Discovery Provider Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why was the conformance checklist developed?

The conformance checklist was developed so that content providers and libraries could understand, at a glance, the degree to which a particular discovery service provider conformed to the NISO Open Discovery Initiative’s Recommended Practice. It is meant to provide a high-level overview of the content and metadata available to the discovery service and provide discovery services with best practices regarding usage reporting, fair linking, Open Access and more.

2. Who is it intended for?

The Discovery Service Provider Conformance Checklist is intended for use by any discovery service provider, defined in the Recommended Practice as: 

"The organization creating index-based discovery services intended to enable end users to search the broad universe of content made available through their library.”

3. Why should I participate in the Open Discovery Initiative?

Engaging with the Open Discovery Initiative allows you to participate in a forum for open dialogue with all stakeholders while signaling to your customers that you value fairness and transparency. It also encourages content providers to partner with you by publicizing that your platform supports their business interests.

4. Should I publish my conformance statement if I am not perfect and not fully in conformance?

Yes. The conformance statement describes the degree to which a discovery service provider meets the broad strokes of the Open Discovery Initiative Recommended Practice. For each item in the statements, discovery services are asked to indicate their degree of conformance: Yes [fully conformant], Partial [partially conformant], or No [not conformant]. In the case of a “Partial” or “No” response to any particular item, discovery service providers are invited to provide an explanatory note describing the response.

Submission of a conformance statement, regardless of the level of conformance, lets publishing partners and customers know that the discovery service is committed to transparency and to ensuring the best possible experience for their users.

5. Where should I publish my conformance statement?

Conformance statements are published by each discovery service on their website and linked to from the NISO ODI website at ODI requests that content providers send the URL of completed conformance statements to so that they may be included in the directory.

6. Many content providers do not include Open Access information in their feeds so we cannot include them in our index. Are we still compliant?

Yes, you are still compliant, but for transparency’s sake, please note this in the notes column.

7. Why do you now ask for two different kinds of coverage reports and how are they different from each other?

Libraries and content providers felt that the previous reports did not contain sufficient depth for understanding what content was indexed in the central index. We now require two reports; one at the collection level and one to report on the titles within each collection. Both also request additional information on the depth of the content included in the index, i.e., whether full text, abstracts and subjects are searchable and how much content is free to read.

8. Why have you decided to support the COUNTER recommendations rather than your own report?

COUNTER has become the accepted standard for usage reports in the industry. In COUNTER 4, they proposed reports for discovery service providers to give to content providers. We do not want there to be two standards in the industry and feel that it is important to support the work of others. COUNTER and ODI will collaborate to make sure that the COUNTER reports meet the needs of all ODI stakeholder groups. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the COUNTER reports, please feel free to reach out to and we will make sure to take all advice into consideration when consulting with COUNTER.