As September begins—and with it the fall—the air is always full of a buzz about return to work after holiday breaks, new projects that are about to get underway, what old things the incoming college freshmen never experienced, and the cool gadgets that they need to survive the new year in style. Obviously, some of this is light-hearted, but the new work projects are quite serious.
NISO is starting the fall with the formation of two new working groups. NISO Voting Members have just approved the proposals and initiation of new work items on physical delivery of library materials and on journal markup in XML. More information about both initiatives and how you can get involved is below. With these two projects, NISO has a total of eight development projects underway for standards or best practices, in addition to the ongoing maintenance and support activities for many of our published standards.
Among the projects outside of NISO that are picking up speed is the Google Book project and the related legal settlement. Earlier this year in Newsline, I talked briefly about the settlement notice that NISO had received as one of the parties to the settlement. Things are now coming to a head regarding this settlement. The deadline for authors and publishers to opt-out of the settlement was extended to September 4, 2009, with a "fairness hearing" to be held on October 7. Despite some support from the publishing community, the library community and others, there remains considerable opposition to the settlement. One open question is whether the settlement will move forward.
In related news, Google announced in August that it would be making all of its public domain scanned book files available in the EPUB format and available for download onto EPUB compatible readers. (See the story below.) EPUB was one of the topics discussed during the NISO/BISG Forum held this summer as well as the webinar on e-books. You can view online a video of the presentation that Michael Smith, Executive Director of the International Digital Publishing Forum, gave during that meeting .
Finally, NISO is planning another busy fall of educational events. On the heels of our successful e-books forum, NISO will be revisiting the issues surrounding licensing with a two-part webinar this month. And early next month, a tremendous group of industry leaders will gather for a two day forum in Boston on Library Resource Management Systems. These vital components to library management are undergoing significant transformation and we will be exploring the use and application of these systems from a variety of perspectives. Despite the current budgetary pressures, I hope you can join us in Boston, as few topics will have as lasting an impact as the systems upon which your institutions rely.