Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

April 2016

The standards world is hardly the space to set out in if one wants to become famous. There are a very select few, such as Tim Berners-Lee, who are widely recognized outside of their specialty, but for the overwhelming majority, the reward is more personal satisfaction than it is public praise. But this lack of public praise should by no means minimize the tremendous contributions that people make to the process. Sadly, last month we lost one of those important behind-the-scenes leaders. Dr. Norman Paskin passed away suddenly on March 27th. Norman was a significant figure in the areas of information standards; content and rights interoperability; and, most importantly, within the world of scholarly content navigation and discovery.

Norman began his career as a Publishing Editor with Elsevier Biomedical Press after graduating with a PhD from the University of Nottingham. After a short stint with Blackwell Scientific Publishing, he returned to Elsevier as Publishing Director. He moved into the technology side of publishing in 1992, as Elsevier's Director of Information Technology Development. Norman then moved to the position he would hold for the next 17 years: Founding Director and Managing Agent of the International DOI Foundation, an organization where he would make his lasting impact.

The DOI system is built upon the Handle system that was created by CNRI to address the significant problem of persistent linking on the World Wide Web, as it was architected. Persistent linking of citations was a critical problem for the scholarly community that supported the creation of the DOI system and its most successful implementation, the Crossref system. However, Norman was not content just to see the DOI system in place, but rather sought to find new communities that could rely on DOI's functionality, persistence, and quality metadata. Over the years, DOIs have grown to cover not only journal articles but book and other published content, data sets, audio-visual content, and other domains as well. This expansion was due in large part to Norman's vision and evangelism of the DOI system, as well as his deep technical competency.

As an active member of NISO and as a contributor to the ISO work of TC 46/SC 9, Norman articulated a clear vision of content interoperability with patience and tenacity. While strongly opinionated, he was fair and willing to listen to others' perspectives. The standards and identification communities will certainly miss his wit and contributions. Expressions of condolences may be sent via the International DOI Foundation at condolences@doi.org. Rest in peace, my friend.


Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

NISO Releases Altmetrics Definitions and Use Cases for Public Comment

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) seeks comments on the draft Altmetrics Definitions and Use Cases document, NISO RP-25-201X-1. The draft is an output of the NISO Altmetrics Initiative, a two-phase project aiming to address limitations and gaps that may hinder the adoption of altmetrics, an expansion of tools available for measuring scholarly impact of research in the knowledge environment..

NISO Seeks Volunteers to Help Revise Standards on Technical Reports, Controlled Vocabularies, and Bibliographic References

NISO seeks experts from the vendor, publishing, library, and information technology fields to work on the revision of three standards that are central to scholarly communication. Working on a NISO committee is a rewarding way to build your CV, gain contacts in the industry, and participate in creating the future of information exchange. The three standards in focus are:

ANSI/NISO Z39.18-2005 (R2010) Scientific and Technical Reports - Preparation, Presentation, and Preservation
See the current standard
Z39.18 outlines the elements, organization, and design of scientific and technical reports. It includes guidance for the uniform presentation of front and back matter, text, and visual and tabular matter in print and digital formats, as well as recommendations for multimedia reports. The committee that developed the standard in 2005 recognized that the way technical reports were organized had evolved over the past 30 years from a content-based organization pattern to a user-based one. Further changes have happened since that time, of course, and the huge growth in digitally formatted documents necessitates a revision of the standard.

ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 (R2010) Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies
See the current standard
Controlled vocabularies are the backbone of knowledge organization systems. They seek to describe information in a systematic way, by providing lists of acceptable terms. Supporting this kind of work is ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 (R2010), a standard that presents guidelines and conventions for the contents, display, construction, testing, maintenance, and management of controlled vocabularies.

The community has noted the need for general revisions and edits of this standard, such as replacing references to AACR2 (the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules) with references to RDA (Resource Description and Access) and revising references to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards to ensure they are the current versions. In some cases, definitions and terms used need improvement or refer to obsolete taxonomy approaches. Another reason for the planned revision is that some aspects of the guidance offered in the standard is contrary to common practice.

ANSI/NISO Z39.29-2005 (R2010) Bibliographic References
See the current standard
Citing work by others is a cornerstone of academic endeavor, and having one's work cited is crucial to an academic career. With the proliferation of formats in use in scholarly communication today, a tool that helps to create, organize, and maintain bibliographic referencing systems such as APA, MLA, and Chicago Style, and one for users of those systems, is essential. Such a standard was created in 2005.

Z39.29 provides rules, guidelines, and examples for the creation of bibliographic references to numerous types of print, audiovisual, and electronic materials, both published and unpublished. This standard is intended for a broad audience, including the creators of bibliographic references, the processors who publish and otherwise display references, and the ultimate users of those references. The standard was reaffirmed in 2010 with some open questions and comments from members of the community. Since that time additional questions have arisen. In some places, the standard is contrary to cataloging rules and current best practices; in other areas, it provides guidance that leads to confusion for users. In addition, there are some areas omitted that should be considered, and some of the guidance is in the wrong part of the standard.

If you are interested in volunteering to work on any of these standards, or would like any further information about what is involved with the work, please contact NISO's Associate Director for Programs, Nettie Lagace, at nlagace@niso.org.

Webinar: Supporting Underrepresented Groups in Technology

Wednesday, April 13
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM, EST

IThe publishing, library, and information management industries often attract a majority of women to the field. While this is true overall, the representation of women and minorities in the technology segments of the community is significantly lower. This is true in the wider technology sphere as well, where representation of women and minorities is woefully low. This lack of diversity can have negative impacts on the solutions advanced, products developed, and services provided by libraries and publishers. This session will highlight potential approaches to improving representation in the technical management of libraries and publishers. Speakers will also cover efforts underway to expand skills and advancement opportunities for under-represented groups in our community, especially at the management level. Speakers in this roundtable discussion include Bess Sadler, Stanford University; Elizabeth Caley, Meta; Amanda J. Wilson, U.S. Department of Transportation; and Elizabeth Wickes, University of Illinois. For more information and to register, visit the event page.

Virtual Conference: Justifying the Library: Using Assessment to Justify Library Investments

Wednesday, April 20
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, EST

When resources are tight, it is important that everyone is able to justify the role we serve in accomplishing an institutional mission. One approach to relating the story of this value is to use data in support of the narrative. This virtual conference will examine the many ways in which an institution can show its value and the data that can be used in support of that argument. This might include usage statistics, patron activity, use of patron tools that support their work, traditional circulation data, or ethnographic study. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Steven J. Bell, Temple University
  • Nancy Turner, Temple University
  • Jocelyn Wilk, Columbia University
  • Ken Varnum, University of Michigan
  • Jan Fransen, University of Minnesota
  • Kristi Holmes, Northwestern
  • Carl Grant, University of Oklahoma
  • Elizabeth Brown, SUNY-Binghamton
  • Starr Hoffman, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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

NEW! All registrants to this virtual conference will receive a login to the associated Training Thursday on Making Assessment Work - Using ORCIDs To Improve Your Institutional Assessment, to be held on April 28. (See below for details.)

NISO Training Thursday: Making Assessment Work: Using ORCIDs to Improve Your Institutional Assessment

Thursday, April 28
1:00 - 2:30 PM, EST

NISO Training Thursday Webinars offer a quick, practical introduction to and discussion of technologies used in a variety of library workflows. This particular session will introduce attendees to specific use cases and implementations of the ORCID ID as a useful tool for precisely associating traditional and non-traditional outputs with the particular creator of that content. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Alice Meadows, ORCID
  • Christopher Erdmann, Harvard University
  • Merle Rosenzweig, University of Michigan

For more on these speakers and to register, visit the event page.

Webinar: Supporting Research on Your Campus

Wednesday, May 4
1:00 - 2:30 PM, EST

Libraries serve as important conduits for research. Not only is research about previous activities important, libraries also support ongoing research activities, through the provision of information resources, repository activities, and skill in information management to research teams. In providing these services, academic libraries support the overall research mission of many institutions. They also make the library more visible and valued in its community.

