The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has posted a new web version of the American National Standard Z39.7-2004, Information Services and Use: Metrics and statistics for libraries and information providers-Data Dictionary, and invites comments from the information community. The Data Dictionary can be found on the NISO website at www.niso.org/dictionary/. NISO committees have updated and upgraded the standard several times since it was first published in 1968.
The purpose of the current Z39.7 Data Dictionary remains the same as was for previous version: to assist the information community in the identification, definition, collection, and interpretation of statistical data used to describe the current status and condition of libraries in the United States. However, it also differs significantly from its predecessors in its approach. This revision absorbs the de facto definitions established through the national program for collecting data about libraries (i.e., the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) survey program), and absorbs relevant US association definitions, methods and practices of data collection.
In addition, the Data Dictionary has been approved to go on to continuous maintenance under ANSI. This will allow revisions to be made to the standard on an ongoing basis, rather than the typical five-year schedule, to allow for the most current and useful definitions to be included. A Standing Committee, chaired by Dianne L. Carty (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners), has been established to manage the maintenance process. The new website includes the procedures for the new continuous maintenance process as well as forms for submitting suggested changes.
Carty further explained, "This new launch of the Z39.7 Data Dictionary takes the standard from a flat document to an interactive web-based utility that allows users to contribute to the usefulness of the dictionary by helping to identify standard definitions, methods, and practices that are relevant to library statistics activities." Carty is Head of State Aid & Data Coordination, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
"The value of the approach taken by the Standing Committee 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," said Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of NISO.
Members of the Standing Committee represent the American Library Association (ALA), Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), Association for Research Libraries (ARL), Association of College and Research Libraries, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), Committee on Research and Statistics (CORS), Government Agency Library, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), Project Counter, and Special Libraries Association (SLA).
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators and other organizations that support learning, research and scholarship through the creation, organization, management and curation of knowledge.
NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: www.niso.org.