A New Year Brings Opportunities and Possibilities!

Letter from the Executive Director, December 2023

The new year brings lots of opportunities and is full of possibility. Perhaps it’s the feeling that there are no deadlines immediately after the new year. And perhaps that’s combined with the excitement of having a new set of goals and a seemingly long expanse of time to get to them. Of course, that peace and excitement tend not to last, unfortunately. Things tend to pick back up quickly, and deadlines begin to approach. At least we can linger in that glow for a few days.

Here at NISO, that glow—while special—will end soon, as we’re focused on our big deadline and event in February: NISO Plus 2024! The schedule is in place, the keynotes are confirmed, the final few speakers are being slotted in, and the final logistics are being ironed out. It will be amazing to be back together in person in a few weeks. Stepping onto the stage to kick off the first NISO Plus back in 2020 was thrilling, and the conversations that ensued during that first meeting were unlike any other event in our community I had engaged in. While many things have changed over the past four years, I expect that the same energy and excitement will fill the halls of the Hyatt Regency in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. 

The conversations will be wide-ranging, but there are three core topics that will be main themes on the program: Artificial Intelligence, Metadata, and Open Scholarship. The open scholarship theme includes sessions on open scholarship in the humanities, bibliodiversity, and the future of open research. For metadata, the sessions include author identity and name changes, PIDs for research assessment, and cutting-edge use cases for metadata. On the topic of artificial intelligence (AI), there will be conversations about disclosure of the use of AI, AI in search and discovery, ethical issues using AI, and on the “build it or buy it” issue. Each of these is but a fraction of the full program and the robust conversations that will take place.  

When it comes to activities in the future year, of course, it’s important to remind people of the goals of the NISO Plus program, which is that gatherings lead to conversations about important issues facing our community. Those conversations will hopefully lead to ideas about collectively solving problems related to those issues. After the conference, the real work begins, which is to take those ideas and turn them into projects, which eventually lead to solutions. This model of conversations, leading to projects and eventual solutions, is a core element of the new NISO Strategic Plan, which was announced last month. Later this month, we will be providing the community with more information about the plan and its implications for our work, especially NISO Plus. The NISO Plus model, including the grassroots conversations about ideas that help to solve problems in our community, has proven successful in its first four years, and we seek to continue building on the momentum now that NISO Plus can be back as an in-person event. We recognize that not everyone can engage face-to-face in Baltimore, which is why we plan to continue the virtual program element by extending the conversations and ideas to a worldwide community with a NISO Plus Global Online event in September.

As has been the case with each of the previous conferences, we expect that the conference will drive forward many new project ideas for our standards development program. We already have a robust program of standards underway, and we want to ensure that we’re making the best use of NISO’s limited volunteer and member resources. The NISO leadership committee structure will vet the ideas generated and prioritize the most valued and impactful project ideas this spring. The community will, of course, be engaged in this process. That engagement starts at the conference, through gauging the interest level of the participants in the conversations. We had a similar process during the NISO Plus Forum in October, which led to some of the AI session topics at the conference. If you aren’t able to join us at the event, after the conference we’ll welcome your input on the ideas generated there.

The new year will bring lots of excitement, energy, and opportunity. I’m excited about our prospects and the work that’s before us—not only the new ideas but also our existing portfolio of ongoing and maintenance projects. We expect to be finalizing work on retractions, controlled digital lending, standards ontology, and journal article versions in the coming year. We also will continue to make progress on cooperative collections, accessibility remediation metadata, and open access business processes.

That excitement about the new year isn’t just for the team at NISO, though. You, too, will want to be involved and—while I hate to impose a deadline just after the new year —there is something you need to do, and do it soon. The early bird registration for the NISO Plus conference closes on January 8, and rates will go up after that. Get your tickets now to take advantage of the great rates available for a very limited time.

I look forward to seeing many of you next month and throughout the coming year. It’s going to be wonderful!



Todd Carpenter
Executive Director