NISO @ ALA Midwinter
Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

January 2015

The beginning of a new year isn't as much an inflection point as it is a moment to reflect on the transformations underway and where they may be headed. This is certainly true for NISO and our forthcoming program of work.

From a perspective of technology, there is little doubt that 2014 was the year of the data breach. This included the continued disclosures of the NSA surveillance programs, to the hacking of personal information on Apple's Cloud service, to the repeated hacking of corporate security systems from Target to JPMorgan, Home Depot, Sony, and many, many others.

Fortunately, the library community and publishers have been comparatively unscathed by these breaches. Most likely this is because of the relative lack of valuable financial information held by our industry rather than good data security practices. Even in our community, though, a few libraries announced data breaches and, later in the year, a significant data security gap was noted in the Adobe Digital Editions software. While the Adobe problem did not result in a known hack, it raised the profile of data security and privacy within the community.

While not the same as financial information (from a hacker's perspective), our community's data is increasingly available and valuable. The community is finding new ways to manage it and derive valuable insights from that data. These insights can cover everything from improving library systems and how librarians provide services to patrons to assessing the value and impact of research outputs. Some of these services can be turned into products available to the community, but finding the appropriate balance between when data should be kept private and when it is acceptable and useful to make data public is not easy.

Specifically on the topic of patron privacy, NISO is exploring options for pushing forward a conversation among libraries, publishers, and systems vendors on balancing the values of protecting reader privacy and using data to improve or enhance services. There is also a possibility of expanding this theme slightly to include a joint conversation related to privacy as it relates to scientific data held in repositories and archives.

These are just two of the strategic opportunities NISO is considering for the coming year. The NISO leadership committees have spent the past several months considering trends in the community and vetting their portfolios. The NISO Architecture Committee has summarized these areas of activity, broadly considered, in a Strategic Directions paper that describes areas of interest to the NISO Topic Committees. Because NISO has limited resources, we cannot advance every proposal brought to us. To effectively compare the impact of a particular project idea, it must be viewed in the broader context of potential work that NISO could engage in moving forward. The Strategic Directions document outlines some of those areas within the broader NISO Architecture Framework, published back in 2007, which still guides NISO's efforts. I encourage you all to take a look at the document and provide some feedback on these areas of focus.

Two of the projects that are included in this directions document are about to get underway in January. The first is a project NISO members approved last month to develop standards related to new forms of assessment and impact measurement related to the NISO Alternative Metrics Initiative. The second, which is currently out to ballot among NISO members, is a follow-up to the NISO Bibliographic Roadmap initiative. This project, if approved by the NISO members, would focus on creating ANSI/NISO standards covering vocabularies: policies on their use and reuse, recommendations on documentation, and requirements for their preservation. Balloting on that project proposal will close at the end of January.

Finally, as we do each year, NISO will hold our Annual Members Meeting on February 1st at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Chicago. The Annual Meeting will be followed immediately by our semiannual Standards Update. I encourage all NISO members and those interested in our work to join us. Details are on the NISO @ ALA Midwinter event page of our website.

I wish you all the very best for a prosperous and productive 2015!

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

NISO Launches New Projects in Altmetrics

NISO Voting Members have approved four new projects to develop standards for alternative assessment metrics (altmetrics). The NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Initiative was begun in July 2013 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation with a goal of building trust and adoption in new methods of assessing impact.

Phase 1 of the project, which was completed last summer, gathered a large array of relevant stakeholder groups to identify what areas of alternative metrics would benefit most from standards-related developments. This input was distilled into a white paper published in June 2014, that was then presented to the NISO community to prioritize the action items as possible NISO work items.

Phase 2 of the project will be to develop standards or recommended practices in the prioritized areas of definitions, calculation methodologies, improvement of data quality, and use of persistent identifiers in alternative metrics. The NISO Alternative Assessment Steering Committee will oversee several working groups that will be formed to develop the identified standards and recommended practices. As part of each project, relevant use cases and how they apply to different stakeholder groups will be developed.

Anyone interested in participating on one of the initiative's working groups should use the online contact form and indicate in which of the four activity areas you are interested.

Revised SUSHI Standard and Supporting Documentation Released

A revision has been published to the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol (ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2014). The new version extends the filter support to allow multiple optional filters and/or report attributes to be included in the SUSHI Request. The SUSHI standard was created with the notion of filters; however, the only filter originally provided for was that of the date range for the report. With use, a number of cases have surfaced where additional filters and other report attributes would be beneficial. The revised standard allows, for example, filtering by a particular platform for harvesting when a given SUSHI server provides usage for multiple platforms, or specifying that a report exclude items with zero usage to keep the report size smaller.

