Engaging With NISO Condensed
Engaging With NISO Condensed
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TODD CARPENTER: I'm going to talk now about NISO, and what NISO is and how we do what we do. So NISO is a non-profit organization. We're a 501(c)(3). We're a membership based organization. We are comprised of the different participants and players in our community. Right? So that is everyone from archives and museums. So [INAUDIBLE] and some other archiving organizations, subscription agents that fulfill orders on subscriptions.
TODD CARPENTER: There are other standard development organizations that participate in our work, because for a variety of reasons we're doing an XML standard for standards [INAUDIBLE]. Librarians, journal publishers, book publishers, software, systems providers, other associations. So organizations that pull together voices for the library community writ large.
TODD CARPENTER: We have content aggregators, people who pull together content from different publishers and secondary publishers. We have some consultants. We have a variety of diverse organizations that participate in [INAUDIBLE]. And so even within those communities, right, we have a diverse community center. Academic libraries are very different from public libraries and special libraries, government libraries.
TODD CARPENTER: Book publishers are different from journal publishers, and different from magazine publishers. Technology companies vary based on the sectors that they're involved in. We pool all of those communities together. And that's, at its core, who we are. We're led by a board of directors. Thank you.
TODD CARPENTER: Thank you. They are all elected on an annual basis. The board of directors turns over roughly a third each year. We have an executive committee of a chair, a vice chair, past chair, and a treasurer. So what do we do? We as an organization, we kind of herd cats. We, the NISO staff, the seven of us, we don't write specifications.
TODD CARPENTER: We don't implement specifications. We do training and education. But what we do is we pull together these different stakeholder groups, publishers, libraries, to develop standards, to publish those standards and maintain them. And I'll get into how we do that in a couple minutes. We also try and educate the community and foster development, foster adoption of standards.
TODD CARPENTER: So we can't force anyone to use DOIs, use [? orchids, ?] or use [? jacks. ?] So we have to encourage it. We do that through education. We do that through outreach. We also educate people on, this is what the standard is and how should you use it. And then we're doing more of this incubation. So as I said, this entire conference, the goal is to come up with new ideas.
TODD CARPENTER: How do we solve your problems? Our portfolio is pretty diverse. It does everything from things that we have a hand in from a variety of different perspectives, things like ISSN, ISPN. There are standards for audio/visual recordings. The MARC record, as I mentioned, is a derivative of Z39.2. We also manage US positions on the ISO standard.
TODD CARPENTER: We do things on discovery and interoperability through Open URL and KBART, Knowledge Bases And Related Tools. We do file format structures, so JATS. That's the Journal Article Tag Suite. I'm sorry. I talk in acronyms a lot. I apologize. Most of the things on here are acronyms.
TODD CARPENTER: If you don't get an acronym, let me know. We also do things related to accessibility. So we have standards for accessible content. How do you transform digital text into text to speech? We do country code. We're responsible for US positions on country codes. So if you go to a website that is in the UK, it's .uk.
TODD CARPENTER: France, .fr. Switzerland is .cz. Those are ISO country codes. We represent US interests in that committee to decide on country codes. There's usage data standards, so SUSHI and COUNTER schemas. We have standards on ontology creation. So how do you create vocabulary systems?
TODD CARPENTER: How do you cite things? We have paper permanence. So what's the acidity level of paper so that it doesn't fall apart? Paper binding. And then access control systems, RA21. So we are a very, very diverse group. So how do we get our work done? Because, as I mentioned, we're not developing standards.
TODD CARPENTER: So we have a variety of different working groups and standing committees. So a working group is a team of volunteers who come together, and they're the ones who write the standard. Right? There are standing committees that maintain NISO standards. So JATS, for example, is under continuous maintenance. Things are constantly being updated and adapted.
TODD CARPENTER: We've organized our portfolio of standards into three topic committees, information content and curation. So how do we create content? How do we format it? And how do we do metadata associated with standards? Information discovery and interchange. So that is OpenURL. That is just search and discovery tools, Z3950.
