New LSA Members
Headshot of NISO Managing Director, Todd Carpenter

July 2013

June is always a month packed with events and announcements, which leads into, hopefully, a more relaxed pace over the summer. Despite this normally busy pace, sometimes important news comes in fairly heavy waves. It seems the past few weeks have been just such a period. Occasionally, this makes me feel like NISO should expand Newsline's frequency to more than once a month, because there is so much to cover. While June is often a period of big announcements, this past month seems to have been more so than usual. The news is coming in from around the world and each potentially has global impact. Just three that are of particular note for our community were: (1) the agreement by WIPO on the Marrakesh treaty on accessibility, (2) the approval of a new ISO project to revise the ISBN standard, and (3) the grant award to NISO for standardization work on alternative metrics.

After several years of behind the scenes discussions and efforts to lay both the groundwork technologically and politically, an agreement was finally reached within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on a treaty to provide access to books for the visually impaired. More than 600 WIPO delegates convened at the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities in Marrakesh, Morocco on June 18 and continued their work through June 27, when the treaty was signed. This is the first WIPO treaty to recognize the human right "to participate in the cultural life of the community" in spite of impairments and is a tremendous step forward in the struggle to provide accessible published content. It should be widely celebrated. NISO has worked closely with the visually impaired community on the DAISY standards (ANSI/NISO Z39.86 and ANSI/NISO Z39.98) for accessible content. These standards provide a technological framework publishers can use to create and distribute accessible texts to the community. We applaud the agreement that was reached in Marrakesh and hope that it is quickly adopted worldwide.

Similarly in another international forum, the ISO Technical Committee on Information & Documentation (TC 46) met in Paris, France, last month to advance another important initiative for our community, although perhaps not with quite the same publicity as the WIPO treaty. The subcommittee on Identification and Description (ISO TC 46/SC 9), which is managed by NISO on behalf of ANSI, agreed to launch a revision of the ISBN standard (ISO 2108) at the recommendation of the International ISBN Agency, which is the formal registration authority appointed by ISO to oversee the assignment of ISBNs around the world. The primary purpose of this revision is to clarify the standard and its applications to electronic books. A policy statement had previously been issued by the International ISBN Agency and another policy statement was issued by the Book Industry Study Group, but neither has the same force as they would if their critical definitions and applications are built into the standard. It is clear that in order to retain its critical role of managing supply chain distribution of books, the ISBN must address and incorporate clarity on the issue of ISBN assignment for e-books. Advisory groups and mirror committees of national member bodies, including NISO, will be canvassing the community for experts to participate in the process later this summer.

Finally, although not the only major NISO announcement this month, I would like to highlight a new project on Alternative Assessment Metrics (altmetrics). NISO received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to advance a two-phase project to develop standards and/or best practices related to the rapidly developing field of altmetrics. I had written about the need for altmetrics standards last fall, and standards were also one of the recommended next steps discussed during the altmetrics12 meeting in Chicago, IL. This is an important step in the development and adoption of new assessment metrics, such as usage-based metrics, social media reference, and network behavioral analysis. In addition, this project will explore potential assessment criteria for non-traditional research outputs, such as data sets, visualizations, software, and other applications. After the first phase, which will expose areas for potential standardization, the community will collectively prioritize those potential projects. The second phase will be to advance and develop those standards/best practices prioritized by the community and approved by the NISO membership. The first meeting of this project will take place in late fall, with the second meeting taking place in early 2014. Both will be open to the community. More information about the project and calls for participation will be distributed later this summer. A webpage has been set up with additional information on the project.

Without going on for pages and pages, many other announcements and important community efforts were put forward in June. Of note is the launch of a new project within NISO to standardize serial packaging for the interchange of serials content. NISO's membership also voted a new slate of leadership for the organization. More information on these and other initiatives in the community is below.

I hope you all have an opportunity to enjoy a somewhat more relaxed pace than we've seen this past month. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that will be true for us on the NISO staff as we put these initiatives into place this summer. However, being busy with important projects is certainly better than the alternative!

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

August Webinar: Copyright Decisions: Impact of Recent Cases on Libraries and Publishers

The Digital Age has spurred a number of disruptive innovations in information dissemination and access that rely on fair use and teaching exceptions in Copyright Law. Globalization has also provided means for exchange of content that had not existed before. In response to these innovations, publishers have filed several high profile lawsuits in an attempt to protect their business models and regain control by stemming the flow of these new delivery methods.