Both the core SUSHI schema and the COUNTER-SUSHI schema have been updated to version 1.7 of SUSHI to match the revised standard. Additionally, the SUSHI website has new sample reports in COUNTER Release 4 formats, selected updated SUSHI Harvester tools to allow the user to select "4" as the COUNTER Release, and Server Registry updates to display known COUNTER 4 support.

The revised SUSHI standard and extensive supporting tools and documentation are available on the SUSHI webpages.

New Recommended Practice Published on Access License and Indicators

NISO has published a new Recommended Practice on Access License and Indicators (NISO RP-22-2015) that defines metadata indicators to be used to indicate free-to-read content and a link to license terms for the use/re-use of that content. Humans and machines will be able to assess the status of the content based on these indicators and in many cases the combination of the free_to_read and license_reference metadata will indicate Open Access content. The indicators include a date component so that content with access and re-use rights that change over time can be adequately understood by both humans and machines using the metadata.

The Access and License Indicators Working Group (ALI) recommends that the free_to_read and license_reference metadata be encoded in XML, that a namespace be declared for these elements, and that they are included in existing metadata distribution channels and with the content itself where appropriate. Rather than expecting all existing metadata formats and schemas to adopt equivalent elements, this Recommended Practice declares an XML namespace for the <free_to_read> and <license_ref> XML elements, which determines how they should be added to existing schemas and workflows.

The Recommended Practice is available from the ALI Working Group webpage.

NISO Strategic Directions

NISO's Architecture Committee has issued a NISO Strategic Directions document that identifies the trends and emerging themes that will direct the future development portfolios. The 2015 Strategic Directions document reflects a review by the Topic Committees of their current and recent portfolios, and a discussion of potential future activities where NISO should be involved in the development of new standards and recommended practices.

The strategic planning done by the Architecture Committee and Topic Committees has further validated the NISO Framework developed in 2007. The Strategic Directions document identifies many areas where the development and adoption of standards can be very valuable to our community. Both documents are linked on the Architecture Committee's webpage.

January Webinar: Net Neutrality: Will Library Resources Be Stuck in the Slow Lane?

Net Neutrality is an issue that has been increasingly in the news, but it is something that has affected libraries for a lot longer. Many public libraries are in underserved communities where patrons may not have personal access to the internet, so the use of the public libraries' resources is critical for them. Without net neutrality, those public libraries may not be able to cost-effectively provide such Internet service. For the scholarly and academic communities, scholarly resources could be resigned to the slow lane of the net, if content providers and libraries don't have the resources to pay for the "fast lane." As resources increasingly go multimedia, requiring greater bandwidth, will libraries and content platform providers be saddled with taking on added costs to ensure reliable access?

In the January 14 webinar Net Neutrality: Will Library Resources Be Stuck in the Slow Lane?, presenters will help define net neutrality, what could happen without it, and how it can impact public and academic libraries, and the wider information community. Topics and speakers are:

  • Network Neutrality Principles and Policy for Libraries & Higher EducationLarra Clark, Deputy Director, Office for Information Technology Policy, American Library Association

  • Network Neutrality: The Public Library PerspectiveHolly Carroll, Executive Director, Poudre River Public Library District

  • Academic Libraries and Net NeutralityJonathan Miller, Library Director, Olin Library of Rollins College

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

FREE January Webinar: Collaborative Improvements: ODI Success Stories

NISO is introducing in 2015 new Working Group Connections LIVE! events that are free and publicly available. The NISO Working Groups are an integral part of advancing best practices and information standards in the library community and these webinars will allow discussion of a particular Working Group's output and its impact in the community.

The first Working Group Connections LIVE!—to be held on January 28 from 1:00 – 3:00  p.m. Eastern time—will feature the Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) Working Group discussing Collaborative Improvements: ODI Success Stories.

Topics and speakers are:

  • Background on Role of Discovery Services in the Library and ODILaura Morse, Director, Library Systems, Library Technology Services, Harvard University and Lettie Conrad, Executive Manager, Product Analysis, SAGE Publications

  • Discovery and Library Strategic PlanningDon Gilstrap, Dean of University Libraries, Wichita State University

  • MLA International Bibliography Challenges and Concerns in the Discovery EnvironmentBarbara Chen, Director of Bibliographic Information Services and Editor, MLA International Bibliography, Modern Language Association

  • Stakeholder Perspectives on Discovery ChallengesRachel Kessler, Product Manager, Primo Central, Ex Libris Ltd.

