The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) is operating under new management: Todd Carpenter is NISO’s new managing director. The NISO Board of Directors hired Carpenter to lead the organization, and his tenure began September 1, 2006. Carpenter succeeds Pat Stevens, who served as NISO interim director from November 9, 2005, following the departure of Pat Harris, who had led NISO since 1986.
Carpenter comes to NISO with a strong background in the electronicpublishing arena. Most recently, Carpenter served as director of business development for BioOne, one of the leading efforts to provide an alternative publication model for journals in the fields related to bioscience. Prior to BioOne, Carpenter was with Johns Hopkins University Press, where he was responsible for the marketing of its large inventory of academic journals, and was involved in Project MUSE, an aggregation of journal content in the humanities and social sciences.
This appointment of Carpenter comes as the NISO organization is positioned at a crossroads, so to speak. NISO’s activities and processes have been under close review for the last two years or so, during which the organization’s board of directors initiated (January 2004) a strategic planning effort. A “blue-ribbon panel” was appointed in September 2004 to “evaluate the progress, challenges, opportunities” of NISO. The panel was chaired by Clifford Lynch, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Network Information (CNI), and was given financial support by the Mellon Foundation. Roy Tennant was charged to develop a report on how the standards-development process might be revised, and this report was issued in December 2005.
Libraries have a great deal at stake in the effectiveness of NISO’s work. Standards provide an important framework for interoperability and help protect libraries’ investments in software and data. Many aspects of library technologies are in transition, and how standards develop in the next few years will be an important factor in the information landscape—thus Carpenter takes the helm at NISO at an exciting juncture in its history, but also in an era marked by abundant challenges.