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Welcome to the first issue of NISO’s
Newsline, a monthly alert featuring news about NISO’s activities and
crisp, timely reports on significant developments, events, and trends in
the information standards world.
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about standards. Remember -- we all have a role in framing the standards
NISO Takes Part in Patent-Focused Seminar
Blue Ribbon Panel Will Aid NISO Planning
Now Available: Understanding Metadata
What's New in NISO Standards
"European Conference on Digital Libraries"
"Librarians Go Digital"
"Gearing Up for Digital-Era Preservation"
"XML: Too Much of a Good Thing?"
"IPTC Updates About Its News Exchange Standards
at IfraExpo 2004"
"Museums, Libraries and Archives Council UK
Ratifies Commitment to Global Internet Standards"
"Hot Conference, Cool Technology"
"Digital Pack Rats"
NISO Takes Part in Patent-Focused
September 16, NISO participated in an invitation-only event that explored
the hazards of including patent-protected intellectual property (IP) in
standards. "The Future of Standards Setting" brought together top
IP attorneys from the corporate world (including Microsoft and HP) and
standards developers to see what lessons can be learned from recent
high-profile IP cases. (Read
Blue Ribbon Panel Will Aid NISO
a charter to evaluate NISO’s progress, challenges, and opportunities,
eleven experts from industry, academia, and the library community have
accepted seats on NISO’s Blue Ribbon Panel. The Panel will play a
central role in the strategic planning initiative that NISO’s Board
of Directors launched in May 2004. The Mellon Foundation has provided
funding to support the Panel, which will provide a formal report—open
for public review and comment—later this year.(Read More)
Now Available: Understanding
Metadata, an introduction to metadata that includes an overview of leading
metadata contenders and examples of practical applications, is available as
a free download from NISO (www.niso.org/standards/resources/UnderstandingMetadata.pdf).
The publication covers a range of fundamentals, from a definition of metadata
and descriptions of the types of metadata, to creating metadata and future
NISO’s Metasearch Initiative, librarians, content providers,
middleware vendors, and publishers are working on standards to improve web
searching. The vast majority of quality data (whether popular content from
newspapers and magazines, or scholarly research material content available
in journals and through abstract services) is only available via leased
access to proprietary Web interfaces. (Read More)
What's New in NISO Standards
Question/Answer Transaction Protocol that supports Q&A between library
patrons and reference sources has been released for a trial use through
April 5, 2005. The Protocol defines a method and structure for data
exchange between digital reference service domains. This new standard
supports digital reference services, a new and rapidly growing extension of
the traditional reference assistance, a mainstay of library operations. All
interested parties are invited to review the Protocol and participate as an
Implementer. Following the trial use period the comments and experiences of
the implementer community will be considered in finalizing the Protocol for
consideration as a NISO standard. For more information, go to www.niso.org/committees/net-ref-protocol.html
"European Conference on
Managing Information News (09/13/04)
2004, the eighth European Conference on Digital Libraries, was held Sept.
12-17, 2004, at the University
of Bath. The
gathering offered presentations, in addition to tutorials and
demonstrations, on digital libraries and associated technical,
organizational, and social issues. Brian Kelly of UKOLN was scheduled to
address the challenges of interoperability, when relying on open standards,
in a presentation of his paper, "Interoperable Digital Library
Programs? We Must have QA!" Kelly said, "Although such principles
are widely accepted in the digital library community, in practice
appropriate standards and best practices are not always used." He gave
reasons for this failure and a solution that makes use of QA principles.
UKOLN assistant director Andy Powell headed "Encoding Dublin Core
Metadata in XHTML, XML, and RDF," and officials from JISC Development
offered a demonstration of "Tailoring the Web for Teaching and
Learning." Other projects funded by JISC that were presented at ECDL
included "The Institutional Repository Route to Open Access:
Implications for Its Evolution," by Dr. Jessie Hey of the School of
Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton and
Pauline Simpson of the University of Southampton Libraries. (www.managinginformation.com).
"Librarians Go Digital"
News 8 Austin (09/10/04) Bordelon, Jennifer
University of Texas School of Information plans to use two grants totaling
more than $1 million to train library and information professionals in
digital preservation. Over the past decade, more reference information has
gone digital and a high percentage of information today is even born
digitally. "But there has not been a whole lot of planning to preserve
digital records," acknowledges Mary Lynn Rice-Lively, associate dean
of the School
Information will be easier to find, once it has been catalogued in the
digital world. Although it is currently easier to return results, they are
not always what people are looking for. "One thing that we really need
to work on is standards because now that everything is going digital there
are a lot of unknowns," says Lab Peterek, a graduate student. (www.news8austin.com).
