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NISO STS – Standard for Standards Opens Up New Opportunities for SDOs


Manish Malpani

November 20, 2017

Standardization helps in maximizing quality, interoperability, and compatibility. It fosters innovation and technical progress. With structured methods and reliable data gathering, standardization makes it easier to spread knowledge and ideas, and cultivate innovation.

In 1800, with the onset of the industrial revolution, the concept of standardization and standards bodies and committees started. With the growing adoption of technology, Internet, and mobile proliferation, and everything going digital, this age-old industry of standards developing organizations is also focusing on “going digital”. The digitization initiatives of SDOs, however, are much more complex because of the involvement of multiple aspects such as data conversion, content management, digital selling, online certification, and also in some cases, accreditation.

The first and foremost activity in standards digitization is the conversion of legacy data into digital format. The legacy data can be in various forms such as research papers, textbooks, journals, magazines, periodicals, yearbooks, technical, flight and other manuals. The accurate conversion of this data into digital format for viewing on iPad, Kindle, Smartphones, tablets, and laptops requires a certain degree of automation as well as manual quality check.

Till now, there was no standard format in which the standards content and metadata needs to be stored. Every vendor, therefore, had its own format for data storage and access making the interchange of standards data between various distribution partners difficult. However, recently, NISO published Standards Tag Suite (NISO STS) Standard with an aim to provide “standard for standards”. With this standard, NISO aims to offer a common format in which standards organizations, publishers, disseminators, archives, and any lawful user can publish and exchange standards content. With a defined suite of XML elements and attributes that describes the full-text content and metadata of standards, NISO STS aims to provide a common format to standards organizations, publishers, disseminators, archives, and users to publish and exchange standards content.

More information about this announcement at –


I am extremely excited about this development. Per NISO, this is going to give a dramatic push to the digital transformation initiatives of the SDOs –

  • It will help in reducing the publishing costs

  • It will help in fostering innovation through dissemination of new ideas and technologies

  • It will enhance the communication across various stakeholders in the standards ecosystem – right from the standards creators to the end users

  • It will make the standards discovery, use, and adoption easy

  • It will improve the interoperability between standards publishers and the standards distribution ecosystem

  • It will help them reduce the time to publish

  • It will offer easier discovery, use and adoption of standards

  • With its alignment with JATS, NISO STS is highly extensible and will support advancing technology and increased user requirements

Without getting into the technicalities, in simple terms, this is going to make the digitization of standards easy, simple, stable, standardized, extensible, and future-proof.

Standards data and code conversion of the legacy data has always been one of the biggest concerns of Standards Developing Organizations. This announcement by NISO is a giant step forward in helping SDOs with their data conversion and management.

At InfoBeans, we have a long-standing relationship with SDOs over the past ten years. Through optimized automation and stringent manual quality checks, we, at InfoBeans, have been able to offer 100% accuracy in the data conversion to the SDOs. With a strong technology expertise, we will be able to utilize the Standards Tag Suite (NISO STS) to help the SDOs in faster and standardized conversion of standards data through the greater use of automation. By leveraging the powerful base of XML, we will be able to create accessible publications, put the standards data in right structure, and reduce the time to publish.

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