ALCTS Liaisons and Representatives Report on Midwinter 2006 Activities

Editor’s note: We are featuring reports on groups outside of ALCTS with whom we have formal liaisons in this separate article

Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) Accessibility Assembly

A two day Diversity Leadership Institute is being planned for Annual 2007 in Washington, D.C. Marti Goddard of the San Francisco Public Library seeks potential speakers for a section on collection development for older adults and people with disabilities.

Freedom to Read Foundation

Several important cases discussed at the Freedom to Read Foundation meeting include the following:

Doe v. Gonzales is the recent case where an ALA member, “John Doe,” from Connecticut has challenged a National Security Letter (NSL) requiring that the he, she or it turn over names and identifying information of every person who used a library computer on a particular day. The member filed suit with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union. This case argues that the FBI’s power to issue an NSL without judicial review and under a seal of absolute secrecy violates the Constitutional guarantees of due process and free speech. “John Doe” also challenged the gag order that prevented him, her or it from speaking about being a recipient of an NSL. Although the judge lifted the gag order, the judge then entered a stay of her order. An attempt to overturn the stay at the Supreme Court level failed. The case remains with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union (formerly ACLU v. Reno) has recently received attention because Google, AOL, Yahoo! and MSN were subpoenaed for records of user search queries. This case is a lawsuit to determine whether the Child Online Protection Act (COPA)’s “harmful to minors” restrictions are the least restrictive means of achieving the government’s goal of protecting children from accessing sexually explicit material online. The subpoenas were an effort to gather information for the trial. Google has refused to turn over records although the others did cooperate. The trial is set for June 2006.

American Historical Association v. National Archives and Records Administrationchallenges Executive Order 13233 which allows former presidents, vice presidents and their families to withhold the release of a president’s records. This contradicts the Presidential Records Act passed by Congress which requires that such records be released no later than twelve years after a president leaves office. The brief argues that the executive order interferes with the procedures established by the Presidential Records Act.

The Foundation is in the process of establishing an institutional membership for libraries and other interested organizations.

The Foundation wants to spend more time on strategic thinking and pulling in more information on what is happening internationally.

National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

On Monday, January 23, 2006, the ALCTS Board discussed recent developments at NISO. On November 15, 2005 the NISO Board of Directors announced that Pat Harris was leaving her position as Executive Director of NISO effective immediately. Pat Stevens, head of NISO’s Standards Development Committee, was appointed as the interim head of NISO. On December 15, 2005, NISO released a report prepared by Roy Tennant called NISO Standards Development Process: Review & Recommendations in which he outlines problems with the existing standards development process and recommends changes. It is felt by members of the library community that there is a lack of clarity as to NISO’s direction, that members’ input into the process has been lacking, and that libraries’ standards needs are not being met. ALCTS will review and comment on the Tennant report (available at

Standards activities since annual conference 2005:

NISO standards

Z39.87-200X – Data Dictionary for Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images

This standard defines a set of metadata elements for raster data images so users can develop, exchange, and interpret digital image files. It was jointly developed with the Association for Information and Image Management. The balloting period ended August 26, 2005.


ACRL Arts Section Technology in the Arts Committee

ALCTS Networked Resources and Metadata Interest Group

ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee

LITA Digital Libraries Technologies Interest Group

LITA Technology and the Arts Interest Group

Received comments/recommendations from:



In the absence of input, ALA voted Yes.

ANSI gave final approval to Z39.29-2005, Bibliographic References (originally approved in 1977) on June 9, 2005. ANSI also approved the revision of Z39.86, Specifications for the Digital Talking Book (first released in 2002); the revision of Z39.84, Syntax for the Digital Object Identifier (first released in 2000)

The revision of Z39.18, Scientific and Technical Reports--reparation, Presentation and Preservation, passed NISO review and was submitted to ANSI for approval.

ALA was designated as the maintenance agency for Z39.7, Information Services and Use: Metrics & Statistics for Libraries and Information Providers--Data Dictionary.

The fourth edition of Z39.19, the controlled vocabulary standard (renamed Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies) was published in January, 2006.

ISO standards

ISO/CD 3297 – International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

The revision of the 1998 edition of the ISSN standard expands the scope to include continuing resources and introduces the new concept of the Medium-Neutral ISSN. The balloting period ended January 16, 2006.


ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group

ALCTS Networked Resources and Metadata Interest Group

ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee

ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee

ALCTS SS Serials Standards Committee 

LAMA SASS Technical Services Systems Committee

LITA Electronic Publishing/Electronic Journal Interest Group

LITA/ALCTS Electronic Resources Management Interest Group

RUSA MARS Local Systems and Services Committee

RUSA MARS User Access to Services Committee

RUSA STARS Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee

Received comments/recommendations from:

ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee

ALCTS SS Serials Standards Committee


ALA voted Yes.

Other NISO activity:

Robin Murray (Fretwell-Downing Informatics) was elected Vice Chair/Chair Elect of the NISO Board of Directors. Nancy Davenport (CLIR), Lorcan Dempsey (OCLC), and Bruce Rosenblum (Inera) were added as Directors.

NISO held an educational workshop on the OpenURL standard and NISO’s Metasearch Initiative on September 19-21, 2005.

The NISO/EDItEUR Joint Working Party for the Exchange of Serials released version 1.0 of the ONIX for Serials transaction format, Serial Online Holdings (SOH).

NISO and the Center for Digital Knowledge at the University of North Texas-Denton conducted an Institute on RFID Technologies: Standards and Integration in the Information Environment October 25-26, 2005 in Denton, Texas.

NISO, the Digital Library Foundation, and EDItEUR agreed to form a License Information Exchange Standard Working Group to develop a single standard for the exchange of license information between publishers and libraries.

NISO agreed to sponsor and formalize the work of an ad hoc group that is developing a standard data container for moving Project COUNTER usage statistics into a digital repository. This will allow libraries to retrieve and import reports from compliant content providers into local systems automatically. NISO designated the working group as an official NISO standards committee, called Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI). The group expects to issue the protocol as a NISO Draft Standard for Trial Use in early 2006.

Activities at Midwinter:

NISO meetings/programs:

AVIAC – ILS vendor roundtable – Friday, January 20, 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., Menger, Renaissance

LITA Standards Interest Group meeting – Saturday, January 21, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Convention Center, 008B

NISO Standards Roundup – Sunday, January 22, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Convention Center, 212A Ballroom