Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

March 2015

Discovery has long been a core component of NISO's work. In framing NISO's portfolio of work, Discovery to Delivery was identified as one of three functional areas, with Business Information and Content & Collection Management being the other two. Finding the appropriate resource and being able to deliver it to an end user is the ultimate goal of the entire information supply chain. Standards are core components in making that supply chain functional and more efficient.

Last week, NISO published a white paper on The Future of Library Resource Discovery, which the Discovery to Delivery (D2D) Topic Committee commissioned from Marshall Breeding. The paper explores the current landscape of library discovery systems and considers the frontiers of discovery. As Marshall said, the paper "explores factors that may cause barriers to discovery, examines potential methods for progress which may benefit from additional stimulation, and details further opportunities to lower thresholds of entry to support additional contributions in the important arena of discovery services." The purpose of the white paper was to help craft future work to be undertaken by NISO under the leadership of the D2D Topic Committee, as part of its overall strategy. As evidenced by the terrific reaction to the paper at the Electronic Resources in Libraries (ER&L) conference where Marshall presented last week, NISO is significantly moving the conversation forward on where these systems can and should be headed.

As follow-up to the paper, NISO is considering a variety of next steps to address some of the challenges, systems issues, and necessary developments to improve those discovery systems. This process will begin with conversations with stakeholders and data exchange partners included in the report. The D2D Topic Committee is also reviewing some of the specific recommendations included in the report, as is the Open Discovery Initiative Standing Committee.

This white paper is part of an overall strategic focus initiative that NISO has undertaken which included the Strategic Directions document released earlier this year. Another element is a strategic planning meeting that NISO's leadership is organizing in Baltimore in May. The goal of this meeting is to engage the leadership in a conversation about setting near-, medium-, and long-term priorities for NISO's activities. While we have been successful in recent years in our development efforts, our educational programs, our publications, and community engagement, there are always areas for improvement. As our community continues to evolve, it is vital that we reflect on our core mission, the needs of the community, and how our organization suits those needs. We welcome input from our constituents as part of this process and, as we proceed, we will be proactively seeking input from as many of you as possible as we proceed.

Certainly, the success of the white paper on the future of discovery, NISO's work on alternative assessment metrics, and NISO's forthcoming work on bibliographic information exchange have placed NISO on the leading edge of information exchange issues and efforts to improve efficiency. NISO will continue to build on this momentum in the coming years, with some very exciting new efforts that we will be announcing in the coming months.

Hopefully, you will all be in a position to enjoy the fruits of these efforts, along with the coming of spring (which can't be too soon).


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

NISO White Paper Explores the Future of Library Resource Discovery

A new NISO white paper, The Future of Library Resource Discovery, written by independent consultant, speaker, and author Marshall Breeding was commissioned by NISO's Discovery to Delivery (D2D) Topic Committee as part of its ongoing examination of areas in the discovery landscape that the information community could potentially standardize. Included in the paper is an overview of the current discovery environment; descriptions of how these technologies, methodologies, and products may be able to adapt to potential future change; and a look beyond current models of discovery to explore possible alternatives, especially those related to linked data.

A particular area of interest for the author was identifying or exploring factors that may cause barriers to discovery, examining potential methods for progress which may benefit from additional stimulation, and detailing further opportunities to lower thresholds of entry to support additional contributions in the important arena of discovery services. The paper is expected to provide rich material for D2D Topic Committee decisions on NISO projects in 2015 and beyond.

The Future of Library Resource Discovery white paper is available for free download on the NISO website.

UKSG Transfer Code of Practice to be Maintained by NISO

NISO and UKSG have announced that the Transfer Code of Practice will now be supported and maintained by NISO. The Code provides voluntary guidelines for publishers to follow when transferring journal titles between parties to ensure that the journal content remains easily accessible by librarians and readers. NISO has republished Transfer version 3.0 as a NISO Recommended Practice (NISO RP-24-2015) and moved the supporting documentation to the NISO website. A NISO Standing Committee has been established to manage the ongoing support of the Transfer Code of Practice.

