Standardized Handling of Digital Resources: An Annotated Bibliography

4. Display

As resources move from paper to electronic form, their presentation becomes more malleable. While the presentation of information on a printed page is fixed, that of an electronic resource can be modified and transformed; this, obviously, has both benefits and drawbacks. While electronic media can provide new and helpful means for viewing and understanding information, they also impose new demands of knowledge on librarians and patrons in order to be able to exploit this flexibility. The following section provides information on standards relevant to the display and citation of information in electronic formats. The reader should also be aware that many of the sources listed in the previous section on Markup Languages are relevant to the display of digital resources.

American National Standards Institute (1992). ANSI X3.4-1986 (R1992): Coded character set -- 7-bit American National Standard Code for Information Interchange. New York: Author.
The basic 128 character repetoire used by most computers. Although most modern computers employ a 256 character repetoire, ANSI X3.4 (ASCII) occupies the first 128 characters of that set. It was codified as an international standard by ISO as ISO/IEC 646:1991.
Clark, J. (1997, April 26). ISO/IEC 10179:1996: Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL) [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
This WWW site provides a variety of information about the Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL). DSSSL is an international standard for associating computer processing instructions with Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) documents; one of the primary uses for DSSSL is include formatting instructions with SGML documents for their electronic (or print) display. This site includes links to the full text of the ISO standard, to a variety of introductions regarding DSSSL, and to software for manipulation of DSSSL-encoded documents.
Cybulski, K., & Valentine, D. (n.d.). Computer graphics FAQs [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
This page, run by two students at the Academy for the Advancement of Science & Technology, provides the Frequently Asked Question files from several different newsgroups within the hierarchy of Usenet, including the Computer Animation FAQ, the Color Space FAQ, the Computer Graphics FAQ, the File Formats FAQ, and the Ray tracing FAQ. If you want basic information regarding just about any aspect of computer graphics, you should be able to find it here. Some of the information is not completely current, but this site does provide an extremely comprehensive overview of computer graphics.
International Electrotechnical Commission, Technical Committee 100, Project Team 61966 (1997, July 24). Colour measurement and management in multimedia systems and equipment [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
Project Team 61966 of the IEC is working to create a multipart international standard defining a "series of methods and parameters for colour measurement and management for use in multimedia systems and equipment" for the production, reproduction, and exchange of color information. This page provides links to the Project Team's work plan and working documents, lists the team's meeting times and team members, and provides access to various other documents relevant to the team's mission. Among other things, this standard will probably formalize the sRGB proposal put forth by Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft (see the entry under Stokes, M. et al. in this section for more information regarding sRGB).
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (1997). Citation guides for electronic documents [On-line]. The Hague, Netherlands: Author. Available on the World Wide Web:
An extremely comprehensive guide to style manuals for citing electronic documents, including information regarding APA, MLA, and ISO styles. This guide contains hypertext links to style sheets for various citation styles available over the World Wide Web, a bibliography of non-electronic works containing information regarding citations of electronic documents, and links to discussion papers of some of the issues involved in citation of electronic documents.
International Organization for Standardization (1987). ISO 8859-1: 1987: Information processing -- 8-bit single-byte coded graphic character sets -- Part 1: Latin alphabet No. 1. Geneva: Author.
The ISO standard for 8-bit characters which incorporates the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) as its first 128 characters. Probably the most widely used character encodings.
International Organization for Standardization (1993). ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993: Information technology -- Universal multiple-octet coded character set (UCS) -- Part 1: Architecture and basic multilingual plane. Geneva: Author.
This standard describes a multiple-octed encoding scheme for the encoding of multilingual character sets. ISO/IEC 10646 provides both a 31-bit and a 16-bit character encoding scheme (UCS-4 and UCS-2). ISO and the Unicode Consortium have worked to ensure that the character encodings in UCS-2 (ISO 10646-1's Basic Multilingual Plane) are identical to those of the Unicode standard, the two standards are not identical. In terms of the encoding space defined, ISO 10646-1 may be viewed as a superset of Unicode. However, as a practical matter, ISO 10646-1 UCS-2 and the Unicode Standard may be treated as identical. There have been a variety of amendments made to ISO 10646, perhaps the most important of which are Amendment 1 (Transformation Format for 16 planes of group 00 (UTF-16)), which provides an encoding format equivalent to the Unicode Standard with the use of surrogates, and Amendment 2 (UCS Transformation Format 8 (UTF-8)), which specifies how UCS characters may be encoded for transmission over systems which assume 8-bit characters. With the advent of HTML 4.0 (see, ISO 10646-1 has become the base character set for HTML.
International Organization for Standardization (n.d.). ISO 14915: Multimedia user interface design - Ergonomic requirements for human-computer multimedia interfaces. Geneva: Author.
International Organization for Standardization (n.d.). ISO 9241: Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs). Geneva: Author.
This is actually several different standards and draft standards, comprised of ISO 9241-1:1997 (Part 1: General Introduction), 9241-2: 1992 (Part 2: Guidance on Task Requirements), 9241-3:1992 (Part 3: Visual Display Requirements), 9241-4 (Part 4: Keyboard Requirements), 9241-5 (Part 5: Workstation layout and postural requirements), 9241-6 (Part 6: Environmental Requirements), 9241-7 (Part 7: Display Requirements with Reflections), 9241-8 (Part 8: Requirements for Displayed Colours), 9241-10:1996 (Part 10: Dialogue Principles), 9241-11 (Part 11: Guidance on Usability), 9241-12 (Part 12: Presentation of Information), 9241-13 (Part 13: User Guidance), 9241-14 (Part 14: Menu Dialogues), 9241-15 (Part 15: Command Dialogues), 9241-16 (Part 16: Direct-Manipulation Dialogues), and 9241-17 (Part 17: Form-Filling Dialogues). Parts 1-8 provide standards for the physical workstation used to display materials, while parts 10-17 are intended to specify how software should present information to the user.
