State of the Standards

This comprehensive report on NISO’s standards and initiatives appears in the first issue of the year of ISQ to keep you informed of the scope and status of NISO’s program on an annual basis. If you have questions about any of the standards or development programs, contact the NISO office by phone (301-654-2512), via e-mail (, or visit the Standards section of the NISO website (

Current Projects

Listed below are the NISO working groups and standing committees that are currently developing new or revised standards, recommended practices, or reports. Refer to the NISO website ( /) and the Newsline quarterly supplements, Working Group Connection ( for updates on the working group and standing committee activities.

PIE-J (Presentation & Identification of E-Journals) Standing Committee
Co-chairs: Ed Cilurso (Taylor & Francis), Sarah (Sally) Glasser (Hofstra University)

The PIE-J Recommended Practice, PIE-J: Presentation & Identification of E-Journals (NISO RP-16-2013) was published in 2013. It provides guidance to publishers and platform providers on the presentation of e-journals--a critical component of the global scholarly infrastructure--particularly in the areas of title presentation, accurate use of ISSN, and citation practices. The PIE-J Standing Committee is charged with responding to specific questions about the Recommended Practice, gathering comments for a full review of the Recommended Practice document, and promoting PIE-J.

SERU (Shared E-Resource Understanding) Standing Committee
Co-chairs: Adam Chesler (American Institute of Physics), Anne McKee (Greater Western Library Alliance)

The SERU Recommended Practice was updated in 2012 to be more flexible for use with online products beyond e-journals, and is supported by its Standing Committee that works to publicize SERU and educate libraries and publishers via direct contacts and public presentations at industry conferences. The SERU public workroom pages are available to help publishers and libraries understand and use the SERU material. The SERU Registry, whose purpose is to enable publishers and librarians to more easily identify each other, continues to be updated with new supporters of SERU.

SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) Standing Committee
Co-Chairs: James Van Mil (University of Cincinnati), Oliver Pesch (EBSCO Information Services)

This Standing Committee provides maintenance and support for ANSI/ NISO Z39.93, The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol, and acts as the maintenance group for the COUNTER schema by providing recommendations to COUNTER and making changes to the COUNTER XML schemas (as approved by COUNTER). The group works under a continuous maintenance procedure.

SUSHI-Lite Working Group
Co-chairs: Paul Needham (Cranfield University), Oliver Pesch (EBSCO Information Services)

The SUSHI-Lite Working Group is continuing to modify its draft NISO Technical Report to address issues of more fine-grained reports and effects of various frameworks. This working group is exploring the potential adaptation of the SUSHI Standard to accommodate present day development tools and usage needs related to retrieving ‘snippets’ of usage through web services.

Transfer Standing Committee
Co-chairs: James Phillpotts (Oxford University Press), Elizabeth Winter (Georgia Institute of Technology)

The aim of the Transfer initiative is to support smooth and uninterrupted access to content by librarians and readers when a journal changes ownership and online content is transferred from a transferring publisher to a receiving publisher. UKSG announced the availability of the updated Transfer Code of Practice, Version 3.0, in March 2014. During late 2014 and early 2015, Transfer successfully moved from UKSG to NISO and the UKSG document was republished as a NISO Recommended Practice in January 2015. Further support, education, and potential future revisions to Transfer are now managed by the NISO Standing Committee which discusses promotion and communication strategies for all audience on regular conference calls.

Z39.7 Data Dictionary Standing Committee
Chair: Martha Kyrillidou, QualityMetrics Z39.7 Data Dictionary

The Information Services and Use: Metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers - Data Dictionary (ANSI/NISO Z39.7) is a continuously maintained standard; the fifth edition was released in summer 2013. The Standing Committee scans and reviews the statistical survey landscape and examines other assessment efforts-including use of particular vocabularies-in the community for effects on the Data Dictionary. The Z39.7 Standing Committee is currently considering possible updates to the standard as part of its adherence to ANSI-approved Continuous Maintenance procedures (Section 4).

Bibliographic Roadmap Working Group
Vocabulary Use & Reuse Subgroup, co-chaired by Diane Hillmann of Metadata Management Associates and Daniel Lovins of New York University.
Vocabulary Documentation Subgroup, co-chaired by Sean Glover of YBP Library Services and Natalie Bulick of Indiana State University.
Vocabulary Preservation Subgroup, chaired by Sherle Abramson-Bluhm of the University of Michigan.

