. ISBD punctuation, CSS. RDA uses the entity-relation model of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), which has not yet been fully translated into RDF language by IFLA, so the DCMI/RDA task group had to do some of their own preliminary definitions. Their approach tried to balance the needs of strict RDA adherence and flexibility for non-library communities. RDA's pre-coordinated element aggregation caused problems in translation to RDF and accommodation was made to use the elements separately or in aggregation. As metadata formats proliferate, the need for metadata registries is growing. RDA's registration in the NSDL Registry has been of value for version and change history. It also makes the RDA elements more widely available for XML and RDF applications. "Library reliance on data standards that require that all data be created by hand by highly trained individuals is clearly unsustainable…[and] continued library use of a standard only we understand has cut us off from reuse of data being built exponentially by [other] entities." The RDA to RDF translation is a step towards moving the library community into the broader semantic web world. (Link to Web Source)

Open Source Clouds On The Rise
InformationWeek, January 16, 2010 (In the January 18, 2010 print issue); by Michael Biddick

"The U.S. government is an early adopter of cloud computing and a proponent of open source, two trends that are about to intersect." While the government hasn't issued any official positions on cloud computing or open source, early implementations of clouds are using open source in the underlying technology. Interoperability between clouds, security, and robustness are all key requirements. Open source software can provide those components as well as flexibility and no vendor lock-in. The Linux operating system is used in cloud systems such as Ubuntu's Enterprise Cloud. Eucalyptus, which originated as a UC Santa Barbara project, is now available as commercial open source and uses the Apache web server and the Amazon API. Red Hat (the Linux company) has launched Deltacloud as a cloud integration program that it hopes to make a standard. Nimbus is an open source client toolkit to interface with public clouds. Zend Technologies offers a Simple API to access various cloud services. The NASA Ames Research Center application is an example of how it all comes together. What's missing are standards and security and reliability are still unproven. Nonetheless, expect to see gradually adoption of open source cloud computing, especially in the government.
(Link to Web Source)