The purpose of this survey is to ascertain the support for such a standard and to identify blockers to implementation.

For over 30 years, libraries have invested in building the ecosystem of open source communities and software projects that support the preservation and access of digital content.

Over the last few years, various projects and institutions who are active within the open knowledge space have perceived a need to bring new thinking, new funding models, and new commitments to promoting sustainable, interoperable infrastructure. But when we talk about what “interoperability” looks like on a technical and implementation level, complexity often gets the best of us.

The events of recent months have illustrated more concretely why interoperability of our open systems and infrastructure is needed. The global pandemic and subsequent economic and racial crises have led to an increased demand for more frictionless, equitable access to research and knowledge to support shifts to online learning and research. As a result of this massive shift, we’ve also witnessed the strain on shared open infrastructure underpinning the research enterprise and scholarly communication, such as content and data repositories.  

Standards and interoperability specifications can, when thought of systematically, help enable access to knowledge across our systems, as well as resilience and redundancy should a service go down. But additional clarity as to what standards to implement and what counts as an “open knowledge system” is needed if we are to make progress towards a more equitable and resilient means of sharing knowledge across institutions.

To help address this challenge, a small group consisting of leaders from top U.S. research Universities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) have been working to create an IFLA standard to acts as a “meta standard”, one that highlights recommended existing standards and guidelines to enable interoperability and open knowledge sharing across systems, borders, and technologies. The focus of this work is on interoperability and standards that enable and further open exchange of information, knowledge and data across systems and technologies used within the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum (GLAM) space.

We invite members of the IFLA community and other library staff to fill out the survey linked here. Doing so will help us gather information to present to the IFLA committee for further development of this guideline. The purpose of this survey is to ascertain the support for such a standard and to identify blockers to implementation.

Take the survey

The survey will be open through February 26, 2021. If you have questions, please reach out to

Posted by Kaitlin Thaney