Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

October 2015

My son has been obsessed with magnets of late. The invisible forces that draw objects together and can keep things from falling to the floor fascinate him. He'll test objects to see which are most likely to interact and he'll explore the boundaries of the attractive forces. One of his favorite toys (of the moment) is a Ball of Whacks, a puzzle comprised of small magnet pieces that fit in a specific pattern of with attractive forces to form a ball. The trick is to find the right sequence of attractive forces that don't align with the repulsive forces of the nearby pieces.

In some ways, there is an analogy to NISO and the library marketplace in this toy. Competitive and market forces draw some organizations together to serve the common good, but these need to be put together in a subtle way for the whole not to be pushed apart by those forces that repel adjacent or related industry players. Collectively, we form a cohesive whole, but we need to find the right pattern or mix of partners to tie everyone together. Sometimes, as was the case Tuesday with the two significant merger announcements (3M and Bibliotheca and Ex Libris and ProQuest) in our community, there are other forces that draw parties together. These forces are often (although not always) stronger than the things that keep organizations apart. Obviously economics is a very attractive force, and there are many benefits of combined organizations. Just Monday, during the NISO forum on the Future of Library Resource Discovery, during a panel of discovery service providers, the question was asked if there were enough resources in the community to support continued development of these systems and whether there would still be four providers in a few years. Before the end of the meeting, there was an answer to the latter question.

What will be interesting to see is if there will be related after-effects of this realignment. Like earthquake aftershocks, I expect there will be reverberations. Some may be large, while others might be smaller or even go un-noticed. Regardless, the community is expanding, while it contracts in other ways. The expectations of writers, readers, libraries and patrons are all shifting. The notion of what it is to be a publisher is expanding, and new entrants with innovative services and products join our community all the time.

NISO's role in the community remains stable, perhaps even more important in light of these changes. There will always be a need to coordinate among competitors to build on interoperability. Suppliers and customers need neutral forums to discuss issues and advance common solutions. We still need bridges among providers of content, services and libraries, which is one of NISO's core services to the community. NISO can help build those bridges and this is where our greatest value resides. NISO can help find ways to bring those pieces together that have common interests and goals and thereby fit them into a cohesive whole. Just like my son's puzzle, but on a worldwide scale.


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

October Webinar: Cloud and Web Services for Librarians

When young, we look to the sky and see shapes in clouds. We watch as the cloud reshapes into something else. Like actual clouds, the world of digital cloud-based tools seems to also be ever changing as this new technology is developed. For librarians, trend of moving ILS systems to the cloud has exciting possibilities but enthusiasm is tempered by uncertainty. Cloud-based web services are a somewhat new tool, and as such, options are limited. These services are being continuously upgraded, and librarians need to have a voice in the development of these tools to be sure their needs are met.

Libraries have needs that are complex and evolving and available ILS systems are presently limited in their abilities. Minimally, an ILS system will track what the library owns, its patrons, what they have borrowed, and other general library services. These minimal functions do not take into account the need for integration with the wider array of online services libraries offer nor integration into services of the libraries' academic institution.

During this webinar on Wednesday, October 14 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (EDT), presenters will discuss what capabilities libraries need versus the capabilities currently offered in commercial ILS systems, and possible short-term solutions as well as helping ILS cloud services to understand better what future versions of their products should include.

Confirmed topics and presenters are:

  • Utilizing the Cloud to Empower Research Efforts - John "JG" Chirapurath, Senior Vice President and General Manager, ProQuest Workflow Solutions
  • Migrating CDL Infrastructure to Amazon Web Services - Kurt Ewoldsen, Manager, Infrastructure and Applications Support, California Digital Library, University of California
  • Surveying the Horizon: Preservation and the Cloud - Heather Lea Moulaison, Assistant Professor, The iSchool (School of Information Science & Learning Technologies), University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA

For more information about the webinar and to register, please visit the event page.

October Virtual Conference: Interacting with Content: Improving the User Experience

The demands for awareness of and responsiveness to the academic user experience (UX) are increasingly important for all players in the scholarly communications industry. What began as a software development methodology has proven to be a critical function in our ability to deliver high-quality scholarly resources to a global readership.

