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Recommended Practices

NISO Recommended Practices are "best practices" or "guidelines" for methods, materials, or practices in order to give guidance to the user. These documents usually represent a leading edge, exceptional model, or a proven industry practice. Use of any or all elements of a Recommended Practice is discretionary; it may be used as stated or modified by the user to meet specific needs.

NISO RP-25-2016, Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Project

Published September 2016

Abstract: This recommended practice on altmetrics, an expansion of the tools available for measuring the scholarly impact of research in the knowledge environment, was developed by working groups that were part of NISO's Altmetrics Initiative, a project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The document outlines altmetrics definitions and use cases, alternative outputs in scholarly communications, data metrics, and persistent identifiers in scholarly communications.

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Visit the Altmetrics Initiative webpage

NISO RP-24-2015, Transfer Code of Practice, version 3.0

Published March 2014 by UKSG; NISO RP edition published February 2015

Abstract: This recommended practice contains best practice guidelines for ensuring that journal content remains easily accessible by librarians and readers when there is a transfer between parties. The Code provides guidance to both the Transferring Publisher and the Receiving Publisher to ensure that the transfer process occurs with minimum disruption for libraries, intermediaries (such as serials subscription agents, link resolver administrators, and vendors of large-scale discovery systems), and readers. The Code was originally developed by the UKSG and version 3.0 was published in March 2014. Following agreement between NISO and UKSG for NISO to take over maintenance of the Code, it was republished as this NISO Recommended Practice. Except for the Foreword, the content is unchanged from the UKSG version 3.0.


Alerting Service: An Enhanced Transfer Alerting Service provides a searchable databasea vailable at http://etas.jusp.mimas.ac.uk/. The ETAS is currently offered through collaboration among UKSG, JUSP, JISC, and Cranfield University with JUSP and MIMAS providing the hosting environment.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-40-7

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Visit the Transfer Standing Committee webpage.

NISO RP-23-2015, Protocol for Exchanging Serial Content (PESC)

Approved May 14, 2015

Abstract: Serial publications represent a diverse content space ranging from popular magazines to scholarly journals, from content that is image-based to content that is text-based, from publications that have new content daily (even hourly) to those that might have new content only every few years. The manner in which the content creator packages the content for any particular serial publication may not match the needs of the recipient of that content and, given the proliferation of serial content, this creates a highly chaotic environment with different partners delivering significantly different looking content packages and making it difficult for all parties in the environment to work with content deliveries in a cost-efficient and effective way.

The recommendations in this document offer guidance to members of the scholarly communication community on preferred practices for the packaging and exchange of serial content that will enable the automation of processes to receive and manage serial content at scale. By following these practices, organizations can make it clear what content has been transmitted, how it is organized, and what processing is required when a new package is received.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-66-7

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Visit the PESC webpage.

NISO RP-22-2015, Access License and Indicators

Approved January 5, 2015

Abstract: This recommended practice 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.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-49-0

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Visit the ALI webpage.

NISO RP-21-2013, Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics (IOTA): Recommendations for Link Resolver Providers

Approved April 26, 2013

Abstract: These recommendations are the result of a three-year study performed by the NISO IOTA Working Group in which millions of OpenURLs were analyzed and a Completeness Index was developed as a means of quantifying OpenURL quality. By applying this Completeness Index to their OpenURL data and following the recommendations, providers of link resolvers can monitor the quality of their OpenURLs and work with content providers to improve the provided metadataultimately resulting in a higher success rate for end users.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-18-6

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Visit the IOTA webpage.

NISO RP-20-2014, Demand Driven Acquisition of Monographs

Approved June 24, 2014

Abstract: Demand driven acquisition (DDA), also referred to as patron-driven acquisition, is a method used by libraries for collection development where monographs are purchased at their point of need when selected by users from a pool of potential titles. This Recommended Practice discusses and makes recommendations for publishers, vendors, aggregators, and libraries about key aspects of DDA, goals and objectives of a DDA program, choosing parameters of the program, profiling options, managing MARC records for DDA, removing materials from the consideration pool, assessment of the program, providing long-term access to un-owned content, consortial considerations for DDA, and public library DDA. Although DDA is more commonly used for e-books, the method can also be applied to print publications and these recommendations provide a single set of best practices for both formats, with articulation of differences where they occur.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-44-5

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Visit the DDA webpage.

