Information Standards Quarterly, Winter 2012

Letter from the Editor

Each year, ISQ features a year in review issue that covers the tremendous amount of work the organization and its community of volunteers have done in the previous year. the past year is possibly one of NISO’s busiest as you can see from the stories included in this issue. however, it is important to reflect that milestones are simply points along a journey. while it is worthwhile to pause and consider the accomplishments we have made, the journey is far longer and far more involved than any one period of time.

While we’ve reduced the time from project launch to completion—on average to something short of 28 months—there is so much more that must be done. It’s difficult, therefore, to pinpoint exactly when a particular project can be considered a success. NISO seldom considers projects “done” even after they are published. While publication is an important milestone, it probably isn’t half-way along the journey. The post-publication activities of education, promotion, adoption, supporting documentation, extensions, and change management are critical elements of the process that are just as—if not more—important than development and publication. However, they frequently don’t get the same recognition.

It is for this reason that, while we look back on our successes with this issue, it is equally filled with a variety of need-to-be-done items on the task list. We shouldn’t view this as a negative, but as a positive forward-looking arc. We do have a lot to do, and the more projects we begin, the longer our list of things to do will become. Projects are almost never finished and then put on the shelf for posterity. Standards development is a process of improvement; something that doesn’t end. We may cease heading down a particular path in favor of another approach, but we don’t stop moving forward.

So please enjoy this quarter’s issue. Reflect on our successes and accomplishments. Ponder the contributions of all of those who have brought us to this place, for we do owe them our gratitude. But also consider what the next steps are and try to envision where each of these initiatives will take us. Think of what we will need to do next and how the community will react. And finally, ask yourself what role you will play in advancing the work described in this issue. What will you do to bring these projects to fruition? Will you, can you, implement them in your organization? That is the purpose of milestones: to remind you of where you are going as much as to tell you where you have been.