Save the Date
Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

March 2012

Identifying people and things is an inherently difficult activity. The first challenge is to distinguish that this one thing or person is different from all others. The second thing we often want to do is to define and describe those distinguishing characteristics. Frequently, once those exercises are done, we often want to classify those people or entities into different groups. Of course, the world isn't easily distinguishable and the process is complicated by lack of agreement on the distinguishing characteristics, close similarity between things or people, or even intentional clouding of reality, such as in the use of pseudonyms. Often with people, there are many similarities, such as duplicate names, vocations, or interests that make separation difficult. With institutions, it can sometimes be hard to tell where one ends and another begins and then to describe the overlapping entities that populate our world. Further complicating this is the need for privacy and the concerns about how widely to share this information, some of which the people or entities aren't necessarily keen on sharing.

There are several projects that have been undertaken in our community to address these challenges. The most prominent of these is the Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) project, which has grown rapidly since its organization in late 2009. ORCID is now a non-profit corporation, which recently announced more than 300 organizations have agreed to participate and support the ORCID principles. That organization has made tremendous progress toward establishing a system for scholarly identity based on individually asserted information.

The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) just announced it would be hosting a workshop on Scholarly Identity, just following its own spring meeting in Baltimore. As described in its announcement, "the purpose of this workshop is to understand and coordinate developments in historically independent spheres that involve the management of authorial identity, publication histories, and other parts of academic." There are a variety of issues and initiatives underway in our community and NISO has been engaged in a few. We look forward to this discussion and to the work of CNI to help support the coordination so desperately needed on this topic.

Related to this, the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) standard (ISO 27729) is expected to be published later this month. ISNI is designed to aggregate and unambiguously identify the public identities of parties involved in content creation. A consortium of library organizations and a variety of rights and media organizations are leading this initiative. Building on the VIAF project and existing repositories of rights data, the ISNI system has already gathered information on several million names of contributors, authors, and content creators.

Following the publication of the ISNI, the Institutional Identifier (I²) project within NISO will also release its final report that will recommend the use of the ISNI system as the basis for institutional identification. Coordination between the I² working group and the ISNI International Agency led to an extension of the ISNI metadata structure to include the metadata elements that I² developed for describing institutions. Discussions are underway toward identifying one or more Registration Agencies to be appointed by the ISNI International Agency for assignment and maintenance of institutional information.

There is potential opportunity of tying these different registries together to provide open linked data that will support discovery and integration of information. However, the extended applications of these systems will require subsequent conversations and agreements. Where we need to focus attention now is getting the infrastructure of the ORCID and ISNI systems up and running and promoting participation. The next several months will be exciting indeed as we can begin to savor the fruits of several years work.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

March Two-Part Webinar: Understanding Critical Elements of E-books

NISO is holding a two-part webinar in March on Understanding Critical Elements of E-books. Each part is independent; you can register for either one or both. Get a 25% discount if you register for both parts.

A critical element of the e-book marketplace is a common file structure that is agreed upon between content creators and the supply chain, and works with multiple reader technologies. In Part 1, Putting Electronic Books into a Package, to be held on March 14, 2012, learn about the newly released EPUB 3 specification and the W3C HTML 5 specification, which EPUB 3 builds on, and how these standards can be used to create rich, cross-platform e-books.

Part 1 topics and speakers:

  • EPUB 3 Overview, Evolution, and Benefits – Bill Kasdorf, Vice President, Apex Content Solutions; Metadata Subgroup Lead, IDPF EPUB 3 Working Group
  • Adding Interactivity to E-books with HTML5 – Sanders Kleinfeld, Publishing Technologies Specialist, O'Reilly Media

With more and more publications being issued in electronic format, how do users find what is available? In Part 2 of the webinar, Find That E-book—or Not: How Metadata Matters, learn what metadata is crucial for making e-books discoverable and about the key standards used in the metadata supply chain to ensure the discovery and delivery of the titles users will want to buy and read.

Part 2 topics and speakers:

  • Metadata: Without You I'm Nothing (Metadata Quality and its Importance in E-Book Discovery – Laura Dawson, Communications Chief, Firebrand Technologies
  • ISTC, ISBN, and E-book Assignment – Pat Payton, Senior Director, Publisher Relations and Content Development, Bowker
  • ONIX for E-books – Graham Bell, Chief Data Architect at EDItEUR

Both webinars are held from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 p.m. Eastern on March 14, 2012 for Part 1 and March 21, 2012 for Part 2. Discounts are available for NISO and NASIG members and students. All registrants to both parts receive a 25% discount. Can't make it on the webinar date/time? Register now and gain access to the recorded archive for one year.

