[Web4lib] NISO Launches New Open Discovery Initiative to Develop Standards and Recommended Practices for Library Discovery Services Based on Indexed Search

Cynthia Hodgson chodgson at niso.org
Tue Oct 25 09:59:47 EDT 2011

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) voting members have
approved a new Open Discovery Initiative work item to develop standards and
recommended practices for next generation library discovery services. Using
an aggregated index search of a wide range of resources, licensed and free,
from multiple providers, these discovery services have the ability to
deliver more sophisticated services with instant performance, compared to
the federated search techniques previously used.

"Marshall Breeding (Director for Innovative Technologies and Research,
Vanderbilt University), Jenny Walker (Consultant for Ex Libris), and I
hosted an Open Discovery Initiative invitational meeting at the ALA Annual
Conference in New Orleans in June 2011," stated Oren Beit-Arie Chief
Strategy Officer at Ex Libris. "We wanted to gauge interest in exploring the
issues encountered with these new discovery services and in pursuing more
formal standards or best practices for information providers to provide
content to discovery services. We received an overwhelmingly positive
response from stakeholders, which led the group to bring the project forward
to NISO." 

"Libraries increasingly rely on index-based discovery services as their
strategic interfaces through which patrons gain access to the rapid growing
breadth of information that may be available to them," states Walker. "They
expect their uniquely licensed and purchased electronic content to be made
available within the discovery service of their choice. But it is often not
clear which resources are available, which are indexed in full text or by
citations only, or both, and whether the metadata derives from aggregated
databases or directly through the full-text."

"The scope of discovery interfaces is broader than what is managed in the
integrated library system," explains Breeding. "These services can include
other local repositories and digital collections and the electronic
resources in subscription information content products. We'd like to see a
consistent vocabulary regarding all the elements involved, that there be
clarity in the business rules that apply to the content once indexed, and
that there be clear descriptors regarding the extent of indexing performed
for each item or collection of content and the level of availability of the

"NISO is very pleased to bring together the stakeholders in open
discovery-libraries, information providers and discovery providers-to
develop consensus standards or recommended practices on how to make these
services more effective for all involved, and ultimately, for the end user,"
states Todd Carpenter, NISO Managing Director. "Other areas of interest for
the new Open Discovery Initiative may include a standard exchange of data
describing what rights to the content apply within the discovery service and
a standard approach to exchanging data in support of usage reports."

Individuals interested in participating in this working group should contact
Nettie Lagace (nlagace at niso.org). An interest group list for this project
(opendiscoveryinfo at list.niso.org) will be available for those who would like
to receive updates on the Working Group's progress and provide feedback to
the group on its work. Information on how to subscribe is available at

Cynthia Hodgson
NISO Technical Editor Consultant
National Information Standards Organization
Email: chodgson at niso.org
Phone: 301-654-2512

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