This project grew out of the NISO Bibliographic Roadmap Initiative,
work which intends to identify areas where agreement on standard or recommended practices would support better bibliographic data exchange. This working group met as a single bloc for several months to establish common understandings and a proposed roadmap forward, and has
now split into several subgroups to address different areas of work. The subgroups are contributing use case descriptions to a shared space where all might make use of them, and continuing work on a co-authored draft Recommended Practice

NISO STS Working Groups
Co-chairs: Bruce Rosenblum (Inera), Robert Wheeler (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

This work will standardize a specific tag set used for standards publishing, the ISO STS, and link it officially to JATS (ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2015 JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite), a widely used specification which defines a set of XML elements and attributes for tagging journal articles and describes several article models. The NISO STS Steering Group has now completed its work examining overall scope of the effort and setting priorities for development; the NISO STS Technical Group continues to discuss and determine how various approaches could be implemented in the tag set.

Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) Standing Committee
Co-chairs: Jeff Beck (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine), B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.)

NISO announced the formal publication of the updated version of JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite 1.1, ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2015 in early January 2016. This newly official edition is a revision of ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2012, also known as JATS 1.0, first published in July 2012. Approved comments from users made on JATS 1.0 through February 2015 were incorporated into JATS 1.1 by the NISO JATS Standing Committee. All changes are also backward compatible with JATS 1.0, which means that any document that was valid according to JATS 1.0 will be valid according to JATS 1.1. The Standing Committee invites further comments to be considered for future updates of JATS which will be considered using its Continuous Maintenance procedure.

Access and License Indicators Working Group
Co-chairs: Ed Pentz (Crossref), Cameron Neylon (Curtin University; formerly of PLOS), Greg Tananbaum (SPARC)

The Access and License Indicators Working Group, initially known as the Open Access Metadata and Indicators Working Group, published its Recommended Practice in early 2015. This document defines a structure for standardized bibliographic metadata to describe the accessibility of journal articles as well as describes how “open” the item is via tagging to link to the item’s license terms. NISO intends that a Standing Committee will manage education, promotion, and further adjudication of potential updates to the Recommended Practice. If you are interested in potential participation in this group, please contact Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Director of Programs (

Knowledge Bases And Related Tools (KBART) Standing Committee
Co-chairs: Magaly Bascones (JISC), Ben Johnson (ProQuest)

The KBART Recommended Practice, published in 2014 by NISO, builds on the recommendations of the first version of the recommended practice
to specifically address areas of metadata for e-books and conference proceedings, packages licensed via consortia deals, and describe how open access metadata might be published and shared in knowledge bases while continuing to supply a format for general transfer of journal data to the knowledge base of a link resolver supplier. The KBART Standing Committee provides support and education activities for KBART and is working now on streamlining publisher approval for inclusion in the KBART Registry, which includes details of contacts, URLs, and instructions relating to the transfer of e-resource metadata between content providers and link resolvers. The Standing Committee is also reviewing its educational materials, updating these, and seeking new opportunities to present these to potential KBART audiences.

NCIP (NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol) Standing Committee
Chair: Mike Dicus (Ex Libris)

The NCIP Standing Committee operates via Continuous Maintenance procedures to manage the latest NCIP standard, version 2.02, which was published in 2012. The Committee is recommending that the standard published in 2012 should be reaffirmed by NISO Voting Members, per ANSI requirements for standards under continuous maintenance, and then moved to periodic maintenance as many other ANSI/NISO standards are managed.

Open Discovery Initiative Standing Committee
Co-chairs: Rachel Kessler (Ex Libris), Laura Morse (Harvard University)

The Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) Recommended Practice, published in June 2014, is directed toward the new generation of library discovery services that are based on indexed search. The published document includes background on the discovery landscape, recommendations

in the areas of technical formats for data format and data transfer; communication of libraries’ rights regarding specific content; descriptors regarding particular levels of indexing for content; definition of fair linking to published content; and determination of appropriate usage statistics to be collected to address stakeholder needs. The ODI Standing Committee supports and publicizes ODI, and monitors the discovery landscape to determine whether and when further recommendations should be studied and written.

