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E-Book Special Interest Group

The NISO E-Book Special Interest Group is made up of dozens of participants from all parts of the NISO community: librarians, publishers, services for publishers, and software vendors. As described in the initial press release, the E-Book SIG will explore a range of industry best practices and standards related to the creation, distribution, discovery, delivery and preservation of digital book content. We envision that the E-Book SIG will have a fluid life, easily lasting beyond 2012.

The primary responsibilities of the SIG will be to continously monitor and review the state of the industry for e-books and to suggest areas for new initiatives within NISO or areas where NISO can engage with other communities on e-book work underway outside of NISO. The group will also host thought leader meetings and commission relevant research to advance the state of the industry.

Anyone may participate in the E-Book SIG via the Core group or the Observer/Monitor Group, as membership will remain open. Observers may switch to the Core group (and the reverse) if desired. It's possible to join the observer/monitor mailing list or express interest in joining the Core group.

During August, we created several topic-specific subgroups, mainly to encourage active participation where members were most interested.  These subgroups were determined based on the results of an unscientific survey of members of the Core group. Current discussion subgroups are:

  • Accessibility issues
  • Discovery Tools and Linking
  • Distribution (EPUB, PDF, Web & others)
  • Metadata General (ONIX, MARC, PREMIS, METS, Dublin Core, PMH, etc.)

We do plan to discuss further topics in a few months' time.  A kickoff meeting for Core participants took place on July 19, 2011, and discussion/brainstorming calls for subgroups took place during August.  A webinar on August 30 for all members, Core and Observers, provided an update on the topical calls. See recording information for the webinars below. As of the beginning of September, we're planning further  subgroup meeting schedules for the fall.

July 19 Core group webinar

If you have trouble with the above link:

  1. Go to https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/niso/view
  2. Enter the following:
    • Recording ID: 8B6652
    • Recording Key: B"f?8M8

August 30 General webinar:

If you have trouble with the above link:

  1. Go to: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/niso/view
  2. Enter the following:
    • Recording ID: 2N5G5T
    • Recording Key: B"f?8M8

We welcome comments and questions about the E-Book SIG at nisohq@niso.org

Statement of Intent

While NISO is best known for shepherding groups focused on a specific problem through the creation and implementation of recommended practices and standards, NISO as part of its new strategic plan is seeking to widen its outreach within the information industry. Specifically, the NISO Board of Directors and Architecture Committee seek to emphasize NISO’s role as a facilitator within the industry, one that can foster cross-community dialogue in a given topic area and provide a place for the incubation of ideas—even if no formal standards process within NISO is ever initiated as a result.

One outcome of the NISO Architecture Committee meeting at the 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting was the identification of e-books as an important topic area for NISO’s active support, even beyond its current activities. Another outcome was the acknowledgement that, although the current Topic Committee structure (Business Information, Content & Collection Management, Discover to Delivery) works well for most purposes, but the investigation and exploration of more complex topics that cut across two or more of these groups (such as that of e-books) cannot be easily accommodated in the current structure.

For these reasons, NISO is creating an E-book Special Interest Group (E-book SIG) that cuts across all three Topic Committees and includes stakeholders from across the industry. The focus will be on both e-book content as well as delivery.

Currently, NISO is already engaged in e-books in a number of areas including NISO and ISO standards projects related to formatting, markup, and distribution; licensing; education; and publications. See NISO and E-books: Current Areas of Engagement for a detailed listing and descriptions. NISO’s E-book SIG, which will help to coordinate and support these current activities, will also be exploring the larger context in which events are unfolding, including the following foundational questions:

  • How can NISO actively facilitate cross-community dialogue in the e-book area, building bridges between what are now separate, sometimes disparate groups?

  • How can NISO work collaboratively to provide education and information to assist with this dialogue?

  • How can NISO actively foster “incubation teams” to identify specific pain points in the e-books realm that could be remedied through formal standards, recommended practices, dissemination of information (e.g., via white papers, educational workshops, professional forums, Thought Leader meetings, etc.) either through NISO or another agency?

To start, the NISO E-books SIG will identify and start outreach to the communities within the library, publishing, vendor, and trade industries actively engaged in some aspect of e-books development and support. We encourage any organization actively engaged in this area and wanting to be kept actively informed of the NISO E-books SIG’s work to contact the NISO office at nisohq@niso.org.