Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

March 2010

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend the NFAIS annual meeting in Philadelphia. This year's program was particularly strong and timely. Among the speakers, one speaker of interest was MacKenzie Smith, Associate Director for Technology at the MIT Libraries, who gave an excellent presentation on the ways that she finds and uses information for her work at the MIT Libraries. For those of you who don't know MacKenzie, she is a leading force in the area of digital libraries and digital information, having played critical roles in the development of DSpace, FASCADE, SMILE, and MIT's OpenCourseWare system and other digital preservation initiatives. Among her presentation highlights was the fact that 1995 was a tipping point in the world of digital information because it was the year that the World Wide Web began to gain traction beyond technical specialists. MacKenzie also made the point that the majority of the work that she and her research specialties do today—digital preservation and the use and management of digital content—didn't even exist prior to 1995. Partly because of this and also due to the rapid changes in our community, she relies less on traditional published materials for current awareness and is more likely to use the new social media, conference proceedings, and more informal information exchange.

Another NFAIS presenter was Stephen Arnold, who spoke on the transformations to the information landscape made by the large internet corporations, Amazon (launched in 1995), Yahoo! (1995), Google (1997), and Facebook (2004). The radical impact of these organizations is still reverberating in our industry. Expect that it will continue to do so, especially when a decision is made by the judge in the Google Books settlement.

Another reason why 1995 resonates today is that fifteen years ago on March 1st a group of computer and library specialists gathered in Dublin, Ohio for an invitational OCLC/NCSA Metadata Workshop. The group "met to identify the scope of the problem, to achieve consensus on a list of metadata elements that would yield simple descriptions of data in a wide range of subject areas, and to lay the groundwork for achieving further progress in the definition of metadata elements that describe electronic information." The result of that meeting was the development of the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (later NISO standard ANSI/NISO Z39.85) and a vibrant community of metadata specialists organized by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. I strongly encourage you to (re-)read Stuart Weibel's article describing the meeting that was published in July of 1995. The set of 15 elements, although relatively simple, has reverberated through the years.

Clay Shirky in the opening keynote at NFAIS made this exact point: we often don't know at a particular moment the eventual power of the ideas we share. Shirky gave as examples the simple beginnings of Wikipedia and Linux by quoting the short messages posted by Larry Sanger in 2001 (Let's make a wiki) and Linus Torvalds in 1991 (Hello everybody out there using minix) that initiated the two projects.

A new project being launched by NISO and NFAIS on supplemental materials to journal articles started similarly with an e-mail from Sasha Schwarzman at the American Geophysical Union to the CrossRef technical working group list. That message and his white paper, led to an invitational roundtable meeting in January 2010. A report of the meeting is expected to be available soon; check the event webpage for the report and related information. Also underway is the proposal for the joint NISO/NFAIS work project to follow-up on the issues raised in the meeting.

We can only hope that some of the small messages and ideas we launch through NISO will also reverberate through the forthcoming years.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

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 – Ed Pentz, Executive Director, CrossRef

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.

Innovative Interfaces is the forum break sponsor.

April Webinar: RFID in Libraries: Standards and Expanding Use

NISO's April webinar will focus on RFID in Libraries: Standards and Expanding Use. This webinar will look at the latest developments in standardization regarding the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in libraries and share the experience of an actual implementation of RFID.

Topics to be covered in the webinar are:

  • ISO Standard on RFID in Libraries – Existing RFID standards define technical aspects of the tag and the air interface but what is still needed to ensure interoperability in a library environment is a standard that specifies what data needs to be on the tag and how it is formatted and encoded. The ISO standard on RFID in Libraries (ISO/DIS 28560) is nearing its final stage of approval. This three-part standard specifies a data model for the use of RFID tags for items appropriate for the needs of all types of libraries, including academic, public, corporate, special and school, and defines two different encodings that can be used.
  • U.S. Implementation of RFID in Libraries – In 2008, knowing that an international standard was still a couple years off, a NISO working group developed a recommended practice on RFID in U.S. Libraries (NISO RP6-2008). Experiences using this recommended practice in the U.S. will be discussed as well as plans for updating the document to align it with the forthcoming international standard.
  • Case Study of RFID Library Implementation – When implementing RFID in a library environment, there are certainly the typical issues of transitioning to a new technology and interoperability with current systems. But RFID implementations also encounter other "cultural" issues such as privacy concerns and the move to a more self-service type of model for library patrons. This case study will share the experiences of a library that was one of the earlier adopters of the RFID technology.

Registration is per site (defined as access for one computer). NISO and NASIG members may register at a discounted rate. A student discount is also available. 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.

