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ALCTS Standards

Continuing Resources Standards

  • Abstract Sheets in Serial Publications
  • Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Edition, Revised (AACR2)
  • Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing Specifications
  • CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM)
  • CONSER Editing Guide (CEG)
  • CONSER Standard Record Metadata Application Profile (CSR MAP)
  • Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol
  • COUNTER Code of Practice for e-Resources
  • Data Elements for Binding Library Materials
  • Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Serials) (DCRM(S))
  • Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)
  • Digital Object Identifier System
  • Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT) -- Application level syntax rules
  • Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT) -- Serials & Subscriptions Product
  • Electronic Resources Management Initiative (ERMI)
  • Establishing Suggested Practices Regarding Single Sign-On (ESPRESSO) 
  • Format for information exchange
  • Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD)
  • Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)
  • Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD)
  • Guidelines for Alphabetical Arrangement of Letters & Sorting of Numerals & Other Symbols
  • Holdings Statements for Bibliographic Items
  • Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics (IOTA)
  • Information Services and Use: Metrics & Statistics for Libraries and Information Providers Data Dictionary
  • Institutional Identifiers (I2): Institutional Identification: Identifying Organizations in the Information Supply Chain
  • International Standard and Bibliographic Description (ISBD) 
  • International Standard Serial Numbering (ISSN)
  • International Standard Text Code (ISTC)
  • Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) 
  • Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group                      
  • Knowledge Bases And Related Tools (KBART)
  • Library Binding
  • Library of Congress Classification (LCC)
  • Library of Congress-PCC Policy Statements (LC-PCC PS)
  • Library of Congress Rule Interpretations) (LCRIs)
  • Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
  • Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC)
  • Making Good on the Promise of ERM: A Standards and Best Practices Discussion Paper        
  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)    
  • NISO SUSHI Protocol: COUNTER-SUSHI Implementation Profile
  • OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards
  • ONIX for Licensing Terms (OLT)
  • ONIX for Preservation Holdings (ONIX-PH)
  • ONIX for Price Catalog (ONIX-PC)
  • ONIX-PL/ONIX for Publications Licenses
  • ONIX for Serials (family of formats)
  • Open Access Metadata and Indicators              
  • OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services
  • Presentation & Identification of E-Journals (PIE-J)
  • PIRUS Code of Practice
  • PIRUS2
  • Presentation of Periodicals
  • Recommended Practices for Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials
  • Resource Description and Access (RDA)
  • ResourceSync
  • Search and Retrieval Citation Level Data Elements
  • Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI)
  • Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU)
  • Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol
  • Syntax for the Digital Object Identifier
  • Using International Standard Serial Numbers as Uniform Resource Names

Abstract Sheets in Serial Publications

Sets out rules for the presentation of an abstract sheet in a periodical or other serial publication. Such abstract sheets provide a detailed description of each article, giving such details as are essential for documentation work. The standard covers definition, text of an abstract sheet, physical presentation, language(s) of the abstract sheet and an example of an abstract sheet in English. Available at: (purchase)


Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Edition, Revised (AACR2)

AACR2 is the primary descriptive content standard used in the library field in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. Its use is almost exclusive to libraries, although there have been calls for the archives and museum communities to adopt it for the description of “bibliographic” types of materials. AACR2 is being replaced by RDA, though it will be a gradual transition for most libraries. Available at: (purchase)


Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing Specifications

Defines a framework in which to develop XML markup languages to represent different kinds of information resources (books, periodicals, etc.), with the intent of producing documents suitable for transformation into different universally accessible formats. It uses a modular, extensible architecture to permit the creation of any number of document models, each custom-tailored for a particular kind of information resource. Available at:


CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM)

Provides an easily readable, illustrated approach to AACR2 and the LCRIs as they apply to serials and a set of common guidelines to facilitate cooperative cataloging and record sharing.  The CCM codifies many long-standing but previously unwritten practices developed by LC catalogers to handle situations not expressly covered by a rule or LCRICCM is the most authoritative word on serials cataloging. The companion publication, CEG (CONSER Editing Guide), explains how to create and tag an online record once the content of the cataloging has been determined. The CCM explains how to determine that content. Available at: (purchase)


CONSER Editing Guide (CEG)

Sets forth the policies, procedures, and technical guidelines (MARC 21 fields and data elements) to be followed within the CONSER program, and also widely used by serials catalogers beyond the CONSER program. Available at: (purchase)


CONSER Standard Record Metadata Application Profile (CSR MAP)

The CONSER standard record for serials has been developed with the intention of meeting user needs. The standard emphasizes access points over extensive descriptive detail favoring instead controlled subject and name access points. The mandatory data elements that make up the Metadata Application Profile (MAP) and instructions for providing these elements set the standard for the CONSER record and replace the previous full, core, and minimal record CONSER element lists. Available at:


Cost of Resource Exchange (CORE) Protocol

The purpose of this specification is to facilitate the transfer the exchange of cost and related financial information between systems. For example, these may be two systems within the same organization, such as an Integrated Library System (ILS) Acquisitions module and an Electronic Resource Management System (ERMS). Available at:


COUNTER Code of Practice for e-Resources

COUNTER provides an international, extendible Code of Practice for e-Resources that allows the usage of online information products and services to be measured in a credible, consistent and compatible way using vendor generated data. Replacing Release 3 for Journals and Databases and Release 1 for Books and Reference Works, Release 4 is an integrated Code of Practice that covers journals, databases, books, reference works, and multimedia content. After Dec. 31, 2013 only those vendors compliant with Release 4 will be considered to be COUNTER compliant. Available at:​


Data Elements for Binding Library Materials

Defines over three hundred required and optional data elements that can be used in a binding record to enable automated library systems to communicate with a bindery's automated system. This new standard was written by automation vendors and representatives of the library binding community to assure that the needs of both constituencies are addressed. Available at:


Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Serials) (DCRM(S))

Provides instructions for cataloging printed serials whose rarity, value, or interest make more detailed description necessary or desirable. DCRM(S) is one of a family of manuals that form the Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials, and is based on Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books), on The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, second edition, 2002 revision (AACR2), and subsequent updates, on ISBD(A): International Standard Bibliographic Description for Older Monographic Publications (Antiquarian), Second Revised Edition, 1991, on the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM), and on the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG). Available at: (purchase)


Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

The Dewey Decimal Classification is primarily used in public libraries and is currently in its 23rd edition. Dewey divides knowledge into 10 primary classes, with further subdivisions possible in multiples of 10. A process of “number building” is used to read the Dewey schedules and construct a potentially long number combining different intellectual aspects of a resource. Available at:


Digital Object Identifier System

A DOI name is an identifier of an entity—physical, digital or abstract—on digital networks. It provides information about that object, including where the object, or information about it, can be found on the Internet. The standard gives the syntax, description and resolution functional components of the Digital Object Identifier System. It also gives the general principles for the creation, registration, and administration of DOI names. Available at: (purchase)


Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT) -- Application level syntax rules

EDIFACT is used to transfer electronic documents or business data from one computer system to another computer system, i.e. from one trading partner to another trading partner without human intervention. For example, invoicing information can be transferred from providers to library systems. Available at: (purchase)


Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT) -- Serials & Subscriptions Product

The EDItEUR EDI Implementation Guidelines for Serials cover the use of EDIFACT messaging to notify actual or revised issue dates or other changes affecting the pattern of output of journal issues, to handle claims and claim responses, and to send invoices and credit notes. Available at:


Electronic Resources Management Initiative (ERMI)

DLF ERMI provides common specifications for the management of license agreements, related administrative information, and the internal processes associated with licensed electronic resources. Available at:


Establishing Suggested Practices Regarding Single Sign-On (ESPRESSO)

ESPRESSO seeks to address the question of "perfecting single-sign-on (SSO) authentication to achieve seamless item-level linking through SSO technologies in a networked information environment." It recommends practical solutions and a path forward for improving the success of SSO authentication technologies for providing a seamless experience for the user and further aims to promote the adoption by campuses and service providers of a family of solutions to make the access improvements a reality. Available at:​


Format for information exchange

Specifies the requirements for a generalized exchange format which will hold records describing all forms of material capable of bibliographic description as well as other types of records. It does not define the length or the content of individual records and does not assign any meaning to tags, indicators or identifiers, these specifications being the functions of an implementation format. The standard describes a generalized structure, a framework designed especially for communications between data processing systems and not for use as a processing format within systems. Available at: (purchase)


Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD)

FRAD is a companion document to the earlier FRBR conceptual model developed by IFLA. FRAD expands on FRBR by adding additional attributes to each of the Group 1, 2, and 3 entities; a new Group 2 entity (Family); and new entities intended to support the authority control process (Name, Identifier, Controlled Access Point, Rules, and Agency). Perhaps the strongest promise of the FRAD model is support for multi-lingual catalogs that can display different forms of names for various entities depending on a user’s location or language preferences. In addition to expanded entities and attributes, FRAD defines a different set of user tasks for authority data than FRBR did for bibliographic data; here, the user tasks are: Find, Identify, Contextualize, and Justify. Available at:

Available at:


Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)

A conceptual model of the bibliographic universe, FRBR was created to better understand the user tasks catalogs can and should support, and to suggest how bibliographic data might be viewed in support of these tasks. The most commonly known features of the FRBR report are its four user tasks (Find, Identify, Select, and Obtain) and the Group 1 Entities which categorize the products of intellectual and artistic endeavors (Work, Expression, Manifestation, and Item). The FRBR report has other features as well, including Group 2 Entities representing the creators of Group 1 Entities (Person and Corporate Body), Group 3 Entities which are the subjects of Works (Group 1 Entities, Group 2 Entities, plus Concept, Object, Event, and Place), and minimal standards for national bibliographic records. Available at:


Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD)

The FRSAD initiative is intended to provide a more complete conceptual model for FRBR Group 3 entities in their role serving as the subjects of FRBR Works. The 2010 report abandoned the FRBR Group 3 entity structure (Concept, Object, Event, Place) in favor of conceptual entities (Thema) that are known by name tokens (Nomen). Available at:


Guidelines for Alphabetical Arrangement of Letters & Sorting of Numerals & Other Symbols

This technical report provides rules for the alphabetical arrangement of headings in list of all kinds, such as bibliographies, indexes, dictionaries, directories, inventories, etc. It also covers the sorting of Arabic or Roman numbers, and other symbols. It consists of seven rules that cover problems which may arise in alphanumeric arrangements of headings. The technical report is based on the traditional orders of letters in the English alphabet and that of the numerals is ascending arithmetical order. It does not address issues concerning meaning or type of headings. The rules can generally be applied by human begins as well as by computers. Each rule is followed by illustrative examples. Available at:​


Holdings Statements for Bibliographic Items

The standard specifies display requirements for holdings statements for bibliographic items. This promotes consistency in the communication and exchange of holdings information for items in any physical or electronic medium. Available at:

Improving OpenURLs Through Analytics (IOTA)

Version/ID Code (if any): N/A

Governing Standards Agency: NISO/project

The OpenURL Quality Metrics Working Group -- otherwise known as IOTA -- builds on the work already underway to investigate the feasibility of creating industry-wide, transparent, and scalable metrics for evaluating and comparing the quality of OpenURL implementations across content providers. Available at:


Information Services and Use: Metrics & Statistics for Libraries and Information Providers Data Dictionary

Version/ID Code (if any): ANSI/NISO Z39.7-2004

Governing Standards Agency: ANSI/NISO/de jure

Identifies categories for basic library statistical data reported at the national level and provides associated definitions of terms. Deals with the following areas: reporting unit and target population, human resources, collection resources, infrastructure, finances, and services. In addition, it identifies new measures associated with networked services, databases, and performance. Not intended to be comprehensive in scope, it presents a framework for comparable library data by describing common elements pertaining to libraries of various types in the US. It does not address detailed statistics for specific areas where it seems more appropriate for experts in those areas to make recommendations (e.g., music, government documents, maps). Available at:​


Institutional Identifiers (I2): Institutional Identification: Identifying Organizations in the Information Supply Chain

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO RP-17-2013 

Governing Standards Agency: NISO/recommended practice

The recommended practice defines the requirements for a standard identifier for institutional identification in the supply chain. It provides background on the collaboration agreement between the NISO I² Working Group and the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) International Agency to use the ISNI standard (ISO 27729) and the ISNI-IA's infrastructure for institutional identification, rather than publish a separate standard for institutions. Available at:


International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)

Version/ID Code (if any): 2011

Governing Standards Agency: IFLA/de facto

ISBD is a standard from IFLA designed to make bibliographic description more consistent across a wide range of applications. It serves two distinct functions: to define the selection and order of data elements to be recorded and to prescribe punctuation to be used inside a bibliographic description. ISBD is divided into eight “areas” of description: title and statement of responsibility; edition; material or type of resource specific; publication, production, distribution, etc.; physical description; series; note; and resource identifier and terms of availability. The structure of AACR2 is strongly informed by the ISBD areas of information. Available at: (purchase)