Visit the event webpages to register and for more information: Part 1: Putting Electronic Books into a Package; Part 2: Find That E-book—or Not: How Metadata Matters

April Webinar: What to Expect When You're Expecting a Platform Change: Perspectives from a Publisher and a Librarian

In recent months, information providers have released a range of modifications to many abstracting and full text journal platforms. Whether an update to its look and feel or a radical restructuring of its search, browse, and full text features, any successful change to a familiar interface requires communication, tolerance, and understanding among the affected information provider, publisher(s), and library customers.

Join NISO on April 11, 2012 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern for the webinar What to Expect When You're Expecting a Platform Change, where a publisher and a librarian will share their own experiences with determining priorities, learning lessons, and improving practices related to changed and changing information platforms.

Topics and Speakers

  • Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway: How to Manage a Platform Migration – Gillian Howcroft (Director, E-Projects, Taylor & Francis)
    The journal industry has invested a huge amount ($3.2+ Billion) since 2000 in digitization initiatives and many publishers launched new platforms in 2006/7 and again in 2010/11. How can we keep up with rapidly evolving web technologies and achieve this in an interoperable fashion keeping disruption to a minimum for the librarian and their users? Howcroft shares her experiences in moving interfaces ahead.
  • Dream a Little Dream: A Librarian Envisions the Ideal Platform Migration – Kelly Smith (Interim Coordinator of Collection Services, Eastern Kentucky University Libraries)
    Librarians spend a great deal of time working with electronic resource platforms and helping their users navigate them. What can publishers do to mitigate the interruptions of a migration and maximize the potential time savings, increased usage, and improved user experience that can result from improving a platform? Smith shares lessons learned during previous migrations to help librarians and vendors determine priorities and improve practices related to changing information platforms.

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 p.m. Eastern on April 11, 2012. Discounts are available for NISO and NASIG members and students. Register now and gain access to the recorded archive for one year. To register and for more information, visit the event webpage.

NISO/DCMI Webinar: and Linked Data: Complementary Approaches to Publishing Data

NISO and DCMI will hold their second of four 2012 webinars on and Linked Data: Complementary Approaches to Publishing Data on April 25, 2012 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern time., a collaboration of the Google, Yahoo!, and Bing search engines, provides a way to include structured data in Web pages. Since its introduction in June 2011, the vocabulary has grown to cover descriptive terms for content such as movies, music, organizations, TV shows, products, locations, news items, and job listings. The goal of is "to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages." The initiative has emerged as a focal point for publishers of structured data in Web pages, especially but not exclusively in the commercial sector.

This webinar will explore how the publication methods of relate to the methods used to publish Linked Data. Must data providers commit to one or the other, or can the two approaches exist side-by-side, even reinforcing each other?


  • Dan Brickley is best known for his work on Web standards in the W3C community, where he helped create the Semantic Web project and many of its defining technologies. Dan is currently working on outreach activities related to the initiative. Previous work included six years on the W3C technical staff, establishing ILRT's Semantic Web group at the University of Bristol, and more recently at Joost, an Internet TV start-up, and at the Vrije University Amsterdam. He has been involved with resource discovery metadata since 1994 when he published the first HTML Philosophy guide on the Web, and has been exploring distributed, collaborative approaches to "finding stuff" ever since.
  • Thomas Baker, Chief Information Officer of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, has recently co-chaired the W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group and the W3C Incubator Group on Library Linked Data.

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on April 11, 2012. Discounts are available for NISO and DCMI members and students. Register now and gain access to the recorded archive for one year. To register and for more information, visit the event webpage.

Get a package deal: Purchase three NISO/DCMI webinars, get the fourth webinar free. (The first webinar from February will be provided in a recorded version. Click on the link on the NISO/DCMI webinar webpage.

Standards Development Workshops on E-Book Annotation Sharing and Social Reading: Final Grant Report

In June 2011, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) a grant of $48,500 to fund the project Standards Development Workshops on E-Book Annotation Sharing and Social Reading. The goal of this project was to organize two meetings to discuss the current state of annotation of digital books on a variety of platforms. The first of the two meetings was held in Frankfurt, Germany, prior to the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the second was held in San Francisco, California, prior to the start of the Books In Browsers Meeting hosted by the Internet Archive. Both meetings were held in October 2011 on the 10th and 26th respectively.

The meetings were tremendously successful in terms of advancing the conversations about community needs for annotation. The conversation in Frankfurt focused more on the policy, goals, and business issues surrounding e-book annotation. The meeting in San Francisco focused more concretely on the technical infrastructure and syntax needs of a standard for annotation systems.

Among the outcomes for the meetings were: an increased awareness of the need for a standard for locating reference points in digital texts as well as a structure for sharing those annotations across reading systems. A NISO working group to develop these structures as a U.S. national standard was approved by the NISO voting members and is currently being formed. Anyone interested in joining the working group should contact Nettie Lagace.

The narrative of the final grant report to the Mellon Foundation, including minutes of each workshop, is available from the NISO website.

New on the NISO Website

  • Embracing the Cloud: Real Life Examples of Library Cloud Implementation webinar slides (February 8)

  • ERM Data Standards and Best Practices Review – review of white paper, open teleconference recording (February 13)

  • Taking Library Data from Here to There NISO/DCMI webinar slides (February 22)

New Specs & Standards

Three NISO Standards Reaffirmed

NISO Voting Members and ANSI have approved the reaffirmation of three NISO standards:

IDPF Ad Hoc Group, EPUB 3 Fixed-Layout Documents, Working Group Draft

The EPUB 3.0 Specification is designed to allow content to adapt to the user, but this principle doesn't work for all types of documents. Fixed-layout documents give content creators greater control over presentation, when a reflowable EPUB is not suitable for the content. This draft defines a set of metadata properties to allow declarative expression of intended rendering behaviors of fixed-layout documents in the context of EPUB 3.

EDItEUR, ONIX for Books 3.0 revision 1

The newly-released ONIX for Books 3.0 revision 1 is a minor update to ONIX 3.0 that introduces a handful of new and optional data elements to meet the specialized needs of ONIX users in East Asia, and in multi-language supply chains. However, it also adds a few elements that are likely to be of wider benefit, and introduces a simplified way of dealing with reissues. Version 3.0.1 is entirely backward-compatible with 3.0, so any existing ONIX 3.0 data automatically meets the requirements of 3.0.1 - but 3.0.1 adds flexibility and new capabilities, and EDItEUR recommends that ONIX 3.0 implementations be updated as soon as practicable to take advantage of the updates. The ONIX 3.0 Implementation and Best Practice Guide has been updated to take these updates into account. Release 3.0 downloads.

ISBD Review Group and ISBD/XML Study Group, ISBD namespaces

Namespaces for the consolidated edition of the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) have been published in Resource Description Framework (RDF), the basis of the Semantic Web. The ISBD element set vocabulary includes RDF classes and properties corresponding to ISBD elements. The ISBD namespaces are maintained and accessed using the Open Metadata Registry.

ISO 16363:2012, Space data and information transfer systems – Audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories

This new ISO standard defines a recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories. It is applicable to the entire range of digital repositories. ISO 16363:2012 can be used as a basis for certification.

NFAIS, Code of Practice: Discovery Services, Draft for Public Comment

The National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS™) has released a draft Discovery Service Code of Practice for review and comment by March 16, 2012. NFAIS believes that discovery services have the potential to provide ease of information discovery, access, and use, benefiting not only its member organizations, but also the global community of information seekers. However, the relative newness of these services has generated questions and concerns among information providers and librarians as to how these services meet expectations with regard to issues related to traditional search and retrieval services; e.g. usage reports, ranking algorithms, content coverage, updates, product identification, etc. Accordingly, the NFAIS Code Development Task Force has developed this draft document to assist those who choose to use this new distribution channel through the provision of guidelines that will help avoid the disruption of the delicate balance of interests involved.