The Transfer project was initiated by UKSG in 2006 and the first version of the Code was released in 2007 in response to issues identified by the scholarly communications community when journal titles change platform providers or owners. A very important achievement to date for the UKSG Transfer Working Group was the creation of the Enhanced Transfer Alerting Service (ETAS). This public, searchable database helps publishers communicate journal transfers and makes it easy for librarians and readers to be notified of journal transfers and to search previous journal transfer alerts. The ETAS is currently offered through collaboration among UKSG, JUSP, Jisc, and Cranfield University with JUSP and Mimas providing the hosting environment. The current hosting arrangements for the ETAS service will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The Transfer Code of Practice is available on the NISO website from the Transfer Standing Committee's webpage.

ONIX-PL Encodings Available in GoKB

With funding from the Mellon Foundation, NISO hired consultant Selden Lamoureux to encode a set of license templates into EDItEUR's ONIX for Publications Licenses (ONIX-PL) format. ONIX-PL is an XML structure for making the content of a license machine-readable and more accessible for use within various library or publisher systems. The uptake of the standard has suffered from a "chicken and egg" syndrome where vendors or electronic resource management systems didn't add support for ONIX-PL because there weren't enough available files and the publishers didn't encode the licenses because there wasn't enough demand for them from system vendors.

The goal of the NISO project was to encode some template licenses and deposit them where libraries could access and customize them for use in their own systems. Jisc had already done some encoding and deposited theirs in KB+, but only for use by Jisc members. Eight NISO template encodings have been completed and deposited in GoKB for public access. Information on how to access the templates for local customization is available on the ONIX-PL project webpage.

March Two-Part Webinar: Is Granularity the Next Discovery Frontier?

NISO will be holding a two-part webinar in March on Is Granularity the Next Discovery Frontier? The rise of the Discovery System in the library world has helped to streamline end user searching by providing search functionality that more closely resembles search engines, such as Google, than traditional database searches. But with this streamlined search comes added expectations from users about their ability to drill down into content and retrieve more granular pieces of information—anything from book chapters and individual letters to the editor to specific graphs and images could conceivably be retrieved in a more granular search.

In Part 1 of this webinar, How to Support Direct Access to Increasingly Granular Chunks of Content in Response to User Expectations—to be held on March 11 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT—speakers and topics are:

  • Working with Metadata Challenges to Support Granular Levels of Access and DescriptionsMyung-Ja Han, Assistant Professor/Metadata Librarian University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Illinois

  • Granular Discovery: User Experience Challenges and OpportunitiesTito Sierra, Director of Product Management, EBSCO Information Services

  • From Unstructured Content to Granular Insights – Daniel Mayer is Vice President of Product & Marketing at TEMIS

In Part 2, The Business Complexities of Granular Discovery—to be held on March 18 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT—speakers and topics are:

  • Granular Discovery: A Discipline-Based ApproachAndrea Eastman-Mullins, Chief Operating Officer, Alexander Street Press

  • Making Open Data DiscoverableDan Valen, Product Specialist, figshare

  • When Granularity Met Discovery: The Complexities of Granular Content DiscoveryDave Hovenden, Content Operations Manager, the Summon® Service, ProQuest

You can register for both or either part; registrants to both parts receive a 25% discount. For more information and to register, visit the event webpages: Part 1; Part 2.

April Webinar: Experimenting with BIBFRAME: Reports from Early Adopters

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 attempts to implement 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 this webinar, to be held on April 8 from 1:00 - 2:30 EDT, several institutions will share their progress in applying BIBFRAME 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

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

April Virtual Conference: Expanding the Assessment Toolbox: Blending the Old and New Assessment Practices

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. Both 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 discussions related to usage statistics, altmetrics, gaming the numbers, and open access. NISO's Alternative Assessment Metrics Initiative will also be discussed.

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.

New Specs & Standards

W3C, Linked Data Platform 1.0

The Linked Data Platform (LDP) Working Group has published a W3C Recommendation of Linked Data Platform 1.0. "Linked Data" refers to an approach to publishing data that puts linking at the heart of the notion of data, and uses the linking technologies provided by the Web to enable the weaving of a global distributed database. This specification 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.

W3C, Data on the Web Best Practices First Draft

The Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group has published a First Public Working Draft of Data on the Web Best Practices, to encourage and enable the continued expansion of the Web as a medium for the exchange of data. Data should be discoverable and understandable by humans and machines. Where data is used in some way, whether by the originator of the data or by an external party, such usage should also be discoverable and the efforts of the data publisher recognized. In short, following these best practices will facilitate interaction between publishers and consumers. The group also published today a Group Note of Data on the Web Best Practices Use Cases & Requirements with scenarios of how data is commonly published on the Web and how it is used.

W3C, Updated Understanding Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and Techniques for WCAG 2.0

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group published updates of two Notes that accompany WCAG 2.0: Understanding WCAG 2.0 and Techniques for WCAG 2.0. This is not an update to WCAG 2.0, which is a stable document. The WCAG guidelines and success criteria are designed to be broadly applicable to current and future web technologies, including dynamic applications, mobile, digital television, etc. The supporting resources published today provide specific guidance—including code examples, resources, and tests—and are updated periodically to cover current practices for meeting WCAG. For an introduction to the WCAG documents, see the WCAG Overview.

Media Stories

CC BY and Its Discontents – A Growing Challenge for Open Access
Library Journal | Peer to Peer Review, February 19, 2015; by Rick Anderson

"Recently I attended the conference of a major learned society in the humanities.…I was deeply taken aback by the degree to which the scholars in attendance—not universally, but by an overwhelming majority—expressed frustration and even outright anger at the OA community.…What they object to is a particular parameter of OA as it is currently defined by a large and dominant segment of the OA community: the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, which is enshrined in what is now the closest thing to a canonical definition that OA has: the Berlin Declaration on Open Access.…According to the Berlin Declaration, what makes an article OA is not the fact that it can be accessed and read by everyone at no charge. In order to be considered OA, the article's content (and "all supplemental materials") must also be made publicly available for any kind of reuse, including commercial reuse, without the author's permission." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a NISO Voting Member.

STM Opens Community-Wide Consultation on Article Sharing
STM Publishing News, February 9, 2015

"The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) today opened a communitywide consultation into the sharing of research articles. Running from 9th February until 10th April 2015, the consultation aims to start discussion and to gain a better understanding of the current landscape of article sharing through scholarly collaboration networks and sites. Feedback is invited, including input on a draft outline of voluntary principles. STM would like to make sharing simple and seamless for academic researchers, enhancing scholarly collaboration, while being consistent with access and usage rights associated with journal articles. The consultation process aims to build consensus around a commonly agreed framework…." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: AIP Publishing is a NISO Voting Member.

COAR Interoperability Roadmap Published
COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) Press Release, February 5, 2015

"The success of repository services in the future will depend on the seamless alignment of the diverse stakeholders at the local, national and international level. The roadmap identifies important trends and their associated action points for the repository community and will assist COAR [Confederation of Open Access Repositories] in identifying priority areas for our interoperability efforts in the future. This document is the culmination of over a year's work to identify priority issues for repository interoperability." (Read the full story)

Data for Discovery
The Scholarly Kitchen, February 5, 2015; by Roger C. Schonfeld

"There are tremendous opportunities for using data to bring greater efficiency and more effective discovery to the research process. Publishing platforms, discovery services, and academic libraries are all in a position to make innovative uses of data that are the by-product of everyday research practices of scholars and students.…I am interested in analyzing the opportunities before us in the scholarly ecosystem to embrace the use of data to personalize the research process." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Learn more about the innovative ideas and techniques to measure how content is accessed and used at NISO's April 29 virtual conference, Expanding the Assessment Toolbox: Blending the Old and New Assessment Practices. EBSCO, Elsevier, Ex Libris, HighWire, ITHAKA, OCLC, and ProQuest are NISO Voting Members.

The MOOC Hype Fades, in 3 Charts
The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 5, 2015; by Steve Kolowich

"Few people would now be willing to argue that massive open online courses are the future of higher education. The percentage of institutions offering a MOOC seems to be leveling off, at around 14 percent, while suspicions persist that MOOCs will not generate money or reduce costs for universities-and are not, in fact, sustainable. The latest figures come from the Babson Survey Research Group's annual survey, which was based on a 2014 survey of more than 2,800 academic leaders…." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: NISO will be holding a webinar on MOOCs and Libraries in August.