The Critical Component: Standards in the Information Exchange Environment

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author

While most of us are generally unaware how critical they are, standards make twenty-first century libraries, information services, and publications of all kinds work. In this environment, everyone working with systems, circulation, resource sharing, digital initiatives, preservation, collections or special collections, and even public services can benefit from learning more about standards.

An improved understanding of standards, on which librarians rely, will lead to greater application and adoption of these technologies. By better understanding how standards are developed, more librarians can turn to the standards process when they have ideas for how to improve their work. The Critical Component: Standards in the Information Exchange Environment paints a complete picture of information standards in 11 chapters and 9 case studies, which provide:

  • an overview of standards and their benefits to libraries and other cultural organizations
  • the process of developing, approving, and maintaining formal standards
  • players in the information landscape
  • basic standards concepts
  • specific purposes of standards, including identifiers, description, discoverability, and preservation
  • an overview of how new standards are marketed and adopted
  • ways that individuals can get involved in standards work
  • a look at the future of standards

The ongoing educational, research, and entertainment missions of libraries and other cultural organizations rely on standards that underlie interoperability and data exchange, unique identifiers and authority control, ontologies, barcodes, patron management, resource sharing, discovery, web-based services, software, digital collections, preservation, metadata management, bibliographic control, and resource layout. Greater understanding of and appreciation for these information standards that permeate our work and our institutions will only help us and our institutions.


Cindy Hepfer
Chapter 1. The Value of Standards for Information Exchange
    Todd A. Carpenter

Chapter 2. How Formal Should We Be? The Standards Continuum and the Standards Development Pipeline
    Cynthia Hodgson
Case Study. The Digital Object Identifier: From Ad Hoc to National to International
    Norman Paskin

Chapter 3. The Information Standards Landscape
    Nettie Lagace
Case Study. Everything Old is New Again: ISSN in the Digital Environment
    Regina Romano Reynolds

Chapter 4. Basic Standards Concepts
    Mark Bide
Case Study. Accessibility for Everyone
    George Kerscher

Chapter 5. This Thing Is Not That Thing: The Role of Identifiers in Content Management and Distribution
    Laura Dawson
Case Study. I2 and ISNI: Expanding the Use of an Identifier to Serve Multiple Needs
    Janifer Gatenby

Chapter 6. Describing Resources for Discoverability and Reuse
    Diane I. Hillmann
Case Study. Development of Dublin Core
    Thomas Baker

Chapter 7. Discoverability: The Ultimate Goal
    Marshall Breeding
Case Study 7. Providing Appropriate Access
    Adam Chandler

Chapter 8. Ensuring Digital Preservation for Future Generations
    Lisa Gregory
Case Study. Portico: Using Standards for Scholarly Content Preservation
    Kate Wittenberg, Sheila Morrissey, and Amy Kirchhoff

Chapter 9. Marketing Your Standard from Idea to Brand to Practice
    Heather Staines and Robert Boissy
Case Study. EPUB 3: The Birth and Adolescence of an Unusually Visible Standard
    Bill Kasdorf

Chapter 10. Getting Involved with Standards
    Ted Koppel
Case Study. How One Standard—COUNTER—Drove the Need for Another—SUSHI
    Oliver Pesch and Peter Shepherd

Chapter 11. The Future Need for Standards Will Only Expand
    Todd A. Carpenter


Todd A. Carpenter

Todd A. Carpenter is executive director of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). Todd brings to this role more than twenty years of publishing, digital content distribution, business development, and library community experience.