May 29, 2022

NISO Launches New Open Discovery Initiative to Develop Standards and Recommended Practices for Library Discovery Services Based on Indexed Search

From a NISO Announcement:

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) voting members have approved a new Open Discovery Initiative work item to develop standards and recommended practices for next generation library discovery services. Using an aggregated index search of a wide range of resources, licensed and free, from multiple providers, these discovery services have the ability to deliver more sophisticated services with instant performance, compared to the federated search techniques previously used.

“Marshall Breeding (Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University), Jenny Walker (Consultant for Ex Libris), and I hosted an Open Discovery Initiative invitational meeting at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in June 2011,” stated Oren Beit-Arie Chief Strategy Officer at Ex Libris. “We wanted to gauge interest in exploring the issues encountered with these new discovery services and in pursuing more formal standards or best practices for information providers to provide content to discovery services. We received an overwhelmingly positive response from stakeholders, which led the group to bring the project forward to NISO.”

“Libraries increasingly rely on index-based discovery services as their strategic interfaces through which patrons gain access to the rapid growing breadth of information that may be available to them,” states Walker. “They expect their uniquely licensed and purchased electronic content to be made available within the discovery service of their choice. But it is often not clear which resources are available, which are indexed in full text or by citations only, or both, and whether the metadata derives from aggregated databases or directly through the full-text.”

“The scope of discovery interfaces is broader than what is managed in the integrated library system,” explains Breeding. “These services can include other local repositories and digital collections and the electronic resources in subscription information content products. We’d like to see a consistent vocabulary regarding all the elements involved, that there be clarity in the business rules that apply to the content once indexed, and that there be clear descriptors regarding the extent of indexing performed for each item or collection of content and the level of availability of the content.”


Individuals interested in participating in this working group should contact Nettie Lagace ( An interest group list for this project ( will be available for those who would like to receive updates on the Working Group’s progress and provide feedback to the group on its work. Information on how to subscribe is available at

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.