NISO Announces Two New Initiatives

Initiative on Metasearching Standards and Guidelines

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces an initiative to develop guidelines and standards for the metasearching environment. The initiative is an outgrowth of a session held at the American Library Association midwinter meeting in Philadelphia in January 2003. Attendees from a cross section of content providers agreed that metasearching - also referred to as cross database searching, parallel searching, broadcast searching, and federated searching - is a high growth area with many unresolved issues. This NISO Initiative will identify and address metasearch issues while implementations are still in their early stages. Details on the Initiative are featured on the NISO web site.

Specific topics to be examined include:

  • Authentication/certification mechanisms and the impact on search target(s)
  • Sorting, ranking, and ordering of search results from multiple sources and multiple protocols
  • Display of complete content including branding information and copyright notices
  • Statistics and use measurement

The Metasearch Initiative planning committee is co-chaired by Oliver Pesch (Ebsco Information Services) and Pat Stevens (OCLC, Inc.) Members of the committee include Paul Cope (AutoGraphics, Inc.), Brenda Bailey-Hainer (Colorado State Library), Oren Beit-Arie (ExLibris USA), Brad Buckley (Gale Group), Laurie Davidson (Innovative Interfaces, Inc.), Todd Fegan (ProQuest Information and Learning), Matt Goldner (Fretwell-Downing Informatics), Betsy Graham (Innovative Interfaces, Inc.), Sandra Hurd (Innovative Interfaces, Inc.). Ted Koppel (The Library Corporation), Marc Krellenstein (Elsevier Science, Inc.), Peter Noerr (MuseGlobal, Inc.), Ted Pastorious (Gale Group), Sara Randall (Endeavor Information Systems, Inc.), Ed Riding (Dynix Corp.), and Jenny Walker (ExLibris USA).

Individuals and organizations, from both the user and provider communities, interested in participating in this initiative to develop metasearch standards and guidelines are encouraged to contact Pat Harris, Executive Director of NISO (Phone: 301-654-2512; Email: pharris@niso.org )

The Next Generation of Standards for Controlled Vocabularies and Thesauri

NISO also has announced a new initiative to revise the leading standard for thesaurus construction Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri (ANSI/NISO Z39.19). Leading the development team is Dr. Amy Warner, principal of Lexonomy. Grants from the H.W. Wilson Foundation, The Getty Foundation, and the National Library of Medicine are supporting this new area of work.

"The core strength of NISO's Thesaurus guideline is that it offers a standardized way to organize many kinds of information," noted Dr. Amy Warner, chair of the revision team. "However, information providers face lots of challenges today. They are serving a changing audience. Searching and browsing of information systems are no longer limited to information professionals-individuals of all ages, professions, and nationalities are using search tools. Developers of Internet and Intranet-accessible Web pages, databases, and information systems need better metadata to support non-expert information searches, and metadata developers are recognizing the need for incorporating controlled vocabularies and taxonomies into their schemes." The revised standard will:

  • Reflect the ways that users search or browse, the many types of content they will find, and the new technologies they are using.
  • Address the needs of a variety of information organizations and content- beyond the traditional abstracting and indexing services-and add explicit examples that are relevant to business and industry.
  • Introduce more user-friendly language and include the why and how behind the key concepts and principles.

Working with Dr. Warner is an Advisory Group made up of representatives from the project sponsors, NISO members, and other interested organizations, including: Vivian Bliss (Microsoft); Carol Brent (ProQuest Information and Learning); John Dickert (U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Technical Information Center); Lynn El-Hoshy (Library of Congress); Patricia Harpring (The Getty Foundation); Stephen Hearn (American Library Association); Sabine Kuhn (American Chemical Society, Chemical Abstracts Service); Pat Kuhr (H.W. Wilson); Diane McKerlie (Consultant); Peter Morville (Consultant); Stuart Nelson (National Library of Medicine); Diane Vizine-Goetz (OCLC); and Marcia Lei Zeng (Special Libraries Association). Emily Fayen is the NISO Standards Development Committee liaison to the activity.

News on this activity is featured on the NISO web site.

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