International Organization for Standardization (1987). ISO 690: 1987: Documentation - Bibliographic references - Content, form and structure. Geneva: Author. International Organization for Standardization (n.d.). ISO/FDIS 690-2: Information and Documentation -- Bibliographic references -- Part 2: Electronic documents or parts thereof [On-line]. Geneva: Author. Available on the World Wide Web:
These two standards specify the data elements (and their prescribed order) in bibliographic references to documents, in both traditional and electronic formats.
National Information Standards Organization (n.d.). Format for downloading records from bibliographic and abstracting and indexing databases: Z39.80. Oxon Hill, MD: Author.
This standard, which is under development, defines a display format that facilitates downloading records from an online bibliographic system to another computer. The multiplicity and variability of downloading formats is a major obstacle to the effective interchange of information between abstracting and indexing services and software on the user's desktop. One of the purposes of the standard is to provide standard tagged fields, so that downloading and parsing can be performed with a minimum of errors. One standard format for downloading will reduce the work necessary to support the processing of bibliographic data from multiple sources, including data archives. The NISO Z39.80 committee expects to produce a draft for review by the end of the calendar year 1997.
Network Development and MARC Standards Office (1994). USMARC specifications for record structure, character sets, and exchange media (1994 ed.). Washington, DC: Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress.
While not primarily concerned with the display of digital resources, this document specifies the character sets to be used in conjunction with USMARC records, and is hence of great importance to those working on display of bibliographic data.
Newman, T. (n.d.). The International Color Consortium [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
"The International Color Consortium was established in 1993 by eight industry vendors for the purpose of creating, promoting and encouraging the standardization and evolution of an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color management system architecture and components." The founding members of the ICC include Apple, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems, and all of these organizations have pledged to incorporate ICC's profile specifications for color management within their operating systems. ICC's work will therefore almost certainly form the basis for all attempts to coordinate the appearance of color works across various electronic and paper displays of digital works in the future.
Stokes, M., Anderson, M., Chandrasekar, S., & Motta, R. (1996, November 5). A standard default color space for the Internet - sRGB [On-line]. Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. Available on the World Wide Web:
While the ICC's work establishes the groundwork for communicating color in an open systems environment, its mechanism for mapping from an input to an output color space involves the incorporation of a color profile within the digitial image being translated, and hence it may not be suitable for many uses. In this document, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft propose the establishment of a default RGB color space to which resources can be mapped for exchange between systems. Such a RGB color space would provide some of the benefits of color management to those users who do not require the precision of the ICC system.
Sugihara, M., Hilliard., B., & Weiss, M. (1995, January). State of the art: Matching colors. Byte 20(1), 88-116.
This "State of the Art" section in Byte magazine is actually comprised of three articles: Consistent Color (by Sugihara), which describes the fundamentals of color management, On-Screen Color (by Hilliard), which describes existing mechanisms for calibrating monitors' color, and Final Output (by Weiss), which describes current color printing technologies in common use with personal computers. Overall, these articles provide a good introduction to the problems of color management in the display of digital resources.
The Unicode Consortium (1996). The Unicode standard, version 2.0. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Developers Press.
The Unicode standard provides a fixed-width, uniform encoding scheme for written characters and text. While modeled on the ASCII encoding scheme, the Unicode standard employs 16 bits for encoding characters to support multilingual text. As the Unicode Consortium contains as full members very nearly all of the major computer hardware and software manufacturers (including Apple, Digital Equipment Corp., Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, NCR, Next, Novell, Sybase, Unisys, Adobe Systems, Netscape Communication Corp., OCLC, and Xerox), the Unicode standard provides the de facto standard for encoding multilingual text. While it is a design goal of the Unicode Standard to ensure uniformity between Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 (Information Technology - Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS)), they are not identical. While the character code assignments in Unicode and in the Basic Multilingual Plane of ISO 10646 are identical, Unicode does not support the 31-bit encoding of UCS-4 in ISO 10646, and the two standards differ in their conformance specifications. The end result of this is that any Unicode implementation will conform to ISO 10646, Level 3, but not all ISO 10646 implementations will conform to Unicode. See Appendix C of the Unicode Standard for details.
The Virtual Reality Modeling Language specification: Version 2.0, ISO/IEC DIS 14772-1 [On-line]. (1997, April 4). Available on the World Wide Web:
The ISO Draft International Standard for the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). VRML is a file format for describing interactive 3D objects and worlds to be experienced on the World Wide. The first release of the VRML 1.0 Specification was created by Silicon Graphics, Inc. and based on the Open Inventor file format. The second release of VRML added significantly more interactive capabilities. It was designed by the Silicon Graphics VRML team with contributions from Sony Research and Mitra. VRML 2.0 was reviewed by the VRML moderated e-mail discussion group (, and later adopted and endorsed by many companies and individuals. See the San Diego Supercomputer Center's VRML Repository ( or Silicon Graphics' VRML site ( for more information. The latest draft of the specification, VRML97 (April 1997), replaces the August 4th 1996 version (see

[ Return to Contents]