ALA designated Maintenance Agency for NISO Library Statistics Standard

Contact: Denise M. Davis

Director, Office for Research & Statistics
For Immediate Release

May 27, 2005

ALA designated Maintenance Agency for NISO Library Statistics Standard

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) and National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced that ALA will assume responsibilities as Maintenance Agency for
Information Services and Use: Metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers--Data Dictionary (ANSI/NISO Z39.7). ALA will serve for a period of five years.

The online database format of the 2004 revision of Z39.7 set a precedent among American National Standards. Available free at, the revision incorporated improvements based on the existing survey instruments in use by nationally recognized U.S. library data collection programs.

"This standard has played a vital role in benchmarking library information services in the United States and worldwide and has provided the basis for the continued improvement of services at state and national levels,” said Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director. “Standards are not necessarily 'sexy,' but it's impossible to effectively plan and develop library services without them. We're pleased that ALA and the ALA Office for Research now will be serving as the Maintenance Agency for this standard."

ANSI/NISO Z39.7 helps the information community identify, define, collect and interpret statistical data used to describe the status and condition of libraries in the United States. It also assists the community in collecting the data necessary to support research and analysis to help libraries improve services. For library managers, the standard indicates categories for measurement of library resources, services and activities, staffing and infrastructure. For data collectors, the standard indicates categories for consideration in constructing data collection instruments. The standard also provides guidance to others interested in information about statistical measures related to library services. Applicability of this standard may be at the local, state, national or international levels. The value of this approach is that it recognizes the guidelines and best practices in the area of library statistics across the community, not only at the national survey level.

Denise M. Davis, director of the ALA Office for Research & Statistics, will serve as the primary contact for maintenance agency activities and will coordinate all tasks associated with its maintenance. Davis also will chair the Z39.7 MA advisory committee.

“As Maintenance Agency, ALA will spearhead efforts to keep the standard forward-looking,” said Pat Harris, Executive Director of NISO. “At the top of the list for integration to the standard are library performance indicators.”

NISO, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (
ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation.