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NISO Creates OpenURL Standard Committee

Bethesda, Md., USA. March, 2001.

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has announced the formation of a committee to develop the OpenURL Standard. This standard will allow information seekers to be connected to the appropriate copy of any chosen resource by passing along bibliographic or descriptive information about the resource in the form of metadata and taking into account the user's organizational context or starting point. A variety of appropriate related resources may also be made available using OpenURL syntax. This new standard will let information providers connect their customers to services and products more cleanly and directly.

The committee is charged to build a syntax for web-transportable packages of metadata and/or identifiers about an information object. This information is at the core of context-sensitive or open link technology. By standardizing the syntax, this work will enable the development of innovative user-specific services in the scholarly communications industry and other information fields. For example, product descriptions could be linked to technical support services targeted to specific user categories. The OpenURL standard may impact the level of basic Internet infrastructure, where resolution of identifiers in a context-sensitive manner is required.

The Committee's starting point will be the OpenURL syntax developed by Herbert Van de Sompel, Patrick Hochstenbach and Oren Beit-Arie. Many publishers in the scholarly information community are implementing this syntax in their electronic publications. The detailed proposal is available at The Open URL Standard Committee is chaired by Eric F. Van de Velde of California Institute of Technology and includes members from a broad spectrum of libraries, publishers and service providers. Formal work will begin in May 2001. Reports on the Committee's progress will be featured on the NISO website (

About NISO

NISO, a non-profit organization, is the only U.S. group accredited by the American National Standards Institute to develop and promote technical standards for use in libraries and publishing and related information services. NISO standards address the communication needs of these industries in areas such as information retrieval, preservation of materials, information transfer, forms and records, identification systems, publication formats, and equipment and supplies. For further information about NISO please visit the NISO website at Information on our current standardization interests and NISO's basic reference documents, including Bylaws, Operating Procedures and membership are on the NISO website.

For additional information contact NISO Headquarters at (301) 654-2512.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See discussion.

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