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Patricia Harris
Executive Director
NISO
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NISO Publishes Guide to Standards for
Library Systems

Bethesda, Md., USA - (December 19, 2002) - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of The RFP Writer's Guide to Standards for Library Systems, a manual intended to aid library system Request for Proposal (RFP) writers and evaluators in understanding the relevant standards and determining a software product's compliance with standards.

The widespread use of Integrated Library Systems (ILS), global communications via the Internet, and growing numbers of digital library initiatives have made the need for compliance with standards more critical than ever.  Implementing information products and systems that support standards can ensure that libraries will be able to:
integrate electronic content products from multiple vendors;
resource share on a wider geographic scale, even globally;
participate in more cooperative programs with other organizations, including ones outside the library community;
speed up the "time to market" of library materials, i.e. the time to acquire, catalog, process, and circulate an item;
provide remote access to library services;
reduce the need for user training;
operate successfully with their parent organization's computing infrastructure;
migrate cost effectively to newer systems; and
more easily adopt new technologies.

The RFP Writer's Guide to Standards for Library Systems identifies critical standards in the areas of Bibliographic Formats, Record Structure, Character Sets, Exchange Media, Serials Identifiers, Binding, Circulation Protocols, Barcodes, Interlibrary Loan (ILL), Electronic Documents, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Information Retrieval, Metadata, and Web Access.  For each standard, the applicability to libraries is described, sample RFP language is provided, and compliance assessment issues are discussed.  "Having recently participated in writing an RFP, I wish I'd had this Guide in hand," stated Priscilla Caplan, Assistant Director of Digital Library Services at the Florida Center for Library Automation.  "It's easy to rattle off a list of standards to be supported, but another thing altogether to specify standards compliance in a way that discriminates between different vendor implementations."

Copies of the guide are available in print from NISO Press or for free download from NISO's website (http://www.niso.org/standards/resources/RFP_Writers_Guide.pdf).

About the Author
Cynthia Hodgson, the author of the Guide, is an independent information consultant and writer with over 20 years of experience as a corporate librarian, library manager, and information technology manager.  She has taught graduate level courses in Library Science and has held local and national offices in professional library organizations.

About NISO
NISO is the only U.S. group accredited by the American National Standards Institute to develop and promote technical standards for use in information delivery services providing voluntary standards for libraries, publishers and related information technology organizations.  All NISO standards are developed by consensus under the guidance of experts and practitioners in the field to meet the needs of both the information user and the producer.  For information about NISO's current standardization interests and membership possibilities, please visit the NISO website at http://www.niso.org.

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