Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

October 2010

Most of us are using social media more and more often in both our personal and professional lives. The use of social media has even reached into our popular culture and the most traditional media of film, with the recent release of a movie about the founding of Facebook. According to that site's own statistics, there are more than half a billion users of Facebook and more than 50% of those users visit the site daily. Other social media are also heavily used, although not quite at that level. Social media is nothing new to the NISO staff (see our Twitter posts), and we've just created a NISO group on LinkedIn and Facebook for discussions. We'll be posting information shortly but you can join both groups now and start a discussion with others in the NISO community.

Social media has also created new problems for those of us in the business of managing content. Last week, the University of Mary Washington and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University hosted a workshop on Archiving Social Media. Of the increasing stream of content that is being created, posted, shared and read online, how much of this material will (or even should be) preserved? And for how long and by whom? Earlier this spring, the Library of Congress (LC) announced that it would be preserving all of the tweets that get distributed on Twitter. Doc Searls, a fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard and a prolific writer about technology and the Internet, wrote over the summer about this issue after one of his friends had passed away. He makes the point that "everything on the Web is rented" and that content exists so long as we pay the "ground rent" on our domains and keep the servers going. He mused what would happen to his prolific writing when he's no longer able to keep the lights on at his own site.

There are a host of legal, technical, institutional, and ethical questions surrounding the use of social media. There is also a curatorial issue. We cannot ensure that everything is saved and someone—hopefully with some consideration—needs to decide what gets kept or lost. Obviously, the issue of digital content preservation goes well beyond social media to all forms of digital content distribution. However, we've made a lot of progress in the past decade regarding journal preservation and other forms of content through projects like Portico, LOCKSS, and the NDIIPP program at LC. However, we as a community need to accept this responsibility for future generations to preserve not only the traditionally published record, but at least some of the "live web" content by saving some of the increasingly vibrant conversations taking place in social forums, blogs and other non-traditional content distribution forms. Certainly, standards and best practices will need to be developed and tested. I hope the meeting last week will spur some of the necessary conversations. We'll be looking forward to implementing those strategies on our own stream of digital content, such as Newsline!


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

October Webinar: It's Only as Good as the Metadata: Improving OpenURL and Knowledgebase Quality

NISO's October webinar will focus on the work of two NISO working groups in Improving OpenURL and Knowledgebase Quality.

Elizabeth Winter (Georgia Tech Library) will discuss the work of the IOTA (Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics) Working Group that is investigating the creation of industry-wide and scalable metrics for evaluating the quality of OpenURL links. Adam Chandler who began this work at Cornell University will join Elizabeth during the Q&A.

Sarah Pearson (University of Birmingham) will review the work of the joint NISO/UKSG KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools) Working Group including their Phase 1 Recommended Practice (RP) that was issued earlier this year, the link resolver and content providers who have endorsed the RP, and the Phase 2 work that is underway.

Maria Stanton (Serials Solutions) will pull it all together by giving a perspective on the real-world challenges of working with OpenURLs and improving knowledgebase quality.

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

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 you expected 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 will discuss several initiatives that are designed to alleviate this problem.

Speakers and topics include:

  • 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.

NISO and UKSG Announce Five New KBART Endorsements

The most recent organizations to endorse the NISO/UKSG recommended practice, KBART: Knowledge Bases And Related Tools (NISO RP-9-2010) are: Alexander Street Press; Annual Reviews; EBSCO Information Services; Innovative Interfaces, Inc.; and Royal Society Publishing. These companies join the American Institute of Physics, Ex Libris, OCLC, and Serials Solutions on the list of formal endorsers. All content providers, from major databases to small publishers, are encouraged to publicly endorse the KBART Recommended Practice by submitting a sample file to the KBART working group, at kbart@niso.org. Endorsement is finalized once the file's format and content has been reviewed and approved, and the provider has made it publicly available (in line with the recommendations).