  • How Successful is the MLA International Bibliography in the Discovery Environment?Barbara Chen, Director of Bibliographic Information Services and Editor, MLA International Bibliography, Modern Language Association and Lettie Conrad, Executive Manager, Product Analysis, SAGE Publications

  • Overview of the Recent ProQuest/Ex Libris CollaborationMichal (Michelle) Gindi, Director of Publisher Relations, Ex Libris Ltd.

  • Panel Discussion – Moderated by Laura Morse, Director, Library Systems, Library Technology Services, Harvard University, and Lettie Conrad, Executive Manager, Product Analysis, SAGE Publications

Interested attendees must RSVP to receive login instructions.

New Specs & Standards

ISO 14289-1:2014, Document management applications – Electronic document file format enhancement for accessibility – Part 1: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/UA-1)

2nd edition of the standard that specifies the use of ISO 32000-1:2008, Document management – Portable document format – Part 1: PDF 1.7, to produce accessible electronic documents.

Worldwide Web Consortium, Call for Review: RDFa 1.1 is a Proposed Edited Recommendation

The RDFa Working Group has advanced four RDFa 1.1 documents to Proposed Edited Recommendations. HTML+RDFa 1.1 - Second Edition defines rules and guidelines for adapting the RDFa Core 1.1 and RDFa Lite 1.1 specifications for use in HTML5 and XHTML5. RDFa Core 1.1 - Third Edition is a specification for attributes to express structured data in any markup language. RDFa Lite 1.1 - Second Edition is a minimal subset of RDFa, the Resource Description Framework in attributes, consisting of a few attributes that may be used to express machine-readable data in Web documents like HTML, SVG, and XML. XHTML+RDFa 1.1 - Third Edition defines a Host Language that is a superset of XHTML 1.1 that can be used with RDFa Core 1.1. Comments are welcome through February 1, 2015.

Worldwide Web Consortium, Linked Data Platform (LDP) 1.0 Documents for Review and Implementation

The Linked Data Platform (LDP) Working Group has published a Proposed Recommendation of Linked Data Platform 1.0. Linked Data Platform (LDP) defines a set of rules for HTTP operations on web resources, some based on RDF, to provide an architecture for read-write Linked Data on the web. Comments are welcome through January 8, 2015. The group also invites implementation of the Candidate Recommendation of Linked Data Platform Paging 1.0. This document describes a HTTP-based protocol for clients and servers to be able to efficiently retrieve large Linked Data Platform Resource representations by splitting up the responses into separate URL-addressable page resources.

Worldwide Web Consortium, Microdata to RDF (Second Edition) Group Note Published

The Semantic Web Interest Group has published a new version of the Group Note on Microdata to RDF. HTML microdata is an extension to HTML used to embed machine-readable data into HTML documents. Whereas the microdata specification describes a means of markup, this specification describes processing rules that may be used to extract RDF from an HTML document containing microdata. The new version adds some HTML5 specific features that were finalized recently and were missing from the previous version of the Note, simplifies the RDF output as well as the processing rules to be in line with the usage practices of microdata, and updates the references to the latest version of RDF.

Worldwide Web Consortium, HTML5 Differences from HTML4 Note

The HTML Working Group has published a Working Group Note of HTML5 Differences from HTML4, that calls out where the HTML5 specification and the HTML 4 specification differ from each other.

Worldwide Web Consortium, Digital Publishing Annotation Use Cases Note Published

The Digital Publishing Interest Group has published a Group Note of Digital Publishing Annotation Use Cases. This document describes the set of use cases generated for Annotation and Social Reading within the W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group, in coordination with the Open Annotation Community Group.

Media Stories

From Net Neutrality to Copyright: Media Law Trends for 2015
The Guardian, December 11, 2014; by Gill Phillips

"2015 looks set to be another year of important developments in media law. This piece highlights some of the key areas for media professionals to monitor." Included are discussions of copyright and piracy, net neutrality, Edward Snowden and privacy, the increasing influence of the European Commission and the CJEU, regulation, and programmatic advertising. (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Learn more about net neutrality and its importance for libraries and content providers at NISO's January 15 webinar Net Neutrality: Will Library Resources Be Stuck in the Slow Lane?

