May 18, 2022

NISO Releases Updated Draft of SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource

From the National Information Standards Organization:

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the availability of a draft update of SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding for public comment (NISO RP-7-201X) through February 19, 2012. SERU offers publishers and libraries the opportunity to save both the time and the costs associated with a negotiated and signed license agreement for e-resources by both content provider and customer agreeing to operate within a framework of shared understanding and good faith. The SERU framework provides a set of common understandings for parties to reference as an alternative to a formal license when conducting business.

[Our emphasis] When SERU was adopted as a NISO Recommended Practice in 2008, its focus was on e-journal transactions, and the parties involved were primarily libraries and publishers. Since then, with the many emerging models for acquisition of e-books, both libraries and e-book providers have requested that other types of electronic resources be incorporated into the SERU framework. This updated version of SERU recognizes both the importance of making SERU more flexible for those who want to expand its use beyond e-journals and the fact that consensus for other types of e-resource transactions are not as well-established as they are for e-journals. In those instances where there is as yet no standard expectation, a shared understanding may still be achieved if expectations are clearly articulated in the purchase order that accompanies SERU.

“As e-resources have become increasingly central to library collections, the number of license agreements have multiplied accordingly,” comments Selden Lamoureux, co-chair of the NISO SERU Standing Committee that updated the best practice. “It’s important that there continues to be a viable alternative to formal licensing, and that SERU be suitable for the different types of e-resources patrons rely on. Demand for e-books is growing exponentially, and it’s especially important that SERU be appropriate for e-book acquisition, whenever acquiring institutions and electronic providers agree on its use.”

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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.