NISO's August 14 webinar, Copyright Decisions: Impact of Recent Cases on Libraries and Publishers, will shed some light on these recent lawsuits and discuss the ramifications the decisions these cases have on information flow now and in the future.

Speakers are:

  • Laura Quilter, Copyright and Information Policy Librarian, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives, Association of Research Libraries
  • Skott Klebe, Manager of Special Initiatives, Copyright Clearance Center

Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on August 14, 2013 (the day of the webinar). Discounts are available for NISO and NASIG members and students. NISO Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members receive one free connection as part of membership and do not need to register.

Visit the event webpage to register and for more information.

Grant From Sloan Foundation Will Fund Community-Informed Effort to Standardize Collection And Use of Alternative Metrics Measuring Research Impact

NISO will be conducting a new two-phase project to study, propose, and develop community-based standards or recommended practices in the field of alternative metrics. Assessment of scholarship is a critical component of the research process, impacting everything from which projects get funded to who gains promotion and tenure to which publications gain prominence. Since Eugene Garfield's pioneering work in the 1960s, much of the work on research assessment has been based upon citations, a valuable measure but one that has failed to keep pace with online reader behavior, network interactions with content, social media, and online content management. Exemplified by innovative new platforms like ImpactStory, a new movement is growing to develop more robust alternative metrics—called altmetrics—to complement traditional citation metrics. NISO will first hold several in-person and virtual meetings to identify critical areas where altmetrics standards or recommended practices are needed and then convene a working group to develop consensus standards and/or recommended practices. The project is funded through a $207,500 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

In the Information Today NewsBreaks article about the project, NISO Project Brings Scientific Evaluation Into the 21st Century With Altmetrics, Nancy K. Herther places the project in context with other endeavors in alternative metrics. She interviews Jason Priem who coined the term "altmetrics" and states that the "there's a lot of work that needs to be done before we'll realize the potential of altmetrics to reward open, diverse, and engaged scholarship. Inclusive, open, and spirited conversations around best practices and standards is a big part of that." Other positive feedback is provided by Jean-Claude Guédon, scholarly communication proponent at the Université de Montréal, Finbar Galligan, Serials Review columnist on altmetrics and Swets' market specialist, Cameron Neylon from PLOS, Dario Taraborelli from the Wikimedia Foundation, Martin Fenner, technical lead for the PLOS Article Level Metrics project, Stewart Wills, editorial director for web and new media for Science, and Joseph Esposito, publishing consultant and contributor to The Scholarly Kitchen blog.

For more information visit the project webpage.

Project Launched to Develop Recommended Practices for Exchanging Serial Content

NISO voting members have approved a new project to develop recommended practices for Packaging and Exchanging Serial Content. Many different organizations—libraries, archives, indexing services, content aggregators, publishers, and content creators—need to exchange and work with digital files that make up serial content. Generally, the files are aggregated in some type of "package" that can vary significantly in format and structure and contain anywhere from several files for a single article to over a million files for a full journal title backfile. This new NISO initiative will develop a recommended practice defining the rules to be used to create a package of serial content, allowing both the exchange of content and the automation of processes to receive and manage this content.

Standards like the Journal Article Tag Suite (ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2012) provide a model for creating an XML structure for an article, but related items in the article are referenced by linking and not as part of a package. The EPUB 3 specification includes the packaging of digital content, but it is designed for viewing of that content in an e-reader. There are no standard methods that specifically address the need for packaging e-serial content in a way that it can be interchanged and machine-processed for storage, archival, and retrieval purposes. NISO's Recommended Practices for Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials (NISO RP-15-2013) recommends the use of a standardized packaging format to transfer digital content. This new NISO initiative will define that standard packaging practice and complement the recommendations about supplemental materials.

Participation in the new NISO project is encouraged from libraries, publishers, content aggregators, and repositories. Individuals interested in participating on this working group should contact Nettie Lagace.

For more information, read the full press release.

New Vice Chair and Directors Elected to Lead NISO in 2013-2014

The voting membership of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has elected new leadership for the 2013-2014 term that begins on July 1, 2013. Heather Reid, Director of Data Systems, Copyright Clearance Center, who previously served as Vice Chair, will become Chair of NISO for the 2013-14 term. Gerry Grenier, Senior Director, Publishing Technologies at IEEE, Inc. has been elected to serve as Vice Chair of the NISO Board of Directors and will transition into the chairmanship in the 2013-14 term. Gerry Grenier is a developer and manager of online information systems with 25 years of publishing industry experience. He is a seasoned team leader, technical manager, and product manager with interest in the future of information distribution and the effect that technology will continue to bear on the dissemination of knowledge. His primary responsibility at IEEE is the development and operation of IEEE Xplore—the IEEE's digital library of 3.5 million articles in electrical engineering and computer science. In addition to the NISO Board, he also serves on the Boards of CrossRef and the International STM Association.

