National Information Standards Organization To Develop Recommended Practice for Physical Delivery of Library Materials

Document aims to facilitate library resource sharing* **

November 11, 2009 – Baltimore, MD – The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Voting Members have approved a new work item to develop a Recommended Practice related to the physical delivery of library materials. NISO is pleased to announce that the Working Group roster for this project is now finalized, and work will be commencing with a kick-off call of the group on November 18, 2009. Building on the efforts of three recent projects–Moving Mountains, Rethinking Resource Sharing’s Physical Delivery Committee, and the American Library Association’s ASCLA ICANS’ Physical Delivery Discussion Group-the recommended practice document is proposed to include recommendations for: packaging, shipping codes, labeling, acceptable turn-around time, lost or damaged materials handling, package tracking, ergonomic considerations, statistics, sorting, a set of elements to be used for comparison purposes to determine costs,linking of regional and local library carriers, and international delivery.

“A recent study found that 77% of academic libraries participate in state or provincial resource sharing networks above and beyond the 10,000,000 interlibrary loan (ILL) transactions that OCLC annually processes,” Valerie Horton, Executive Director, Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC), who proposed the project and will be serving as co-chair, explained. “The increased volume and costs of library delivery is creating a demand for more information about how to run efficient and effective delivery operations.” Diana Sachs-Silveira, Virtual Reference Manager, Tampa Bay Library Consortium, will be co-chairing the group with Ms. Horton.

“We can’t ignore the tremendous number of books, journals, DVDs, and other physical library resources that continue to be borrowed by patrons,” commented Tony O’Brien, co-chair of NISO’s Discovery to Delivery Topic Committee, which reviewed and approved the proposal prior to its submittal to NISO’s voting membership. Added co-chair Tim Shearer, “In today’s economic environment, libraries have become borrowers too, sharing more of their resources with each other and across greater geographical distances. New services and technologies offer opportunities to improve the traditional ways such sharing and delivery has been done.”

“The three groups that have already done work in this area expressed interest in working with NISO to further develop their efforts into a set of recommended practices,” states Todd Carpenter, NISO Managing Director. “We are also hoping to involve carrier organizations and consultants for the delivery industry in addition to libraries, consortia, and cooperatives.”

An interest group list for this project is available for those who would like to receive updates on the Working Group’s progress and provide feedback to the group on its work. Information on how to subscribe is available at Visit the Working Group website at Additional questions may be directed to Karen A. Wetzel, NISO’s Standards Program Manager at

About NISO NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge.NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website:

. For more information please contact NISO on (301) 654-2512 or via email on

For More Information, Contact:
Victoria Kinnear Business Development and Operations Manager, NISO Phone: 301-654-2512 Email Victoria Kinnear Karen A. Wetzel Standards Program Manager, NISO Phone: 301-654-2512 Email Karen A. Wetzel _______________________ *Thanks to Ellen McGrath Head of Cataloging at the State University of New York Buffalo, Charles B. Sears Law Library for sharing this information..

** From David Badertcher. As someone who helps to oversee the operations of a public access law library, I hope, and strongly urge, the scope of the above described initiative be sufficiently comprehensive to address document delivery issues related to library to patron as well as library to library. I am thinking in particular of those disabeled patrons who may have a legitimate need for materials to bedelivered to them at home and who may not have an organization or person at their disposal to provide these services. We are seeing an increasing need for these services and programs.

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