Albuquerque, NM (January 9, 2004) – Sounding the call to “shape new product development ideas, influence evolving standards, and ensure open protocols for information exchange,” Marjorie M.K. Hlava has assumed the presidency of the National Federation of Abstracting and Indexing Services (NFAIS).
Hlava, a veteran member and committee leader for NFAIS, is president of Access Innovations, Inc., a knowledge management company she established in Albuquerque in 1978. In accepting the leadership position with NFAIS, she also challenged the organization to further “foster education, professional growth, and innovations in technology transfer.”
NFAIS is a membership organization that represents an international cross-section of technology, publishing and information providers. It is a partnership of government, nonprofit, and commercial organizations, all sharing a common mission of improved access to, and use of, information. Hlava is also chair and Board liaison to the Standards Committee.
NFAIS members’ services successfully merge human intellectual processes and judgment with the strength of technological solutions. The primary activities undertaken by member organizations are aggregating, organizing, and facilitating access to information.
Assisting users in creating knowledge from published information is the key focus and purpose of every NFAIS member. Some of the hallmarks that distinguish the products and services provided by NFAIS members from other information providers include content management, precision search and retrieval, enriched indexing, depth and scope of content, and automated electronic access. Whether provided by profit-seeking companies, government agencies, or nonprofit entities, these products and services are crucial to professionals in academic, corporate, government, and library sectors of industry: communities who need quick, reliable, and easy access to the sometimes overwhelming amount of information available in both print and digital formats.
Products and services provided by NFAIS members are often the most important interface between the user, seeking either specific or general information on a chosen topic and the sources of information relevant to that topic. This element of publishing is integral to productivity in a diverse number of fields of study and research, thus contributing positively to the national and global economies, as well as toward goals of social, scientific, and political progress.
Regardless of their size or their profit motive, NFAIS members have moved aggressively in the delivery and integration of their products and services through new technologies. Web-based resources, wireless devices, online services, digital archives, and CD-ROMs are just some of the many delivery and communication channels employed by NFAIS members organizations to reach customers and offer solutions for their information needs.
NFAIS members have successively made the transition from traditional, and often niche, information publishers to global, digital information providers. They strive to continue providing the highest value of service and the most efficient tools available to enhance the productivity of information professionals.
In conjunction with NISO and other participating organizations, the NFAIS Standards Committee is reviewing initiatives pertaining to:
- Digital Reference Services
- Performance Measures and Statistics for Libraries Reference Linking
- Controlled Vocabularies, Interoperability and Thesauri
- Electronic Journals: Best Practices
- Scientific and Technical Reports: Spanning the New Technology
- Open URL (this standard will allow information seekers to be connected to the appropriate copy of any chosen resource, by passing along bibliographical or descriptive information about the resource in the form of metadata and taking into account the user’s organizational context or starting point).
In conjunction with the World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3.org), the NFAIS Standards Committee is currently monitoring developments in the following areas:
- DOM Level 3 XPath
- XML Accessibility Guidelines
- WAI Protocols and Formats
- Extensible Style-sheet Language (XSL)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- XSL Transformations
- Resource Description Frameworks (RDF)
Metadata is a critical mechanism, both in knowledge representation of digital collections and in data mining. Metadata describes the attributes of a resource, where the resource may consist of bibliographical objects (e.g. EAD metadata), geospatial objects (e.g. CSDGM), museum and visual resources (e.g. CDWA, VRA, CIMI metadata), or software implementation (e.g. CORBA).
NFAIS: Looking Forward…
Statement of the President-Elect Marjorie M. K. Hlava, President and Founder of Access Innovations, Inc.
“During the past year, I have been fortunate to work with NFAIS president Michael Dennis of CAS and the hardworking and dedicated NFAIS Board and staff in thinking about our changing industry, its impact on NFAIS, and the directions that we should take in order to strengthen the organization. Problems are best solved when addressed head-on. Burying things we know to be true will not make them go away.
“Industry consolidation and the recent economic downslide have affected everyone in the information community, and NFAIS is no exception. Today NFAIS has fewer than 50 members, down 20 percent from last year. The organizations’ efforts are supported, almost exclusively, by a relatively high dues structure and revenues generated from the Annual Conference. And, due to declining membership, our revenue has decreased by 14.4 percent in the past year resulting in depletion of our reserves and significant reduction in our net worth. The driving forces impacting NFAIS are not all within our control, but they all must be faced and dealt with. We have a newsletter, a News Alerts, a website, and an excellent Annual Conference, but we need much more to ensure the future health of the organization.