New Working Groups Launched on E-Journal Presentation and RFID in Libraries

The Business Information Topic Committee has approved the formation of a new working group to develop recommended practices for the Presentation and Identification of E-Journals. The project is expected to address issues in the areas of titles for different formats, access and linkage to former titles, historically accurate citations, and the use of ISSN registered metadata. The roster for the working group is currently being formed along with an interest group e-mail list. Review the project proposal here.

The Content and Collection Management Topic Committee has approved the formation of a working group to revise the NISO Recommended Practice on RFID in U.S. Libraries (NISO RP-6-2008). The related ISO standard on RFID in libraries is in the final stages of development, with final publication expected in mid-2010. A review and revision of the NISO RP will be done to ensure alignment with the ISO standard, make recommendations regarding encoding practices since two types of encoding are allowed in the ISO standard, identify which optional elements in the data model should be recommended for use in U.S. implementations, and interpret the standard where needed to make implementations easier for manufacturers and libraries. The new working group is expected to include some members who worked on the previous RP and some new members. An interest group e-mail list will also be available. Review the project proposal here.

Anyone interested in participating on either of these new projects or in being added to the interest group e-mail lists should contact Karen Wetzel.

Call For Nominations for NISO Board of Directors

Pursuant to NISO's Bylaws, the Nominating Committee of the Organization has released a call for nominations for the position of Vice-Chair of the NISO Board of Directors (succeeding to Chair) and for at least one Director position. Please submit any nominations to Todd Carpenter no later than March 15, 2010.

For more information on the duties of the Board officers, refer to the NISO By-Laws, in particular Section V.

Z39.7 Standing Committee Accepting Comments on the Data Dictionary

As part of the continuous maintenance of ANSI/NISO Z39.7, Information Services and Use: Metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers – Data Dictionary, comments are being accepted by the Z39.7 Standing Committee for consideration at its June 29, 2010 meeting, to be convened at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

The Data Dictionary is available online and in-context comments can be made by using the "Post a Comment" box that appears on each page when navigating the standard. To submit more general comments, use the NISO web contact form.

New Specs & Standards

DAISY Consortium, Public Call for Review of DAISY Online Delivery Specification Final Draft

The DAISY Online Delivery protocol is a web service API that facilitates the delivery of digital resources from service providers to end users. The protocol features a core set of operations that can be configured to enable a variety of different download models, making it a flexible and lightweight solution to the growing need for online delivery of published content. A final draft is available for public review and comment until March 20, 2010.

Library of Congress, Extended Date/Time Format In Development

There is no standard date/time format that meets the needs of various well-known XML metadata schemas, for example MODS, METS, PREMIS, etc. For several years there have been various discussions about developing a reasonably comprehensive date/time definition for the bibliographic community, and submitting it either for standardization or some other mode of formalization. Interested parties are encouraged to join the discussion of this developing specification. Subscribe to the Datetime Listserv.

NISO, Seven Reaffirmed Standards

ANSI has confirmed the reaffirmation of seven NISO standards that were approved for reaffirmation by the respective NISO voting member ballot pools in 2009. The standards are:

Media Stories

E-Books and ISBNs
BISG Bulletin *EXTRA*, February26,2010; issued by the International ISBN Agency

The International ISBN Agency has issued a position paper on E-Books and ISBNs that has reaffirmed its 2005 recommendation regarding the assignment of ISBNs to electronic publications. Publishers have been uncertain of how the ISBN fits in the supply chain for a digital environment. The ISBN standard, ISO 2108, requires that a separate ISBN be assigned to every different form of a product. Discussions during the revision of the standard confirmed that the ISBN should also apply to e-books. The standard states: "Each different format of an electronic publication (e.g. '.lit', '.pdf', '.html', '.pdb') that is published and made separately available shall be given a separate ISBN." The position paper goes on to state that publishers often produce a single generic electronic file (e.g. ".epub") which is then converted into a variety of formats by aggregators or service providers, each of which may have unique characteristics and functionality. Some publishers are assigning one ISBN to the generic file and the downstream versions are not getting the unique ISBNs and metadata that are needed to facilitate discovery and trading. The International ISBN Agency continues to recommend that publishers should assign ISBNs to each e-book format separately available. The paper provides specific guidelines regarding publisher-assigned vs. intermediary-assigned ISBNs, and handling of the generic electronic file as well as chapters and fragments. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO Note: Brian Green, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency, has asked for comments and feedback on this position paper from stakeholders. Send comments to: info@isbn-international.org

Cataloging Horizons
American Libraries; 02/12/2010; by Karen Coyle

The next evolutionary step for library catalogs has the potential of providing some very powerful capabilities and making the catalog a rich web of data. Resource descriptions will be navigable, giving users the ability to follow connections in the metadata, such as authors or dates, and easily move between the library resource and other resources on the web. The Semantic Web movement has developed structures that will make these links possible by defining metadata in a sentence-like representation of subject, verb, and object. This structure allows deeper linking than the current hyperlinking between documents on the web. The new links have meaning and can express complex relationships. Changes are necessary to make library catalog data interact in this environment. The groundwork for these changes was laid with the model in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and this model has been utilized in the forthcoming Resource Description and Access (RDA) standard. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more on this subject, see the February-March 2010 issue of Library Technology Reports, RDA Vocabularies for a Twenty-First-Century Data Environment, which Karen Coyle authored.

