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ISO library registry standard adapts to the digital age

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Exchange informationThe third revision of a successful ISO standard for libraries provides a state-of-the art registry framework adapted to the radical changes in methods of collecting information and exchanging data between libraries which have taken place worldwide that have occurred since the second revision in 1988.

As discovery and delivery become increasingly global in scale, systems require either international registries or a series of interoperable regional and national registries to determine the best collections to search and the terms of supply. Internationally available registry information also supports interoperability with collection management systems and digital repositories, discovery services, delivery services and reference services.

ISO 2146:2010, Information and documentation – Registry services for libraries and related organizations, offers a conceptual basis for the development of the full range of registry services needed to support usage scenarios for physical and digital libraries and related cultural institutions.

The International Standard establishes the rules for registries operating in a network environment to provide information about an institution’s collections, parties, activities and services.

ISO 2146:2010 is applicable to national registries published in bi- or multilingual countries and to national and regional registries intended for international use. The field of application includes, but is not limited to:

  • Collection management systems and digital repositories
  • Discovery services, including catalogues and indexes, federated metadata repositories and metasearch portals
  • Delivery services, including persistent identifier management and resolution, access management and interlending services
  • Reference services including reference management systems and virtual reference services
  • The registry services themselves, of all types, needed to support the above applications.

As a framework standard, ISO 2146:2010 does not lay down how data should be registered, but is instead designed to be a pedagogic document providing a range of examples for implementers, rather than being restrictive or prescriptive.

Alison Elliott, Chair of TC46/SC4 comments: "The collections of libraries and cultural institutions today typically consist of a mixture of physical, digitized and licensed digital content. These collections are available for discovery online with a variety of delivery services appropriate to the form of material and the economic and legal terms under which the resources may be made available externally. The revised ISO 2146 provides an agreed framework for the description of cultural collections and services and will encourage the creation of globally interoperable registries.  Such registries will be essential to a cohesive system of discovery and delivery from the viewpoint of library users. Such registries will also underpin international cooperation in the creation and curation of comprehensive and effective collections. ”

ISO 2146:2010, Information and documentation – Registry services for libraries and related organization was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation, subcommittee SC 4, Technical interoperability and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 180 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department (see right-hand column).