Library Journal (08/15/04) P. 27; Tennant, Roy
will have to embrace bibliographic records encoded with different standards
and emerging specs such as Dublin Core, the Metadata Object Description
Schema (MODS), and VRA Core, or become even more marginalized. The number
of useful items online without MARC cataloging now reaches into the
millions, and may never be catalogued in MARC. Catalogers can plan a key
role in accommodating records not catalogued in MARC or AACR2 because they
understand that the important metadata issues of granularity, accuracy,
authority control, and controlled vocabularies remain the same. Rebecca
Guenther at the Library of Congress has helped lead the way by being
involved in the Dublin Core effort, and also by helping to pioneer the MODS.
And some library schools are updating their curricula and creating new
classes to address all forms of biographical metadata. However, libraries
need to stress the importance of metadata expertise so that catalogers long
out of school will be motivated to revamp their skills. The National
Information Standards Organization offers the superb paper
"Understanding Metadata," which should help get library staff up
to speed. (www.libraryjournal.com).
NISO Note: "Understanding
Metadata" can be downloaded for free from the NISO website at http://www.niso.org/index.html
"Gearing Up for Digital-Era
IST Results (09/02/04)
importance of digitally preserving Europe's cultural and scientific
heritage will be highlighted at an October workshop in Bern, Switzerland,
hosted by the IST program's Erpanet project. Underlying Erpanet is the
acknowledgment that Europe must commit
more time, financial resources, and effort to dealing with digital
preservation, and that this effort must be ratcheted up because the
definition of digital preservation has expanded to include those who manage
electronic records, not just traditional archivists and record managers.
The three-year project, executed between Italian, Dutch, and Swiss
partners, has studied experience, policies, and stratagems devised by
others in the field of digital preservation; among Erpanet's
accomplishments is the erpaDirectory, which details approximately 100
European programs, while Erpanet coordinator Peter McKinney also lauds the
project's 60 case studies. "They are unique for the preservation
community, looking not only at cultural heritage but also software and the
way institutions such as banks plan to keep records in the future," he
notes. Though more and more data is being rendered digitally, McKinney explains
that "the problem is how we get people to use these standard
formats--and whether they will continue to be standard in future."
Software and hardware's ever-increasing speed of change is another
challenging factor. The Erpanet coordinator reports that the project is
cultivating a community of stakeholders, while Erpanet-distributed guidance
documents on best practices and other advisories should maintain their
usefulness for several years. (istresults.cordis.lu).
"XML: Too Much of a Good
CNet (09/07/04) Becker, David
the six years since the main XML specification was created, hundreds of
derivative schemas and dialects have emerged to serve interests ranging
from poultry farming to cave exploration. Although some worry that the
proliferation of XML formats could lead to compatibility problems, XML
co-inventor Tim Bray says the phenomenon is evidence of XML's success,
explaining that the original idea was to create a language from which
developers could easily craft other languages. XML book author John
Simpson, who has created his own schema for cataloging "B"
movies, says XML is more accurately described as a grammar than a language
itself, and that any XML-based system can be easily tweaked to understand
other XML dialects; "The fact there are different standards is
immaterial...it's almost trivial to get it from one dialect into another,"
he says. XML has become the foundation for a growing number of major IT
projects, including the Indigo communications subsystem Microsoft plans to
build into the Longhorn operating system and services-oriented architecture
frameworks touted by systems integrators. XML's ability to describe complex
data easily over the Internet is a boon to numerous industries, such as
farmers, food processors, and grocers, who use the Meat and Poultry XML
format to share information about meat quality, cut, and expiration.
Industry coordinator Blake Ashby says speedier data sharing means less time
manually checking information and stock-keeping, and fresher product.
Still, many groups struggle with competing XML standards that analyst Ron
Schmelzer warns could confuse and burden small businesses, for example.
Eventually, these competing standards will be consolidated according to
market forces, at which point the basic XML framework will make integration
NISO Note: All useful standards
undergo "growing pains" as implementations get going, making it
even more important for standards developers to tie the community together.
"IPTC Updates About Its News
Exchange Standards at IfraExpo 2004"
plans to present the latest developments involving NITF, NewsML, Newscodes,
and other specialized areas such as sports and election results during an
afternoon session on Oct. 11, 2004, at IfraExpo 2004 in Amsterdam. The Windsor, England-based consortium of
major news agencies, publishers, and industry vendors will discuss the news
exchange and XML-based standards. IPTC also will announce that the
standards for news photo metadata will be supported by Adobe Photoshop CS
and Adobe's XMP metadata framework. "We had a successful information
session at Nexpo 2004 in Washington, so it
seems natural to bring news of IPTC's work to the premier newspaper
technology forum in Europe," says
Walter Baranger of The New York Times. "For many Ifra members, this is
the easiest way to meet and talk to people who make IPTC's widely known
standards." Ifra will hold its annual autumn meeting in Amsterdam a week
before the October gathering, and will discuss the development of NewsML 2
and NewsCodes, the standard taxonomies for news metadata. (www.xmlmania.com).
