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NISO Working Group to Develop A Standards-Specific Ontology Standard (SSOS)

NISO Working Group to Develop a Standards-Specific Ontology Standard (SSOS)

February 8, 2019 – Baltimore, MD   Voting Members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved a new project to create a Standards-Specific Ontology Standard (short title: NISO SSOS). A working group is now being formed to develop and standardize a high-level ontology to describe a limited set of core concepts and relationships focusing initially on the lifecycle of standards. This will facilitate use of standards, support more consistent discovery and navigation within them, and set a foundation for other semantic applications, such as linked data, in the standards ecosystem.

“If the hundreds of organizations who produce and distribute standards were to develop their own local ontologies, it would inhibit interoperability at a time when disparate systems most require it in order to streamline processes and enhance services or products. It hurts smaller organizations by adding to the general expense of standards publications,” says Robert Wheeler, Director, Publishing Technologies at ASME and a co-sponsor of the proposal. “The inconsistencies across vocabularies would also slow the discovery and navigation of standards documents by those who actively seek to use those materials.”

“This is the right direction for stakeholders across the information community,” notes Cord Wischhöfer, Head, Process Management Standards Information at DIN Software and another project co-sponsor. “Agreement on an ontology enables standards producers and distributors to further leverage existing investments in XML. It builds on existing work such as the NISO Standard Tag Suite, an ANSI/NISO standard that is a set of XML elements that provide a common format for representing and exchanging content of standards regardless of the form in which the content will finally be delivered to customers. It forms the foundation needed to move forward in such key areas as improved machine readability.”

“The new working group will form a high-level ontology, creating a framework describing the core concepts and relationships that exist in standard documents that can be built upon and extended. That results in great interoperability of standards and standards data,” explains Todd Carpenter, the Executive Director of NISO. “It’s important development work and the new working group will benefit from participation by industry professionals having a general familiarity with semantic publishing, XML and standards publishing.”  

Those interested in participating in the working group now being formed should contact NISO Associate Director of Programs, Nettie Lagace, at NISO is seeking participation in this working group by those familiar with standards content: standards producers, publishers, distributors, service providers, and libraries.

About NISO

NISO, based in Baltimore, MD, fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of information standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO website.





Nettie Lagace

Associate Executive Director

Nettie Lagace is the Associate Executive Director at NISO, where she is responsible for facilitating the work of NISO's topic committees and development groups for standards and best practices, and