Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

February 2012

Just last week, the NISO staff—along with a significant number of our community members—returned from a productive trip to Dallas for the Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association. Every ALA conference is a whirlwind of meetings, receptions, and presentations. NISO and our activities were prominent in a variety of forums and programs, but there were also some other important initiatives that were launched or reported on during the meeting that you all should be aware of.

Among the interesting activities worth reflecting on during ALA was the report of the Library of Congress' Bibliographic Framework project. A good summary of the meeting is included in a Library Journal article. The need to transition away from the old-faithful MARC standards is well documented. I was pleased to hear of LC's commitment to engage a broad range of stakeholders in their process. More importantly, there seems to be an understanding at LC that the future of bibliographic information includes a significantly broader community than LC's internal processes. LC's leadership acknowledges the need for all the relevant players to be engaged. I had written about this in November's Newsline introduction. Now it is time for everyone to step up and engage, hopefully through neutral third-party forums like NISO or ISO, if not directly through LC. I am certain we will be talking regularly about this over the coming months and years.

During the ALA meeting, NISO also held its Annual Members meeting and update. After a challenging few years, NISO and the community as a whole seemed to turn a corner in 2011. During the past year, NISO had more than 20 projects underway, with several grant initiatives launched, and the solid support of our membership. I encourage you all to take a look at the reports from the meeting, which are available on the NISO@ALA Midwinter 2012 webpage.

Another initiative worth following is the LITA Technology and Industry Interest Group, which held its inaugural meeting at Midwinter. Matt Goldner (OCLC) and Marshall Breeding (Vanderbilt University) lead this newly formed group that was formed to help foster better dialogue between systems suppliers and the library community, and to encourage best practices for systems design and implementation. NISO participated in the meeting and will continue to support their work as we believe there cannot be too many opportunities to build better collaboration between systems suppliers and their customers. The group is still discussing its short-term objectives and will be working on a white paper that outlines opportunities and project ideas to focus on. That paper is due out by the ALA annual meeting in Anaheim.

As new work is beginning, several projects are coming to completion at NISO. I am so pleased to say that over the past few weeks, two project teams have finished their work, while two others have issued a draft for public comment.

Published just before midwinter was a Recommended Practice on the Physical Delivery of Library Materials. This project focuses attention on the very real challenges of circulating physical items within and between library systems. Despite the intense attention given to electronic resource systems, digital data, and e-books, libraries still contain stores of vast collections of physical items, many of which are in high demand and circulate frequently. This work will hopefully draw some attention to improving the process libraries use to distribute those items.

The second project, which I am pleased to announce was published today, is the report of the NISO Electronic Resource Management (ERM) Data Standards and Best Practices Project. Making Good on the Promise of ERM: A Standards and Best Practices Discussion Paper analyzes the existing standards environment as it relates to ERM and identifies next steps that should be taken for standardization of ERM systems.

A revision of SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding was released as a draft for public comment. The changes in the SERU Recommended Practice will better extend the use of SERU to e-books. SERU is used as a simpler, cost-effective alternative to negotiated licenses.

Finally, the first part of the NISO/NFAIS Journal Article Supplemental Materials project has been released for public comment. This project examines the challenges posed by the inclusion of additional materials and content along with journal articles. The released draft focuses on definitions and publishers' business processes for these supplemental materials. A second group focused on the technical details of supplemental materials is still working on their draft, which should be available later this spring.

We are certainly starting off 2012 with a flurry of announcements and activity. As I noted, NISO is a very busy place at the moment and many more announcements and publications are forthcoming this year. I'd like to take a moment to recognize our members and the many volunteers who support all of this work. Many thanks are also due to the chairs and working group participants who have diligently contributed to these projects-as well as those still involved in active projects. Without them, the consensus process for our standards and best practices could not move forward. To all of you who engage, thank you!

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

February Webinar: Embracing the Cloud: Real Life Examples of Library Cloud Implementations

Cloud computing, a concept that has leapt onto the scene in the last few years, is available to libraries in the form of hosted systems for an ILS or for e-resource access. These systems take advantage of cheaper computing power, increased availability of services such as Amazon Web Services, and new development strategies from library vendors. What does moving library information to a networked environment do to improve the overall management of the system? How can libraries leverage cloud-hosted and managed collections? Are there tradeoffs in terms of local control? Learn the answers to these and related issues at NISO's February 8 webinar, Embracing the Cloud: Real Life Examples of Library Cloud Implementation, where speakers will share the experiences of libraries that are using the cloud.

Topics and speakers are:

  • The Cloud and Libraries – Erik Mitchell, Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Maryland College Park

  • Pepperdine University Libraries' Move to the Cloud – Michael Dula, Director for Digital Initiatives & Technology Strategy, Pepperdine University Libraries

  • The Cloud Experience at a Public Library Consortium – Charlene McGuire, Technology Consultant, Southwest Kansas Library System

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on February 8, 2012. Discounts are available for NISO and NASIG members and students. Can't make it on the webinar date/time? Register now and gain access to the recorded archive for one year. Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

February NISO/DCMI Webinar: Taking Library Data From Here to There

Libraries have been creating metadata for resources for well over a century. The good news is that library metadata is rules-based and that the library cataloging community has built up a wealth of knowledge about publications, their qualities, and the users who seek them. The bad news is that library practices were fixed long before computers would be used to store and retrieve the data. Library cataloging practice continues to have elements of the era of printed catalogs and alphabetized cards and needs to modernize to take advantage of new information technologies. This metadata, however, exists today in tens of thousands of databases and there is a large sigh heard around the world whenever a librarian considers the need to make this massive change.

The NISO/DCMI February 22 webinar, Taking Library Data From Here to There, will give an introduction to the types of changes that are needed as well as the value that can be realized in library services. Attendees will learn of some preparatory steps that have already been taken, which should confirm that libraries have indeed begun the journey "From Here to There."


  • Karen Coyle is a librarian specializing in metadata development, with a particular interest in the future of bibliographic control. She recently served on the W3C Incubator Group on Library Linked Data, and has written three Library Technology Reports on the Semantic Web and library data.

  • Thomas Baker, Chief Information Officer of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, was recently co-chair of the W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group and currently co-chairs a W3C Incubator Group on Library Linked Data.

Registration is per site (access for one computer) with discounts available for NISO and DCMI members and students. Register for all four 2012 NISO/DCMI webinars for the price of three. Registrants receive access to the recorded archive for one year. For more information and to register, visit the event webpage.

Updated Draft of SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding Released for Public Comment

A draft update of SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (NISO RP-7-201x) has been issued for public comment through February 19, 2012. SERU offers publishers and libraries the opportunity to save both the time and the costs associated with a negotiated and signed license agreement for e-resources by both content provider and customer agreeing to operate within a framework of shared understanding and good faith. The SERU framework provides a set of common understandings for parties to reference as an alternative to a formal license when conducting business.

When SERU was adopted as a NISO Recommended Practice in 2008, its focus was on e-journal transactions, and the parties involved were primarily libraries and publishers. Since then, with the many emerging models for acquisition of e-books, both libraries and e-book providers have requested that other types of electronic resources be incorporated into the SERU framework. This updated version of SERU recognizes both the importance of making SERU more flexible for those who want to expand its use beyond e-journals and the fact that consensus for other types of e-resource transactions are not as well-established as they are for e-journals. In those instances where there is as yet no standard expectation, a shared understanding may still be achieved if expectations are clearly articulated in the purchase order that accompanies SERU.

The draft updated SERU Recommended Practice and an online comment form are available from the NISO SERU workroom. All parties involved in licensing electronic content are encouraged to review and comment on the document.

