Table of Contents

mdhb_2nded_cover-v2Introduction (excerpted below)

Part 1: Book Industry Players and the Metadata Lifecycle

Part 1 explores the path and evolution of metadata through publishing and bookselling activities and channels and describes the players that create, distribute, enhance, and use metadata.

Chapter 1: The Metadata Lifecycle

Chapter 2: The Players

  • Publishers
  • Book Data Aggregators
  • Wholesalers, Distributors, and Ebook Aggregators
  • Retailers
  • Libraries
  • Metadata Management Vendors

Part 2: Book Industry Metadata Standards

Part 2 outlines the history and development of book identifiers and book metadata standards, the organizations that administer the standards, and the role of standards in facilitating efficient data exchange in support of e-commerce.

Chapter 3: A Brief History of Metadata Standards and Practices

Chapter 4: Book Industry Standards for Sharing Metadata

  • ISBN and Other Identifiers
  • Metadata Schemes
    • ONIX for Books
    • Other Schemes
  • Standards for Subjects
    • Book Industry Standards
    • Library Standards

Chapter 5: National and International Standards Organizations

  • ISO and NISO
  • The International ISBN Agency and National ISBN Registry Agencies
  • EDItEUR and the ONIX Standard

Part 3: Essential Metadata Elements

Part 3 describes types of book metadata and the essential information about a book needed to fully support description, discovery, selection, and commerce needs. This section also explores the ways in which various metadata elements are used behind the scenes to drive search engines and machine-based decisions on what books to display to which readers.

Chapter 6: Essential Elements for All Books

  • Metadata for Content Description
  • Metadata for Product Description
  • Metadata for Commerce

Chapter 7: Enhancing Metadata to Stand Out in the Marketplace

Chapter 8: Search Engine Optimization, Keywords, and Subjects

  • SEO and Keywords
  • Keywords and BISAC Subject Headings
  • Bookseller Website Search Engines
  • General Search Engines

Chapter 9: Optimizing Product Metadata for Digital Publishing

  • The Essential Elements
  • Ebooks and ISBNs
  • Expanded Options for Digital Content in ONIX 3.0

Chapter 10: Metadata in Digital Content Files

  • Uses of Metadata in Digital Content Files
  • Metadata in the EPUB File Format
  • Metadata in Proprietary Digital Formats

Chapter 11: Metadata for Self-Publishers and Small Publishers

  • Identifiers: ISBN, Proprietary Identifier Systems, and Industry Databases
  • Product Metadata Options in Self-Publishing Services
  • Digital File Metadata Options in Self-Publishing Services
  • Ebook Distribution Options in Self-Publishing Services

Part 4: Metadata Best Practices and Certification Programs

Part 4 discusses certification and accreditation programs administered by national pub-lishing industry organizations. These programs evaluate and rate publisher metadata for compliance with industry standards, recommended core elements, and best practices.

Chapter 12: What Are Metadata Best Practices and How Are They Defined?

  • Best Practices and Industry Standards
  • The Role of Industry Organizations in Defining Best Practices

Chapter 13: BISG’s Best Practices for Product Metadata: Guide for North American Data Senders and Receivers

  • History of BISG Best Practices Documentation
  • Intended Audience
  • Structure and Format of Best Practices for Product Metadata
  • A Closer Look at Metadata Best Practices for One Metadata Element
  • Integrating Best Practices Into Organizational Workflows

Chapter 14: Metadata Certification Programs

  • What is Certification?
  • The BISG Product Data Certification Program (PDCP)
  • The Evaluation Process
  • Fields Reviewed by the PDCP Certification Panel
  • Product Data Certification in Other Countries
  • Levels of Certification

Part 5: Metadata and the Future of Publishing

Part 5 discusses how metadata standards and practices are evolving in response to the increased importance of digital publishing, the rise of self-publishing, shifts in the roles of publishing industry players, and changes in reader expectations. In conclusion, the authors share their thoughts on the meaning of these trends for the future of publishing and the role of metadata.