Standard Interchange Protocol (SIP) Working Group
Co-chairs: John Bodfish (OCLC), Ted Koppel (Auto- Graphics)

Introduced by 3M in 1993, the Standard Interchange Protocol (SIP) provides a standard communication mechanism that allows Integrated Library System (ILS) applications and self-service devices to communicate seamlessly to perform self-service transactions. It has become the de facto standard around the world to integrate ILSs and self-service devices. This NISO Working Group has been directing the existing SIP version 3.0 specification through the NISO standardization process. Following the completion of the documents, the Working Group intends to address questions of compliance, certification, and assured interoperability.

Tracking Link Origins in Networked Information Environments Working Group
Proposed co-chairs: Ken Varnum (University of Michigan), Gary Pollack (EBSCO Information Services)

This project, approved by NISO Voting Members earlier this year, aims to develop a NISO Recommended Practice to help libraries, publishers, and other content providers to accurately track the sites/platforms from which incoming links originate when they pass through a link resolver. Where content hosts utilize HTTP analysis to determine where users started research, links coming from link resolvers will represent the domain of the link resolver and not that of the platform where the user originated his/ her search. The Working Group is beginning its investigation of options for passing the link origin information to publishers and implementation of one or more proof-of-concept projects to demonstrate proposed techniques.

Enhancing KBART for Automated Exchange of Title Lists and Library Holdings Working Group
Chair: TBD

NISO Voting Members recently approved this proposal, which would extend the KBART Phase 2 Recommended Practice to support individual library holdings of electronic products and automate the request and retrieval of KBART reports for title lists and library holdings. It is expected that this working group will work closely with the KBART Standing Committee. Work is expected to include the creation of a schema that would allow KBART data to be represented in JSON or XML, and consideration of leveraging the SUSHI-Lite specification as the mechanism for transport of KBART in JSON format.

E-Book Bibliographic Metadata Requirements in the Sale, Publication, Discovery, and Preservation Supply Chain Working Group
Chair: TBD

NISO Voting Members recently approved this proposal, which will collect the minimal metadata requirements necessary to describe e-books in order to support sales, discovery, delivery, deaccessioning, and preservation, and identify the most effective and efficient way for metadata to be moved through the entire supply chain. This project will help the creators and managers of bibliographic records to cooperate to minimize duplication of work and ensure overall quality of metadata.

Flexible API Framework for E-Content in Libraries Working Group
Chair: TBD

NISO Voting Members recently approved this proposal, which will modernize library-vendor technical interoperability using RESTful Web service APIs and standard mobile application intent calls, using the Queens Library API Requirements as an initial draft. This working group will create a foundation API set that the library industry can build on to fulfill an array of user and library needs, including quicker response times, flexible item discovery and delivery options, improved resource availability, and more seamless integration of electronic and physical resources.

In Revision

The following are published and approved NISO standards or recommended practices that are in the process of being revised.

Revisions of ANSI/NISO Z39.18, Z39.19, Z39.29, regarding Scientific and Technical Reports; Controlled Vocabularies; and Bibliographic References
NISO Voting Members earlier this year voted to approve revision projects for three standards last revised in 2005 (and reaffirmed in 2010). NISO is thus soliciting working members and co-chairs to participate in one or more of these three projects. Of course, all of the standards cover different areas and the revisions will have different scopes, but in general terms the requirement for revision for all of them is necessitated by advancements in the use of digital documents and other materials.

Revision of ANSI/NISO Z39.48 - Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives
Work is now under way to organize a working group to revise ANSI/ NISO Z39.48 - Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives, an existing standard last revised in 1992, last reaffirmed in 2009. This standard establishes criteria for coated and uncoated paper that will last several hundred years without significant deterioration under normal use and storage conditions in libraries and archives. It identifies the specific properties of such paper and specifies the tests required to demonstrate these properties composition, fiber, and stability; and/or paper analysis and test methods.

Periodic Review

The following published and approved NISO standards are either currently undergoing or will begin the five-year review process in 2017. The relevant Standing Committee, Maintenance Agency, or Topic Committee will make a recommendation for whether to reaffirm, revise, or withdraw the standard. If fifteen percent (15%) or more of the NISO voting membership joins a Voting Pool for each standard and balance requirements are met, ballots will be issued to approve the recommendation. If less than 15% of the membership joins a standard’s Voting Pool, the Board may initiate procedures for an administrative withdrawal.

See Section 7 of the NISO Procedures for more information periodic reviews (

ANSI/NISO Z39.78-2000 (R2010)
Library Binding

ANSI/NISO Z39.43-1993 (R2011)
Standard Address Number (SAN) for the Publishing Industry

ANSI/NISO Z39.71-2006 (R2011)
Holdings Statements for Bibliographic Items

ANSI/NISO Z39.87-2006 (R2011)
Data Dictionary - Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images

ANSI/NISO Z39.83-2-2012 (version 2.02)
NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) Part 2: Implementation Profile 1

ANSI/NISO Z39.83-1-2012 (version 2.02)
NISO Circulation Interchange - Part 1: Protocol (NCIP)

ANSI/NISO Z39.84-2005 (R2010)
Syntax for the Digital Object Identifier

ANSI/NISO Z39.88-2004 (R2010)
The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services

ANSI/NISO Z39.32-1996 (R2012)
Information on Microfiche Headers

ANSI/NISO Z39.73-1994 (R2012)
Single-Tier Steel Bracket Library Shelving

ANSI/NISO Z39.74-1996 (R2012)

Guides to Accompany Microform Sets

ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 (R2012)
Specifications for the Digital Talking Book

ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012
Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing Specification

Published and Approved NISO Standards

The following NISO standards are approved and published. Free downloadable copies of the standards are available from:

The notation R, e.g. R2002, indicates that the standard was reaffirmed in the specified year. Standards on a periodic maintenance schedule must be reviewed every five years. The notation S, e.g. S2015, indicates that the standard has been converted to stabilized maintenance. Stabilized maintenance removes a standard from the requirement for five-year periodic reviews. It is used for standards that address mature technology or practices and are not likely to require a revision.

Highlighted rows indicate standards that are managed under continuous maintenance by an appointed Standing Committee. Comments and suggestion for revisions may be submitted at any time and are reviewed by the Standing Committees on a regular published schedule. When either a substantive revision is required or a significant number of changes have been approved, a revised standard is submitted for approval by the NISO consensus body. Such a revision may be completed at any time but no later than five years after the approval of the current version.

ANSI/NISO Z39.14-1997 (R2015)
Guidelines for Abstracts

ANSI/NISO Z39.18-2005 (R2010)
Scientific and Technical Reports - Preparation, Presentation, and Preservation

ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 (R2010)
Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies

ANSI/NISO Z39.2-1994 (R2016)
Information Interchange Format

ANSI/NISO Z39.23-1997 (S2015)
Standard Technical Report Number Format and Creation

ANSI/NISO Z39.29-2005 (R2010)
Bibliographic References

ANSI/NISO Z39.32-1996 (R2012)
Information on Microfiche Headers

ANSI/NISO Z39.41-1997 (S2015)
Placement Guidelines for Information on Spines

ANSI/NISO Z39.43-1993 (R2011)
Standard Address Number (SAN) for the Publishing Industry

ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (R2009)
Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives

ANSI/NISO Z39.50-2003 (S2014)
Information Retrieval: Application Service Definition & Protocol Specification

ANSI/NISO Z39.7-2013
Information Services and Use: Metrics & Statistics for Libraries and Information Providers Data Dictionary

ANSI/NISO Z39.71-2006 (R2011)
Holdings Statements for Bibliographic Items

ANSI/NISO Z39.73-1994 (R2012)
Single-Tier Steel Bracket Library Shelving

ANSI/NISO Z39.74-1996 (R2012)
Guides to Accompany Microform Sets

ANSI/NISO Z39.78-2000 (R2010)
Library Binding

ANSI/NISO Z39.83-1-2012
NISO Circulation Interchange Part 1: Protocol (NCIP), version 2.02

ANSI/NISO Z39.83-2-2012
NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) Part 2: Implementation Profile 1 (version 2.02)

ANSI/NISO Z39.84-2005 (R2010)
Syntax for the Digital Object Identifier

ANSI/NISO Z39.85-2012
The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set

ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 (R2012)
Specifications for the Digital Talking Book

ANSI/NISO Z39.87-2006 (R2011)
Data Dictionary - Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images

ANSI/NISO Z39.88-2004 (R2010)
The OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services

ANSI/NISO Z39.89-2003 (S2014)
The U.S. National Z39.50 Profile for Library Applications

ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2014
The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol

ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2015
JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite

ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012
Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing Specification

ANSI/NISO Z39.99-2014
ResourceSync Framework Specification

NISO Recommended Practices

NISO Recommended Practices are “best practices” or “guidelines” for methods, materials, or practices in order to give guidance to the user. These documents usually represent a leading edge, exceptional model, or proven industry practice. All elements of Recommended Practices are discretionary and may be used as stated or modified by the user to meet specific needs.

Free downloadable copies of these documents are available from:

NISO RP-25-2016
Outputs of the NISO Alternative Assessment Project

NISO RP-24-2015
Transfer Code of Practice, version 3.0

NISO RP-23-2015
Protocol for Exchanging Serial Content (PESC)

NISO RP-22-2015
Access License and Indicators

NISO RP-21-2013
Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics (IOTA): Recommendations for Link Resolver Providers

NISO RP-20-2014
Demand Driven Acquisition of Monographs

NISO RP-19-2014
Open Discovery Initiative: Promoting Transparency in Discovery

NISO RP-14-2014
NISO SUSHI Protocol: COUNTER-SUSHI Implementation Profile

NISO RP-17-2013
Institutional Identification: Identifying Organizations in the Information Supply Chain

NISO RP-16-2013
PIE-J: The Presentation & Identification of E-Journals

NISO RP-15-2013
Recommended Practices for Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials

NISO RP-14-2014
NISO SUSHI Protocol: COUNTER-SUSHI Implementation Profile

NISO RP-9-2014
Knowledge Base And Related Tools (KBART)

NISO RP-12-2012

Physical Delivery of Library Resources

NISO RP-11-2011
ESPReSSO: Establishing Suggested Practices Regarding Single Sign-On

NISO RP-6-2012
RFID in U.S. Libraries

NISO RP-10-2010
Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol

NISO RP-9-2014
KBART: Knowledge Bases and Related Tools Recommended Practice

NISO RP-8-2008
Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group

NISO RP-7-2012
SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding

NISO RP-2006-02
NISO Metasearch XML Gateway Implementers Guide

NISO RP-2006-01
Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context

NISO RP-2005-03
Search and Retrieval Citation Level Data Elements

NISO RP-2005-02
Search and Retrieval Results Set Metadata

NISO RP-2005-01
Ranking of Authentication and Access Methods Available to the Metasearch Environment

A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections

NISO Technical Reports

NISO Technical Reports provide useful information about a particular topic, but do not make specific recommendations about practices to follow. They are thus “descriptive” rather than “prescriptive” in nature. Proposed standards that do not result in consensus may be published as technical reports.

Free downloadable copies of these documents are available from:

Environmental Guidelines for the Storage of Paper Records
by William K. Wilson

NISO TR01-1995

Guidelines for Indexes and Related Information Retrieval Devices

by James D. Anderson
NISO TR02-1997

Guidelines for Alphabetical Arrangement of Letters & Sorting of Numerals & Other Symbols
by Hans H. Wellisch
NISO TR03-1997

Networked Reference Services: Question / Answer Transaction Protocol
NISO TR04-2006

IOTA Working Group Summary of Activities and Outcomes
NISO TR-05-2013

Withdrawn NISO Standards

In accordance with NISO procedures, standards may be withdrawn because they are superseded by a newer standard, a national version is withdrawn in favor of an international equivalent, or the content is deemed to be obsolete. In accordance with ANSI procedure, all American National Standards that are not revised or reaffirmed within ten years following ANSI approval are automatically administratively withdrawn. A list of all withdrawn NISO standards is available on the NISO website by checking of the “Show Inactive Projects” filter. ( Copies of these standards are available online or from the NISO office.

ANSI/NISO/ISO 12083-1995 (R2009)
Electronic Manuscript Preparation and Markup

NISO Approval of withdrawal February 3, 2016; ANSI Approval of withdrawal March 24, 2016.
NISO's adoption of this ISO standard as a national standard has been withdrawn effective March 24, 2016, per ANSI approval. This standard continues to be accessible via ISO as ISO 8879 (SGML - Standard Generalized Markup Language).