Innovating the 21st-Century University: It's Time!
EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 1 (January/February 2010): 16-29; by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

The traditional business of producing content, e.g. encyclopedias, newspapers, records, is collapsing by the new capabilities and democratization offered by the Internet. The same dire prediction has been made about how colleges and universities will be affected by the digital age. Although things look good today with enrollment up and fierce competition to get into the best schools, there is data to show that many students are not graduating and alternative modes of higher education are becoming increasingly popular. The university needs to transform in a deep and pervasive way that goes well beyond the many change proposals that have been put forward. The whole pedagogy model of learning needs to be replaced with a collaborative learning model supported by a new process for how all the content used in higher education is created. This collaborative learning is not just about technology; it involves a radical change in the relationship between teachers and students. For universities to succeed they need to launch a Global Network for Higher Learning with these five stages/levels: (1) course content exchange; (2) course content collaboration; (3) course content co-innovation; (4) knowledge co-creation; and (5) collaborative learning connection. Course content exchange was pioneered by MIT with OpenCourseWare. Content collaboration requires a social network: a Facebook for faculty and academic "jams". Wikiversity is an example of co-innovating content. Knowledge from university-based research needs to be publicly available not captured in corporate-owned journals. A 2009 grant to seven universities from the National Center for Research Resources will put in place a cross-country network of researchers that could be a model for others. A global academy needs to exist that allows students to customize their learning from multiple universities. Most universities at best are engaging in level one course content exchange. It's not enough and they're not moving fast enough into the other levels. As part of this move, "the academic journal should be disintermediated and the textbook industry eliminated." In this new Global Network, collaborative revenue models with transfer pricing need to be created. The incentive system for faculty needs to change to focus on teaching excellence not the publishing record. Governments need to help by investing in a "Digital MarshallPlan" to supply the required broadband infrastructure. The change is going to be difficult but any resistance is going to be overtaken by the driving force of students. The new model of collaborative learning and knowledge production is crucial to the survival of the university. (Link to Web Source)

Towards a Toolkit for Implementing Application Profiles
Ariadne; Issue 62 January 2010; by Talat Chaudhri, Julian Cheal, Richard Jones, Mahendra Mahey and Emma Tonkin

A Dublin Core Application Profile (DCAP) was defined in 2001 as "a set of metadata elements, policies, and guidelines defined for a particular application." Many good application profiles have been developed since then. The authors analyzed "the recent set of JISC-funded application profiles [for repositories], which make use of application models based on variants of FRBR, and which follow the Singapore Framework for Dublin Core Application Profiles." The way the "Big Three" repository software environments—EPrints, DSpace, and Fedora— structure their content affects the ability to use a JISC DCAP. Fedora is most capable of supporting the needed entity-relationship model, with some caveats. The repository community has not yet seen sufficient benefits from using DCAPs to demand the needed functionality from the software providers. UKOLN has a collaborative program underway to gain more user engagement and to conduct practical tests, including usability testing and software prototypes. To ensure that the end user is receiving a useful service, this testing must address interface design. While the UKOLN project is mapping the FRBR model required by the DCAPs to the flat structure of the current repository software, others are questioning the usefulness of the entity-relationship model for repositories. The mapping process will almost certainly result in metadata duplication. Several different implementation approaches are planned to be demonstrated with live repository services. The results of this testing should ideally both demonstrate the benefits of using DCAPs and how to make their implementation easier. (Link to Web Source)

Books As Software – O'Reilly Makes It Happen
The Scholarly Kitchen [blog], March 2, 2010; by Kent Anderson

The author had suggested a few years ago that publishing should be more than the fixed hardware of books and journals and instead look at information as something flexible and subject to revision. O'Reilly Media has done just that with Live Edition software manuals that the author updates as needed and alerts those who purchased the manual of the updates. This approach is especially suited to the software manual, which can match its updates to the software's patches and releases. Journal publishers who still rely on issuing corrections and errata ought to consider adopting the O'Reilly approach of "release early and often." The approach has the benefits of both engaging the author in a longer-term relationship with the publisher and having customers supply their e-mails for ongoing communications. O'Reilly's Live Edition may be more of a marketing than a technical achievement but it enhances the publisher's innovative reputation. This approach needs to be considered by other publishers as a way to enhance both books and journals and extend their useful life. (Link to Web Source)