The following industry leaders were also elected as new Directors on the NISO Board.

  • Marian Hollingsworth, Director of Publisher Relations, Thomson Reuters
  • Evan Owens, Chief Information Officer at AIP Publishing, LLC
  • B. Tommie Usdin, President, Mulberry Technologies, Inc.

Barbara Preece, Director, Loyola/Notre Dame Library, who is currently serving as NISO's Chair, will serve the next term in the role as Past Chair. Janice Fleming, Director of Business and Planning, American Psychological Association and a former Chair of the NISO Board, will serve as NISO's Treasurer.

These new members will join the following Directors who will continue their terms through 2013-14 in managing and setting strategic direction for the organization:

  • Wendy Pradt Lougee, University Librarian and McKnight Presidential Professor, University of Minnesota Libraries
  • Mairéad Martin, Senior Director of Digital Library Technologies, Pennsylvania State University
  • Patricia A. Steele, Dean of Libraries, University of Maryland
  • Mike Teets, Vice President, Innovation, OCLC
  • Tyler Walters, Dean of University Libraries, Virginia Tech University Libraries
  • Keith Webster, Incoming Dean of University Libraries, Carnegie Mellon University

Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director also serves ex officio on the Board as Secretary.

New Specs & Standards

ISO 18902:2013, Imaging materials – Processed imaging materials – Albums, framing and storage materials

This third edition of ISO 18902 specifies the principal physical and chemical requirements for album, storage, and framing materials to prevent damage to processed or printed imaging materials over time. It covers requirements for: paper and paperboard; plastics; metals; writing instruments; adhesives; tapes; self-adhesive labeling materials; stamping inks and pads; framing and glazing materials used as, or in the construction of, storage and display materials for black-and-white or color reflection prints or negatives made with traditional silver-halide and silver dye bleach photographic materials; dye- and pigment-based inkjet, dye diffusion thermal transfer ("dye sublimation"), and liquid- and dry-toner electrophotographic digital prints.

Library of Congress and PREMIS Editorial Committee, PREMIS OWL Ontology 2.2

Library of Congress and PREMIS Editorial Committee announced a revised PREMIS OWL ontology based on the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata version 2.2. This OWL ontology allows the provision of a Linked Data-friendly, PREMIS-endorsed serialization of the PREMIS Data Dictionary. This revision of the ontology is now officially within the namespace, integrates changes from PREMIS version 2.2, especially the enhanced model for the Rights entity, makes use of 24 value vocabularies added to, implements a more Linked Data approach, and provides fuller documentation of the classes and properties. The ontology is open for public review. Comments should be sent by July 30, 2013 to the PREMIS Implementers' Group list.

ORCID Awarded Grant from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to Support University and Professional Society Integration of Persistent Identifiers

ORCID, the non-profit organization that provides an open registry of unique identifiers for researchers, launched its Registry in October 2012. Since then over 160,000 researchers have registered for an identifier, and several systems, including ones used for manuscript submissions and grant applications, have begun to embed the identifiers. ORCID has announced a new project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to catalyze broader community adoption by standardizing and streamlining the ORCID identifier integration process, collecting and documenting use cases, developing open source code samples, and providing case studies of working integrations. The program will disseminate use cases and integration best practices through an outreach meeting and CodeFest, to be held in Chicago in May 2014. Up to 10 grants of $15,000-$20,000 each are available. Proposals are due by August 31, 2013. More information on the program and the RFP are available online.

W3C Launches New Digital Publishing Activity

W3C launched a new Digital Publishing Activity to make the Web a platform for the digital publishing industry, and to build the necessary bridges between the developers of the Open Web Platform and the publishing industry, who are one of the largest consumers of W3C technology. Work in this activity primarily takes place in the Digital Publishing Interest Group. Through the initiatives taken by this Activity (workshops, interest groups, and possibly other types of groups), as well as an extensive network of contacts with relevant industry consortia and groups (IDPF, BISG, EDItEUR, IPTC, the Daisy Consortium, NISO, etc.) the Activity should ensure that the interests and requirements of the Publishing Industry are known to other groups within the W3C, that experts of commercial publishers take part in the technical work in those groups to move the Open Web Platform forward, and that the Publishing Industry at large is well aware of the latest directions, issues, and priorities at W3C.

