22:3 (2007:09) 22nd Conference (2007): Tactics Session: EDI for Libraries, Publishers, and Agents: The Reality Show—SUSHI, ONIX, and ?

September 4, 2007 at 6:39 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) for Libraries, Publishers, and Agents
The Reality Show—SUSHI, ONIX, and ?
Tina Feick, Swets Information Services
Reported by Valerie Bross

Tina Feick’s electric presentation countered the stereotype that standards are dry.  Beginning with the Berlin Airlift and ending with Tina’s dream for the future, the session spanned a half-century of standards development.

The first standard—the grandfather of the bunch—is EDI. Electronic Data Interchange entails the computer-to-computer exchange of data according to a specified format agreed to by all parties, with no human intervention. This was a revolutionary concept in 1945, and in some senses remains an ideal.

Within the serials community, EDI took off in 1979 with ICEDIS (International Committee on EDI for Serials) and, in the 1980s, with the SISAC SICI (Serials Industry Systems Advisory Committee’s Serial Item and Contribution Identifier).  Fritz Schwartz, in whose name the NASIG award was created, helped develop and promote use of EDI standards.  Many NASIG members first learned not to fear these new technical standards through his excellent workshops and patient explanations.  By 1992, EDI had been implemented for agent-to-publisher/publisher-to-agent transactions (orders, renewals, and transfers), as well as some library-to-agent/agent-to-library transactions (invoices, packing lists, claims).

Of more recent vintage, ONIX for Serials (ONline Information eXchange), under the auspices of EDItEUR, provides a family of XML-based standards for communicating data among agents, publishers, and e-resources management systems (ERMs).  ONIX for Serials standards include: SPS (serial products and subscriptions), SOH (serial holdings), and SRN (serial release notification).  The latest in the suite of standards is ONIX for Licensing Terms, the first draft which was released in March 2007.

SUSHI addresses a much different problem than either EDI or ONIX—the problem of statistics collection.  SUSHI, or Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative, is a protocol that formats data so that ERMs can more efficiently load it.  By combining SUSHI-based data with payment data, a library can create useful management reports of, for example, cost-per-use.

Finally in Tina’s dream-world, all standards are in place and fully implemented; library automation systems use the same standard; manual work has been reduced; and the librarian finally has time to focus on issues of quality.


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