“However, all is not doom and gloom! On the bright side, we have a strong team at NFAIS Headquarters, and they are concerned and working very hard to create the best and strongest NFAIS ever. While it might be tempting, we cannot simply hire a new Executive Director and expect the Headquarters team to fix our problems. That would be naïve and unfair. Fortunately, the NFAIS Board of Directors is equally committed to investing significant time and energy into strengthening the organization.
“So where do we go from here? We are a small organization with few dollars and a big agenda. Who will help us? ‘Us’–we are those who aggregate, organize, and facilitate access to information!
“A new information industry is evolving and we must embrace it. NFAIS needs to evolve in order to provide the organizational benefits members need, want, and expect. We must foster understanding of secondary publishing in all its variations to the primary publishers, to the librarians, to the end user, and perhaps most importantly, to those who are new to the business and who are shaping its future.
“How will NFAIS serve the evolving information community and those new to our business? Of equal importance, how can we motivate those newcomers to take advantage of NFAIS’s organizational benefits? How? By creating an environment that showcases the wealth of knowledge and talent that our community has developed, and by leveraging the combined strength and experience of existing NFAIS members.
“NFAIS should be a forum for shaping new product development ideas, a place for influencing the evolving standards in our industry and for ensuring open protocols for information exchange. We should be a place renowned for the development of new partnerships. And we should be a place that fosters education, information exchange, professional growth, and technology transfer.
“The ideal NFAIS will serve all tax sectors: government, not-for-profit, and for-profit. It will also serve all industry sectors: users, libraries, both secondary and primary publishers, and Host services. NFAIS also will pay attention to and invite in the new sectors: web & internet.
“How will we do this? What do we need to do to make this happen? The Evolving Plan:
“1. Agree on a membership definition. We have done the first part, which is to revise the vision statement to read we are ‘Those who aggregate, organize, and facilitate access to information.’
“2. Enlarge the portfolio of NFAIS products and services. This is an area of ongoing discussion and always should be.
“3. Provide forums for discussion of, and action on, member issues and concerns. At last year’s Board strategic planning meeting, we learned that there are shared member concerns that would benefit from discussion among peers. New committees and/or round tables are being established at the 2003 NFAIS Annual Conference for this very purpose. Each Board member has taken on an interim chairmanship. Once a committee is firmly established and moving forward, each group will determine its own structure. In addition, two round tables are having their meetings at this conference. These groups and the interim Chairs are:
Best Practices: Paul Ryan, Defense Technical Information Center
Conferences & Meetings: David Brown, The Dialog Corporation
Humanities Roundtable: Terence Ford, Getty Research Institute
Information Linking: Linda Beebe, American Psychological Association
Information Policy: Linda Beebe, American Psychological Association
Chief Information Officer Roundtable: Matt Dunie, Cambridge Scienfitic Abstracts (CSA)
Nominations: Michael Dennis, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS)
Public Relations & Marketing: Linda Sacks, BIOSIS
Publications: Sally Sinn, National Agricultural Library
Standards: Marjorie Hlava, Access Innovations, Inc.
Usage Statistics & Member Data: Lucian Parziale, The H.W.Wilson Co. (Bernie Seilor, Chair).
“4. Increase membership: The Board has identified more than 156 potential member organizations that will be invited to join us in shaping the future of the information community.
“5. Increase member benefits: Headquarters has already surveyed members to determine what they need, want and expect from NFAIS membership. We expect that communication will be improved through enhanced publications and the website, and that networking opportunities will also be increased. In addition, we hope to offer new opportunities within our publications, meetings, and committees in order to identify, discuss, and address areas of member concerns.
“6. Cooperate with similar organizations: We have had the opportunity to work with sister societies, such as EUSIDIC, and will increase this effort in the coming year. We are all facing the same challenges–and opportunities–and should work together. I spoke at the EUSIDIC meeting last fall as a representative of NFAIS. NFAIS and EUSIDIC shared a joint stand and luncheon at the International Online meeting in London, December 2002. We now have reciprocal member registration rates for meetings.
“The Industry is evolving, and the future is unknown. Technical variables are increasing. The economic climate is unstable. Future market directions are uncertain. We all need a place to meet and talk with our peers who face the same challenges, so that we can identify solutions for our own organizations. NFAIS is that place! I am looking forward to a very exciting year!”