School of Information Management & Systems. Spring 2004.
285   Design of Library Services   M. Buckland.

Assignment 12:   Library Guidelines and Standards.   Due Apr 9.

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) develops and promotes technical standards used in a wide variety of information services. NISO is a nonprofit association accredited as a standards developer by the American National Standards Institute, the national clearinghouse for voluntary standards development in the U.S.

NISO has developed standards for Information Retrieval (Z39.50), 12083 (an SGML Tool), Z39.2 (MARC Information Interchange Format), Codes for Languages and Countries, and Z39.18 (Scientific and Technical Reports).

The goal in using technical standards in information services, libraries, and publishing is to achieve compatibility and therefore interoperability between equipment, data, practices, and procedures. Using technical standards makes information services more productive. Take a look at the list of technical standards at and new standards under development at

The American Library Association's problematic website lists a large number of standards, guidelines, and recommendations concerning good practice for a wide variety of library activities. Go to Click on "Professional Tools", then "Admin & Management" then "Standards". But, mysteriously, there is a much better list at

1. Browse through these lists.

2. Pick one standard or guideline of interest to you from each site, hand in a brief explanation and summary, adding any comments that you wish to add.

3. Be prepared to discuss in class.