Industry News

Open Access Getting More Play in Washington | IFLA Launches e-Lending PrinciplesALA Releases e-book License Scorecard  |  NISO Launches New Open Access Initiative | Ontario Gains a Trustworthy Repository | Digital Collections Sustainability Study

Public Access to Information Getting Attention in Washington, D.C.

On February 14, 2013 the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the House and Senate. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and cosponsor Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Senate bill, S. 350 and Representative Michael Doyle (D-PA) and cosponsors Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS) introduced the House bill, H.R. 708.

While this bipartisan legislation has a new name, the language of the bill is almost identical to that of Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), introduced in the last congress.

In essence, this legislation would advance and expand the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy implemented in 2008 which requires public access to taxpayer-funded research to an additional eleven agencies.

Additionally, on February 22, 2013, the White House issued a directive to ensure more publically-funded research is made openly available. Learn more from the White House.

IFLA Launches Principles, Research, and Advice for e-Lending in Libraries

IFLA is pleased to launch a new set of resources relating to e-books and libraries. Providing access to e-books is one of the most pressing issues facing libraries right now. Public libraries in particular are dealing with implications of rapidly changing business and access models. IFLA previously issued a background paper on e-lending during 2012 and is now building on this paper to launch a new official policy document IFLA Principles for Library e-Lending which was endorsed by the Governing Board in February 2013.

In addition, the new webpages contain links to the background paper, and a commissioned thinkpiece on e-books in libraries, both of which are intended to further the debate around the subject and provide interested colleagues with further information. There are links to existing campaigns on e-books, and further details on how to get involved in IFLA's work on the issue.

The plan is to build on these resources during 2013 and expand the amount of information available. The Principles were discussed at the MLAS Seminar on eBooks in Libraries on February 21, 2013 in London.

Access the new pages.

ALA Releases Ebook License Scorecard

As the e-book environment continues to evolve and libraries are presented with a wide range of licensing conditions by publishers and vendors, it can be challenging for libraries to determine which e-book business models offer the best terms.

To help libraries identify essential e-book licensing terms, the American Library Association (ALA) released today “The Business Model Scorecard,” (PDF) a report that examines specific variables often seen in library e-book license contracts. The report, which was created by the ALA Digital Content & Libraries Working Group (DCWG), can be used by librarians to weigh e-book contract variables most important to their library.

“We developed the ‘Scorecard’ to ensure that librarians have the information they need to better negotiate e-book licensing agreements with publishers,” said Erika Linke, co-chair of the DCWG’s business models subgroup. “While no single business model will offer the best terms for all libraries, this report details lending terms that libraries can use to craft model contracts that work for their library systems.”

The report assesses fifteen e-book contract variables of importance to libraries, ranging from e-book title inclusion, to e-book pricing, to immediate patron access. These variables include important e-book lending characteristics, such as e-book revenue streams for publishers and e-book accessibility for people with disabilities.

The report is a follow up to the 2012 ALA report “E-book Business Models for Public Libraries,” a report that describes general features and attributes of the current e-book environment and outlines constraints and restrictions of current business models. View the full report.

NISO Launches New Initiative to Develop Standard for Open Access Metadata and Indicators

Interested participants from all library types, publishers, and funding agencies are encouraged to contact NISO

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) voting members have approved a new project to develop standardized bibliographic metadata and visual indicators to describe the accessibility of journal articles as well as potentially describe how open the item is. Many offerings are available from publishers under the banner of Open Access (OA), Increased Access, Public Access, or other descriptions; the terms offered vary between publishers and, in some cases, based on the funding organization of the author. Adding to the potential confusion, a number of publishers also offer hybrid options in which some articles are "open" while the rest of the journal's content are available only by subscription or license. No standardized bibliographic metadata currently provides information on whether a specific article is freely readable and what re-use rights might be available to readers. Visual indicators or icons indicating the openness of an article are inconsistent in both design and use across publishers or even across journals from the same publisher.

"The NISO OA metadata and indicator project would complement other related efforts currently underway," states Nettie Lagace, NISO's Associate Director for Programs. "Such projects include CrossMark, CrossRef's update identification service; How Open Is It?, a guide developed by PLoS, SPARC, and OASPA; Vocabularies for OA (V40A), a JISC/UKOLN project; ONIX-PL, a specification for communicating licensing terms developed by EDItEUR; the Linked Content Coalition; and NISO's Open Discovery Initiative. Coordination and communication with these projects will be an important aspect of the NISO working group's efforts."

"The benefits of having standardized OA metadata and indicators should have a positive impact on many participants in the scholarly communications chain," explains Todd Carpenter, NISO's Executive Director. "Funders who have implemented OA mandates would have a mechanism to determine if a specific article or researcher is compliant with their policies. Publishers of hybrid journals would benefit by having a simple mechanism for signaling the OA status of the articles published under that model. Authors could more easily determine whether their selected distribution option is being respected and be able to document their compliance with funder requirements. Readers could more easily ascertain from search results if they can read an article for free or fee-and more easily adhere to the terms that publishers have established. Aggregators and discovery service providers would have an improved mechanism of programmatically collecting and surfacing OA articles that are available in the community."

The project launched by NISO will focus initially on metadata elements that describe the readership rights associated with an OA article. Specifically, the NISO Working Group will determine the optimal mechanisms to describe and transmit the right, if any, an arbitrary user has to access a specific article from any internet connection point. Recommendations will include a means for distribution and aggregation of this metadata in machine-readable form. The group will also consider the feasibility of incorporating information on re-use rights and the feasibility of reaching agreement on transmission of that data.

Individuals interested in participating in this working group should contact Nettie Lagace, An interest group list for this project 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. To subscribe, send an e-mail to

OCUL’s Scholars Portal—Canada’s First Certified Trustworthy Digital Repository

Scholars Portal, a service of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), is now the first certified Trustworthy Digital Repository in Canada. This certification, the only generally recognized certification for digital archives, was issued by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) following an audit of the Scholars Portal Journals repository. This is an important milestone in OCUL’s commitment to its members to provide access to a diversity of learning and research materials, and to ensure their preservation through sustainable and responsible stewardship.

The audit, which began in January 2012, evaluated the ability of Scholars Portal to fulfill this long-term preservation commitment in regard to e-journal content. The audit measured Scholars Portal’s compliance with established criteria for trusted digital repositories, including the Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist and other metrics developed by CRL on the basis of its analysis of digital repositories.

Scholars Portal was evaluated in three areas: organizational infrastructure, digital object management, and infrastructure and security risk management, receiving high scores across all three categories. The final audit report is now available on the CRL website.

ARL and Ithaka S+R Release Findings on Sustainability of Digitized Special Collections

ARL and Ithaka S+R recently released Appraising our Digital Investment: Sustainability of Digitized Special Collections in ARL Libraries (PDF), a report on findings from an ARL-Ithaka S+R survey of ARL libraries on the range of activities and expenses that libraries undertake to support their digitized special collections.

“Hundreds of special collections have been digitized by ARL libraries in the past two decades and the majority of our members view digitization of rare and unique materials as critical to their future,” said ARL Executive Director Elliott Shore. “This survey offers a close look at the practices, attitudes, costs, and revenues associated with post-digitization activity." Learn more online.