KBART has also made a contacts registry available for content providers and knowledge base developers to register their organization's information for downloading holdings metadata. The registry provides a list of contacts, URLs, and instructions relating to the transfer of e-resource metadata between content providers and link resolvers. Companies that have formally endorsed KBART are marked with a KBART logo on the registry.

For more information on KBART and the current Phase II work, visit the group's webpage.

NISO Annual Meeting and Update at ALA Midwinter

NISO will be holding its Annual Meeting and Update session concurrently at the ALA Midwinter meeting in San Diego on Sunday, January 9, 2011 from 1:30-5:30 p.m. This meeting is open to the public. We don't yet have a location, but save the date as part of your conference planning.

New Specs & Standards

Book Industry Study Group, Recommended Best Practices: On Sale Date Compliance

Defines best practices to enable the simultaneous availability of new releases to consumers from all consumer purchasing sources, such as online or bricks-and-mortar retailers with the goal of maintaining a "level playing field" for all trading partners.

Book Industry Study Group, Product Metadata Best Practices for Data Recipients, version 1.3

Provides detailed instruction on improving the accuracy of ONIX for Books data throughout the supply chain while speeding the processing of that data among trading partners. A companion publication to the best practices for senders.

Book Industry Study Group, Roadmap of Identifiers, version 3.0

Updated version of BISG's educational tool that provides a graphic presentation of the relationships between key identifiers used by the book industry. Includes a description of each of the identifiers displayed on the roadmap. Complementary to, and should be viewed with, BISG's Roadmap of Organizational Relationships.

Society of American Archivists, Call for Comments: Revision of Encoded Archival Description (EAD)

The SAA Technical Subcommittee for Encoded Archival Description (TS-EAD) is calling for proposed changes to the current version, EAD 2002. The deadline for change proposals is February 28, 2011. To propose changes, complete the form. A separate form should be completed for each change suggested, with a brief description and the rationale for the proposed change. Comments may also be sent by e-mail to ts-ead@archivists.org and should include the information in the form.

Media Stories

Rethinking Library Linking: Making OpenURL Better with Data, Data, and More Data
American Libraries, 10/04/2010; by Cindi Trainor and Jason Price

Link resolvers have become increasingly important to academic libraries, which has created more interest in the quality of the data within them and in the source OpenURLs. The authors of a Journal of Academic Librarianship article about expectations for the Ex Libris SFX resolver found that users were most concerned with full-text article availability while librarians were focused on the accuracy of the results. While the authors identified typical causes of linking failures they did not determine the causes of or responsibility for the failures. NISO and the UKSG co-sponsored the Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) working group published a Recommended Practice for improving data supplied by content providers to link resolver vendors. Phase II of their work will expand coverage from serials to e-books and conference proceedings, as well as seeking publisher endorsement of the recommended practice and creating a registry for content providers with data that conforms to the KBAART recommendations. Adam Chandler of Cornell University investigated under a Mellon grant the feasibility of a tool to evaluate OpenURL quality to provide "objective, empirical, and transparent feedback for supply chain participants." A new NISO working group, Improving OpenURL Through Analytics (IOTA) will be following up on Chandler's work. Neither of these efforts will address how URLs get parsed by the target databases, which deserves equal or greater standardization effort. "Combining an indicator of a publisher's ability to accept standard target URL syntax with the KBART publisher registry would be a significant first step [in improving target link success rates]." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Visit the KBART or IOTA workroom webpages for more information on the projects. Ex Libris is a NISO voting member.

