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Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

April 2015

The work of standards development is frequently under-appreciated or unacknowledged by the vast majority of people who benefit from the existence of standards. While the contributions of some are occasionally more visible than others, most of the contributors work quietly behind the scenes. The NISO staff are the most visible public faces of the process for our standards work; I'm often referred to as "Mr. Standards" or "The Standards Guy" when I attend library or publisher meetings. Occasionally, working group chairs or members of a development team will speak about a project, but most participants serve a more silent, yet vital role, in the process. Even beyond the direct participants, community members who comment on drafts, the volunteers who help support our training and educational programs, and the voting members who serve as the consensus body for the final approval are also critical to our success. Even those not engaged directly in NISO's standards development but are vocal supporters of our work, or those who write compliance with standards into their RFPs, are all the silent majority who advance our work.

On the occasion of this Newsline, I would like to highlight and praise one of the most stalwart of the contributors to our efforts over the past 13 years, Cynthia Hodgson. Cynthia recently announced her retirement and we are so sad to face her impending departure. Cynthia has served as editor of NISO Newsline since 2004, before I even joined NISO. Beyond Newsline, she also has served as the editor of Information Standards Quarterly since 2010, edited all of our publications, written press releases, and ensured our compliance with procedures. In summary, she has been involved with nearly every written document we have produced while she has served in this role. I doubt that there is any other person who has read more NISO documentation at the level of detail that Cynthia has. She has not only an amazing editorial eye, but also a depth of understanding about the underlying technology, its application, and the entire standards process which I find unmatched in our community.

Although I can't stress the level to which we will miss Cynthia's contributions, I'm looking at her departure (perhaps forced to!) as an opportunity to adjust how we function. In the coming months, we will be working with our new editor, Gary Price, and the NISO Board to restructure our publications. Gary will take over as editor of both Newsline and ISQ after this month's issues. We believe that we can adjust how NISO's publications are created and distributed to better serve our community. We aim to provide better frequency, depth of coverage, and customizations of both content and delivery. As NISO has grown, NISO publications must adapt as well. This transition provides us a perfect opportunity to begin rolling out some of these new approaches. Look for them later this spring and into the summer.

Please join me in congratulating both Cynthia and all of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make NISO and all of our standards development work a success.


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

Paper Permanence Standard Revision Call for Participation

NISO is seeking participants for a working group to revise the standard Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives (ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (R2009)). This standard establishes criteria for coated and uncoated paper that will last several hundred years without significant deterioration under normal use and storage conditions in libraries and archives. It identifies the specific properties of such paper and specifies the tests required to demonstrate these properties. The paper permanence symbol defined by this standard is well-recognized as an indicator of compliance.

In conducting the five year periodic review of this standard, last revised in 1992, NISO's Content and Collection Management Topic Committee determined that it should be updated to reflect changes in paper technology and testing. Specifically, the convened working group will be asked to look at issues of lignin, recycled content, and fillers; investigate further testing of how lingin affects permanence; and investigate methods to reveal compliance.

For the revision working group, NISO is seeking individuals with experience in paper preservation needs; paper composition, fiber, and stability; and/or paper analysis and test methods. Anyone interested in participating should contact NISO using the online contact form ( and indicate your areas of related knowledge or expertise.

NISO Receives Mellon Grant for Patron Privacy Framework

NISO has been awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems. The grant will support a series of community discussions on how libraries, publishers, and information systems providers can build better privacy protection into their operations. The grant will also support creation of a draft framework to support patron privacy and subsequent publicity of the draft prior to its advancement for approval as a NISO Recommended Practice.

This project will consist of three phases. The first will be a pre-meeting discussion phase, which will consist of four virtual forums to discuss privacy in using internal library systems, publisher systems, and provider systems, and the legal aspects influencing data sharing and policies. Each of the discussion sessions will be a three-hour web-based session designed to lay the groundwork for a productive in-person invitational meeting at the conclusion of the American Library Association meeting in San Francisco, CA in June 2015. Following the in-person meeting, a Framework document will be completed detailing the privacy principles and recommendations agreed to by the participants, and then circulated for public comment and finalization. Participation in the webinars and in-person meeting is by invitation only; if anyone is interested in these working meetings, please contact Juliana Wood.

An open meeting to provide an overview and discuss the project will be held on Saturday, June 27 at the ALA Conference in San Francisco. Time and room are still being determined on the conference schedule and will be posted on the NISO @ ALA 2015 webpage when known.