Achieving Human and Machine Accessibility of Cited Data In Scholarly Publications
PeerJ PrePrints, 2:e697v2, posted December 16, 2014; by Joan Starr, et al.

"This short article provides operational guidance on implementing scholarly data citation and data deposition, in conformance with the Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles (JDDCP, to help achieve widespread, uniform human and machine accessibility of deposited data. The JDDCP is the outcome of a cross-domain effort to establish core principles around cited data in scholarly publications. It deals with important issues in identification, deposition, description, accessibility, persistence, and evidential status of cited data. Eighty-five scholarly, governmental, and funding institutions have now endorsed the JDDCP. The purpose of this article is to provide the necessary guidance for JDDCP-endorsing organizations to implement these principles and to achieve their widespread adoption." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: CrossRef is a NISO voting member. The NISO JATS standard and schema mentioned in this article are available on the NISO website. Learn more about data management at NISO's February 18 virtual conference, Scientific Data Management: Caring for your Institution and Its Intellectual Wealth, and at the February 26 NISO Training Tuesday, Crafting a Scientific Data Management Plan. All registrants to the February virtual conference will receive a free login to the related Training Thursday (NEW for 2015). Or you can register separately just for the training session.

The "Wild West" of Academic Publishing
Harvard Magazine, January-February 2015; by Craig Lambert

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French economist Thomas Piketty was published by HUP's Belknap Press in April. "Capital had leapt to the top of The New York Times bestseller list for hardcover nonfiction and stayed on the list for 22 weeks. It continues to sell robustly worldwide in 30 languages, and in English alone there are nearly 500,000 copies in print—the fastest-selling book in the press's nearly 102-year history. The success of Capital is astonishingly unlikely.…Capital is an outlier. Holding the odd bestseller aside, the digital disruption of the print world that is transforming commercial publishing also affects publishers of scholarly books and journals—and is changing structures for teaching, research, and hiring and promoting professors." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Harvard University Library is a NISO Library Standards Alliance member. The American Chemical Society, Elsevier, Wiley, and PLOS are NISO voting members.

Bringing Order to Digital Identifiers: The Case for Streamlining with EIDR
M and E Journal, Winter 2014, pp. 148-150; by Richard Kroon

"M[edia] & E[ntertainment] workflows are increasingly complex and revenue is derived from increasing numbers of lower-value transactions. Anything that can reduce costs, increase supply chain velocity, or put organizations in a position to respond quickly to new threats and opportunities is worthy of consideration. Common use of EIDR [Entertainment Identifier Registry] as a globally unique, persistent identifier will accrue multiple benefits throughout the media & entertainment ecosystem at multiple points within every product supply chain." (Read the full story)

What's Going On in the Library? Part 2: The Convergence of Data Repositories and Library Publishers
The Scholarly Kitchen, December 9, 2014; by Phill Jones

"The growth of digital publishing and the desire to bring about reform in scholarly communication has led to a rapid expansion of library publishing programs....Librarian publishers have begun expanding the range of services that they offer (while still remaining lean and light-weight) to include things like marketing and peer review support. Most importantly for this post, 34% offer data publishing services.…It is worth noting that many library publisher programs grew out of institutional repository efforts, which are traditionally focused on making data and self-archived author manuscripts publicly available.…With publishing and repository solutions sharing much of the same infrastructure and history, it's no surprise that many librarians see data and articles as just two types of scholarly output (albeit two very important types) among many that should be documented and shared.…It is unlikely that institutions will disregard the impact of publishing in top tier journals in favor of supporting library publishing efforts. I would say, however, that convergent library publishing and repository efforts represent an increasingly important model for scholarly communication.…Traditional publishers should closely follow the progress that institutional repositories and library publishers are making in this area. (Read the full story)

NISO Note: University of Michigan Library is a NISO Library Standards Alliance member.

Getting Real About Privacy: Confidentiality, Digital Literacy, and Beyond
Library Journal, December 2, 2014; by Rebecca T. Miller

"We need to reexamine how we talk about privacy. It's hard to go a day right now without seeing a major article addressing privacy concerns—be it about personal financial data; the ability to track student progress and report it to parents, teachers, or advisors; new Facebook settings; the stalled USA Freedom Act; and so on. The alarm has been sounded, but the prevailing lack of response is still unnerving.…Libraries are in a rare and critical space when it comes to the understanding and protection of privacy in our society.…We absolutely must continue to advocate for governmental policies that defend the right to privacy across the spectrum of our analog and digital spaces, but that's not sufficient either." (Read the full story)