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NISO Publishes Update to Metrics Data Dictionary for Libraries and Information Providers

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of the fifth edition of the standard ANSI/NISO Z39.7, Information Services and Use: Metrics and Statistics for Libraries and Information Providers – Data Dictionary. The purpose of the Z39.7 Data Dictionary is to assist the information community in the identification, definition, collection, and interpretation of statistical data used to describe the current status and condition of libraries in the United States. It absorbs many of the de facto definitions established in various national surveys and data collection programs to provide a body of valid and comparable data on American libraries.

Originally published in 1968 with the title Library Statistics, the standard has evolved through its subsequent editions, culminating in an online data dictionary and new title in the 2004 edition. In 2008, NISO moved the standard from periodic to continuous maintenance and established the Z39.7 Standing Committee to maintain the standard.

“With the standard under continuous maintenance, users can submit comments and suggestions for improvements and have them evaluated by the Z39.7 Standing Committee biannually for possible inclusion in the standard,” explained Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Director for Programs. “When a sufficient number of changes have been accepted, a revision of the standard is presented for approval by the NISO Voting Members. This fifth edition includes all the accepted changes since the previous edition was published.”

“The importance of addressing our digital environment with integrative thinking is apparent in the new standard,” stated Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director, ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs, and Chair of the Z39.7 Standing Committee. “In addition to reformatting and better organization, the e-metrics that were introduced in the 2004 edition as a separate section have been updated and integrated into the body of the standard to make them easier to use. Additional data gathering tools were added and all survey references were updated.”

“In addition to evaluating suggestions from the community, the Z39.7 Standing Committee regularly reviews other metrics-related standards and best practices with an eye of continuously improving the Data Dictionary,” said Steve Hiller, Director of Assessment and Planning, University of Washington Libraries, member of the Z39.7 Standing Committee, and incoming Chair of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Subcommittee on Quality – Statistics and performance evaluation (TC464/SC8). “Currently, we are assessing the forthcoming revision to the ISO standard on International library statistics (ISO 2789) for areas where the standards can be better aligned and for proposed new statistics and methods.”

“Statistics collection is a critical process of libraries to document their service provision, their value, and changes in the use of services,” states Todd Carpenter, NISO’s Executive Director. “Standards in this area are especially important to ensure that data is consistently collected across time periods and also by different libraries so that data can be compared. Z39.7 is the key standard in the United States for this purpose and the current revision ensures that the standard remains up-to-date with the changing environment in today’s libraries.”

The Z39.7 Data Dictionary is available in open access on the NISO website at A downloadable PDF version of the standard is also available. Users of the standard are encouraged to submit suggestions to the Z39.7 Standing Committee at any time. Information on the continuous maintenance process is available from the Committees’ webpage at

 Cynthia Hodgson

Technical Editor / Consultant

National Information Standards Organization




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