NISO E-book Special Interest Group

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, 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
  • Publications

The 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:

  1. How can NISO actively facilitate cross-community dialogue in the e-book area, building bridges between what are now separate, sometimes disparate groups?
  2. How can NISO work collaboratively to provide education and information to assist with this dialogue?
  3. 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