New Projects to Develop Standards for Bibliographic Vocabulary Exchange

NISO has approved three new projects to develop standards to better support exchange and interoperability of bibliographic data. These projects were identified as high priorities in NISO's Bibliographic Roadmap pre-standards initiative, which was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The goal of that project was to collectively determine the needs and requirements of the new bibliographic framework in a global, networked information environment and to develop community consensus for a roadmap of activities needed in this space.

Following the issuance of the Bibliographic Roadmap final report in April 2014, NISO's Content and Collection Management (CCM) Topic Committee evaluated the recommendations and prepared a new work item proposal focusing on three of the top prioritized areas: Vocabulary policies on use and reuse, Vocabulary documentation, and Vocabulary preservation requirements.

NISO is looking for a diversity of participants in these projects. In addition to libraries involved in the bibliographic framework design and implementation, we are encouraging organizations such as library system vendors, abstracting and indexing (A&I) services, and developers or users of standardized vocabularies and metadata for describing resources to volunteer their experts to help develop these new standards.

Anyone who would like to participate on one of the vocabulary working groups should use the online contact form ( and indicate in which of the three projects you are interested.

April Webinar: Experimenting with BIBFRAME

In May 2011, the Library of Congress officially launched the Bibliographic Framework Initiative as a linked data replacement for MARC. The Library then announced in November 2012 the proposed model, called BIBFRAME. Since then, the library world is moving from mainly theorizing about the BIBFRAME model to implementing practical experimentation and testing. This experimentation is iterative and continues to shape the model so that it's stable and broadly acceptable enough for adoption.

In the Experimenting with BIBFRAME webinar, to be held on April 8 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT, several institutions will share their progress in applying the new bibliographic framework within their library system. Included topics and speakers are:

  • Experimental Mode: The National Library of Medicine and Experiences with BIBFRAMENancy Fallgren, Metadata Specialist Librarian, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

  • Exploring BIBFRAME at a Small Academic LibraryJeremy Nelson, Metadata and Systems Librarian, Colorado College

  • Working with BIBFRAME for Discovery and Production: Linked Data for Libraries/Linked Data for ProductionNancy Lorimer, Head, Metadata Dept., Stanford University Libraries

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

April Virtual Conference: Expanding the Assessment Toolbox

Every day libraries and publishers are asked to demonstrate the value of the content they provide through quantitative metrics and assessments. Existing metrics, such as the Journal Impact Factor, and tools, such as COUNTER and SUSHI, have proven their worth in providing useful data. But as both the forms of content and the way content is used evolves, alternative forms of assessment are also needed. Data at the container level, e.g., the journal, is no longer sufficient. Downloading full text in a PDF file is no longer the only (or even primary) way that users access content. Citation alone is not sufficient to capture all the new social media ways that content is shared. Traditional assessment techniques are being modified, completely new measures are being developed, and both old and new need to be blended in a meaningful way that creates a trusted system. Additionally, the creation of these new or blended metrics and the information the metrics provide are generating new services and products.

NISO's April 29 virtual conference on Expanding the Assessment Toolbox: Blending the Old and New Assessment Practices will examine some of the innovative ideas and techniques that are being employed in the never-ending struggle to measure how content is accessed and used. It will include presentations related to usage statistics, altmetrics, gaming the numbers, and open access. NISO's Alternative Assessment Metrics Initiative will also be discussed.

Megan Oakleaf, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science, iSchool at Syracuse University, will provide the conference Keynote Address. She is the author of the Value of Academic Libraries Comprehensive Review and Report and Academic Library Value: The Impact Starter Kit. Her research areas include outcomes assessment, evidence-based decision making, information literacy instruction, and academic library impact and value.

Visit the event webpage for a detailed agenda of speakers and topics and to register.

New for 2015: All registrants to this virtual conference receive a free login to the associated Training Thursday on May 7: Implementing SUSHI/COUNTER at Your Institution.

May Training Thursday: Implementing SUSHI/COUNTER at Your Institution

Based on comments and feedback from previous webinar and virtual conference attendees, NISO has instituted a new series of three "Training Thursday" webinars for 2015. These are technical webinars for those wanting more in-depth knowledge. Each Training Thursday follows a related virtual conference. Registrants to the related virtual conference receive a free login to the associated Training Thursday, or you may register separately just for the training webinar.

On May 7 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT, our second training webinar will be Implementing SUSHI/COUNTER at your Institution. Presenters will provide a guided, step-by-step session to teach you the practical implementation of harvesting your COUNTER reports using the SUSHI protocol. Data analysis and interpretation will be discussed as well.

