The Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS)
division of the American Library Association has published a new book
edited by Todd A. Carpenter, the Executive Director of the National
Information Standards Organization (NISO). The Critical Component:
Standards in the Information Exchange Environment explores the process of
developing information standards, the value of standards for libraries,
publishing and the intermediaries that serve both communities. The book is
published by ALCTS Publishing and is available in both print and
electronic-book format. Carpenter, Nettie Lagace, NISO's Associate Director
for Programs, and Cynthia Hodgson, recently retired NISO Editor, all
contributed chapters to this publication.

"Although we rely on standards every day to access, retrieve, and display
digital content, few understand how these critical components in that
process are developed or deployed," said Carpenter describing the book's
aims. "Many people have commented to me that the development of standards
is a procedural 'black box' -something that is difficult to comprehend or
navigate. By creating this work, we hope to illuminate that process as well
as describe the necessary role that standards play in our digital content

"As the first ALCTS Monograph, this publication sets a high bar of content
and form for the series, including a newly accessible epub format for our
publication program," said Jeanne Drewes, ALCTS Monographs Editor. The idea
for this book came from the NISO emails that I had received over the years
from Cindy Hepfer, then the ALCTS representative to NISO. Her "standards"
outreach to the library community was the seed for the need and she was
instrumental in connecting ALCTS to the NISO team that brought this idea
into reality."

The book includes chapters on: the overall need for standards in content
distribution; the formality of standards; the process and players involved
in standards development; the description of information objects, digital
preservation, identifiers, marketing standards, getting involved in the
process as well as the future needs for information standards. Following
each chapter is a case study describing real-world implications of these

In addition to Carpenter, Lagace, and Hodgson, many esteemed industry
thought-leaders contributed to the book including:

   - Norman Paskin, International DOI Foundation
   - Regina Romano Reynolds, Library of Congress
   - Diane I. Hillmann, Metadata Management Associates
   - Lisa Gregory, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
   - Bill Kasdorf, Apex Content Solutions
   - Janifer Gatenby, OCLC
   - Adam Chandler, Cornell University Library
   - George Kerscher, DAISY Consortium
   - Laura Dawson, ProQuest
   - Marshall Breeding, Library Technology Guides Founder & Editor
   - Ted Koppel, Auto-Graphics
   - Kate Witteberg, Portico

and many others.

"In fact, everyone who inhabits any sector of the global information
ecosystem should be interested in and at least minimally knowledgeable
about standards. Twenty-first century libraries, information services and
publications of all kinds simply wouldn't be usable without the support of
standards," wrote Cindy Hepfer, recently retired librarian at State
University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, in her Introduction.

The Critical Component: Standards in the Information Exchange Environment
is now available in print (ISBN13: 978-0-8389-8744-5) from the ALA Annual
Conference Store in San Francisco and from the ALA Store online: Review copies are
available by contacting the Christine McConnell in the ALCTS office at
[log in to unmask] A PDF ebook (ISBN: 978-0-8389-8745-2) and EPUB (ISBN:
978-0-8389-8746-9) bundle will be available in mid-July through the ALA
Store online.