NISO RP-19-2014, Open Discovery Initiative: Promoting Transparency in Discovery

Approved June 25, 2014

Abstract: The Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) recommended practice aims to facilitate increased transparency in the content coverage of index-based discovery services and to recommend consistent methods of content exchange or other mechanisms. It provides specific guidelines for content providers on metadata elements, linking, and technical formats, and for discovery service providers on content listings, linking, file formats, methods of transfer, and usage statistics. The document also provides background information on the evolution of discovery and delivery technology and a standard set of terminology and definitions for this technology area.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-42-1

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Visit the ODI webpage.

NISO RP-17-2013, Institutional Identification: Identifying Organizations in the Information Supply Chain

Approved March 26, 2013

Abstract: This Recommended Practice describes the work done by the NISO Institutional Identifier (I²) Working Group to define the requirements for a standard identifier for institutional identification in the supply chain. It also provides background on the collaboration agreement between the NISO I² Working Group and the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) International Agency to use the ISNI standard (ISO 27729) and the ISNI-IA’s infrastructure for institutional identification, rather than publishing a separate standard for institutions. It concludes with the recommended practices and the metadata for applying the ISNI to institutions.


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Visit the I² webpage.

NISO RP-16-2013, PIE-J: The Presentation & Identification of E-Journals

Approved March 25, 2013

Abstract: This Recommended Practice provides guidance on the presentation of e-journals—particularly in the areas of title presentation, accurate use of ISSN, and citation practices—to publishers and platform providers. It is also intended to solve some long-standing concerns of serials, collections, and electronic resources librarians. In addition to the recommendations, the document includes extensive examples of good practices using screenshots from various publishers’ online journals platforms; a discussion of helpful resources for obtaining title history and ISSN information; an overview of the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and key points for using it correctly; an explanation of the Digital Object Identifier (DOI®), the registration agency CrossRef, and tips on using DOIs for journal title management; and a review of related standards and recommended practices.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-05-6

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PIE-J Brochure: electronic version (for online viewing)   print version (for tri-folding)

Visit the PIE-J webpage

NISO RP-15-2013, Recommended Practices for Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials

Approved January 16, 2013

Abstract: These recommended practices are intended to help the scholarly publishing community develop a more standardized approach to publishing what has become known as Supplemental Materials for Journal Articles in a rapidly changing technology environment. The intent is to lessen the burden on all of the parties engaged in the publishing process, to ensure that Supplemental Materials delivered in connection with journal articles add substance to the scholarship, to make Supplemental Materials more discoverable, and to aid in preserving them.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-12-4

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Visit the Supplemental Journal Article Materials webpage.

Referenced documentation available at: supplemental.niso.org

NISO RP-14-2014, NISO SUSHI Protocol: COUNTER-SUSHI Implementation Profile

2nd edition
Approved July 22, 2014.

Abstract: Defines a practical implementation structure to be used in the creation of reports and services related to harvesting COUNTER reports using the NISO SUSHI Protocol.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-45-2

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Visit the SUSHI webpages.

Referenced schemas available from the SUSHI Schema webpage.

NISO RP-12-2012, Physical Delivery of Library Resources

Approved January 19, 2012

The purpose of this document is to recommend practices about the physical movement of items during the delivery of the items to the requesting library and their return to the lending library. The recommendations in this document focus on the movement of the physical items (e.g., books and audiovisual materials) between libraries, and between library and patron. This Recommended Practice focuses on three key areas: the physical move, automation, and the management of physical delivery.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-01-8

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NISO RP-11-2011, ESPReSSO: Establishing Suggested Practices Regarding Single Sign-On

Approved October 25, 2011

ESPReSSO explores practical solutions for improving the success of single sign-on (SSO) authentication technologies for providing a seamless experience for the user and makes recommendations for promoting the adoption of one or more of these solutions to make the access improvements a reality.

ISBN: 978-1-880124-98-7

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Visit the ESPReSSO webpage.

NISO RP-10-2010, Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol

Approved August 2010

Abstract: CORE defines an XML schema to facilitate the exchange of financial information related to the acquisition of library resources between systems. The two systems may be within the same organization, e.g., an ILS and an ERMS, or from two different organizations, e.g., a subscription agent and a library.

ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-84-0

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Visit the CORE webpage.

NISO RP-9-2014, KBART: Knowledge Bases and Related Tools Recommended Practice

Approved March 27, 2014

Abstract: This Recommended Practice contains practical recommendations for the timely exchange of accurate metadata between content providers and knowledge base developers.It provides all parties in the information supply chain with straightforward guidance about the role of metadata within the OpenURL linking standard, and recommends data formatting and exchange guidelines for publishers, aggregators, agents, technology vendors, and librarians to adhere to when exchanging information about their respective content holdings for use in knowledge bases, also called link resolvers. Expanding on the original recommendations, which focused on journal literature, this revision also addresses the more granular, complex issues that cause problems in metadata supply, including consortia-specific metadata transfer, metadata transfer for open access publications, and metadata transfer for e-books and conference proceedings.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-41-4

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Visit the KBART Information Hub.

NISO RP-8-2008, Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group

Abstract: These recommendations provide a simple, practical way of describing the versions of scholarly journal articles that typically appear online before, during, and after formal journal publication. The Recommended Terms and Definitions for Journal Article Versions define journal articles at seven stages: Author's Original (AO), Submitted Manuscript Under Review (SMUR), Accepted Manuscript (AM), Proof (P), Version of Record (VoR), Corrected Version of Record (CVoR), and Enhanced Version of Record (EVoR). The appendices include a set of use cases showing application of the recommended terms and a graphical representation of journal article versions and relationships with formal and gray literature. The publication is the result of a partnership between NISO and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).

ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-79-6

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NISO RP-7-2012, SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding

Approved May, 2012

The Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU) Recommended Practice offers a mechanism that can be used as an alternative to a license agreement. The SERU statement expresses commonly shared understandings of the content provider, the subscribing institution and authorized users; the nature of the content; use of materials and inappropriate uses; privacy and confidentiality; online performance and service provision; and archiving and perpetual access. Widespread adoption of the SERU model for many electronic resource transactions offers substantial benefits both to publishers and libraries by removing the overhead of bilateral license negotiation.

ISBN: 978-1-937522-08-7

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Visit the SERU STanding Committee webpage.

NISO RP-6-2012, RFID in U.S. Libraries

Approved March 23, 2012.

Abstract: Provides recommendations for implementing RFID in U.S. libraries in a manner that will promote interoperability. It includes a recommended Data Model and discussions of security, tag migration, the book supply chain, privacy, and vandalism. It serves as a U.S. profile to the three-part international standard ISO 28560, RFID in Libraries.

This document supersedes the 2008 Recommended Practice of the same name.

ISBN (13): 978-1-937522-02-5

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Visit the NISO RFID Working Group webpage.

NISO RP-2006-02, NISO Metasearch XML Gateway Implementers Guide

Abstract: This document describes the NISO Metasearch XML Gateway (MXG) protocol, which is based on the NISO-registered SRU protocol. This gateway provides a mechanism for information service providers to expose their content and services to a Metasearch engine. While the task group recognized that the longer term goal is some type of standardized query protocol based on SRU/SRW, an XML gateway provides an immediate, low entry barrier method for content providers to interact with metasearch services.

Published: August 7, 2006

ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-85-7

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NISO RP-2006-01, Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context

Abstract: Outlines the actual and potential uses of web services in a library context and recommends a set of best practices in support of interoperable digital library services. Included in this document is a discussion of the document service interface, looking at four model types. Best practices are explained in the areas of HTTP caching, filtering of user input, reuse of output formats, security, and throttling. Typical output formats used in web services-DTD, XML schema, RDF, Relax NG, and DSD-are described. An appendix provides an overview, for those new to web services, of the typical types of services used in a library context: discover, locate, request, deliver, and common services. The appendix also includes a brief introduction to interoperability issues.

ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-86-4

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NISO RP-2005-03, Search and Retrieval Citation Level Data Elements

Abstract: A minimum set of required citation level data elements has been identified to overcome the current lack of standardization in the way a citation is formatted in a record returned by a metasearch engine. Use of these data elements will allow citation information to be parsed for re-use in applications such as OpenURL linking and metadata formats such as Dublin Core.

ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-87-1

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NISO RP-2005-02, Search and Retrieval Results Set Metadata

Abstract: Defines a core set of metadata elements that provide information about a result set at both the aggregate level and the individual record to provide better quality of information returned and ensure more standardized presentation of results to the end user. These data elements are intended to be used by content providers to provide better quality of information returned through a variety of methods. They may also used to ensure that the needs of metasearch products are met by a given protocol.

ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-88-8

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NISO RP-2005-01, Ranking of Authentication and Access Methods Available to the Metasearch Environment

Abstract: This report provides an evaluation and ranking of existing authentication methods, as they could be used in a metasearch environment, and recommends metasearch-related authentication best practices in today's environment.

ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-89-5

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A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections

Abstract: Provides an overview of some of the major components and activities involved in the creation of good digital collections and provides a framework for identifying, organizing, and applying existing knowledge and resources to support the development of sound local practices for creating and managing good digital collections. It is intended for two audiences: cultural heritage organizations planning projects to create digital collections, and funding organizations that want to encourage the development of good digital collections.

3rd edition 2007
ISBN (13): 978-1-880124-74-1

HTML version of Framework

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