NISO Releases Library Statistics Standard as Web-Based Database

4th Revision of 1995 Standard Is Next-Generation in Content and Format

Bethesda, MD - February 23, 2005 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has re-engineered the American National Standard formerly known as Z39.7 into a searchable data dictionary and re-titled it Information Services and Use: Metrics & standards for libraries and information providers. NISO incorporated improvements based on the existing survey instruments in use by nationally recognized U.S. library data collection programs. The online database format of the revision sets a precedent among American National Standards and, as with all NISO standards, it is freely available (
Pat Harris, Executive Director of NISO, noted, "The standard helps the information community identify, define, collect, and interpret statistical data used to describe the status and condition of libraries in the U.S. It also assists the community in collecting the data necessary to support research and analysis aimed at improving the performance of libraries and enhancing library effectiveness."

The data dictionary approach enables key word searching within the standard and more accessible viewing of specific metrics described in the standard. "It also leverages the flexibility of HTML and XML to embed links to library surveys," explained Denise M. Davis, Director, Office for Research & Statistics of the American Library Association and Chair of the NISO committee handling the revision. "The data elements in the standard are mapped to the specific surveys that collect and report that data."

For data collectors, the standard indicates categories for consideration in constructing data collection instruments. The standard also provides guidance to others interested in information about statistical measures related to library services. Applicability of this standard may be at the local, state, national or international levels.

This standard is similar in structure to the previous editions, designed primarily for information providers, library managers and those who collect data from libraries. The six sections, including brief descriptions, are:

  • Reporting Units - Describes types of libraries, the entity that has administrative or budgetary control, and the populations served by each. Staffing is described under section "Human Resources."
  • Human Resources - Describes all levels of staffing associated with each library type.
  • Collections - Describes broad collection categories in all formats.
  • Infrastructure - Describes facilities, including capacity and technology.
  • Finances - Describes broad categories of revenue (e.g., income) and expenditure by type and source.
  • Services - Describes broad categories of services provided by libraries including hours of operation, as well as other metrics associated with understanding library use both tangible and virtual.

About NISO

NISO, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation.