STS (Standards Tag Suite)

October 2017 status: 

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has announced the publication of a new American National Standard, STS: Standards Tag Suite, ANSI/NISO Z39.102-2017. Non-normative NISO STS Supporting Materials remain available at Our next steps will be to set up a Standing Committee and feedback mechanisms. Information will continue to be posted on this page.

Work Description

This work will standardize a specific tag set used for standards publishing, and link it officially to JATS (ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2012 JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite), a widely used specification which defines a set of XML elements and attributes for tagging journal articles and describes several article models. 


There are currently several DTDs used for tagging standard-type information based on JATS and a number of others that have been independently developed. This variety of DTDs used in standards publishing makes interoperability between organizations difficult and increases any integration costs.

At the end of 2011, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) revamped its publishing systems and together with Mulberry Technologies, Inc. developed a derivative of JATS to be used for ISO standards publishing: the ISOSTS (ISO Standard Tag Set). This DTD has been in full production since, with little or no changes. The DTD and documentation are openly available.  A number of ISO’s members [BSI (British Standards Institution), SIS (Swedish Standards Institute), NEN (Netherlands Standardization Institute), SA (Standards Australia)] and some distributors have adopted the ISOSTS.

Several standards development organizations (SDOs) and distributors in the United States are looking to upgrade their publishing systems. Some are already familiar with JATS and have looked at ISOSTS. However, there is reluctance to adopt ISOSTS as it is not currently an official standard. Concern also exists that if JATS is updated, its updates may not filter into ISOSTS. 

It would be beneficial to all stakeholders to move ISOSTS toward standardization and create an official relationship with JATS. The two standards will then remain coupled and the ISOSTS solution will be adopted more readily. This move will result in greater interoperability of standards, which in turn will aid our end users, and improve the future of standards publishing.



Committee Roster

Co-chairs, Steering Group and Technical Working Group

Robert Wheeler

Director, Publishing Technologies
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Steering Group Members

Evan Owens

Vice President, Publishing Technologies
Cenveo Publisher Services

Greg Saunders

Office of the Asst Sec of Defense for Research & Engineering (OASD-R&E)

Hong Xu

European Committee for Standardization (CEN)

Wei Zhao

Ontario Council of University Libraries

Observers, Steering Committee

Bob Hager

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Members, Technical Working Group