Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

March 2017

Openness is a wonderful thing. The move toward openness in scholarly communications has expanded access to content to millions of people, sped the advancement of science, and led to the more rapid development of new treatments. Policies regarding openness of data have improved interoperability and allowed new services to flourish in our community. But there can be downsides as well, which we must be mindful of as we navigate a more open future.

One example of these downsides came up for me last week in a conversation about a new project on the display of rights information that was recently approved by ISO's Technical Subcommittee on Identification and Description (TC 46/SC 9). The project was proposed by colleagues in Japan, and a working group to develop a new international standard on this topic is currently forming. U.S.-based experts on rights expression for cultural institutions and those interested in rights display who would like to be involved in the work should reach out to me; outside the U.S., they should contact their national standards body to engage.

The issue with this new initiative is that DPLA and Europeana have already jointly developed a similar project on communicating rights information. The U.S. voted against launching the new project within ISO precisely because of the existing work on this topic, which seemed to many in the community to be sufficient, making the proposed work within ISO duplicative. However, not enough other country's representatives were either aware of this existing effort, convinced of its appropriateness, or persuaded by the availability of the ad hoc work to block the new initiative. Potentially, they saw that advancing the existing project in a more formal environment made sense in their region.

After concluding the call and agreeing on a path forward, I reflected on the openness of the work that DPLA and Europeana had done. It is not the case that ISO will be appropriating the work done by DPLA and Europeana; the two projects will be working together on development of complementary efforts. However, there is no reason why ISO couldn't incorporate the rights expression work in its entirety into an ISO standard, since all of the work on rightsstatements.org is accompanied by the statement that, "Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication."

I am certainly not advocating here for an appropriation of others' work, nor am I faulting the DPLA and Europeana project leaders for choosing to release their work to the public domain. Certainly, cultural exchange might benefit from more people and organizations doing so, or possibly doing so after a specified period somewhat less than the "limited time" that Congress has chosen for copyright terms. My point is only that once one chooses to release something to the public domain, one cannot thereafter complain about the uses that are made of the content. This includes corporate exploitation, remixing, and reuse. In this particular case, I actively sought to bring the two projects together, since competing guidance on the display of rights information for cultural institutions' content doesn't help address this complex issue. Based on the particular licenses, there was no compulsion to do so.

A frequent argument I have within the standards world concerns the openness of standards. Several organizations, including NISO, have very liberal re-use policies and many make standards freely available. However, NISO standards, while free, are not provided under a CC-BY, CC-0, or similar license, because it is important as a standards-setting body to retain control over what is published. It would not be appropriate for others to take bits and pieces of a standard, remix them, and call them their own. NISO isn't alone in this position and for all its openness, the W3C, for example, has the same restrictions on its standards-I can't take bits of tagging, code, and other elements that comprise HTML5, for example, and republish them as "Todd's Tagging for The Web" (TTFW).

While I appreciate the value of openness for NISO's standards, I recognize that other organizations and communities should be respected in their decision not to make their work open. In fact, just this past month, an important decision was handed down about the incorporation of standards by reference in regulations. Personally, I am pleased about the court ruling because the entire structure of publishing is built upon respect of the author's wishes, whether they lean toward open or restricted material, and we should respect those decisions and the rationale behind them. Simply taking materials and reposting them or repurposing them without permission is just as wrong as walking into someone's house and taking their things. We can encourage people to make things open, but we can't force them to make them open if they choose not to.

NISO has engaged in a few projects to support openness in our community, including the Access and License Indicators project, the Altmetrics initiative, and, of course, our policy on the openness of our own standards. The Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee is also considering a project to explore the discovery of open access content. I expect we will continue to focus on open-related work as it becomes an increasingly ascendant form of distribution.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

NISO Announces Updated Version of ResourceSync Specification

NISO is pleased to announce the formal publication of an updated version of the ResourceSync Framework Specification (ANSI/NISO Z39.99-2017). Approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), this 1.1 revision improves a web standard that details various capabilities that a server can implement to allow third-party systems to remain synchronized with evolving resources. Such synchronization is important in the current landscape where Web-based content not only the metadata about the content is constantly changing.

NISO Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors

NISO's Nominating Committee is submitting a call for nominations for the positions of: Vice-Chair (succeeding to Chair) and Directors. Please submit any nominations to the NISO office via email to tcarpenter@niso.org no later than April 5, 2017.

