National Information Standards Organization

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO /ˈnaɪsoʊ/) is a United States non-profit standards organization that develops, maintains and publishes technical standards related to publishing, bibliographic and library applications. It was founded in 1939, incorporated as a not-for-profit education association in 1982, and assumed its current name in 198.

National Information Standards Organization
FormationJune 22, 1939 (1939-06-22)[1]
PurposeNational standards
HeadquartersBaltimore, Maryland
221 organizations[2]
Official language
Executive Director
Todd A. Carpenter
US$1.2 million


NISO offers two membership categories, "voting members" and "library standards alliance". In January 2016, the "voting members" included 77 large corporations, mostly publishers, and large library organizations such as the American Library Association.[2] Voting members elect Directors and comment and vote on standards.[3] The "Library Standards Alliance" included 135 members, primarily university and large public libraries.[2] Library members receive free access to NISO webinars.[4]

Todd Carpenter was appointed Executive Director of NISO in 2006.[5] In February 2019, NISO announced plans to merge with the National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) in July 2019, subject to NFAIS member approval.


NISO is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is designated by ANSI to represent U.S. interests to the International Organization for Standardization's Technical Committee 46 (Information and Documentation), all of its subcommittees, as well as the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Subcommittee 34 - Document description and processing languages (JTC 1/SC 34). In 2008, NISO was appointed Secretariat on behalf of ANSI for the TC 46 Subcommittee 9 (TC 46/SC 9) - Identification and Description.

NISO approved standards are published by ANSI. Unlike most other ANSI standards, all of NISO standards and best practices are freely available from its web site.

Designations (names) of NISO standards all start with "ANSI/NISO Z39." (read zee or zed thirty nine dot).

Examples of NISO standards include:

  • Z39.2: Bibliographic records Information Interchange Format (IIF) encoding mostly used with MARC standards
  • Z39.29: Bibliographic References; last version is Z39.29-2005 (R2010)
  • Z39.5: journal title abbreviations, resulting in the 1969 publication of the American National Standard for the Abbreviation of Titles of Periodicals[6]
  • Z39.7: Information Services and Use: Metrics & Statistics for Libraries and Information Providers Data Dictionary
  • Z39.50: a protocol for accessing bibliographic databases
  • Z39.83: NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) for library catalogue data exchange
  • Z39.84: Digital object identifier (DOI)
  • Z39.85: Dublin Core
  • Z39.86: Specifications for the Digital Talking Book: DAISY Digital Accessible Information SYstem
  • Z39.87: Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images - MIX
  • Z39.88: OpenURL
  • Z39.93: Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol
  • Z39.96: JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite
  • Z39.99: ResourceSync Framework Specification
  • Z39.102: STS: Standards Tag Suite

In addition to formal standards, NISO also publishes recommended practices, technical reports and other consensus documents, and offers continuing education for librarians and information professionals. Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ), NISO's magazine, has been available online as open access since 2011.[7]


  1. National Information Standards Organization (NISO) archives > ArchivesUM
  2. "Member companies". National Information Standards Organization. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  3. "NISO Voting Members". National Information Standards Organization. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  4. "Library Standards Alliance". National Information Standards Organization. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  5. "NISO names Todd Carpenter managing director". Library Journal. August 28, 2006.
  6. Charen T, Gillespie CJ (July 1971). "MEDLARS abbreviations for medical journal titles". Bulletin of the Medical Library Association. 59 (3): 420–9. PMC 197609. PMID 5146764.
  7. ISQ". National Information Standards Organization. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
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