International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI)

Version/ID Code (if any): ISO 27729:2012

Governing Standards Agency: ISO/de jure

The International Standard Name Identifier will enable the public identities of parties involved in media content industries to be uniquely identified so that they can be clearly disambiguated where otherwise there might be doubt. The parties to be identified may be involved in any stage of activity from creation to production, management, and content distribution chains and can be a natural or legal person, fictional character, or groups of such parties. Available at: (purchase)


International Standard Serial Numbering (ISSN)

Version/ID Code (if any): ANSI/NISO Z39.9-1992 (R2001)

Governing Standards Agency: American National Standards Institute/National Information Standards Organization/de jure (inactive)

This standard defined the structure and presentation of a code to uniformly identify serial publications in print and nonprint formats. This standard set forth the format and characteristics of the ISSN and designated a central authority for code administration. Available at:​


International Standard Text Code (ISTC)

Version/ID Code (if any):  ISO 20147:2009

Governing Standards Agency: ISO/de jure

The International Standard Text Code, which is applicable to any textual work, is a numbering system supporting the unique identification of textual works. The different manifestations of a work (e.g. paperback book, filmscript, e-book) can be collocated and associated with the original textual work through the ISTC. Available at: (purchase)


Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS)

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO Z39.96-2012

Governing Standards Agency: NISO/de jure

The Journal Article Tag Suite provides a common XML format in which publishers and archives can exchange journal content. The JATS provides a set of XML elements and attributes for describing the textual and graphical content of journal articles as well as some non-article material such as letters, editorials, and book and product reviews. Available at:


Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group                      

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO RP-8-2008

Governing Standards Agency:  NISO/recommended practice

The recommendations provide a simple and practical way of describing the versions of scholarly journal articles that typically appear online before, during, and after formal journal publication. Seven stages of article version are defined: Author's Original (AO), Submitted Manuscript under Review (SMUR), Accepted Manuscript (AM), Proof (P), Version of Record (VoR), Corrected Version of Record (CVoR), and Enhanced Version of Record (EVoR). The appendices include a set of use cases showing application of the recommended terms and a graphical representation of journal article versions and relationships with formal and gray literature. The publication is the result of a partnership between NISO and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). Available at:

Available at:


Knowledge Bases And Related Tools (KBART)

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO RP-9-2010

Governing Standards Agency: NISO and UKSG/recommended practice

A link resolver is a tool that helps library users connect to their institutions’ electronic resources. The data that drives links is stored in a knowledge base, the quality of which relies heavily on data that content providers (publishers, aggregators, etc.) send to the knowledge base developer. Errors in the data often propagate to the knowledge base. Because there is no standard format for the data, knowledge base developers expend considerable effort converting title lists from different providers to a single format, sometimes introducing additional errors or making error-checking difficult. The NISO/UKSG KBART recommended practice recommends best practices for formatting and distributing title lists which will greatly increase the accessibility of the products. Available at:


Library Binding

Version/ID Code (if any): ANSI/NISO/LBI Z39.78-2000

Governing Standards Agency:  ANSI/NISO/Library Binding Institute/de jure

Describes the technical specifications and materials specifications for first-time hardcover binding of serials publications and paperbound books for library use, and rebinding of hardcover books and serials intended for library use. Available at:


Library of Congress Classification (LCC)

Version/ID Code (if any): continuously updated

Governing Standards Agency: Library of Congress/de facto

The Library of Congress Classification is used primarily in academic libraries. It is divided into 21 basic classes, each of which starts with one or more uppercase letters. Full class numbers use a mixture of letters and numbers, with subtopics offset by a period. Libraries typically append Cutter numbers at the end of LC class numbers to create a full call number for physical shelving of materials. Classification Web is a web-based subscription service that provides full-text display of all LCC schedules as well as LC subject and name headings. Available at: and (both purchase) (free)


Library of Congress-PCC Policy Statements (LC-PCC PS)

Version/ID Code (if any): frequently updated

Governing Standards Agency: Library of Congress, Program for Cooperative Cataloging/de facto

Documents policy decisions by Library of Congress and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging for application of RDA. Available at:


Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRIs)

Version/ID Code (if any): 2002, updated through 2010

Governing Standards Agency: Library of Congress, Program for Cooperative Cataloging/de facto

Documents policy decisions by Library of Congress and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging for application of AACR2, providing for a common practice.  Often considered the de facto national cataloging standard.  No longer updated and discontinued in print, but still available in Cataloger’s Desktop. Available at:

Available in Cataloger’s Desktop: (purchase);

2006-2010 freely available at:


Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)

Version/ID Code (if any): continuously updated, print cumulation issued annually

Governing Standards Agency: Library of Congress/de facto

LCSH is a long-standing controlled vocabulary maintained by the Library of Congress, covering topical subjects, genres, and geographic places among other related areas of study. It is a pre-coordinated vocabulary, built upon the principle of literary warrant. Libraries can contribute new terms for consideration via the SACO initiative. Despite its function as a controlled vocabulary, LCSH is not a fully enumerated list, allowing the presence of “standard subdivisions” on explicitly authorized terms according to human-readable rules. With the development of a new service,, that makes Library of Congress-hosted vocabularies available to machine applications, LCSH and other vocabularies are now more readily available to applications outside the library community and especially outside the cultural heritage community. Available at: (purchase), (search)


Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC)

Version/ID Code (if any): MARC 21

Governing Standards Agency: Library of Congress Network Development & MARC Standards Office and Library and Archives Canada Standards Division/de jure

MARC was first developed in the late 1960s at the Library of Congress; it represented the first major attempt to encode bibliographic data in machine-readable form. MARC uses a mixture of fixed and variable fields to record information. The variable fields are themselves a mixture of coded and textual data. The MARC format is defined in ISO 2709, which prescribes numeric field names that contain alphanumeric subfields. The MARC format in use in the US is known as MARC 21UNIMARC is a variant common in Europe. While there are five formats in the MARC 21 suite, the Bibliographic and Authority formats are those most commonly used. Available at:


Making Good on the Promise of ERM: A Standards and Best Practices Discussion Paper           

Version/ID Code (if any): 2012

Governing Standards Agency: NISO/discussion paper

Making Good on the Promise of ERM” is the report of the ERM Data Standards and Best Practices Review Working Group.  The analysis began with a review of the ERMI data dictionary as it presently exists and a mapping of ERMI data elements to those within relevant standards-related projects (e.g., CORE, SUSHI, ONIX-PL, etc.). Vendors, libraries using ERM systems, and other identified stakeholders were consulted via surveys and/or more in-depth interviews to solicit additional feedback concerning data requirements and ERM system implementation and management issues. Following the analysis, the working group developed recommendations regarding the future of the ERMI data dictionary within that broader context, described typical challenges libraries face in using currently available ERM systems and services, and identified gaps in interoperability and best practices. Available at:​


Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Version/ID Code (if any): revised annually

Governing Standards Agency: National Library of Medicine/de facto

Description: MeSH is produced by the US National Library of Medicine for the description of biomedical journal literature, books, and other formats collected by the Library. It is also used for subject indexing in the PubMED database. The MeSH vocabulary contains a full syndetic structure of broader, narrower, and “use for” terms. The full vocabulary is available online for individual searches and downloads in XML and ASCII formats. Available at:


NISO SUSHI Protocol: COUNTER-SUSHI Implementation Profile

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO RP-14-2012

Governing Standards Agency: NISO/recommended practice

The recommended practice defines a practical implementation structure to be used in the creation of reports and services related to harvesting COUNTER reports using the NISO SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) Protocol. Available at:​


OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards

Version/ID Code (if any): 4th edition

Governing Standards Agency: OCLC/de facto

A guide to machine-readable cataloging records in WorldCat. It provides tagging conventions, input standards and guidelines for entering information into WorldCat. Available at:


ONIX for Licensing Terms (OLT)

Version/ID Code (if any): N/A

Governing Standards Agency: EDItEUR/trade

The generic name for parts of the ONIX family dealing with licensing terms and rights information. Includes: ONIX-PL (ONIX for Publications Licenses), ONIX-RS (ONIX for Rights Information Services), and ONIX for RROs (Reproduction Rights Organizations), and Royalty Reporting. Built on a consistent underlying model of rights and usages, OLT formats are specialized to the needs of different user groups and applications. Available at:

