Save the Date October E-book Forum
Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

May 2012

Each May, the international information distribution community gathers for a plenary week of meetings for the ISO Technical Committee on Information and Documentation (ISO TC 46) and all of its subcommittees. This important meeting is where many of the critical international standards in information, publishing, and libraries are discussed and vetted and actions are taken place to move work forward. This meeting draws delegates from more than 20 countries and each year moves from country to country. This year's meeting from May 7-11 is hosted by the Deutsche Institute fuer Normung (DIN) at their headquarters in Berlin, Germany. NISO represents U.S. interests within TC 46 and all of its subcommittees. Some 14 delegates from the U.S. will be attending the meeting next week.

At the international level, several projects have been published in the past two months, including the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI – ISO 27729), the International Standard Collection Identifier (ISCI – ISO 27730), and the Digital Object Identifier System (DOI – ISO 26324). All three are the culmination of years of work by teams of experts and each will bring an important new element to the management of information exchange. NISO plays another crucial role in this space as well as the Secretariat on behalf of ANSI for the subcommittee on Identification and Description (TC 46/SC 9). All three of the new standards were managed through development by NISO in this capacity.

The International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) is an identification structure and system for identifying the public names of parties in the content creation system. It can be applied to any person, legal entity, or even a fictional character. While its primary use case has been focused on the tracking of royalties, it will provide a variety of other applications. One of these is the Institutional Identifier (I²), a NISO project that culminated in an agreement to use the ISNI for institutions as well, rather than creating yet another identifier. Part of the agreement was a harmonization of the I² metadata with the ISNI structure to include the additional metadata fields needed for registering I² data. At the moment discussions are underway to set up a registration authority specifically for registering institutional data using the ISNI system and infrastructure. We expect a final report of the I² group to be released this spring that will include a discussion of how to use ISNI for institutions. The ISNI International Agency already has an operational database with ~1 million ISNIs pre-assigned. This initial database was created by merging data from the Agency's founding members' databases, in particular OCLC's VIAF database (Virtual International Authority File). You can expect to see many applications of the ISNI identifier and its metadata as millions of registered ISNIs begin to circulate in the community.

The International Standard Collection Identifier (ISCI) is a newly developed standard for identifying the collections, fonds, and series of libraries and other cultural institutions. Such unique identification will enable collections in different locations to be linked and the searchable metadata will aid in the discovery of collections. The ISCI identifier uses a combination of the ISIL (International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organizations, ISO 15511) and a further collection element to describe the collection within that institution. The ISCI standard was built on an earlier project within NISO on collection identification.

Finally the Digital Object Identifier System standard was officially published just this week. The DOI® is an identifier that has been widely accepted in the community since it was first introduced in 2000. The syntax was later standardized by NISO (ANSI/NSIO Z39.84) and the IETF (as a URI as part of the infoURI namespace – IETF RFC4452). This standard covers not only the syntax but also the larger resolution system, which has seen broad adoption and application in a variety of different forms, including the journal linking system of CrossRef, the field of scholarly data led by DataCite, and in the motion picture industry as part of the EIDR system.

Beyond these three standards, TC 46 focuses attention on: transliteration standards, country and language codes, archives and document management, paper and ink standards, library statistics and assessment, RFID in libraries, thesauri, and a variety of technical data exchange and metadata standards. The implications of these standards can be quite far reaching. For example, country codes find their way into nearly every form of commerce and also serve as the basis for the internet top level domain names (ccTLD). Many of these standards will be topics of lively conversation when we meet next week.

NISO will be hosting a free open teleconference on June 11th to discuss the outcomes of this meeting. I encourage you all to participate in that call. More information on TC46 can be found in the International section of the NISO website. If you have an interest in any of these projects or would like to become more engaged in international standards work in our community, please contact the NISO office.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Managing Director

NISO Reports

May Two-Part Webinar: Understanding Critical Elements of E-books: Acquiring, Sharing, and Preserving

In May, NISO will continue its series of webinars on Understanding Critical Elements of E-books with a two-part webinar focused on the issues of Acquiring, Sharing, and Preserving E-books. Each part is independent; you can register for either one or both. Get a 25% discount if you register for both parts. Both webinars will be held from 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT, on their respective dates.

Part 1—Can I Access the World? Involving Users in E-book Acquisition and Sharing—to be held on May 16, 2012, will address the challenges of providing patron-driven acquisition (PDA) and sharing of digital library resources using e-books. Both the librarian and the publisher experience in implementing PDA will be reviewed.

Topics and speakers:

  • Patron Driven Acquisitions: Essentials and Options – Robert Johnson, Clinical Services Librarian, University of Southern California Norris Medical Library
  • Patron Driven Acquisitions: Lessons Learned and Still Learning – Beth Bernhardt, Electronic Resources Librarian, and Christine Fischer, Head of Acquisitions, University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • A Publisher's Perspective of Patron-Driven Acquisitions – Lenny Allen, Director, Institutional Accounts, Oxford University Press

Part 2, Heritage Lost? Ensuring the Preservation of E-books—to be held on May 23, 2012, will examine initiatives to ensure the long-term preservation of the digital book content being developed and distributed today.

Topics and speakers:

  • We're Preserving the Past, What About the Present?Jeremy York, HathiTrust Project Librarian, University of Michigan
  • File Format Considerations in the Preservation of E-booksSheila Morrissey, Senior Research Developer, Portico

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on May 16, 2012 for Part 1 and May 23, 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: Part 2:

June Webinar: Making Better Decisions with Usage Statistics

As libraries move to become centers of digital collections, maintaining information on the usage of these collections is ever more critical. It's also essential to be able to maintain common measures across heterogeneous collections, in order to be able to effectively analyze how the library's collection dollars are being spent. The Project COUNTER Code of Practice and the SUSHI protocol aid in this work.

NISO's June 13 webinar on Making Better Decisions with Usage Statistics will explore the newly-published Release 4 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for e-Resources and highlight its use in conjunction with the SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) protocol in an active library environment.

Topics and speakers:

  • COUNTER Code of Practice Release 4Peter Shepherd, Project Director, Project COUNTER
  • Using SUSHI with COUNTER Release 4Oliver Pesch, Chief Strategist, E-Resource Access and Management Services, EBSCO Information Services
  • Developing an Efficient Workflow for Managing Usage StatisticsAmy Lynn Fry, Electronic Resources Coordinator, Bowling Green State University

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on June 13, 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.

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

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

Reaffirmation of ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005, Specifications for the Digital Talking Book

This standard, which has been reaffirmed for another five years, defines the format and content of the electronic file set that comprises a digital talking book (DTB) and establishes a limited set of requirements for DTB playback devices. Although a replacement standard (Z39.98, Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing Specification) is expected to be published shortly. The reaffirmation of the existing standard will allow both content creators and e-reader and software developers time to make the transition to the new format.

Book Industry Study Group, Rights Controlled Vocabulary, Version 1.0

Provides a standardized rights terminology and from a master list of the elements of rights transactions designed to facilitate productive, economical communication between buyers and sellers. Nearly all of the Territory and Language categories are drawn from ISO standards, and the Format category is mapped to correspond with ONIX for Books Product Form List 150. The BISG Rights Committee Working Group that developed this Vocabulary is eager for feedback; send your comments to Karen Forster.

British Standards Institute/The National Archives, PAS 198:2012, Specification for managing environmental conditions for cultural collections

PAS 198:2012.aims to help users make their own judgments about specifying beneficial environmental conditions appropriate to local circumstances. The emphasis is on providing conditions for the materials and structures of collection items that will help prevent rapid deterioration or irreversible damage. Although deterioration cannot be arrested altogether, it can be significantly slowed down. Good management of environmental conditions can extend the lifetime of even sensitive materials.

New DCMI Task Group Established for Cultural Heritage Metadata

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) announced the creation of a Cultural Heritage Metadata Task Group to: identify the challenges of metadata for cultural heritage, provide a simple cross-community metadata model for cultural heritage objects, and give a recommendation for the development of DCMI Application Profiles. The Task Group is led by Advisory Board members Stefanie RŸhle (SUB Gšttingen) and Emad Khazraee (Drexel University).

FADGI Still Image Working Group, Guidelines: Minimal Descriptive Embedded Metadata in Digital Still Images

The Still Image Working Group of the Federal Agencies Digitization Initiative (FADGI) has endorsed the Basic Guidelines for Minimal Descriptive Embedded Metadata in Digital Images, created by EMDaWG (Embedded Metadata Working Group) of the Smithsonian Institution. "Embedded metadata can travel with a digital object during its life cycle and often exists in synergy with metadata in an organization's databases or other information technology systems. Embedded metadata enables people in and outside an organization to work more efficiently, provides valuable data to the systems that preserve digital content, and can assist in disaster recovery. In addition to these guidelines for minimal descriptive metadata in still image files, FADGI offers embedding guidelines for the TIFF header in still images and for Broadcast WAVE files in audio-visual materials."