During this virtual conference on Wednesday, October 28 from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EDT), we will feature a range of perspectives on how publishers, libraries and technology suppliers achieve an understanding of reader needs and perspectives, in order to drive iterative improvements in the way users interact with the content we host, publish, and license.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Courtney McDonald, Head, Discovery and Research Services, Associate Librarian
  • Kate Lawrence, Vice President, User Research, EBSCO Information Services
  • Joe Marquez, MLIS, Web Services Librarian, Reed Libraries, Reed College co-presenting with Annie Downey, MLIS, PhD, Reed Libraries, Director of Research Services, Reed College
  • Sophia Voychehovski, Founder and Lead UXer, ReWired UX Studio
  • Angie Thorpe, Digital User Experience Librarian, Indiana University Kokomo

For more information about the virtual conference and to register, please visit the event page.

November NISO/ICSTI Partner Webinar: A Pathway from Open Access and Data Sharing to Open Science in Practice

NISO and the International Council on Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) are pleased to announce a new webinar partnership beginning this fall. The first program is focuses on creating an ecosystem of Open Science.

The progressive acceptance and implementation of open access has paved the way for new possibilities in the creation, authentication, organization, manipulation and preservation of data and information, and its broader access, sharing and communication. Momentum towards the achievement of the vision of the International Council for Science of a 'world where excellence in science is reality' is gathering pace.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Geoffrey Boulton - University of Edinburgh, Royal Society, and President of CODATA - UK
  • José Cotta - Head of Unit Digital Science, DG CONNECT, European Commission - Belgium

During this webinar on Tuesday, November 10 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (EST), the speakers will discuss their standpoints as a practicing scientist and a policy maker and research funder, respectively. Current thinking on the behavioral and technical issues to address, and the barriers to confront, in order to convert the vision of open science in practice will be addressed.

For more information about this partner webinar and to register, please visit the event page.

A Deep Dive into KBART: KBART Standing Committee organizes Charleston Preconference

Join members of the KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools) Standing Committee at the Charleston Library Conference as they guide you through the ins and outs of the KBART Phase II Recommended Practice. Through classroom instruction and hands-on experience, the workshop will provide in-depth coverage of all KBART data elements, with special focus on many of the most frequently asked questions about the recommended practice. The session will also outline the steps in the KBART adoption process and highlight the benefits of endorsement. Participants will also gain insight into how the provision of standardized metadata can increase exposure of their electronic content, ensure smoother interoperability with knowledge base and link resolver vendors, and ultimately improve end user access.

This Charleston Library Preconference will be held Wednesday, November 4 from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. EDT. Registration for the preconference is an additional $110.00 above the conference registration fee. More information about attending the Charleston Conference is available here and the registration form is here.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Marlene van Ballegooie, University of Toronto Libraries
  • Benjamin Johnson, ProQuest
  • Sheri Meares, EBSCO Information Services
  • Nettie Lagace, NISO
  • Noah Levin, Springer
  • Gary Pollack, Cengage Learning
  • Julie Zhu, IEEE
  • Kristen Wilson, North Carolina State University Libraries

November Webinar: Text Mining: Digging Deep for Knowledge

With the digital revolution, the ability to search vast amounts of information for specific bits of data has increased exponentially with more and more previously hard-copy only books and information being digitized and made available online. There are many organizations working to digitize content for the benefit of researchers and others. For example, HathiTrust is a partnership of organizations that offers digitized information from libraries all over the world. Data mining partnerships between university libraries and vendors will hope to bring millions of books and periodicals to the fingertips of researchers.

During this webinar on Wednesday, November 18 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (EST) presenters will talk about the benefits and challenges to text mining and its impact on the library and information community.

For more information about this partner webinar and to register, please visit the event page.

Working Group Connections Live! Free Webinar on Research Data Metrics Landscape

In June 2013, NISO began work building consensus around the need for standards to support new forms of assessment (often called altmetrics) with generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This two-phase initiative aimed to explore, identify, and advance standards and/or best practices related to a new suite of potential metrics in the community. Earlier this year, the NISO Altmetrics Initiative successfully moved to Phase Two with the formation of three working groups to define those standards and best practices.

Working Group B, lead by Kristi Holmes, PhD, Director, Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University, and Mike Taylor, Senior Product Manager, Informetrics at Elsevier, are focused on non-traditional output types & persistent Identifiers within the alternative metrics landscape.

During this free webinar on Monday, November 16 from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EST), speakers will highlight case studies and examples of the work being done in this area. For more information and to complete a quick survey to receive the event login, please visit the event page.