NISO and NFAIS Issue Draft for Public Comment of Recommended Practice on Supplemental Materials for Journal Articles

NISO and NFAIS have issued a new Recommended Practice, Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials, Part A: Business Policies and Practices (NISO RP-15-201x), for public comment until February 29, 2012. Although supplemental materials are increasingly being added to journal articles, there is no recognized set of practices to guide in the selection, delivery, discovery, or preservation of these materials. To address this gap, NISO and NFAIS jointly sponsored a working group to establish best practices that would provide guidance to publishers and authors for management of supplemental materials and would solve related problems for librarians, abstracting and indexing services, and repository administrators.

The Supplemental Materials project has two groups working in tandem: one to address business practices and one to focus on technical issues. The draft currently available for comment includes the recommendations from the Business Working Group across a wide spectrum of processes from selecting and editing supplemental material to hosting, referencing, metadata, and preservation.

Recommended Practice on Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials, Part A: Business Policies and Practices is available for download from the NISO Supplemental Materials workroom. Publishers, authors, librarians, abstracting and indexing services, and repository administrators are all encouraged to review and comment on this draft.

NISO Publishes New Recommended Practice on Physical Delivery of Library Resources

A new recommended practice, Physical Delivery of Library Resources (NISO RP-12-2012), has been published by NISO. The physical delivery of library materials is an integral component of the library resource sharing process. Despite the ever-increasing availability of electronic journals, e-books, and other digital resources, the movement of physical items remains a major concern and a major cost for many libraries. In one state, borrowing of returnable items increased by 107.4% in six years. A recent study showed that the average academic library spends more than $6,800/year for delivery services, with some libraries paying as high as $60,000. Given such volumes, libraries are struggling to deal with the labor and equipment costs, material wear and tear, and transit and sorting needs.

Physical Delivery of Library Resources focuses on three key areas: the physical move, automation, and the management of physical delivery. While the scope of the document is limited to the external delivery of items between separately administered libraries, many of the recommendations could apply as wellt o delivery between branches of a single library system. Ranging from labeling and containers to automation and contracting with courier services, this Recommended Practice addresses both the lending and the borrowing library's activities related to delivering and returning a physical item.

Physical Delivery of Library Resources is available for free download from the NISO website. All libraries involved in resource sharing, as well as delivery, sorting, courier and transportation service providers, are encouraged to adopt these recommendations.

White Paper on the Future Standardization Needs for Electronic Resource Management Systems

A new whitepaper, Making Good on the Promise of ERM: A Standards and Best Practices Discussion Paper, is now available from NISO. This publication is the outcome of the NISO Electronic Resource Management (ERM) Data Standards and Best Practices Project, a successor to the Digital Library Federation's Electronic Resources Management Initiative (ERMI). The project's primary goals were to perform a "gap analysis" of standards and best practices and make recommendations on the future of the ERMI Data Dictionary.

The standards review and findings focus on five categories: link resolvers and knowledge bases; the work, manifestations, and access points; cost and usage-related data; license terms; and data exchange using institutional identifiers—with a more extensive review of fourteen of the most relevant standards. Data elements for these standards were mapped to the elements defined in the ERMI report. Also discussed is how ERM systems could improve their workflow support. A detailed workflow best practices bibliography and a list of illustrative workflow diagrams are provided.

Making Good on the Promise of ERM is available for free download from the NISO website.

Tim Jewell, Chair of the ERM Data Standards and Best Practices Review Steering Committee, and other committee members will review the white paper and their recommendations at an Open Teleconference Call on Monday, February 13 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (EST). The call is free and anyone is welcome to participate in the conversation. Just call 877-375-2160 and when prompted enter the code: 17800743#.

KBART Survey on E-Holdings Metadata Closes on February 3

The Knowledge Bases And Related Tools (KBART) project would like to hear from colleagues working with e-holdings metadata both in libraries and for consortia. What improvements do you seek in the representation of consortia specific packages and holdings within link resolver knowledge bases? How much effort do you spend locally on managing this metadata at present? Are you frustrated by the lack of representation of free and open access content from publishers alongside subscription content in your link resolver?

A short, less than 10 minute, online survey is open until the end of the day on February 3, 2012.