A Checklist and a Case for Documenting PREMIS-METS Decisions in a METS Profile
D-Lib Magazine, September/October 2010, Volume 16, Number 9/10; by Sally Vermaaten

Recording of preservation metadata according to the PREMIS (PREservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies) data dictionary and using the METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) container format is becoming more common as a solution to ensuring long-term access to digital information. However, the lack of consensus on using these two standards together makes cross-repository access and exchange difficult. The authors propose a METS profile as a method for creating a PREMIS in METS best practice and provide a checklist of items that should be included in the METS profile documentation. The decision to use PREMIS and METS requires a number of choices regarding elements, semantic units, object structure, granularity, and handling of the overlap in the two schemas. A recent document, Guidelines for Using PREMIS with METS for Exchange, defines best practices for Submission Information Packages (SIPs) and Dissemination Information Packages (DIPs) and let to development of the PREMIS-METS Toolbox. But more is needed to ensure cross-repository interoperability due to the modular approach and flexibility of both PREMIS and METS. Currently repositories are documenting their PREMIS-METS use with private, internal documents, policies and documentation made publicly available, and in METS profiles that are registered with the Library of Congress. While more time-consuming, the METS profile is the recommended approach. The 13 issues that are recommended to be included in the profile are: 1) the relationship of the profile to other METS profiles; 2) the schemas used; 3) controlled vocabularies for PREMIS semantic units; 4) whether PREMIS metadata are wrapped into METS or referenced or both; 5) whether PREMIS metadata is bundled or distributed in the METS schema; 6) whether PREMIS metadata is placed a single METS administrative section (amdSec) element or uses repeated elements and subelements; 7) if technical metadata is wrapped or referenced in the relevant METS section or the equivalent PREMIS semantic unit; 8) which PREMIS semantic units are required/recommended; 9) if structural relationships are expressed in METS or PREMIS or both; 10) the level of object that the metadata describes and the relationship to other objects; 11) how PREMIS identifiers and linking identifiers are used; 12) how PREMIS-METS redundancies are handled; 13) metadata tools or applications used. A discussion and examples are provided for each of the 13 checklist items. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The Library of Congress is a NISO voting member.

Can Libraries Work Together to Acquire eBook Assets?
go to hellman [blog], September 16, 2010; by Eric Hellman

Libraries have a history of forming coalitions, consortia, and other cooperative organizations. In a previous blog, the author suggested libraries form acquisition collectives for ebook rights and then make the resources available through open-access. This is not a purchasing consortia or buying pool as some readers thought. The author is proposing the acquisition of the ebook asset, including all rights to distribute it as desired. This contradicts the typical publisher's business model that restricts access to the ebook. Libraries would need to offer publishers a sufficient price for the ebook asset to offset their expected revenue stream, which they would likely need a collective organization to do. This is similar to the International Library Coalition for Open Books that was proposed by Frances Pinter of Bloomsbury Academic at the February O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference. Some publishers commented on the previous post with their reluctance to sell off ebook rights. They should, in the author's opinion, be more concerned about getting revenue that would fund new books than servicing previously published material. For books published in both print and electronic form, the author proposes smaller print runs and print on demand should minimize publisher's concerns about how to plan for print runs if ebooks are made more available due to selling the rights. The proposed model could result in the same kind of market efficiencies that are found in the hardcover/paperback sales model. One issue to address would be libraries that choose not to participate in the collective's funding but would still benefit from the open access to the ebooks. A future blog will address the possibility of opening the collective to consumers. (Link to Web Source)