For more information and to register for this training webinar, visit the event webpage. All registrants to the April 29 virtual conference on Expanding the Assessment Toolbox will receive a free login to this training webinar and do not need to register separately.

May Webinar: Software Preservation and Use

The digitization of resources can provide expanded access to information as well as a preservation mechanism for now-fragile materials. Preserving the digital copy of the resource is an issue now being addressed, but what about the software used to create digital files? How can software on media that can no longer be read—or requiring hardware and operating systems that are obsolete—be preserved? If that software can't be accessed, what happens to the material created by, and only read by, that software? Progress has been made in methodologies for ensuring software preservation, but no formal standard or framework yet exists.

The May 13 webinar Software Preservation and Use: I Saved the Files But Can I Run Them?— to be held from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT—will feature three presenters who will speak on aspects of software preservation, including a how-to approach (technical aspects), a metadata component, and observations from the field as part of the continuing discussion on the need for standardization.

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

NISO/NASIG Joint May Webinar: Special Cases in RDA Serials Cataloging

Resource Description and Access (RDA) is a standard for descriptive cataloging, replacing AACR2, that provides instructions and guidelines on formulating bibliographic data in a linked data environment. Cataloging of special materials, such as reproductions, microforms, rare materials, etc. has always had unique requirements, which is also true when using RDA for cataloging. Catalogers dealing with these special materials are experimenting with using RDA to meet the needs of their users and staff to effectively describe these resources.

In this joint NISO/NASIG webinar, Not Business as Usual: Special Cases in RDA Serials Cataloging, to be held on May 20 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT, presenters will explore the topic of specialized RDA cataloging, the different formats requiring an extra level of data for cataloging, and share experiences with converting specialized collections into RDA.

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

New Specs & Standards

ISO/TS 24620-1:2015, Language resource management – Controlled natural language (CNL) – Part 1: Basic concepts and principles

New technical specification that sets out the principles of controlled natural language (CNL) and its utilization together with the relevant supporting technology. Also aims to introduce a general view of CNL with its objectives and characteristics and provide a scheme for classifying a range of CNLs and specifies certain normalizing principles of CNLs that control the use of natural languages in particular domains.

ISO/IEC 11179-5:2015, Information technology – Metadata registries (MDR) – Part 5: Naming principles

Edition 3 of the standard that provides instruction for naming of the following items, as defined in ISO/IEC 11179?3: concept, data element concept, conceptual domain, data element, and value domain. This standard describes naming in metadata registries (MDR); includes principles and rules by which naming conventions can be developed; and provides examples of naming conventions.

ISO/IEC 13250-5:2015, Information technology – Topic Maps – Part 5: Reference model

New standard that specifies a formal model for subject maps, minimal access functionality and information retrieval from subject maps, and a constraint framework governing the interpretation of subject maps.

Library of Congress, Nine Office Open XML (OOXML) Formats Added to Format Sustainability Website

The Library of Congress announced the publication of nine new format descriptions on the Library's Format Sustainability website. This is a closely related set, each of which pertains to a member of the Office Open XML (OOXML) family, the most recent expression of the formats associated with Microsoft's family of "Office" desktop applications, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. In addition to giving the formats an XML expression, Microsoft also decided to move the formats out of proprietary status and into a standardized form.

W3C, Edited Recommendations for RDFa 1.1 Published

The RDFa Working Group has published four Edited Recommendations for RDFa 1.1, namely HTML+RDFa 1.1, RDFa Core 1.1, RDFa Lite 1.1, and XHTML+RDFa 1.1. The HTML+RDFa 1.1 Recommendation had to be updated now that both RDF 1.1 Concepts and HTML5 are Recommendations, in order to resolve dependencies and finalize the pending normative status of some HTML+RDFa 1.1 features. Using the opportunity of a republication of this document, the few editorial errata in all the RDFa 1.1 documents have also been taken care of. The Working Group has also published a new version of the RDFa 1.1 Primer Working Group Note.

Media Stories

UC Davis, CDL to Lead Major Project to Build Open Access Financial Model
UC Davis press release, March 20, 2015; by Jayne Dickson

"The University of California, Davis and the California Digital Library (CDL) will lead a major new project, with an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to help define the future of Open Access to scholarship. Pay It Forward: Investigating a Sustainable Model of Open Access Article Processing Charges for Large North American Research Institutions is a year-long effort to study the implications of new funding models for scholarly communications, particularly the use of article processing charges, and determine their sustainability for research universities in the U.S. and Canada. The project partnership includes three major research libraries (Harvard University, Ohio State University and the University of British Columbia) as well as the ten University of California campuses. The project will create a detailed, flexible, and publicly available financial model to help university administrators and librarians develop Open Access policies and strategies." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: NISO's Summer 2014 issue of Information Standards Quarterly on Open Access Infrastructure looked at many of the challenges the community faces in developing the needed infrastructure to support OA. California Digital Library, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Harvard University, Ohio State University, and University of British Columbia are NISO Library Standards Alliance members. Elsevier and Thomson Reuters are NISO Voting Members.