New Specs & Standards

Enhancements to Thema Online Browser

A recent enhancement to the Thema online browser means that you can now search directly for a particular code (such as 'GLK'), as well as the previous search for words within the subject heading text. Cross-references between headings (eg See also: (e.g. see also: WCP Antiques and Collectables) are now clickable, which makes browsing the hierarchy of categories a smoother experience. And a more fully case-insensitive search has been put in place, so a search for 'Galápagos' and 'GALÁPAGOS' in Spanish or French, for example, are now the same - this should help those searching in Latin-script languages other than English. Previously, searches including accented characters were not case-insentitive. Another planned feature is the option to allow country variants of subject heading text translations - so both French and French Canadian translations could co-exist.

Issue 30 ONIX codelists released

A regular update of the ONIX codelists was published at the end of July. Issue 30 includes a relatively small set of additional codes: A new contributor role for 'scientific editor', and clarification on how it differs from 'technical editor'; a new <EditionType> code for limited editions that do not have each copy numbered; new complexity scheme codes for levelled texts in education (Guided Reading Level and Reading Recovery Level); region codes for specifying detailed sales rights or distribution arrangements in China; school grade codes for the Chinese education system; more granular price qualifier codes for library pricing detail; a new code for picture story cards (in Japanese, 'kamishibai'); and a new code for supplementary resources in the form of a student's guide. As always, the latest codelists can be downloaded in various formats and it has also been integrated into the various documentation for ONIX 3.0. For ONIX systems still using version 2.1, the codelists should be downloaded separately from the codelists page. Codelists Issue 31 is close to completion and is planned to be released at the end of October. The new codes will be released alongside tightened validation requirements for existing numerical data elements in ONIX 3.0 &emdash; the updated XML schemas will require some elements to be integers and others to be real numbers, and some will allow zero and some will not. A short paper outlining these requirements is available here. (These validation requirements do not affect ONIX 2.1.)

60-day Public Review for DITA V1.3 COS01 ends November 15th

Members of the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) TC have recently approved a Special Majority Ballot to advance Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Version 1.3 as a Candidate OASIS Standard (COS). The COS now enters a 60-day public review period in preparation for a member ballot to consider its approval as an OASIS Standard. The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) 1.3 specification defines a set of document types for authoring and organizing topic-oriented information and a set of mechanisms for combining, extending, and constraining document types. DITA is specializable, which allows for the introduction of specific semantics for specific purposes without increasing the size of other XML grammar files, and which allows the inheritance of shared design and behavior and interchangeability with unspecialized content.

ISO 9001:2015 - Revision has been published

The latest edition of ISO 9001, ISO's flagship quality management systems standard, has been published. This concludes over three years of revision work by experts from nearly 95 participating and observing countries to bring the standard up to date with modern needs. The 2015 edition features important changes, which Nigel Croft, Chair of the ISO subcommittee that developed and revised the standard, refers to as an "evolutionary rather than a revolutionary" process. More details about the changes to the standards are outlined on the ISO website. Certification bodies will have up to three years to migrate certificates to the new version.

ISO/TR 19300:2015 Graphic technology -- Guidelines for the use of standards for print media production published

ISO/TR 19300:2015 is a non-normative technical report that provides guidelines to enable print industry stakeholders to use ISO/TC 130 and related standards in print media production workflows. The use of these standards is intended to enhance production quality, business performance, profitability, and sustainability.

Media Stories

After Oyster, What's Next for E-book Subscriptions"
By Andrew Albanese and Jim Milliot. Publishers Weekly, Sep 25, 2015

Article reports on the announcement by e-book subscription service Oyster that it would shut down in 2016. This service, often labeled "the Netflix of books" had offered subscribers access to more than one million e-books for a monthly fee of $9.99, with a business model that paid publishers their full retail cut for e-books read by subscribers. The article analyzes the model and quotes industry insiders on their take on Oyster and similar services. "Consumer habits are changing in a mobile age dominated by smartphones and tablets. Quick and easy access to content is now expected. And as streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify fundamentally reshape consumer expectations, it is difficult to believe this shift will not impact the book business." (Read the full story)

New platforms; new challenges
By David Stuart Research Information, October/November 2015

Summary of interviews with Martha Sedgwick (executive director of product management at SAGE Publications and Peter Ciuffetti (VP of product development at Alexander Street Press) regarding publishers' concerns in fulfilling changing user needs in today's information ecosystem. Discusses the management of new product offerings, discoverability (including search engine optimisation, library discovery, and building links to related content) and user experience. "There are no simple, one-size-fits-all solutions, but the increasingly competitive space is driving innovation, and those publishers who innovate successfully in the development of new platforms will continue to underline the importance of publishers to the scholarly information ecosystem."

