Simplification is often a core element of creativity. Having to accomplish more with less demands innovation in figuring out how to do as much, if not more, while using less time, less energy, fewer words, or fewer resources. It takes considerable time, energy, and effort to make things more concise. In part, this is what Blaise Pascal was referring to when he wrote, "I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter."
During its meeting last month, the NISO Board of Directors worked to distill NISO's value proposition for the community. This effort is part of the rethinking that's been underway for the past few months as part of the work to ground a new NISO website. A core element of the redesign is our focus on the three or four core elements of NISO's activities that support both members and non-members. Far too often, we have heard how confusing and complicated NISO can be, how many varied projects we are engaged in, and how our processes seem labyrinthine: the perception persists that standards work is complex. We must endeavor to change this perception as well as the reality behind it.
NISO is very active and we do have complete procedures to ensure consistency and transparency for our working groups and publications. Engineers and other implementers of our specifications also need detailed instructions. But not every person interacting with NISO is a member of a working group or a standards implementer. For these others, we must do a better job of explaining the value and the purpose of our work, and how the pieces are meant to fit together into a coherent whole.
I hope you will join us in Chicago during the ALA conference when we will talk about this revised, simplified vision, which will include not just a new website but also restructured Topic Committees and a new focus for our efforts. We hope that as we roll out this vision this summer you will appreciate the effort and thought that is going into making NISO simpler to explain, clearer to understand, and easier to engage with.