Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

November 2010

Betsy L. Humphreys, Deputy Director, National Library of Medicine, opened the Journal Article Tag Suite Conference (JATS-Con) earlier this week at the NIH campus, talking about why the library community appreciated publishers' work on creating standardized digital content. "There is nothing better [in the life of a librarian] than information that is published that arrives already standardized," she said. Standardized content is more functional, more discoverable, and more preserve-able. This is true not only for the library community, but also for the user community. It is important that publishers understand this is a value that they are providing along with the content.

Understanding the value of efficiency and its benefits is one element of libraries being more "business like," which seems to be the focus of much conversation about libraries recently. While this approach has its proponents and detractors (see Library Inc. article below), it's hardly something new or radical. However, some of the cost-saving measures seem to have taken efficiency a step too far by essentially turning libraries into mini versions of Netflix. Perhaps, I'm a bit traditional, but my vision of libraries is more than just a delivery service or a purchasing system. If we head too far in those directions, we could as a community end up as little more than licensing agents and systems administrators. There is far more to effective information management, organization, discovery, and delivery, which is the core of what information professionals do.

Earlier this month, the Association of Research Libraries released a scenario planning tool for fostering conversations about what the library will look like in 2030. In this period of economic transition, it's not just librarians who are preoccupied with the the changes taking place in our systems and processes. This issue of Newsline includes a Forbes blog about the usefulness of these ARL scenarios outside of the library environment. Take a look at the scenarios and see if you can project how your institution might react.

In planning for this month's Charleston Conference, I was speaking with a colleague about his panel on the 7 Effective Habits of Publishers and/or Libraries. I suggested that Standards ought to be one of the seven habits (along with producing Top-7 lists!). I'm not sure he'll take my advice and include standards, but they certainly do play a critical role in efficiently creating, disseminating, and preserving content.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

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

Have you ever searched the Web for a journal that you thought ought to be available online but not found it, only to learn later that it was available all along? Perhaps you've linked out from your library's online catalog or A-Z e-journal list only to find that the title was no longer available at the site linked to. Or maybe you have had occasion to search a database for a journal using an ISSN and ended up surprised with and confused by the results.

How journals are presented online, how they are identified, and how they are transferred from one publisher or platform provider to another can leave researchers, students—and even librarians—confused and frustrated. NISO's November webinar (November 10, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern time) will discuss several initiatives that are designed to alleviate this problem.

Speakers and topics:

  • E-Journal Presentation & Identification: Developing Recommended Practices
    Regina Reynolds, ISSN Coordinator, Library of Congress

  • ISSN-L: The Linking ISSN
    Françoise Pelle, Director, ISSN International Center

  • xISSN Web Service: Exposing Serials Identifiers, Relationships, and Metadata
    Karen Coombs, Product Manager, OCLC Developer Network

  • Project Transfer: Publisher Guidelines for the Transfer of Journal Content
    Ed Pentz, Executive Director, CrossRef

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

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 several 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:

  • 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.

2011 Education Programs

NISO has announced the schedule and topics for the 2011 education programs, including a monthly series of webinars, monthly teleconferences, and two in-person events. Topics cover a wide spectrum of interests to the NISO community: linked data, ERM, RFID, ILS futures, preservation, e-books, metrics, discovery tools, physical storage, and data.

Special webinar subscription packages are available: 14 webinars at the price of 7, and buy four get three free. Membership in the NISO Library Standards Alliance now includes two webinar registrations and a new Premiere LSA membership category includes the whole series of webinars. (Contact the NISO office for information on these LSA membership changes.)

And watch for future announcements about several joint DCMI/NISO webinars.

For more information about 2011 events, visit this webpage.

New on the NISO Website

  • Recording from NISO October 18, 2010 Open Teleconference, I² (Institutional Identifiers) Working Group Update

  • Slide presentations from the NISO Forum E-Resource Management: From Start to Finish (and Back Again), held October 7, in Chicago

New Specs & Standards

AIIM International, Reaffirmation Public Review of ANSI/AIIM/ISO 10198, Micrographics – Rotary camera for 16mm microfilm – Mechanical and optical characteristics

This AIIM Standard is currently undergoing reaffirmation review and is open for public review and comment. (The standard continues to conform to the currently available technology.) If you would like to review and provide comments on these documents, please contact Betsy Fanning, AIIM Director, Standards, for a copy and the comment template. All comments are due by November 19, 2010.

ARMA International, Call for Members for Revision of Records Center Operations (ARMA TR 01-20XX)

Members are being recruited to revise and update this existing technical report that covers the establishment and operation of a records center either under direct control of an organization or through the use of a commercial records center. To express interest in joining the project team, select this project from the drop-down list on this webpage and fill in the online form.