See also: Licensing


ONIX for Preservation Holdings (ONIX-PH)

Version/ID Code (if any): Version 0.21 Draft

Governing Standards Agency: EDItEUR/trade

The ONIX for Preservation Holdings format is designed for structured, machine-to-machine communications about online resources that have been preserved or committed for preservation. Although initially formulated with online journals in mind, the format can also accommodate information about other kinds of resource, such as e-books, e-book collections, or online databases, as these gain importance in the library supply chain. Available at:

See also: Holdings, Preservation Metadata


ONIX for Price Catalog (ONIX-PC)

Version/ID Code (if any): Version 1.1.1

Governing Standards Agency: EDItEUR/trade

An XML message structure for communicating product catalog and pricing information about subscription products. ONIX-PC may be used between publishers, subscription agents, other intermediaries, and library or consortium customers in the library supply chain. The message provides comprehensive facilities to convey simple and complex pricing models, including tiered pricing arrangements that are based upon some measures of the size of the purchasing customer. All types of products available on subscription are supported, from the more traditional print and online journals, through multi-component packaged products to e-book collections and database products. Available at:

See also: Collections


ONIX-PL/ONIX for Publications Licenses

Version/ID Code (if any): v1.0

Governing Standards Agency: EDItEUR/NISO/trade

ONIX for Publications Licenses (ONIX-PL) is part of a family of XML formats for the communication of licensing terms under the generic name ONIX for Licensing Terms. ONIX-PL is specialized to handle the licenses under which libraries and other institutions use digital resources, particularly but by no means exclusively electronic journals. Available at:

See also: Licensing


ONIX for Serials (family of formats)

Version/ID Code (if any): N/A

Governing Standards Agency: EDItEUR/trade

Description: ONIX for Serials is a family of XML formats for communicating information about serial products and subscription information, using the design principles and many of the elements defined in ONIX for Books. The specific standards include: SPS (Serials Products and Subscriptions), SOH (Serials Online Holdings), SRN (Serials Release Notification), Serials Coverage Statement, and Structured Name and Address Model.

Available at:


Access and License Indicators              

Version/ID code: N/A

Governing standards agency/standards type: NISO/project

This project will 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 project 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. Available at:​


OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services

Version/ID Code (if any): ANSI/NISO Z39.88-2004 (R2010)

Governing Standards Agency: ANSI/de jure

The OpenURL Framework Standard defines an architecture for creating OpenURL Framework Applications. An OpenURL Framework Application is a networked service environment in which packages of information are transported over a network. These packages have a description of a referenced resource at their core, and they are transported with the intent of obtaining context-sensitive services pertaining to the referenced resource. Available at:


PIRUS Code of Practice

Version/ID Code (if any): Release 1, November 2012 (draft for public consultation, available for comment until 30 April 2013)

Governing Standards Agency:  COUNTER/standard in development

A COUNTER standard for the recording, reporting, and consolidation of usage statistics at the individual article level. Available at:​



Version/ID Code (if any): October 2011

Governing Standards Agency: UK Joint Information Systems Committee/de jure

The objective of PIRUS2 was to specify standards, protocols, an infrastructure and an economic model for the recording, reporting and consolidation of online usage of individual articles hosted by repositories, publishers, and other entities. Available at:


Presentation & Identification of E-Journals (PIE-J)

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO RP-16-2013 

Governing Standards Agency:  NISO/recommended practice

PIE-J offers guidance to e-journal publishers and providers that will help ensure that e-journal content can be reliably discovered, cited, and accessed by users over time. These recommended practices have a deliberately narrow focus on e-journals, whether born digital or retroactively digitized and focus on only those elements of an e journal that relate to the presentation of title information and supporting metadata, plus practices related to title identification and content access over time. Available at:


Presentation of Periodicals

Version/ID Code (if any): ISO 8:1977

Governing Standards Agency:  ISO/de jure

The standard sets out rules intended to enable editors and publishers to present periodicals in a form that will facilitate their use. Following the rules should help editors and publishers to bring order and clarity to their work. The requirements are of varying importance and some may go against certain artistic, technical or advertising considerations. Available at: (purchase)

Recommended Practices for Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials

Version/ID code: NISO RP-15-2013

Governing standards agency/standards type: NISO/NFAIS/recommended practice

This joint project from NISO and NFAIS (the National Federation of Advanced Information Services) offers recommended practices intended to help the scholarly publishing community develop a more standardized approach to publishing what has become known as Supplemental Materials for Journal Articles in a rapidly changing technology environment. The intent is to lessen the burden on all of the parties engaged in the publishing process, to ensure that Supplemental Materials delivered in connection with journal articles add substance to scholarship, to make Supplemental Materials more discoverable, and to aid in preserving them. Two working groups developed Parts A and B of the recommended practice. Part A deals with business policies and practices, while Part B involves technical considerations and implementation recommendations. Available at:​


Resource Description and Access (RDA)

Version/ID Code (if any): 2013 with updates

Governing Standards Agency: RDA Steering Committee

RDA has replaced AACR2 as the predominant content standard in the library community. It is intended to be useful beyond the library community as well. While primarily focused on descriptive metadata, some instructions cover technical, rights, and structural metadata. RDA pushes the boundaries of a content standard, referring to sets of rules as “elements” which makes it closer to a structure standard than AACR2. Different communities will likely find either RDA’s rules aspect or its data element aspect more interesting than the other. RDA element sets and value vocabularies have been registered in the Open Metadata Registry ( The initial version of RDA was released in the summer of 2010 and included placeholders for several planned chapters. Available at: (purchase)

A new beta toolkit was released in 2018:



Version/ID Code (if any): Working Group in progress (Beta draft, Feb. 2013)

Governing Standards Agency:  NISO and Open Archives Initiative (OAI)/initiative

ResourceSync will research, develop, prototype, test, and deploy mechanisms for the large-scale synchronization of web resources.  Building on the OAI-PMH strategies for synchronizing metadata, this project will enhance that specification using modern web technologies but will allow for the synchronization of the objects themselves, not just their metadata. Available at:


Search and Retrieval Citation Level Data Elements

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO RP-2005-03 (Version 1)

Governing Standards Agency: NISO/recommended practice

The documents offer a minimum set of required citation level data elements that have been identified to overcome the lack of standardization in the way a citation is formatted in a record returned by a metasearch engine. Use of these data elements will allow citation information to be parsed for re-use in applications such as OpenURL linking and metadata formats such as Dublin Core. Available at:​


Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI)

Version/ID Code (if any): ANSI/NISO Z39.56 (inactive)

Governing Standards Agency:  ANSI/NISO/de jure

The SICI is a variable length code which can be used to identify both print and electronic serial publications. This edition introduced significant changes such as the ability to identify if the serial is electronic, paper, or microformat and the identification of derivative parts of a serial. It also accommodated proprietary numbering schemes. Changes in the title code algorithm made it easier to use, and improved the uniqueness of the SICI code for contributions. Available at:​


Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU)

Version/ID Code (if any): NISO RP-7-2012

Governing Standards Agency: NISO/recommended practice

A mechanism that can be used as an alternative to a license agreement. SERU expresses commonly shared understandings of the content provider, the subscribing institution, and authorized users; the nature of the content; use of materials and inappropriate uses; privacy and confidentiality; online performance and service provision; and archiving and perpetual access. Available at:


Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol

Version/ID Code (if any): ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2007/de jure

Governing Standards Agency: American National Standards Institute/National Information Standards Organization/de jure

This standard defines an automated request and response model for the harvesting of electronic resource usage data utilizing a Web services framework that can replace the user-mediated collection of usage data reports. Available at:​


Syntax for the Digital Object Identifier

Version/ID Code (if any): ANSI/NISO Z39.56

Governing Standards Agency:  ANSI/NISO/de jure

Defines the composition and order of the unambiguous alphanumeric identifier string in the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system used to reference an intellectual property entity in the digital environment. Available at:​


Using International Standard Serial Numbers as Uniform Resource Names

Version/ID Code (if any): draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc3044bis-issn-urn-01 (active internet draft)

Governing Standards Agency:  Internet Engineering Task Force/standard in development

Since 2001, the URN (Uniform Resource Name) namespace “ISSN” has been reserved for ISSNs. The namespace registration was performed in RFC 3044. The current document redefines how the revised ISSN standard can be supported within the URN framework, taking into account in particular the latest ISSN revision of the ISSN standard in the ISO framework (ISO 3297:2007). Available at: