Information Standards Quarterly, Winter 2010

Letter from the Editor

NOTE TO READER: Download the PDF of this issue.

The future of the book has been a theme of many a conference or seminar in recent years. There are significant transformations and developments that are converging around digital content creation, publishing, and distribution. While these changes have been impacting the back-end production side of publishing for more than two decades, they are now becoming apparent to both authors and readers. The traditional definition of a book is broadening and users are demanding more than a passive reading experience.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick in her terrific article on Planned Obsolescence highlights the changes to the book and proposes a new model for digital academic publishing. She shares her experience with creating content on an open platform and details the successes and failures in working with the new digital formats. She also gives some perspective on how these transformations and models might impact scholarship. However, the implications are much broader. Works of all sorts are being transformed by the interactive and communication capabilities of the digital medium. Improved discovery through semantic descriptions, covered in Corey Harper’s article on the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), is one area having an increasingly apparent and powerful impact on all digital information, including e-books. Dale Askey in E-books: The Eternal Next Big Thing adds some skepticism to the discussion, arguing that the current hyped wave of e-book readers is still not ready for mass consumption.

Our tradition with the first ISQ issue of the year is to highlight the state of the information standards landscape both within NISO and outside. And what a year 2009 was! NISO launched more standards projects in the past year than in any single year of its history. As a result, we have more members of our community now engaged in active development and maintenance groups than ever before. Likewise, this issue of ISQ is our biggest ever. I hope you will find the content informative and engaging.