NISO Note: SAGE Publications is a NISO Voting Member.

Enhancing the LOCKSS Digital Preservation Technology
By David S. H. Rosenthal, Daniel L. Vargas, Tom A. Lipkis and Claire T. Griffin. D-Lib Magazine, September/October 2015

"The LOCKSS Program develops and supports libraries using open source peer-to-peer digital preservation software. Although initial development and deployment was funded by grants including from NSF and the Mellon Foundation, grant funding is not a sustainable basis for long-term preservation. The LOCKSS Program runs the "Red Hat" model of free, open source software and paid support. From 2007 through 2012 the program was in the black with no grant funds at all. The demands of the "Red Hat" model make it hard to devote development resources to enhancements that don't address immediate user demands but are targeted at longer-term issues. After discussing this issue with the Mellon Foundation, the LOCKSS Program was awarded a grant to cover a specific set of infrastructure enhancements. It made significant functional and performance improvements to the LOCKSS software in the areas of ingest, preservation and dissemination. The LOCKSS Program's experience shows that the "Red Hat" model is a viable basis for long-term digital preservation, but that it may need to be supplemented by occasional small grants targeted at longer-term issues."

New Hampshire Library Reaffirms Tor Project Participation
By Bob Warburton Library Journal, September 21, 2015

Reports on decision by library trustees for the Lebanon Public Library in New Hampshire to resume their association with the anonymous web searching service Tor. The project at the library - the first in the United States to activate a Tor browser - had previously been halted after the federal Department of Homeland Security and concern from local law enforcement officials voiced concern. Internet publicity drew input from thousands of privacy advocates, computer scientists, and library professionals around the Web. Article includes information on LPL's involvement with the Library Freedom Project and the viral nature of the support for the library. (Read the full story)

The challenges of Web accessibility: The technical and social aspects of a truly universal Web
By Justin Brown, Scott Hollier. First Monday, September 2015.

"This paper explores the concept of Web accessibility and how technologies, guidelines and policies have evolved since the turn of the twenty-first century in order to address the ideals of equitable access to online content for all people. The paper discusses the high availability of assistive technologies built into consumer devices and the associated accessibility guidelines for Web sites and content. Through examination of the literature, this paper shows that the accessible design and assessment of Web sites can be complicated, and that social media, corporate and government Web sites are yet to fully realise the goals of an accessible Web. The paper concludes with the view that disability awareness, more than technology and policy, is perhaps the primary obstacle to a more universally accessible Web." (Read the full story)

U.S. Senate Confirms Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

"Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew's nomination to be director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) was confirmed by the United States Senate on Tuesday night. The Institute, an independent United States government agency, is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Dr. Matthew will serve a four-year term as the Director of the Institute. Trained as a scientist, Dr. Matthew's 30-year museum career began in curatorial, collections management, and research roles at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and Cranbrook Institute of Science. She worked with a variety of collections including ornithology, paleontology, fine arts, and anthropology. She then moved into management, exhibits and educational programs development, and fundraising and marketing roles." (Read the full story)

The National Digital Platform for Libraries: An Interview with Trevor Owens and Emily Reynolds from IMLS
By Erin Engle. The Signal (Library of Congress Digital Preservation blog), September 8, 2015

Trevor Owens, IMLS senior program officer and Emily Reynolds, IMLS program specialist and 2014 Future Steward NDSA Innovation Awardee, discuss the national digital platform priority and current IMLS grant opportunities. IMLS is interested in bridging "gaps between disparate pieces of the existing digital infrastructure for increased efficiencies, cost savings, access, and services" and "focusing on the national digital platform as an area of priority in the National Leadership Grants to Libraries and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant programs. Owens and Reynolds further explain IMLS perspective on issues in supporting professional development and training, improving content selection at scale, interoperability and integration of efforts, as well as concern for the representation of various communities in engagement in digital platform activities. (Read the full story)