ARMA International, Call for Members for Managing Electronic Messages as Records (ARMA 19-201x)

This proposed new American National Standard will set the requirements for managing electronic messages as records. Its scope will extend to any type of text-based electronic message or communication including e-mail, instant messaging (IM), and text messaging (SMS). To express interest in joining the project team, select this project from the drop-down list on this webpage and fill in the online form.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, Maintenance Release of DCMI Metadata Terms Recommendation

The DCMI Usage Board has published a maintenance release of DCMI Metadata Terms. Changes include a formal range for dcterms:title, a new datatype dcterms:RFC5646, and a declaration that the property foaf:maker is equivalent to dcterms:creator.

IDEAlliance, PRISM Metadata for Images (PMI)

This new metadata specification for images uses PRISM (Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata) metadata fields as its basis to provide a standard format for publishers to use for the management of digital image metadata from call sheets through production, management, and reuse.

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, Understanding WCAG 2.0 and Techniques for WCAG 2.0

These two supporting documents for the Web Content Accessibility Guidline (WCAG) specification have been updated for version 2.0 and to include more coverage of non-W3C technologies. Understanding WCAG 2.0 indicates specific techniques to meet each success criterion defined in the WCAG 2.0 specification. Details for how to implement each technique are available in Techniques for WCAG 2.0, including both general and technology-specific examples.

Media Stories

Libraries Are Showing the Way for Everyone
Forbes.com, October 22 2010; by Adam Gordon

The Association of Research Libraries recently released report, The ARL 2030 Scenarios: A User's Guide for Research Libraries, contains much of interest to general business managers. The scenarios discussed, such as digitization, sustainability, social media, China, etc., are the future trends impacting just about every organization and company. And the discussion of these trends in the report does not focus explicitly on libraries. Every organization can insert itself into a scenario and ask whether its current models would still work and, if not, what changes are needed. Dealing separately with the future scenarios and then with the subject organization's response is a much better approach for making decisions and plans. The ARL report describes four broad areas: 1) Research Entrepreneurs, where individual scholars are more important than their affiliation to an institution or even a discipline; 2) Reuse and Recycle, where scarce resources are resulting in "ubiquitous but low value" information; 3) Disciplines in Charge, where scholars are forced into "computational approaches to data analysis;" and 4) Global Followers, where Asian funding, support, and culture drive research. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: ARL is a NISO voting member.

Rethinking Library Linking: Breathing New Life into OpenURL
Library Technology Reports, Volume 46, Number 7 / October 2010; by Cindi Trainor and Jason Price

[Abstract based on Chapter 1, Introduction only.] "To prepare this report, the authors tested and evaluated link resolver installations at their own libraries." For author Cindi Trainor from Eastern Kentucky University Libraries, this was Ex Libris' SFX product and for Jason Price, from the Claremont Colleges Libraries, it was Serials Solutions' 360 Link. The authors used their testing and experience to document how libraries could improve the usability of link resolvers. This report "provides practicing librarians with real-world examples and strategies for improving resolver usability and functionality in their own institutions." OpenURL was originally developed to address the "appropriate copy" problem, which is even more complex today with more information available in open access journals and institutional repositories. Resolver errors fall into the false positive type, i.e. a link to something not available from a library's subscriptions, and false negatives, i.e. a failure to link to a resource that is available from the library. While false positives are more common, false negatives are more damaging to the user experience. The three main causes of all resolver errors are: "source URL errors, target URL translation errors, and knowledge base inaccuracies." Links to Google Scholar should be incorporated as a first check for article availability outside the library's subscriptions, especially open access or publisher-hosted content. Serials Solutions' Summons discovery service can merge together a library's catalog and citation databases, re-indexes content, and rebuilds metadata to continuously improve outgoing OpenURL queries. Vendors that hope to compete with Google Scholar must have "one-click-to-full-text" capability and an equal rate of successful links. NISO and UKSG launched a joint working group, KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools), whose Phase 1 recommended practice identified how content providers could improve the serials data supplied to link resolver vendors. Phase 2 of the project will cover e-books and conference proceedings. NISO also formed a working group, IOTA (Improving OpenURL Through Analytics), to follow up on work begun by Adam Chandler at Cornell University to develop an automated OpenURL evaluation tool. Both NISO initiatives address the early step of building the knowledge base and source URL processing. They do not address the parsing of URLs by target databases, the least standardized piece of the chain.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services (ANSI/NISO Z39.88) is a NISO standard. Visit the NISO working group webpages of KBART and IOTA to learn more about the two initiatives. Serials Solutions is a NISO voting member.

Elsevier Online Opinion Survey Reveals Researchers Ready to Push Scientific Search and Discovery to the Next Level
Elsevier Press Release, October 4, 2010

This past summer Elsevier asked its Science Direct users to respond to an online survey on the future of search and discovery and received 1200 responses from 100 countries representing 20 different fields. 97% indicated that open data was very or somewhat important to the future of search and discovery and 80% agreed that the availability of APIs will be critical to enabling solutions for finding and accessing data. Over 2/3 expressed interest in being involved with the development of such solutions, but less than 1/3 thought their organization would support their involvement. No one type of proposed application was a clear leader; interest swas hown in "customized search (18%); those that extract data to elicit more meaningful insight (17%); apps that show content which trusted peers find valuable (16%); those that provide personalized content delivery based on my interests and background (16%); and apps offering analytical tools that are able to target trends, look at historical research output and text/data mine to create semantic relationships across scientific content (16%)." The two top potential impacts of new search and discovery technologies that respondents selected were in forming collaborative knowledge networks and linking data sets to published research. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Reed Elsevier is a NISO voting member.