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

EDItEUR, Royalty Report Message Formats: 'Strawman' Outline of Content and Logic, Final Draft for Publication

EDItEUR has developed, in consultation with a sub-group of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) Rights Committee, a "strawman" analysis of the data content and structure which may be required for a family of computer-to-computer royalty reporting messages. The aim of the strawman is to provide an underlying model for the development of royalty reporting message formats to meet different application requirements. BISG and EDItEUR intend to test the model through pilot exchanges using appropriate subsets of the strawman data content.

ISO 14641-1:2012, Electronic archiving – Part 1: Specifications concerning the design and the operation of an information system for electronic information preservation

This part of ISO 14641 provides a set of technical specifications and organizational policies to be implemented for the capture, storage, and access of electronic documents. This ensures legibility, integrity, and traceability of the documents for the duration of their preservation. The standard is applicable to electronic documents resulting from: the scanning of original paper or microform documents; the conversion of analogue audio or video content; the "native" creation by an information system application; or other sources that create digital content such as two- or three- dimensional maps, drawings or designs, digital audio/video, and digital medical images.

RDA Co-Publishers, RDA Carrier Type, Content Type, and Media Type

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC), the DCMI Bibliographic Metadata Task Group (formerly DCMI/RDA Task Group), and ALA Publishing (on behalf of the co-publishers) have announced the publication of a second set of vocabulary terms as linked open data. The RDA Carrier Type, Content Type, and Media Type have been reviewed, approved, and their status in the Open Metadata Registry (OMR) changed to 'published.' The finished vocabularies can be viewed following the links from the terms above. (The links lead to the description of the vocabulary itself, the specific terms can be viewed under the tab for 'concepts').

OASIS, searchRetrieve v1.0, 30-day Public Review

"The OASIS Search Web Services (SWS) initiative defines a generic protocol for the interaction required between a client and server for performing searches. SWS defines an Abstract Protocol Definition (APD searchRetrieve Part 1) to describe this interaction. All search protocols can be regarded as concrete implementations of this definition. The Abstract Protocol Definition facilitates interoperability between different search protocols by providing a common framework and terminology for describing search protocols. The APD is a simplification and revision of the abstract model for search and retrieval contained within the NISO Z39.50 standard." This draft is being issued for public review and comment through February 12, 2012. Submit comments to: https://www.oasis-open.org/committees/comments/index.php?wg_abbrev=search-ws

W3C Working Draft, PROV-AQ: Provenance Access and Query

This document specifies how to use standard Web protocols, including HTTP, to obtain information about the provenance of Web resources. It describes both simple access mechanisms for locating provenance information associated with web pages or resources, and provenance query services for more complex deployments. This is part of the larger W3C Prov provenance framework.

Media Stories

What's In Store for the Library Automation Industry in 2012?
Smart Libraries Newsletter, January 10, 2012; by Marshall Breeding

The author shares his predictions on trends in library automation for 2012. It will be the beginning of a decade-long development in the next generation of library systems, including expected releases of Ex Libris' Alma, Innovative Interfaces' Sierra, and Serials Solutions Web-Scale Management Solution. OCLC has rebranded the WorldShare Management System, which should see further adoptions in 2012. Open systems Koha and Evergreen will also see increased adoption especially by several consortia. Additional consolidations among vendors are expected, along with some divestitures, but no business failures are anticipated. Mobile use for library applications will continue to grow but not be as innovative as in other application areas. Near-field communications will have some experimentation, likely for patron self-service. QR codes, while of interest, will not replace barcodes or RFID. While RFID will gain momentum, nothing radically new with this technology is anticipated. New library automation projects will frequently use cloud computing and existing implementations will increasingly transition to the cloud. Along with this transition, the financial side will be changing to an annual subscription model. Library e-book lending is at a critical crossroads and both new models and new players in this area are expected in 2012. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: NISO voting members mentioned in this article are: 3M, Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, OCLC, and Serials Solutions.

