Baltimore, MD - September 25, 2017 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of a new Technical Report, NISO TR-06-2017, Issues in Vocabulary Management. This document is one outcome of the NISO Bibliographic Roadmap Development Project, which was conducted in 2013-14 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The technical report builds upon the work outlined in the 2014 project summary report Roadmap for the Future of Bibliographic Exchange by discussing policies supporting vocabulary use and reuse, documentation for vocabularies, and requirements for the preservation of RDF vocabularies. 

The audiences for this technical report start with the communities NISO has brought together: libraries, publishers, and service providers. But beyond these communities, NISO aims for the document to help the many individuals and groups building and sharing bibliographic and other descriptive data, as well as knowledge managers within a variety of organizations using vocabularies to solve problems.

NISO TR-06-2017, Issues in Vocabulary Management is the result of efforts by three working groups and a steering committee, whose remits illustrate the breadth of the work involved. The Use/Reuse working group looked at policy and social considerations, including appropriate licenses and permissions, maintenance expectations, and versioning. The Documentation working group explored standards for documentation of vocabulary properties, particularly as it relates to discovery and usage, as well as governance and sustainability issues. The Preservation working group examined the landscape issue of "orphan vocabularies," where organizations abandon vocabularies for lack of funding or when the vocabularies cannot make the transition between print and digital.

"NISO is grateful to the many volunteer experts whose work contributed to this much-needed technical report," comments NISO Executive Director Todd Carpenter. "In the past, vocabularies were tied to particular collections and tended to become insular, but today we need descriptive information that works in the Linked Open Data environment. Enabling interoperability among systems and organizations is a major goal of NISO's work, and this technical report moves us forward in that area."

Diane Hillmann, Principal of Metadata Management Associates LLC and co-chair of the Use and Reuse working group, notes that as well as offering a way for users of vocabularies to streamline their output, Issues in Vocabulary Management discusses the preservation of those vocabularies. "We've seen how often orphan vocabularies have arisen over the years," says Hillmann. "With this technical report, we aim to allow those using or managing vocabularies to ensure that their work remains viable and available for years to come."

NISO TR-06-2017, Issues in Vocabulary Management and related documents are available on the NISO website at

About NISO
NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, 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 information standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO website.