W3C Working Group Note, Linked Data Glossary

The Government Linked Data Working Group has published a Group Note that is a glossary of terms defined and used to describe Linked Data, its associated vocabularies, and Best Practices. This document will help information management professionals, Web developers, scientists, and the general public better understand how to publish structured data using Linked Data Principles.

Media Stories

PDF/A In A Nutshell 2.0: PDF For Long-Term Archiving
PDF/A Association, May 6, 2013; by Alexandra Oettler

This free primer discusses the three-part standard for PDF Archiving, Document management – Electronic file format for long term preservation (ISO 19005). Part 1 of the standard addresses the use of PDF version 1.4; part 2 uses PDF version 1.7, and part 3 adds support for embedded files. PDF/A ensures that a PDF file will retain long-term archivability by both requiring and forbidding the use of specified PDF features. The standard was initiated by AIIM, NPES, and NARA, with contributions from the library community, legal administrators, and industry. A group called the PDF/A Competence Centre (later incorporated into the PDF Association) was instrumental in advocating for the standard's use. In discussing the technical aspects of the standard, the author compares the three parts and reviews the three conformance levels: Accessible (Level A), Basic (Level B), and Unicode (Level U). The benefits of using PDF/A besides long-term preservation include its ability to create a legally binding document (through embedded digital signatures); reliable display of special characters for equations, scientific nomenclature, and of colors; support for the world's various languages; full-text and additional metadata search capabilities; easy re-use of content; and its relationship to other standards in the PDF family. Some applications for PDF/A are described, including e-mail archiving, documents created from databases, and team collaboration. Several methods for creating PDF/A are given as well as how to perform a validation check to ensure a document conforms to the standard. A number of governments are now requiring that files be stored in PDF/A. Many industries are now using the standard for such document types as blueprints, 3D modeling output, financial documents with long retention requirements, patient records, and digital invoicing. Courts and legal systems are also beginning to require the use of PDF/A for electronic documents. PDF/A is placed within the context of other PDF standards such as PDF/X pre-press documents, PDF/E engineering documents, PDF/VT variable data printing files, and PDF/UA that provides universal access for the vision-disabled. The primer concludes by debunking misunderstandings about the standard and referring to the PDF Association for more information. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: AIIM and NARA are NISO voting members.

Announcing the Global Open Data Initiative
Open Knowledge Foundation Blog, June 11, 2013

The Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Institute, Fundar, Sunlight Foundation, and the World Wide Web Foundation have launched the Global Open Data Initiative (GODI) with the mission "to share principles and resources for governments and societies on how to best harness the opportunities created by opening government data." Through awareness and education about open data issues, the group hopes to stimulate discussion in the community. Among its goals are to: serve as a global guiding voice on open data issues, provide a leading vision for how governments approach open data, increase awareness of open data, support the development of the global open data community, amplify and broaden the evidence base for open data, and gather and strengthen existing resources. The GODI website ( provides additional information about the group's work, a blog, and a discussion list. (Link to Web Source)

Licensed to Sell? IDPF Panel Tackles Tough Questions on Digital Content
LJ Insider, June 4, 2013; by Matt Enis

Included in the International Digital Publishing Forum's Digital Book 2013 conference was a panel on When is a Sale Not a Sale? Selling vs. Licensing Digital Content, held on May 30. Bill Rosenblatt (Giant Steps Media Technology Strategies) stated that "under the current law, libraries are pretty much doomed in the ebook case." This sentiment contradicts recent developments with the last of the Big Six publishers, Simon & Schuster, agreeing in April to sell ebooks to libraries (or at least pilot such use), and many smaller presses are working with libraries as well. Nonetheless, Rosenblatt's point was well taken since the use of licensing rather than sale of an ebook leaves the publishers with long-term control of the content. Panelist John Ossenmacher (ReDigi) criticized ebook license complexities, but indicated consumers generally have no problems with them, although more transparency is needed so consumers understand what they are agreeing to. He also suggested publishers create their own resale model in advance of any government action on First Sale legislation for digital content. A loan program such as the one the Ephrata Public Library (PA) did with Roku devices and licensed streaming content has a "thicket of contract law to wade through." Complexities are likely to only get worse until there are more definitive court cases on the application of First Sale to digital content. Gretchen McCord (privacy and copyright law attorney) feels libraries are "relatively safe," as they would end up as David in a Goliath vs. David case with potential negative public perception about any Goliaths that sue libraries. The Owners Rights Initiative is among a minority who felt that the time was right to push for digital First Sale, following the positively-perceived ruling in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley. Others, including ALA, argue that legislation may not be an appropriate or best way to address the issue. Libraries would prefer to come to agreements with the publishers on obtaining access to the whole catalog of titles and the ability to transfer licensed ebooks to a different vendor platform. New issues arise regularly, though. ASCAP told a library in Oregon they would need to pay royalties on music played during story time. "To Rosenblatt's original point, libraries aren't doomed by this transition, but the field will likely remain in contract law limbo for quite some time." (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: The American Library Association is a NISO voting member. For more on copyrights, licensing, and legal cases related to library use of digital content, sign up for NISO's August webinar Copyright Decisions: Impact of Recent Cases on Libraries and Publishers.