TODD CARPENTER: And then information policy and analysis. So that is policy questions, licensing, privacy, usage statistics. Right? Each of those topic committees forms the architecture committee so that we're not overlapping our work. And we also create focus groups and different project related groups. But this is how we've structured our portfolio so that we're able to get as much done as we do.
TODD CARPENTER: So here's a little GIF introduction to the standards creation process. Someone has a great idea. So the person or people who have that idea, they put together a proposal, a preliminary work item proposal. Hey, I've got this idea. How can we make this happen? This is like two, three pages long. It just describes what's the problem, how do we fix it, what's your idea for fixing it, who needs to be involved, and how are we going to do it?
TODD CARPENTER: And maybe does it need funding? That sort of thing. That then goes to one of the topic committees. The responsibility of the topic committee is to look at that proposal. They will vet it. They will either approve it or send it back to the proposer and change it a little bit. If the topic committee approves it, it then goes out to the membership.
TODD CARPENTER: The voting members of NISO decide which projects we work on. Right? We want to be focused on the things that apply to at least a significant number of our members. Right? If it's only a project that one particular company is interested in, that only impacts one community, then that's not really a collaborative effort.
TODD CARPENTER: Right? So the voting members decide on whether or not to launch a project. So that group then convenes a working group. That's a team of volunteers. It could be as small as seven or eight people. It could be as large as 100 who are involved in this project. They get together, and they work mostly on teleconferences. They get together and try and solve the problems.
TODD CARPENTER: They then maybe will do some research, reach out to the community. What do you think about this? Are you experiencing the problem? They will then produce a draft. And then that draft will then go out for public comment and review. So people can look at it and say, oh, those are crazy ideas. Or this is brilliant, and we want more of this.
TODD CARPENTER: Or change this. They'll go back to the committee. The committee then takes that draft back to the topic committee. The topic committee then reviews it, ideally approves it or sends it back to the committee and says, you've totally messed up here. You've forgotten this or whatever. In the case of standards, which is a slightly different process, that will then go out to the voting members for their approval.
TODD CARPENTER: And then we'll publish it. Whoops. I'm going the wrong direction. So there's your published standard. Once we put out the draft, that gets vetted and reviewed. It goes back to the working group. It then gets published as a formal standard.
TODD CARPENTER: And then so this is a kind of joke that [INAUDIBLE] standards need to be maintained. So we have an office standard poodle. So that's the standard poodle. And the standard poodle needs to get trimmed. I was like, it looks like it's getting its tail cut off. There's something of a misnomer here about NISO in that we're the National Information Standards Organization.
TODD CARPENTER: But we spend a lot of our time working on international activities. It's a big world. It's a big standards world. We participate in a variety of international activities. A, about 15% 20% of our members are actually based outside of the United States. So we're not exclusively a US based organization.
TODD CARPENTER: We're kind of an international organization. We've gone back and forth about, well, should we just change ourselves to the NISO? Another thing that we do is participate in ISO. ISO is the International Standards Organization. It's not an acronym. It's Greek for the same, like iso bar, iso. So oddly enough, it's also the International Standards Organization.
TODD CARPENTER: But we participate by representing US interests to ISO. We do this primarily through a group that is ISO technical committee 46. So there is no real rationale behind the numbering system of ISO's technical committees. It's 46 because it was the 46th topic technical committee to be created. The next one is the next number.
TODD CARPENTER: They're now on to 317, and they're talking about creating a new one for lithium. So if they create a new one for lithium, that'll be 318. But it won't make any sense. There's no connection between the number. ISO TC 46 was one of the earliest established committees. It's focused on information and documentation. There are within the technical committee five subcommittees, SCs.
TODD CARPENTER: They're focused on interoperability, statistics and performance, identification and description, document storage and preservation, and archives and records management. So technical interoperability, that's Z3950. SRUSRW, that's kind of Dublin Core, how do standards [INAUDIBLE]. Statistics, that's pretty obvious. Identification and description, that's where all the identifiers lie.
