The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of a special themed issue of Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ) on the topic of Licensing of Digital Content. Licensing of digital content has been a complex—and contentious—issue since the advent of the first e-journal. While much understanding and experience has been gained since then, greater diversity in types of e-content and technology advances continuously add new challenges to licensing. This issue of ISQ discusses the current state of e-content licensing, standards and tools to aid in the licensing process, and two projects aimed at improving rights management and providing an alternative to standard licenses.

Ann Shumelda Okerson provides her Reflections on Library Licensing, describing both the advancements that have occurred in digital content licensing over the past decade and the remaining and new challenges that we need to address.

David Martin authors a standard spotlight on the ONIX for Publication Licenses specification from EDItEUR. While this standard has been around for over five years, several recent developments may help make its adoption finally take off.

The Linked Content Coalition is a relatively new project created by a global consortium of standards bodies and registries. While not explicitly about licensing, the identifiers and metadata related to usage rights that they expound are critical to the ability for machines to manage, distribute, and display rights and licensing information. Todd Carpenter discusses how the group aims to make it possible to manage and access online rights information seamlessly across all types of media.

NISO’s Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU) recommended practice, presented as an alternative to a formal licensing negotiation, was updated in 2012 to expand its use beyond e-journals. Adam Chesler and Anne McKee review in SERU: Six Years and Still Going Strong, how this approach continues to grow in use.

ISQ is available in open access in electronic format on the NISO website. Both the entire issue on Open Access Infrastructure and the individual articles may be freely downloaded. Print copies of ISQ are available by subscription and as print on demand. For more information and to access the free electronic version, visit: www.niso.org/publications/isq.