NISO Professional Development Events in March and April

March 2017

NISO Two Part Webinar: Understanding The Marketplace

Part One: Consolidation: The Long-term Impact and the New Owners
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
1:00pm - 2:30pm (Eastern)

Part Two: Creating The New Information Product: Workflow, Software, and Content
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
1:00pm - 2:30pm (Eastern)

The information industry continues to adapt to changes in technology, in user expectations and in the library marketplace. Those adaptations have taken the form of consolidation in specific areas (such as, but not limited to, the consolidation in integrated library systems). Who are the new players? What exactly does a venture capitalist do and why are they entering this chaotic information ecosystem? The first portion of this two-part webinar on March 8 will review exactly what's happening in this rapidly shifting industry.

Product is reinvented in new forms, buoyed up by new business models. Providers who used to be in the business of journal publishing now are developing and licensing complex workflow environments. The second half of this two-part webinar, held on March 15, will feature discussions of how product design and development operates now. Some discussion may also be given over to how librarians might best work with content providers to ensure that practical requirements are understood, negotiated and satisfied by these new players and providers.

April 2017

NISO Webinar: Trends in Presentation and Delivery: Publishing Experts Speak
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
1:00 - 2:00pm (Eastern)

The objective of this session is to gather input from consultants, content and technology providers as to their perspective on emerging technologies that might transform (or at least enhance) the presentation and delivery of information to researchers and scholars. What visions do they have for enhancing information environments and resources? What possibilities get them excited? What "Next Big Thing" do they see? It may be on the fringes now, but it might just as easily go viral!

NISO Virtual Conference: Opening Up Education: Textbooks, Resources, Courseware, and More
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
11:00am - 5:00pm (Eastern)

The 21st century educational environment demands a certain amount of re-thinking and re-design of classroom support for learning - textbooks, information resources, and interactive courseware. An emphasis on cost-containment and accessibility suggests that education will become more open. This virtual conference will address the complexities of delivering instructional tools and digital resources in the increasingly open educational ecosystem. What is a textbook? Is it engineered into an online learning environment, with content, study aids and quizzes delivered as appropriate to a personalized student experience? What is the long-term role of Open CourseWare, as created by the likes of MIT or Yale? What does a growing interest in OER suggest for the various stakeholders? What types of technological support may be necessary?

Access to an associated NISO Training Thursday webinar on April 20, 2017 is included in your registration for this virtual conference.

NISO Connections Live Event: XML for Standards Publishers
Monday, April 24, 2017
9:30am - 5:00pm (Eastern)

Standards have been traditionally delivered as PDF documents. Yet in a world where standards are increasingly monetized through derivative products, exchanged between partners, and consumed on mobile devices, PDF does not provide the flexibility needed to meet current and future market demands.

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) is hosting this event for standards publishers as an aid to the understanding of how XML provides the key to solve all of these issues, improve publishing processes, and bring business value to the organization.

New on the NISO Website

Media Stories

Scientometric Pioneer Eugene Garfield Dies
The Scientist, February 27, 2017

Eugene Garfield, founder of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Science Citation Index, and Current Contents, among many more innovations, died on February 26 at the age of 91. His work, said, said C. Sean Burns, a professor of information science at the University of Kentucky, "created...the entire information science field as we know it today."

Voluntary Standards Development Organizations Prevail in Copyright Litigation
APA Press Release, February 16, 2017

Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) in their case against Public Resource. Standards developed by the organizations retain their copyright even when incorporated by reference into government regulation, said Chutkan, so that Public Resource infringed the associations' copyright by publishing the entire text of Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing after it was referenced in government documents.

The new world of data: Four Provocations on the Internet of Things
First Monday, 22 (2): February 6, 2017; by Steven Weber and Richmond Y. Wong

"To gain better insight and foresight into key characteristics that will differentiate [a] more intensely connected future from the present, we [examine] data that the Internet of Things will generate. We put forward four provocations about IoT data that pose what we argue will be the most critical questions about business models, privacy, economic geography, and security."

AAP Proposes Solutions to "Whac-a-Mole" Online Infringement for a More Sustainable Online Environment
AAP Press Release, February 22, 2017

On February 21, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a second round of comments with the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the application of section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The association seeks a way to curtail the repeated posting online of members' copyrighted material--and one that doesn't involve issuing repeated take-down notices, which is onerous for publishing houses.

