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SUSHI Schemas Updated to Support Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases

The SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.93 - 2007) defines an automated request and response model for the harvesting of electronic resource usage data, utilizing a Web services framework. Designed as a generalized protocol extensible to a variety of usage reports, it also contains an extension designed specifically to work with COUNTER usage reports. COUNTER reports have become a mainstay of collection analysis for many libraries; SUSHI serves to automate the time consuming and error prone process of manually running, retrieving and loading these reports.

NISO's SUSHI Standard Advisory Committee, formed last summer to maintain the standard, has used community feedback to identify additional needs for implementation and to examine the standard for areas that may need updating or improving. In addition to addressing the needs of the schemas, the Committee's charge also includes the goal of making SUSHI easier for implementers to understand and work with. As part of that effort, the schemas have been annotated with descriptions and examples for key elements, and the website (www.niso.org/workrooms/sushi
) now includes clear graphical representations of the schemas. In addition, the FAQs on the site are being updated and include sections specifically for librarians and for developers. Further documentation on the site includes material covered in NISO's SUSHI webinar on October 2, a list of clients (ERM and Usage Consolidation services) supporting SUSHI, and a list of SUSHI compliant content providers, and other supporting information.

Also on the site is a link to the draft, "How to Start Building a SUSHI Service." This work in progress by Thomas Barker, Software Engineer, IT and Digital Development at the University of Pennsylvania Library, is a valuable tool for those interested in getting started with building a client.

/Background and Technical Details/
Launched in 2002, COUNTER is designed to help librarians and publishers in the recording and exchange of usage statistics for electronic resources. By following COUNTER's Code of Practice, vendors can provide libraries with data using standardized formats and data elements. The SUSHI protocol is a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) request/response Web services "wrapper" for the XML version of COUNTER reports.

In the protocol, a transaction begins when a client service running as part of an application developed by a library or running as part of a usage data consolidation service or ILS/ERM identifies itself, identifies the customer whose statistics are being requested, and specifies the desired report to the SUSHI server service running at a data provider. In response, the server provides the report in XML format, along with the requestor and customer information or an appropriate error message. The SUSHI developers envision a system in which the client system is programmed to retrieve reports automatically for all the COUNTER-compliant vendors with which the library does business.

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