NISO Note: NISO is monitoring the
IPTC’s work to set standards for the interchange of news data as this
work may be the basis for the standards needed to encode the historical
newspaper collections that are going digital.
"Museums, Libraries and
Archives Council UK
Ratifies Commitment to Global Internet Standards"
M2 PressWIRE (08/24/04)
The United Kingdom
has become officially involved in the continued development of the Dublin
Core, the widely used international standard for metadata, the words that
describe the content of Web pages. The Museums, Libraries, and Archives
Council (MLA) and Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) have signed on
to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and will represent U.K. public
sector institutions. The United
Kingdom is among the seven national
governments that have adopted Dublin Core, which has participants in 25
countries and has been translated in 25 languages. Dublin Core is named
after the location of its initial development in Dublin, Ohio.
UK OLN, the digital information management center at the University of Bath,
will serve as adviser on the implementation and technical development of
the Dublin Core standard. MLA Chief Executive Chris Batt says signing the
agreement is important for several reasons. "First of all, it enables
those organizations at the cutting edge of Internet development to
influence the development of the important Dublin Core standard and to
ensure the needs of the U.K.'s
rich creative knowledge economy is well served globally," says Batt.
"Second, the fact that MLA and JISC have agreed to share this program
recognizes the convergence that is increasingly possible in a networked
NISO Note: The Dublin Core aka NISO
Z39.85 (or ISO 15836) can be downloaded from the NISO website at http://www.niso.org/standards/index.html
"Hot Conference, Cool
American Libraries (08/04) Vol. 35, No. 7, P. 68; Pace, Andrew K.
American Library Association's Annual Conference featured a number of new
library technologies that generally enhance librarians' ability to manage
resources. Electronic resources management (ERM) systems received the most
coverage, allowing libraries to more efficiently manage their third-party
licensed content, including electronic databases and journals, but the
category is still new and vendors did not offer a good conceptual
definition. Digital asset management (DAM) allow libraries to manage their
local collections and this year's products focused on supporting newer
standards such as XML, the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata
Harvesting (OAI-PMH), Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standards (METS),
and JPEG2000. MuseGlobal, Ex Libris, WebFeat, and other firms offered a
number of "connecter files" that put off the need for a newer
standard that lowers the bar for non-Z39.50 search broadcasts. RFID is
perhaps the most rapidly maturing technology, offering libraries
unprecedented inventory-control and customer service opportunities. By
fitting collections with the small radio tags, libraries could enable
self-checkout and more efficient item routing for shelving items, for
example. Biblioteca, Checkpoint, 3M, and VTLS are in the forefront of this
market, which should grow as RFID chip prices fall from the current 60
cents to 90 cents per chip. (www.ala.org).
"Digital Pack Rats"
Journal-Constitution (08/27/04) P. 1F; Fernandez, Don
technology standards will be the ultimate filter to help weed out old and
unneeded files, says Carnegie
head Ed Schlesinger. As a result of today's information explosion,
unorganized stores of MP3s, digital video, and images are breaking down the
efficiency and order technology was supposed to bring; peripheral devices
such as digital cameras, set-top television recorders, and MP3 players
encourage computer users to store increasing amounts of data. Schlesinger
says, "These digital pack rats haven't thought about what they're
going to do with this 10 years from now." University
of California at Berkeley
professor Peter Lyman is conducting a study of personal media consumption
at the School
of Information Management
and Systems. "It's like an infinite attic, and we're filling it,"
he says of people's proclivity to save emails, images, and other files on
their computers. National Association of Professional Organizers President
Barry Izsak recently added electronic organizing to the list of services he
performs. The ease of saving files causes people to save more than they
need, he says. Storage technology advances will soon allow CD-size discs to
hold small portraits of every person on the planet, says Carnegie Mellon
Center head Ed
Schlesinger. Companies are capitalizing on the explosion of stored digital
files, such as Kodak, which is setting up 25,000 kiosks nationwide where
digital camera users can print images. Moxi is a device that employs
software to choose and organize television programming and other
multimedia. Georgia Tech offers the SMARTech digital repository that
automatically refreshes and updates users' data to the latest formats. (www.ajc.com).
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