On September 25, I took part in an hour-long webinar that detailed the new ONIX for Serials standard (ONIX is an abbreviation for ONline Information eXchange). It is a joint project developed by EDItEUR from the UK and the NISO from the United States, and is the latest in a series of standards to create a uniform method of information exchange. Earlier standards, such as ONIX for Books, have been well received by participants across the industry.
ONIX for Serials is a new metadata standard that was designed for communications regarding serials subscriptions between all or some of the following: libraries, publishers, subscription agents, hosting servers, consortia, aggregators, content providers (Serials Solutions, for example), and link resolvers. Based on the ONIX for Books standard, it relates information dealing with subscription data and all of its sources and formats and presents it in an XML message that would be readable across these control systems.
Three primary formats have been developed for the ONIX for Serials standard.
- SPS (Serials Products and Subscriptions). These are standard messages to help distribute information to evaluate packages, titles a library is currently receiving in its catalog, and product lists from publishers and agents.
- SOH (Serials Online Holdings). This standard pushes information about available issues directly into library systems without using link resolvers, populates A-Z lists, and generates online holdings for consortia arrangements.
- SRN (Serials Release Notification). This format can become a method to know when issues are published for e-journals in the catalog and link resolvers; to remove doubt about delays in print issue delivery; and to announce the publication of an article before their respective journals are completely published.
In addition, there is an ONIX Serials Coverage Statement that displays complete enumeration and chronology data for all serial formats, regardless of format or type. Because of its nature, this is a complex data set.
As each format of ONIX for Serials has become available, they have been incorporated into the regular processes of various companies. Early adopters of the SOH format have been TDNet, Serials Solutions, EBSCO, Innovative and OCLC. The SPS and SRN formats are currently in the pilot stage, and compatibility with companies like SirsiDynix and Ex Libris are still on the proverbial drawing board. Further, compatibility with open source catalogs has not yet been addressed, but the nature of open source could change this in the near future.
ONIX for Serials could have tremendous implications across the library community. The key to expanding its growth, mentioned by the webinar’s presenters, was to encourage more companies to sign on as partners.
Please visit www.editeur.org for more information.