ISO Publishes New Standard on Thesaurus Interoperability

ISO 25964-2:2013, Information and documentation – Thesauri and interoperability with other vocabularies – Part 2: Interoperability with other vocabularies

In March 2013, the second part of the ISO standard on Thesauri and interoperability with other vocabularies was published. Focusing on the interoperability aspect—particularly mapping between vocabularies—the new part expands and complements Part 1, which was published in 2011 and covered the development and maintenance of thesauri both monolingual and multilingual, including formats and protocols for data. The ISO 25964 standard is under the oversight of the ISO TC46/SC9 committee (Information and documentation/Information and description), for which NISO is the Secretariat.

Semantic interoperability between vocabulary systems, also referred to as knowledge organization systems (KOS)—is critical in today’s electronic and semantic web environments where a multitude of vocabularies are in use. Even within a single organization, it is common to find several different such vocabularies, such as the records management system, the library catalog, the organization’s intranet, and different subject-specific disciplines for the research lab. With so many vocabularies in use in different organizations across disciplines and countries, a user would have to craft many different search queries and run the appropriate one against these different repositories to effectively retrieve all the relevant information. Automated support based on mapping between these different vocabularies is both needed and technologically possible, following the mapping guidelines in ISO 15964-2.

The standard begins with the principles and practicalities of interoperability, especially mapping, that apply to most vocabularies and especially thesauri. The vocabularies with which a thesaurus may need to operate and that are addressed in the standard are classification schemes (including those used for records management), taxonomies, subject heading schemes, name authority lists, and—although used for different purposes—terminologies, ontologies, and synonym rings. The standard provides a brief description of each of these vocabulary’s key characteristics, contrasting its semantic components with those of a thesaurus, and then provides specific guidelines for mapping between a thesaurus and the specific vocabulary.

To further support implementation of the standard, the working group prepared an informational website, hosted by NISO. Included on the website are tables of content for each part of the standard, a correspondence table between ISO 25964 and the W3C Recommendations for SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) and SKOS-XL extension, an XML schema for exchange of thesaurus data conforming to ISO 25964-1, and links to information sources for further reading and related resources. The working group has also updated the Wikipedia articles on ISO 25964 and Thesaurus (information retrieval).

Following publication of the standard, the Ministry of Culture and Communication (France) developed the GINCO (Gestion Informatisée de Nomenclatures Collaboratives et Ouvertes) software dedicated to the management of vocabularies and implementing the principles defined in ISO 25964-1. The software was released publicly and is available under a CeCiLL v2 license, a French free software license, compatible with the GNU GPL.

Both parts of the standard are available for purchase from ISO and various national standards bodies.

ISO 25964 website:

Wikipedia article on ISO 25964:

GINCO software:

The Amsterdam Manifesto on Data Citation Principles

During the Beyond the PDF 2 Conference in Amsterdam on March 20, 2013, Mercè Crosas, Todd Carpenter, David Shotton, and Christine Borgman developed and issued for comment and endorsement the following manifesto on data citation.


We wish to promote best practices in data citation to facilitate access to data sets and to enable attribution and reward for those who publish data. Through formal data citation, the contributions to science by those that share their data will be recognized and potentially rewarded. To that end, we propose that:

  1. Data should be considered citable products of research.

  2. Such data should be held in persistent public repositories.

  3. If a publication is based on data not included with the article, those data should be cited in the publication.

  4. A data citation in a publication should resemble a bibliographic citation and be located in the publication’s reference list.

  5. Such a data citation should include a unique persistent identifier (a DataCite DOI recommended, or other persistent identifiers already in use within the community).

  6. The identifier should resolve to a page that either provides direct access to the data or information concerning its accessibility. Ideally, that landing page should be machine- actionable to promote interoperability of the data.

  7. If the data are available in different versions, the identifier should provide a method to access the previous or related versions.

  8. Data citation should facilitate attribution of credit to all contributors

Comments and an electronic endorsement mechanism are available at:

SPARC Issues Primer on Article-Level Metrics

SPARC has released a new community resource, Article-Level Metrics – A SPARC Primer, discussing the emerging hot topic in scholarly publishing of Article-Level Metrics (ALMs).

While traditional metrics about journal article usage are typically based on citations, ALMs, as stated in the primer’s Executive Summary:

» Offer a new and effective way to disaggregate an individual article’s impact from the publication in which it appears;
Aggregate a variety of data points that collectively quantify not only the impact of an article, but also the extent to which it has been socialized and its immediacy;
» Pull from two distinct data streams: scholarly visibility and social visibility;
» Are both more granular and more immediate than traditional benchmarks;
» Have the potential to complement existing metrics and add critical nuance to the tenure and promotion process;
» Are not owned or controlled by any single company.

The primer differentiates ALMs and altmetrics in that ALMs use both traditional measures and altmetrics to focus specifically on measuring impact at the article level. Alternative metrics can be used at both journal and article levels and for other types of resources, including measures across a particular scholar’s works.

In addition to describing article-level metrics in more detail, the primer also explains their relationship to open access, provides real-life examples of publishers and publishing platforms using ALMs, and discusses their potential use in the tenure and promotion process, their limitations, and future opportunities.

“ALMs that are free to use, modify, and distribute contribute to a world in which information is more easily shared and in which the pace of research and development is accelerated as a consequence.”

ALM Primer:

BISG Offers Free Field Guide to Fixed Layout for E-Books

The Content Structure Committee of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has developed a free Field Guide to Fixed Layout for E-books. Most e-content is made “flowable” to allow it to re-format automatically for the particular device being used. However, some content is not readable or user-friendly when a device reformats and flows it, particularly content that is heavily designed, including such items as illustrated children’s books, textbooks, cookbooks, and art books. To ensure the fidelity of this content is retained, publishers may prefer to create a non-flowable fixed layout, even though this may limit some of the distribution channels and reading devices.

The guide is directed to publishers who want or need to create fixed-layout e-books and covers:

» When to use (and not use) fixed layout
» How to create a fixed layout e-book
» Accessibility issues for print-disabled readers
» Synching text and audio
» Interactivity and JavaScript
» Retailer standards (Amazon, Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble)

The Field Guide is available at:

W3C Launches New Digital Publishing Activity

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) launched in June 2013 a new Digital Publishing Activity to make the Web a platform for the digital publishing industry, and to build the necessary bridges between the developers of the Open Web Platform and the publishing industry.

Today's eBook readers and tablets for electronic books, magazines, journals, and educational resources use W3C technologies such as (X)HTML, CSS, SVG, SMIL, MathML, or various Web APIs. Commercial publishers also rely on W3C technologies in their back-end processing all the way from authoring through to delivering the printed or electronic product and beyond. The publishing industry is one of the largest consumers of W3C technology.

Work in this activity primarily takes place in the Digital Publishing Interest Group. That Interest Group is a forum for experts in the digital publishing ecosystem of electronic journals, magazines, news, or book publishing (authors, creators, publishers, news organizations, booksellers, accessibility and internationalization specialists, etc.) for technical discussions, gathering use cases and requirements to align the existing formats and technologies (e.g., for electronic books) with those used by the Open Web Platform.

The launch of this Activity follows two W3C Workshops this year so far: Great Expectations for Web Standards (February) and Richer Internationalization for eBooks (June). W3C is also holding a Workshop on publishing workflow in September in Paris. [Source: W3C news release]

W3C Digital Publishing Activity:

Digital Publishing Interest Group:

Great Expectations for Web Standards workshop:

Richer Internationalization for eBooks workshop:

Workshop on publishing workflow: