NISO Seeks Volunteers to Help Revise Standards on Technical Reports, Controlled Vocabularies, and Bibliographic References

NISO seeks experts from the vendor, publishing, library, and information technology fields to work on the revision of three standards that are central to scholarly communication. Working on a NISO committee is a rewarding way to build your CV, gain contacts in the industry, and participate in creating the future of information exchange. The three standards in focus are:

ANSI/NISO Z39.18-2005 (R2010) Scientific and Technical Reports - Preparation, Presentation, and Preservation
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Z39.18 outlines the elements, organization, and design of scientific and technical reports. It includes guidance for the uniform presentation of front and back matter, text, and visual and tabular matter in print and digital formats, as well as recommendations for multimedia reports. The committee that developed the standard in 2005 recognized that the way technical reports were organized had evolved over the past 30 years from a content-based organization pattern to a user-based one. Further changes have happened since that time, of course, and the huge growth in digitally formatted documents necessitates a revision of the standard.

ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 (R2010) Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies
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Controlled vocabularies are the backbone of knowledge organization systems. They seek to describe information in a systematic way, by providing lists of acceptable terms. Supporting this kind of work is ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 (R2010), a standard that presents guidelines and conventions for the contents, display, construction, testing, maintenance, and management of controlled vocabularies.

The community has noted the need for general revisions and edits of this standard, such as replacing references to AACR2 (the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules) with references to RDA (Resource Description and Access) and revising references to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards to ensure they are the current versions. In some cases, definitions and terms used need improvement or refer to obsolete taxonomy approaches. Another reason for the planned revision is that some aspects of the guidance offered in the standard is contrary to common practice.

ANSI/NISO Z39.29-2005 (R2010) Bibliographic References
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Citing work by others is a cornerstone of academic endeavor, and having one's work cited is crucial to an academic career. With the proliferation of formats in use in scholarly communication today, a tool that helps to create, organize, and maintain bibliographic referencing systems such as APA, MLA, and Chicago Style, and one for users of those systems, is essential. Such a standard was created in 2005.

Z39.29 provides rules, guidelines, and examples for the creation of bibliographic references to numerous types of print, audiovisual, and electronic materials, both published and unpublished. This standard is intended for a broad audience, including the creators of bibliographic references, the processors who publish and otherwise display references, and the ultimate users of those references. The standard was reaffirmed in 2010 with some open questions and comments from members of the community. Since that time additional questions have arisen. In some places, the standard is contrary to cataloging rules and current best practices; in other areas, it provides guidance that leads to confusion for users. In addition, there are some areas omitted that should be considered, and some of the guidance is in the wrong part of the standard.

If you are interested in volunteering to work on any of these standards, or would like any further information about what is involved with the work, please contact NISO's Associate Director for Programs, Nettie Lagace, at