On Dec. 9, 2009, Lauren C., Carol, Chris, Erik, Jean-Paul, and I viewed a webinar, sponsored by NISO, on the ONIX-PL standard. (Special thanks to Chris for his work in getting audio set up when the initial plan failed.)
What is ONIX-PL? Well, I’m glad you asked!
ONIX-PL is a fairly new standard for encoding e-resource license terms. It is a communication standard; that is, its purpose is to enable libraries, publishers, and vendors to express e-resource license terms in machine-readable format. This would allow terms to be shared between different computer systems, such as being loaded into electronic resource management systems (ERMS) and being more easily shared among library staff as well as patrons.
Webinar presenters were Rick Burke, Exec. Director of the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium; Wilma Mossink, Legal Adviser for the SURF Foundation, a higher-ed organization in the Netherlands; and Mark Bide, Exec. Dir. of EDItEUR (ONIX-PL is a joint project of NISO and EDItEUR). Burke spoke about a pilot project his consortium is working on with EDItEUR to develop and open-source ONIX-PL editor to help map license terms into an ERMS. Mossink spoke of the potential of ONIX-PL to help member libraries more easily access e-resource permissions, e.g. whether a particular resource can be used in course packs. She also stressed the importance of asking publishers and ERMS vendors to support the ONIX-PL standard. Bide spoke about a current project, in collaboration with JISC in the UK, to develop a Registry of electronic licenses that would, for example, allow an end-user to click on a link to see a pop-up window of specific license permissions/restrictions. Of course there are some significant challenges to be overcome before this will work smoothly, but the potential is exciting.
Slides from the webinar are available at http://www.niso.org/news/events/2009/onixpl09/onixpl09.pdf.