TODD CARPENTER: So ISSN, ISBN, ISAN, DOI, text codes. Document storage and preservation. That's actual paper, boxes, archival materials. And then archives and records management is how do organizations like [INAUDIBLE] or corporate records management work? We also have another tie, because we serve as the secretariat for SC9.
TODD CARPENTER: So we do all of the management process for those identifiers. And as I said, that's where all of these identifier standards reside. And there is the recording industry, the movie industry, the web, publishing. These are all identifiers. And you don't need to read them, and you don't need to know the numbers. But you're all familiar with all of these things.
TODD CARPENTER: So as I said, we represent US interests. So we, NISO, votes on those standards. And we say, we, the United States, we create the voice for those standards. If there's a revision to the ISBN number, we create the US position on those standards. We also do this same thing for another group, JTC1, SC34.
TODD CARPENTER: That's the joint technical committee on information technology. That's a partnership between ISO and IEC, the International Electro Communications Commission?
AUDIENCE: I think it's Commission.
TODD CARPENTER: It's a joint work between those two standards bodies, focused on information technology. SC34 is document processing languages. So that is where we are involved in setting US positions on Microsoft Office. Office Open XML. EPub is also standardized there. So that's NISO in our international work. About 30% ish of our work is that international component.
TODD CARPENTER: So we host meetings. We go to meetings, international meetings. We are voting on standards all the time. If any of you are members and get too many emails, we're trying to figure out a way to simplify that, because there are standards votes all the time. OK? So the one thing that's special about NISO-- and I'm kind of banging on about this, but it's the diversity, the stakeholders that we bring together to address these problems.
TODD CARPENTER: And it really is critical to get those different perspectives, because even if you're not deeply technical about a standard, your opinion about how a thing might work in your library or in your publishing organization, you will have a sense of whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing, even without being able to say, well, actually that metadata field should be blah.
TODD CARPENTER: Right? Is this thing going to work for you in your organization? So we need a variety of perspectives. And diversity is really core to helping to address those issues. So we are centered around a set of values. The first being transparency and openness. So we want all sorts of voices, but we're also not a cabal.
TODD CARPENTER: OK. All of our meetings are open. If you want to be a participant, you can be. We're a volunteer organization. Right? We need people like you to volunteer to serve on these working groups. Because Nettie, I, and Alison, we're not writing these specifications.
TODD CARPENTER: We have volunteers that write these specifications. There's more than 500 people who are volunteering on NISO work at any given time. So as I said, our job is to convene people, bring them together, and organize their work. We're also big on equity. So we don't want a standard that is written by the publishers. Right? We also don't want standards written just by the librarians.
TODD CARPENTER: We want to have equal, or at least equitable voices in that process. Because if a standard is just written by-- we'll take it outside of our world. The spacing of seats on an airplane is a standard, and it's written by airlines. And well, you probably sat in a plane. And it probably wasn't very comfortable.
TODD CARPENTER: The problem with that is there aren't enough voices of users, consumers, in that process. If there were more human beings who are bigger than four feet tall, there would be wider spaces between the airline seats. Right? So we're collaborative. We're consensus driven. Consensus does not mean unanimity.
TODD CARPENTER: It doesn't mean that everyone agrees. It just means that there is an absence of adamant opposition. So if you are part of this process and you find a problem, it is in your interest to be like, no, no, no. This isn't going to move forward until you address my problem. As a member, you can do that. That is the value of being a member. And hopefully we don't get to that.
TODD CARPENTER: Hopefully people will solve your problems. But that's one of the core values. We need to listen to you if your object. So we have about 100 voting members. We have about 120 Library Standards Alliance members, which is a non-voting membership category. The Library Standards Alliance is primarily individual libraries.
TODD CARPENTER: The key difference there is voting members vote. They get to vote on the board. They get to vote on the standards. They get the ultimate decision about what US positions are, whether or not we do things, whether or not we launch a project. And so we have this variety of members.