Tablet and E-book Reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period
Pew Internet & American Life Project Report, Jan 23, 2012; by Lee Rainie

Almost a third of Americans now own an e-reader of tablet computer, nearly double the number before the 2011 holiday season. Lower pricing on the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet, along with e-readers below $100, likely drove the increases. In 2010, adult males were a couple percentage points ahead of female ownership of tablet computers; now they are equally at 19%. Hispanic and African American ownership of tablets are both 2% higher than by Whites. Highest jumps in tablet ownership were by those with college education and higher, households with income above $75,000, and those under age 50. E-readers are 5% higher in ownership by females (over males). Hispanics are 1% higher, and African Americans 2% higher than Whites in owning e-readers. The gap in ownership based on education and income level is less significant for e-readers than for tablets. These recent surveys are part of an ongoing project to "to understand how people consume media (text, video, and audio) on the devices, how people use them to access the internet, and how mobile connectivity has affected users." (Link to Web Source)

Threats to Digital Lending
American Libraries, 01/12/2012; by Carrie Russell

Kansas Digital Library Consortium was told by Overdrive that their e-book titles could not be transferred to another distributor because they were only leased. When the Kansas attorney general determined that the library did own the e-books, Kansas State Librarian Joanne Budler began negotiating those ownership rights with each rights holder. E-resource licenses typically over-ride the right of first sale (to lend, rent, or dispose of the acquired item) that applied in the print world. Some publishers are including in their licenses such restrictions as limiting the number of e-book loans, delaying access to high-demand titles in e-book format, or not selling their e-books to libraries. As these practices and stricter license terms continue, libraries may be unable to lend e-books at all or be forbidden to preserve or provide interlibrary loans of e-content. Rights holders are demanding even more restrictive DRM technologies to reduce piracy and some want royalties every time an e-book is loaned. Some academic libraries have been successful in negotiating perpetual access. However, these types of agreements have largely been where the library's institution is the primary market for the material, e.g., educational materials. Where libraries are not a significant market player, e.g. trade and popular titles, publishers and distributors see less value in working with libraries to allow lending. Extending the copyright law to give first sale rights to digital content is unlikely to occur and was already tabled during discussions on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Libraries can act now by negotiating better contracts; learning from each other, especially across library types; and gathering and demanding better data. While searching for solutions, libraries need to understand the concerns of rights holders and publishers, who have many issues of their own when it comes to e-content. Libraries could consider working directly with the rights holders to develop new business models. The success of the public library of the future will depend on finding solutions to e-book ownership and lending. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For recent related articles on libraries, publishers, and e-books, see: A Publisher's Perspective on Ebooks in American Libraries and As ALA Midwinter Closes, A Crucial Moment Looms For E-Books in Publishers Weekly.

Building a Better User Experience
Information Today, v.29 no. 1,January 2012; by Alexa Mantell and Amanda Mulvihill

As information overload has reached a stage of "infobesity," content providers are looking to better user experiences (UX) to attract users to content. Dow Jones' Factiva platform is using customized personas based on user interaction, not a user descriptive profile. Gale conducts user testing during development to better deliver products the way users want. Ingram Content Group as a middleman is well-positioned to obtain direct user feedback and share that with publishers. Newstex delivers its content via XML so it can easily be customized for distributor-specific apps. Delivering content to mobile devices presents new challenges in how the content will appear. Ingram has adopted the EPUB format so that users can have the same level of quality-reading regardless of device. Factiva is focusing on flexibility and standardization and Newstex also ensures that apps developed by clients meet certain standards. Users have become more demanding about both the content sources and their delivery appearance. Customizing content for individual needs is also increasing in availability. Gale's Business Insights: Global lets users manipulate the underlying data to, for example, do side-by-side industry comparisons. Factiva lets users filter the available sources of information. Newstex, Factiva, and Gale are all looking at ways to improve the search capabilities. Infotrieve, a content aggregator and distributor, saw apps as a game changer and is rolling out a number of app innovations in 2012. The goal is to make apps for mobile and tablet devices as rich an experience as users had on desktops and laptops. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Gale (Cengage Learning) is a NISO voting member.