Media Stories

Why Microdata, Not RDF, Will Power the Semantic Web
The Digital Shift, February 28, 2012 By Roy Tennant

The author declared the Resource Description Framework (RDF) dead on arrival twelve years ago and while more RDF data is available today, no killer app for it has appeared yet. One implementation of it, RDFa, was designed to embed metadata in a webpage. But microdata is a simpler method specifically for webpage embedding and a number of organizations (Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!) have shown their support for microdata by launching Microdata offers a number of benefits for the semantic web including: a clear incentive to use it today (e.g. Google is using it to improve searching); it is being included for free in some content management systems; big Internet companies are supporting it (and ignoring RDF); and it's simple. RDFa vs. microdata is reminiscent of SGML and XML. SGML struggled for acceptance, particularly due to its complexity. XML was simpler to use and more limited in scope and sounded the death of SGML.(Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Learn more about at NISO and DCMI's joint April 25 webinar. For a more in-depth discussion of microdata and, see "HTML5 Microdata and" by Jason Ronallo in the Feb. 3, 2012 issue of Code4Lib

Advanced Search in Retreat
Online, Vol. 36 No. 2 - Mar./Apr. 2012; by Greg R. Notess

While librarians tend to prefer search forms that offer advanced features such as Boolean and field searching, most searchers prefer a single, simple search box. Even the advanced search link next to the basic box may be disappearing. Google is experimenting with a variety of search interface designs in recent months, with no link at all to advanced search from their current homepage. Instead it appears as an option on the results page after a basic search has been performed. Specialized Google searches, such as images and blogs, offer advanced search as a drop-down from the "gear" icon. Groups and Scholar retain the advanced link by the search box. Even when selecting advanced searching from these different areas, the capabilities vary depending on what may be relevant, e.g. color for an image search. Post-searching filtering and limiting options seem to be replacing some advanced pre-searching, while other features are only available through advanced search. Google News has a small drop-down triangle in the basic search box that pops up the advanced search form on the same page—although it is missing some of the former options, such as date sorting that now must be done post-search. Other Google applications, such as Gmail and Google Docs, offer advanced search functions but don't use that label for them. Trends similar to Google's are appearing in other search engines such as Hulu with no advanced search link until after the initial query. Twitter added advanced search after it acquired Summize but has moved its location around several times since then. Several search engines offer advanced features but avoid using that name, while others have eliminated advanced features or only offer post-search filters. "As search engines explore alternative approaches to offering advanced search opportunities, this option is likely to be only a minor focus of any search company since few searchers use advanced features." (Link to Web Source)

Libraries Receiving a Shrinking Piece of the University Pie Scholarly Kitchen, February 15, 2012; by Phil Davis

Since 1984, academic research library expenditures in both the U.S. and Canada have dropped from 3.7% of the university's total spending to slightly under 2% in 2009, as reported by the Association of Research Libraries. The descent is noted in both public and private institutions. While some attribute the trend to administrators placing less value on the library, the author notes that the 1980s actually saw libraries improving in usage with microcomputer training, Internet access, and e-journals, initially offered via CDs on library computers. These changes occurred at the same time the downward spending trend began and the descent may better reflect a problem in universities controlling their spending in general. Ronald G. Ehrenberg describes in Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much groups with the own agendas spending outside the central budget control as well as rising faculty salaries without any mandatory retirement as major contributors to the problem. Librarians have somewhat more flexibility in controlling costs as "it is much easier to cancel a serial than it is to layoff a tenured faculty member or the coach of the football team." Other cost controls that libraries have implemented include bundled and consortial purchasing, outsourcing services, using more student labor, and reducing staff. University libraries have done significant centralization of branches and services. While one can argue whether these changes improve service for the library patrons, Frederick Taylor, the leader of the industrial efficiency movement, would be proud. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: ARL is a NISO voting member.

The Beauty of the Printed Book New York Times, February 12, 2012; by Alice Rawsthorn

The printed book is a prime example of effectiveness with its compact packaging, portability, and beauty of type and design. The University of Amsterdam's new exhibit, "The Printed Book: A Visual History," illustrates this with selections from its special collections showing book design ranging from a 1471 Latin text to a compilation of postcards from a mother to her daughter. The timing of the exhibit is especially compelling in light of the rising trend of e-books. Some publishers are resisting the e-book, though, including art publisher Steidl who feels it is incorrect to call such digital texts "books." Nonetheless, even Steidl expects the e-book trend to continue. They're convenient, environmentally responsible, and readers can immediately look up words or check facts while within the book. But where e-books have definitely fallen short is in design—at least so far. New capabilities for multimedia may be changing that. Nature Publishing is introducing a series of e-textbooks with interactive visualizations and videos. Moonbot Studios, whose founder previously worked at Pixar, has created a children's book with "shimmering" images and interactive games. (Link to Web Source)