This webinar will highlight libraries that have successfully integrated their services into the research activities in their institution. Speakers will describe ways in which they support researchers beyond traditional library services, and how they have become more engaged in research activities using data, other resources, or skills.

Confirmed speakers are Dr. Paul J. Bracke, Associate Dean, Research & Assessment, Purdue University; Greg Raschke, Associate Director for Collections and Scholarly Communication, North Carolina State University; and Kenning Arlitsch, Dean of the Library, Montana State University.

For updates on this webinar, please visit the event page.

Forthcoming ISO Ballots

NISO Voting members participate in the development, revision, and evaluation of standards. Voting members are able to influence the standards process and mold the future of the industry. The following NISO ballots are open and will close before the next newsletter is distributed.

  • Technical Content of ISO/DIS 2108 (Ed 5)

    The purpose of this International Standard is to establish the specifications for the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) as a unique international identification system for each product form or edition of a separately available monographic publication published or produced by a specific publisher that is available to the public.

    It specifies the construction of an ISBN, the rules for its assignment and use, the metadata to be associated with the ISBN allocation, and the administration of the ISBN system. This International Standard is applicable to monographic publications (books) not to textual works (content). Monographic publications include individual sections or chapters where these are made separately available and certain types of related products that are available to the public irrespective of whether those publications are made available for sale or on a gratis basis. Examples of applicable and non-applicable products are provided in Annex A.

    This ballot closes on Friday, May 6, 2016.

  • Systematic Review of ISO 11940-2:2007 Information and documentation - Transliteration of Thai characters into Latin characters Part 2: Simplified transcription of Thai language

    This is a ballot for the five-year systematic review of the TC46 standard ISO 11940-2:2007 Information and documentation - Transliteration of Thai characters into Latin characters Part 2: Simplified transcription of Thai language.

    This part of ISO 11940 provides a specification for the conversion of Thai characters (or the transliteration of Thai obtained from ISO 11940:1998, written here) into a broad phonetic transcription. The results of the application of the rules of this part of ISO 11940 are written here [in italics between square brackets]. Since some vowels in Thai are written before the consonant which they follow in speech, text needs to be processed before the conversion takes place. The preposed vowels เ- , แ- , ใ- , ไ- , and โ- are to be placed after an initial or an initial cluster so that the phonotactics of the transposition will behave the same way in the languages that make use of the Latin script. The transcription obtained using this part of ISO 11940 cannot be converted back to the transliteration which usually can be retransliterated to the Thai characters. Certain Thai words can have more than one reading depending on their meaning in a certain context. It is best for a transcriber to have a knowledge of the Thai language. The simplified phonetic transcription system devised here aims to be done automatically by machine with the minor assistance of humans who will select the correct transcription in relation to its meaning, provided that pronunciation rules can be written in computer algorithm. A human decision is needed in instances where a word has more than one choice of phonetic transcription.

    This ballot closes on Friday, June 3, 2016.

New Specs & Standards

W3C Groups Release Draft of Electronic Content Accessibility Requirements for Low-Vision Users & Updates to Online Tools

W3C has released one new and two updated resources.

A draft version of Accessibility Requirements for People with Low Vision, developed by the Low Vision Accessibility Task Force (LVTF), was published on March 18. The draft describes what people with low vision (W3C defines this as visual impairments other than blindness) need in order to use electronic content, tools, and technologies. The task force explains causes and incidence of such impairments and includes the disability-rights community's view of who is impaired. Specific user needs are outlined in the document, as are plans for future work in the area of accessibility. W3C requests comments on the draft by April 14, 2016.

W3C's Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (WCAG WG) have published a new version of How to Meet WCAG 2.0: A customizable quick reference to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 requirements (success criteria) and techniques. The new reference provides a customizable view of WCAG 2.0 resources and "a significantly updated user interface and additional functionality to filter by Tags that are categorized under Developing, Interaction Design, Content Creation, and Visual Design."

Lastly, the Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) has released an updated version of the WCAG-EM Report Tool: Website Accessibility Evaluation Report Generator, which helps users to generate website accessibility evaluation reports.

ISO Publishes ISO 18461:2016(E) on Collection and Reporting of Museum Statistics

ISO has released ISO 18461:2016(E), International Museum Statistics. Developed by ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation, Subcommittee SC 8, Quality - Statistics and performance evaluation, the standard guides the international museum community on the collection and reporting of statistics for various purposes, such as strategic planning, reporting to funding institutions, and museum promotion. An informative appendix offers a classification of museum collections for the purposes of differentiated reporting..

NIST Releases New Document on its Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines Process

"The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the final version of a document outlining its process for developing cryptographic standards and guidelines. NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines Development Process (NISTIR 7977) is an integral part of NIST's effort to ensure a robust, widely understood and participatory process for developing cryptography, which is the technology used to store and transmit data in a particular form so it can only be read or processed by the intended recipient."

Media Stories

How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications
Simon Inger Consulting, Ltd., March 2016; by Tracy Gardner and Simon Inger

In this open-access report, Gardner and Inger, both long-time scholarly journal experts, condense a year of research on the reading habits of 40,439 readers of various scholarly backgrounds: "researchers; students; teachers; lecturers; professors; journalists; managers; clinicians; medics; librarians; government officials; and engineers working across all sectors." Among the findings are that social media sites are a significant information source in lower income countries, and that academic academic researchers in high-income countries rate search engines created for their community as their most important discovery resource.

Is Pschology's Replication Crisis Really Overblown?
New York Magazine: Science of Us, March 8, 2016; by Jesse Singal

Problems regarding the reproducibility of scientific findings are not new; Jonah Lehrer published a fascinating related report in The New Yorker in 2010. The issue has been a focus of conversation in the psychology world, however, since the recent release of a paper in Science called "Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science." Here, Singal questions whether the "dark pall...cast over the discipline of psychology" by the perceived crisis is warranted.

The Epic Story of Dropbox's Exodus from the Amazon Cloud Empire
Wired, March 14, 2016; by Cade Metz

"If you're one of 500 million people who use Dropbox, it's just a folder on your computer desktop that lets you easily store files on the Internet, send them to others, and synchronize them across your laptop, phone, and tablet. You use this folder, then you forget it. And that's by design. Peer behind that folder, however, and you'll discover an epic feat of engineering. Dropbox runs atop a sweeping network of machines whose evolution epitomizes the forces that have transformed the heart of the Internet over the past decade. And today, this system entered a remarkable new stage of existence."

An Interview with Clifford A. Lynch of the Coalition for Networked Information
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

On February 9, 2016, Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries at Carnegie Mellon and NISO Treasurer, interviewed Clifford Lynch, Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information and former NISO Board Member. Lynch discussed the promise of scholarly publishing when he entered the field, where it is now, and what the future holds. The discussion is at times philosophical but also offers concrete ideas, such as a vision that smart instruments could record scientists' work and relieve them of the burden of writing about it after the fact.

Federal Research Regulations for the 21st Century
New England Journal of Medicine, March 31, 2016; by Bernard Lo and Mark Barnes

Changes are afoot regarding the "Common Rule," the federal regulations that govern medical research. The changes are welcome, say Lo and Barnes, as "Innovative research combining analysis of biospecimens, detailed clinical information, and real-time data from mobile devices...raises ethical dilemmas that current federal human-subjects regulations...do not adequately address." The authors argue that the new rules will fail, however, as they don't allow for future changes in technology.

Young Academies of Europe release position statements on Open Data and Open Access
RSE Young Academy of Scotland, April 4, 2016; by Marie Montondo

The Young Academies of Europe and the Global Young Academy have released two statements concerning Open Data and Open Access. These succinct, accessible statements, which could offer a starting point for other institutions' policies, were presented to the European Commission on Monday, 4 April 2016, at the Open Science Conference in Amsterdam.

7 Steps to Publishing in a Scientific Journal
Elsevier Connect, April 4, 2016; by Aijaz A. Shaikh

Shaikh, a final-year doctoral candidate in marketing who has published in journals produced by Elsevier and others, describes the steps to take when submitting material to a peer-reviewed journal. Starting with taking time to prepare an article for submission and covering through how to incorporate referees' comments, his tips offer a common-sense, accessible approach for those new to the game.