Economics of Scholarly Communication in Transition
First Monday, June 3, 2013, 18 (6); by Heather Morrison

"A key point in understanding the economics of scholarly journal publishing is that academic library budgets sustain scholarly publishing." The reward system in academia pushes researchers to publish in journals with high impact factors, a policy that reinforces the old economic models, challenges new open access journals, and is not necessarily in the best interests of the researcher. With academic institutions both the main provider and consumer of scholarly journal content, a new economic model is in order. One approach is the university/library press model, where the institution does the production. Another approach is paying for production as in the open access author payment fees model. While there are already over 9000 peer-reviewed open access titles and 2,000 open access repositories, successful transition to this supply-side approach will require library budgets to move their subscription budgets to funding support for open access publishing. Corporations, i.e. research institutions, would also need to move their subscription funding (currently ~15% of journal revenue) to open access publishing of their research results. Grant organizations, such as the Wellcome Trust, and government funding agencies, such as the U.S. National Institutes of Health, are creating funds for such open access fees. The author argues that the current subscription expenditures of academic libraries are more than sufficient to fund the costs of open access publishing. Studies estimate the per article cost for author fees would range from $500 to $2,500. Several existing open access publishers are charging below $500. If academic libraries were to work together on a global scale, they could fund the necessary article production and save as much as 96% of current expenditures (in aggregate). A similar approach with academic presses publishing open access monographs could make more than 250,000 books available with the current funding, with libraries "playing an essential role in hosting and preserving these monographs, and ensuring that they are both findable and accessible on a long-term basis." The current hybrid situation of subscription and open access journals, including hybrid journal titles that contain both types of articles, creates an untenable "double-dipping" situation for library budgets. Open access has also created a new problem of predatory publishers charging exorbitant processing fees and even scam publications. Overly-generous funding agencies who agree to pay high processing fees could contribute to such high fees becoming the norm and fee caps are proposed. The trend to licensing, rather than purchase, of digital content increases the "danger of information enclosure." Aggregations of journal titles and site licensing are becoming preferable on the library side to reduce costs and increase access. This aggregation tendency on both sides actually feeds into a convergence towards open access, or at least the perception of open access if all researchers and students at an institution have unlimited access to all of a publisher's works. Elsevier is a proponent of what they call "universal access," which assumes universal institutional sitewide subscriptions on their payment terms. Other approaches to providing sustainable open access models include the Open-Access Publishing Equity compact, the Synergies Project, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association,, SCOAP³, OAPEN, and the PLOS megajournal. Authors from developing countries should look into more cost-effective, local publishing solutions or programs such as AuthorAID. (Link to Web Source)

NISO Note: Elsevier, Hindawi, EBSCO, ProQuest, and Cornell University Library are NISO members.

FACTS: A Framework for Analysis, Comparison, and Test of Standards
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) 7935, May 9, 2013; by Paul W. Witherell, Sudarsan Rachuri, Anantha Narayanan, and Jae Hyun Lee

"Open and consensus standards play a critical role in enabling globally-distributed manufacturing. A close connection between standards development and implementation strategies is critical to ensure widespread adoption. Ideally, the development and implementation of standards is based on a clear understanding of information requirements, the modeling of concepts, and different levels of abstraction from multiple stakeholder viewpoints. Towards this goal, we propose a Framework for Analysis, Comparison, and Testing of Standards (FACTS). Based on the Zachman Framework, FACTS-derived information models explicitly model standards from various perspectives and at different levels of abstraction, providing a unified approach for standards development and implementation. In this paper, we explain FACTS and analyze several standards with respect to the different stages of a standard's lifecycle and information modeling abstractions. We outline the role of FACTS in providing implementation and testability strategies for standards. Finally, we explain FACTS using a set of standards in a sustainable manufacturing case study. We envision that FACTS can lead to the development of a CASE-tool-like environment for standards development and implementation."
(Link to Web Source)