We Need a Web for Data
Learned Publishing, 23:333-335; by John Wilbanks

The Web has many forums for sharing personal data, but not for scientific data and not in a way that allows the data to be accessed by "machines as users." A Web of data could add tremendous value by integrating disparate disciplines or conduct data-driven queries. Doing this is very complex and requires more robust standards than currently exist. The intended user for most data is not a person; it is a software application that can manipulate the data into something useful for humans. Such software could be "search engines, analytic software, visualization tools, database back ends, and more." This need creates a much different requirement for standards than those that were developed for displaying web data to people. Data software needs a much greater understanding of context and that context has to be supplied alongside the data either through direct integration with the data or linking to a description of it in a persistent and accessible location. Data interoperability must be addressed at the beginning of developing systems because it is significantly harder and costlier to make these connections after both systems have separately implemented non-standardized data collections. Data interoperability must address three levels: legal (intellectual property rights), technical (computer languages and formats), and semantic (meaning of the data). The technical level is the furthest along, with the Semantic Web technologies. Getting scientists to agree on the semantic level could be nearly impossible. The legal level has the greatest opportunity by putting the data into the public domain. There are already precedents for this with genome data and the International Visual Observatory. Putting data into the public domain simplifies the implementation of the technical level. Libraries and publishers in the scholarly publishing community should lead the web of data initiative as they can ensure the connection, curation, and preservation needed. The NSF mandated data sharing could result in funding opportunities to build the web of data. But all involved must be in agreement not to replicate the copyright-controlled model that currently exists with books and journals. (Link to Web Source)

The Importance of Standards in Our Lives
DCLnews Editorial [blog], September 20, 2010; by Dan Tonkery

Standards are pervasive in our lives and ensure in many ways both our comfort and safety. With information technology, standards make it possible for our computers to work and to access the Web. We take standards so much for granted that the lack of them in some arena is quite disruptive. The shift from print e-content to electronic is one of those areas. Site licensing for electronic journals accounts for more than 60% of STM publishers' revenue. Amazon's Kindle launch is creating a similar change in the book market. Other e-book readers followed as well as Apple's iPad that sold over 3 million in 3 months. Publishers should be happy about the sales of e-books and the mobile readers since their print sales have been declining for years. But many are not and they are not making the best choice in their e-book offerings. Along with the EPUB standard, publishers are also using Mobipocket, PDF, and various DRM software products. We need a universal e-book format that allows every digital book to be readable on every reader and interoperability between every e-reader and every e-book store. Apple and Amazon are each using their own preferred standards and their own software developer kits. So standards are being used with e-books; but too many and the consumers are wasting money while the marketplace gradually works out which standard will win. Meanwhile the enhancement of the different standards continues. EPUB is undergoing a major revision with some 14 different changes coming in version 2.1. HTML5 is also in development, which is already being used in many iPad applications. Amazon also has a release coming that supports HTML5 layouts, embedded media, and user interactivity. The CSS3 style sheet standard will affect rendering methods and will be important to meet U.S. laws for accessibility. Amazon is being sued because the Kindle doesn't currently comply with those laws, which many universities also require. NISO is one of the ANSI-accredited organizations that are working on standards for e-content. One project underway is to standardize the handling of supplemental journal article materials. Another NISO initiative is for standardizing how to identify the versions of journal articles. With e-book standards, we still need to overcome such as DRM, rich formats, and interoperability. Standards will be critical to the digital transformation of content, which has impacts on education systems and society as well. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The NISO Journal Article Versions (JAV) Recommended Practice (NISO RP-8-2008) provides standard names and definitions for versions, as mentioned in this article. The joint NISO/NFAIS Supplemental Journal Article Materials initiative has only recently begun their work to develop a recommended practice. You can follow their work on the working group's webpage.

'Liquid Journals' Use the Web to Upend Peer Review
Technology Review, August 30, 2010; by Christopher Mims

Many who have studied it agree that the peer review system is "fundamentally broken." Fabio Casati and colleagues at the University of Trento, Italy believe the answer lies in Liquid Journals. The content on the Liquid Journal Platform is compiled by scientists and other experts who can each create their own journal from peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed journal articles, data sets, blog posts, etc. The quality of the material each assembles will determine the readership that is attracted to their journal. The developers have concluded that the peer review process does not add value to the scientific process. The Liquid Journal algorithm uses measures related to the skill and reputation of a reviewer as determined by the entire community to filter for quality. The journal creates is a living document; for example the number of citations of a paper could be regularly updated. The many distribution and filtering methods available with web technology far exceeds what can be currently done by peer reviewers. Liquid Journals is one way to ensure rapid sharing of scientific research. (Link to Web Source)