NISO Note: AAP is a NISO Voting Member.

McGraw-Hill White Paper Details Differences in Librarian and Faculty Perceptions of Academic Libraries
AAP Press Release, February 22, 2017

A white paper recently published by McGraw-Hill presents the results of a survey of more than 1,000 librarians and faculty members, who showed marked differences in how they believe academic libraries function and are used. For example, the librarians surveyed reported fewer reference interactions than faculty estimated took place, and faculty underestimated patron interest in library programs.

Emory Receives $1.2 Million Grant to Help Shape Future of Scholarly Publishing
Emory Report, February 22, 2017; by April Hunt

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Emory College of Arts and Sciences has launched a multiyear initiative to support long-form, open-access publications in the humanities. The effort will be a collaboration among Emory College, Emory Libraries, the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, and the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship.

NISO Note: Emory University Library is a NISO LSA Member.

Metadata: The Key to Collaboration and a National Bibliographic Database
Jisc Blog, February 16, 2017; by Neil Wilson

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Emory College of Arts and Sciences has launched a multiyear initiative to support long-form, open-access publications in the humanities. The effort will be a collaboration among Emory College, Emory Libraries, the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, and the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship.

NISO Note: Jisc is a NISO Voting Member.

Should Libraries Even Consider Hacking Back If Attacked?
Information Today, February 24, 2017; by Felicia A. Smith

If your library is hacked, it's illegal to retaliate, as satisfying as it might be to destroy the hacker's computer or data. This article looks at a compromise solution some have suggested: taking back your material without harming the attacker.

New and Proposed Specs and Standards

Email Authentication Mechanisms: DMARC, SPF and DKIM

In recent years, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has been working to secure the email infrastructure, with efforts including source and message integrity authentication. Earlier this month, NIST released a report that discusses a test system for related protocols.

Three Recommendations to Enable Annotations on the Web

The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Annotation Working Group has published a Recommendation for Web Annotation that consists of three documents: a related data model, a vocabulary, and a protocol.

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. If you are a NISO Voting Member, log into your NISO page and you'll see the following ballots linked there.

  • Systematic Review of ISO TC46 SC9 ISO 832 Second Edition, Information and documentation - Bibliographic description and references - Rules for the abbreviation of bibliographic terms
    This International Standard specifies rules for the abbreviation of words and word combinations that commonly appear in bibliographic descriptions and references in languages using the Latin, Cyrillic and Greek alphabets. This ballot closes on March 2, 2017.

  • SHORT TURN-AROUND BALLOT: ISO TC 46 CIB Consultation on nomination of Vice-chair of ISO 3166/MA
    Following last 2-3 February meeting of the ISO 3166/MA, Mr. Jaap Akkerhuis from ICANN has been nominated as Vice-chair of the MA for a 3-year term. According to subclause 4.4.1 of the Terms of reference for the maintenance of ISO 3166, reproduced below, ISO TC 46 needs to approve this nomination via a one-month CIB ballot. This ballot closes on March 3, 2017.

  • The following NISO ballots are five-year systematic reviews of standards. Each concerns the transliteration into Latin of another script and closes on March 6, 2017.

    • Systematic Review of ISO 9:1995 (Ed 2, vers 3) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Cyrillic characters into Latin characters -- Slavic and non-Slavic languages

    • Systematic Review of ISO 9985:1996 (vers 3) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Armenian characters into Latin characters

    • Systematic Review of ISO 15919:2001 (vers 3) -- Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts into Latin characters

    • Systematic Review of ISO 259-2:1994 (vers 3) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Hebrew characters into Latin characters -- Part 2: Simplified transliteration

    • Systematic Review of ISO 259:1984 (vers 4) Documentation -- Transliteration of Hebrew characters into Latin characters

    • Systematic Review of ISO 233-2:1993 (vers 5) Information and documentation -- Transliteration of Arabic characters into Latin characters -- Part 2: Arabic language -- Simplified transliteration

    • Systematic Review of ISO 233:1984 (vers 4) Documentation -- Transliteration of Arabic characters into Latin characters

  • ISO/TR 19814 "Information and documentation - Collections management for archives and libraries"
    ISO/TR 19814 Management of collections in archives and libraries provides guidance and recommendations to plan, implement, maintain and improve preservation of archive and library collections. This ballot closes on March 22, 2017.