ISO/TR 11219:2012, Information and documentation – Qualitative conditions and basic statistics for library buildings – Space, function and design

This new technical report specifies data for the planning of library buildings. Applicable to all types of libraries in all countries, but especially to academic and public libraries, it also provides guidance on the selection of technical building equipment for the different functional areas of libraries.

ISO 27730:2012, Information and documentation – International standard collection identifier (ISCI)

This new International Standard specifies the International Standard Collection Identifier (ISCI) as a unique international identification system for each collection, fonds, (archival) series, and part(s) of collections, fonds, and series. It also gives a list of recommended metadata elements that describe a collection. The ISCI is intended for use by organizations that manage collections of cultural materials. These include cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, museums and archives, as well as other types of organizations such as publishers operating in the supply chain of cultural materials.

ISO 26324:2012, Information and documentation – Digital object identifier system

This new international standard specifies the syntax, description, and resolution functional components of the digital object identifier system, and the general principles for the creation, registration and administration of DOI names (where DOI is an acronym for "digital object identifier"). It also describes how the DOI system can be used in conjunction with another identifier scheme (for example, to provide additional functionality, such as resolution, where this is not already available), and how the character string of that other scheme can be integrated into the DOI system through the DOI metadata record and/or the DOI syntax.

Media Stories

My Year of RDA
American Libraries, 4/18/2012; by Patricia Frade

When Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and Resource Description and Access (RDA) were first introduced, the author was wishing she could retire rather than face the changes involved. Now she is encouraging others to "jump in." Robert Maxwell, the Special Collections and Formats Catalog Department Chair at Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library is responsible for the author's "conversion" by holding regular training sessions and having the library participate in the RDA test. After the test, cataloging continued to be done in RDA format, which wasn't too difficult for the bibliographic record. The authority records provided more challenging and resulted in much re-work to get it right. After months of RDA cataloging, the author began to see the benefits; among them the relationship designator between authors and resources and the additional information in the authority records. The author recommends that catalogers get plenty of training and do a lot of practice. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The NISO/DCMI November 2011 webinar discussed The RDA Vocabularies: Implementation, Extension, and Mapping. Presentation slides and additional information is available from the event webpage.

Libraries as Software – Dematerialising, Platforms and Returning to First Principles
It's Not About the Books [blog], April 4, 2012; by Hugh Rundle

Marcus Westbury's Cities as software is a concept that is applicable to libraries. Westbury noted that the city of Newcastle's problems were not "hardware" related, i.e. buildings and streets, but were "software" issues, i.e. planning and regulations, etc. In the digital age, it is useful for libraries to also change their focus from hardware—physical books and journals, computers, e-readers—to software, i.e. the services that are provided. The new business model should look at dematerialising the collected artifacts of a library and instead emphasize connecting people to things. The library should be an "idea factory" platform for "free, large scale inter-generational transfer of knowledge and culture." Librarians can be better utilized to help communities create and share ideas. For example, some university libraries are publishing their own staff's works. Nate Hill has written about public libraries publishing local writers, including their works in progress. With this approach libraries are no longer storehouses and gatekeepers, but instead are enabling communities "to share, learn and connect in ways that are otherwise not possible." (Link to Web Source)

Something Is Rotten In The State Of E-Book Publishing
Fast Company, 4-25-2012; by Kit Eaton

The recent Justice Department suit against Apple and multiple publishers over the agency pricing model is an example of the lack of publishing industry innovation in the new digital world. The publishers had created a deal with Apple was a response to Amazon's highly discounted pricing of e-books and perceived monopoly over their sales. The Justice Department's suit lets Amazon continue to push e-book pricing lower. The Authors Guild disliked the ruling and says it will not foster the kind of competition that is good for consumers. In a Guardian article by author Barry Eisler disagrees and feels the ruling could force the publishers to make the radical changes needed to allow and encourage the development of "rich-media books." Self-publishing, already growing rapidly, will step into this void if the publishers don't evolve quickly enough. Consumers aren't only looking for low cost e-books; they want more interactive and media-rich experiences. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: For more on e-books, attend NISO's two-part May webinar on Understanding Critical Elements of E-books: Acquiring, Sharing, and Preserving. And save the date for NISO's fall forum The E-Book Renaissance, Part II: Challenges and Opportunities to be held October 18-19 in Boston.