Avenues of Discovery Explored at ITHAKA's Sustainable Scholarship Conference
Library Journal, Sep 30, 2010; by David Rapp

Day 2 of ITHAKA's Sustainable Scholarship Conference dealt with "Discovering Scholarly Content." Daniel Russle from Google discussed the Google Goggles image recognition app and Tunepal, an audio recognition search. He also pointed out that users' search skills are sadly lacking and that more search education will be necessary as new tools and methods develop. A publisher panel on metadata highlighted methods for using metadata to promote their products. Suggestions included exporting metadata to numerous services, using semantic tagging to assist search engines in interpreting content, using lots of linking to make content "part of the ecosystem," and more granular indexing. Existing discovery tools were highlighted including Goodreads, where people recommend books to each other; Mendeley, which will create citations for PDF files and recommend related information; and Eigenfactor, which analyzes citation and usage data to rank an article's influence. In a panel on the library's role in discovery, projects ranging from an ethnographic study at five Illinois universities to the VIVO open source application at Cornell University and the ITHAKA S+R Faculty survey highlighted the library's role in discovery. The ITHAKA survey showed that the perception of the library as a gateway for discovering information is declining.
(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: ITHAKA and Oxford University Press are NISO voting members.

New Library Technologies Dispense With Librarians
The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2010; by Conor Dougherty

The newest library in Hugo, Minnesota is a row of metal storage cubbies outside of the city hall. An unstaffed "branch" of the Washington County Library, this Library Express provides the growing community with a way to pick up and return library materials that are requested online. Mesa, Arizona plans to open a 3-day a week library in a strip mall with outdoor dispensing kiosks open 24-7. Public libraries across the country facing continuing funding reductions are moving to such devices as they are forced to cut back their full-service hours and locations. Some librarians see such approaches as a way to continue providing services, while others fear it will encourage further cuts in staff and programs. While vending libraries are still uncommon, vendors such as Public Information Kiosk, Inc. and Evanced Solutions see a growing market. Even with the vending machines, leaner budgets mean fewer available copies and longer waiting lists. But for one Hugo, MN, Library Express customer, using the lockers is much easier and faster than visiting the library's main branch, even though that branch is only five miles from her home. (Link to Web Source)

Library Inc.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Chronicle Review, October 17, 2010; by Daniel Goldstein

While universities have been greatly influenced by corporate management processes and industry funding of research, libraries had until recently escaped this trend. They have, however, become highly commercialized, especially in the acquisition of materials. Journal ownership is now retained by for-profit companies and library patrons are now perceived as "customers." Originally, the move from an ownership to an access model assumed that the access was between libraries, with at least one library still owning the materials. Instead, electronic journals are owned by the publisher or some third-party provider and libraries lease access. While electronic journals originally supplemented print copies, libraries have had to cancel hard copies to save on costs. Library bibliographic specialists no longer make the decisions about which individual journals to acquire; instead they are incentivized into taking bundled packages that create homogenized collections across diverse libraries. The large costs of these bundles often results in the libraries cancelling journals from smaller publishers. Students and researchers often associate the information they find with the branded platform (e.g., Informaworld or ScienceDirect) rather than with the article's journal title. The new emphasis on serving customer needs can result in a "good enough" approach, such as bibliographic records with only partial record metadata that is "good enough" for basic inquiries, but will miss out on more advanced types of queries. In public service, libraries are dumbing-down their discovery tools instead of educating patrons on how to do better and more precise searches. "Libraries have already drifted too far down the commercial path: Research and educational values must be restored to their primacy of place." E-books are quickly following the e-journal model and will result in usage constraints, e.g. no ILL, and books are being separated into chapters that appear to be stand-alone entities. "University libraries should opt out of the e-book market until it conforms itself to the values, needs, and wallets of academe." Some library administrators fear that they must pursue the business models to ensure their library's survival. Instead, such alignment with commercial interests and approaches is what will make the library dispensable.
(Link to Web Source)

National Digital Public Library Gets One Step Closer to Reality
Fast Company, October 7, 2010; by David Zax

Harvard Chief Librarian, Robert Darnton, convened a group from foundations, cultural institutions, and the library and scholarly worlds on October 1 that resulted in a statement endorsing a "Digital Public Library of America." According to Danton, their goal goes beyond coordinating the many existing digital projects. They have concrete plans that could make the entire U.S. cultural heritage "accessible free of charge to all of our citizens." Although many challenges exist, existing projects have demonstrated the feasibility of both the technology and cooperative efforts. Representation at the meeting from foundations is an indication of interest from potential funders. The biggest obstacle, according to Darnton, is "baroque copyright laws." Perhaps similar national efforts underway by the Dutch and the French would incite American's competitive patriotism to make the project a reality.
(Link to Web Source)