Shake-Up of Centuries-Old System of Credit in Scholarly Communication
Wellcome Trust Press Release, March 18, 2015

"The Wellcome Trust has been working with technology company Digital Science to introduce a new way of classifying the roles of individuals in work leading to published academic research. The new Contributor Role Taxonomy, named CReditT Taxonomy, will provide transparency in contributions to published work. Researchers can now be assigned credit and attribution for the wide variety of roles they may undertake, such as data curation, visualisation and software programming.…Digital Science and the Wellcome Trust partnered with two information industry standards organizations, CASRAI and the US-based National Information Standards Organization (NISO), to achieve broad community consultation in drafting the taxonomy and testing its fit with a range of scientific fields." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: NISO's Altmetrics Initiative is developing standards for new alternative metrics that can be used in assessments of researchers' contributions.

The Academic Book of the Future: Exploring Academic Practices and Expectations for the Monograph
London School of Economics and Political Science blog, March 24, 2015; by Rebecca Lyons

The author "introduces The Academic Book of the Future, a two-year project funded by the AHRC in collaboration with the British Library in which a cross-disciplinary team from University College London and King's College London explores how scholarly work in the Arts and Humanities will be produced, read, shared, and preserved in coming years, and investigates key questions around the changing state and modern contexts of the academic book.…The Project is, at its core, an investigative conversation that uses a wide range of mini-projects and events to prompt meaningful discussion. The pinnacle of the Project's activity for 2015 is Academic Book Week (9-16 November 2015). #AcBookWeek is a week-long series of events taking place across the UK and internationally." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: The British Library is a NISO Library Standards Alliance member.

Usus: A Collaborative Initiative between Publishers and Librarians to Improve Electronic Resource Usage Statistics
UKSG Insights, March 5, 2015; by Anne Costerman

"The key to scaling up the possibility for easily shared usage statistics has long been recognized to be standards. Two of the key components are COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources), which provides standards for how online usage statistics are recorded and reported, and SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative), which provides an automated way of gathering usage reports into local systems. There is no question that these standards have helped make the process better.…However, even with these useful standards, tools and initiatives, the collection of usage statistics continues to be a major burden for libraries.…It is here that Usus, a new community-led forum for libraries, consortia, publishers and vendors, hopes to make a difference. Usus was established in 2014 to provide a gathering place for all of these groups to share and discuss usage statistics issues, developments and solutions.…The goal of the Usus website is to be a place to resolve issues with COUNTER compliance through publisher/librarian partnership….Usus also plans to be a facilitator for in-person conversations at major conferences relevant to usage statistics. (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Learn more about COUNTER and SUSHI by attending NISO's May 7 Training Thursday webinar, Implementing SUSHI/COUNTER at Your Institution. SUSHI is a NISO standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2014). American Chemical Society, EBSCO Information Services, and ProQuest are NISO Voting Members.

What We Got Wrong About Books
The Scholarly Kitchen, March 12, 2015; by Joseph Esposito

"It is one of the cruel truisms of the book business that publishers rarely have much insight into how their products are actually used. This is not for lack of curiosity on a publisher's part but because of the structure of the industry: books are almost never sold directly to end-users.…Book publishing, in other words, is a game of intermediaries.…This topic came to light with amusing effect a few months ago when Kobo, an international ebook retailer, began to release some information about how their readers actually read books.…What Kobo has zeroed in on is a new alternative metric, reader engagement. While we talk about altmetrics endlessly (immeasurably) in the journals world, for books we mostly talk about sales, measured in units.…We now have unequivocal evidence that while some books are read, many are sampled.…The apparent fixity of a book, the tendency to think of a book as something stuck inside an inflexible container, has led us to imagine that books are used the way they are written, or how we assume they are written—that is, from beginning to end.…If the expectation is that books are tasted and not always swallowed whole, we would come up with a new set of guidelines for how books can be used before payment is required. We would also assess the various demand-driven acquisitions (DDA) policies differently.…It is interesting to consider what other aspects of the book industry will change now that more and more end-user data is coming to light." (Read the full story)