Chapter 15: Trends in Book Publishing and Metadata

Chapter 16: Thoughts on the Future of Publishing and Metadata


Bibliography & References

Industry Organizations

Vendor Directory

About the Authors

Our Partners

from the Introduction to The Metadata Handbook
The ability to describe products completely and accurately and to efficiently share that data with trading partners and consumers is essential for e-commerce in every industry. In this respect book metadata is unexceptional. But every product and every industry has unique aspects that its product metadata attempts to reflect.

It’s possible to sell a book online with just a few pieces of information, such as ISBN, title, and price. But providing minimal metadata limits opportunities for a book to be discovered, create a buzz, or make a sale. Success in the virtual marketplace requires the distribution of book metadata that fully supports findability and discovery, provides information that engages the potential reader, and contains all the information needed to support business transactions and business intelligence. Metadata must also meet the needs of booksellers and other trading partners. Many major receivers of publisher metadata require that certain metadata elements are present and correctly formatted and may reject metadata that fails to meet standards, resulting in lost sales.

For digital books, metadata entirely takes the place of all the physical organization, display, and browsing opportunities possible in bricks-and-mortar stores. For readers who prefer to buy books online, this is true for physical books as well.

Metadata that is thoughtfully created and shared using industry standards and best practices supports all aspects of publishing and bookselling. And when creating, controlling, and monitoring book metadata is fully integrated into each publication stage, the result is a powerful asset for effective selling across traditional and evolving sales channels as well as for the collection and analysis of sales results and market trends.

With the growth of digital content and publishing platforms, selling options have expanded from the traditional wholesalers and retailers to include sellers specializing in ebooks and easier options for selling directly from author or publisher websites. Digital formats are also more closely tied to their respective distribution channels (Amazon’s proprietary KF8 format for Kindle, EPUB for Apple, Kobo, Nook, etc.) than traditional hardcover, trade, and mass-market paperback formats ever were, so it’s crucial that metadata enable users to select a format compatible with their reading device. To maximize discovery and sales potential, metadata should be complete, correctly formatted, and consistent for all formats and across all sales channels.

While metadata is a science of great breadth and is relevant to many industries and endeavors, this book focuses specifically on metadata used to describe, market, and sell books throughout the publishing supply chain. Rather than a how-to book, the Hand- book is intended to be an industry reference. The reader can turn to it as the authoritative source on best practices in the day-to-day use of metadata in book publishing. The central goal of the Handbook is to describe and provide references to information about book metadata standards and best practices that are presently endorsed in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

The authors bring significant experience in U.S. and Canadian publishing-related activities but do not claim first-hand experience within the UK market. We have relied in part on the resources issued by major publishing industry organizations in each of the three countries.

The Handbook does not specifically cover any of the other countries or regions that publish English-language books, including Australia, South Africa, The Republic of Ireland, India, or any other country where English is not the first language. We are interested in hearing from parties who would like to adapt the information in this book for their home market(s).

The Metadata Handbook does not duplicate readily available documentation but presents an overview of metadata’s role in the publisher supply chain. It collects and consolidates information about industry guidelines and resources into one volume for use as a reference in the practice of book data management.

New in This Edition

This edition is fully updated and expanded to include the most recent information on metadata standards, practices, and use in the publishing industry.

Part 1, Book Industry Players and the Metadata Lifecycle is revised.

Part 2, Book Industry Metadata Standards is revised throughout for consistency with the latest versions of industry standards and best practices documentation.

The Identifiers section of Part 2, Chapter 4, Book Industry Standards for Sharing Metadata, includes expanded and updated information on International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) and International Standard Text Code (ISTC).

A new section on Metadata Schemes is added to Chapter 4. Information on ONIX is incorporated into this section and it also includes new subsections covering Dublin Core and

A new section on Standards for Subjects was added and includes information on Thema as well as information about BISAC, BIC, and library standards.

Part 3, Essential Metadata Elements, is revised throughout for consistency with industry recommendations included in latest edition of Book Industry Study Group (BISG) best practices documentation, Best Practices for Product Metadata: Guide for North American Senders and Receivers, updated in May 2015.

Three new chapters are added to Part 3.
• A new chapter on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Keywords, and Subjects (Chapter 8)
• A new chapter called Metadata in Digital Content Files outlines options for metadata embedded within digital content files (Chapter 10)
• A new chapter specifically addressing Metadata for Self-Publishers and Small Publishers (Chapter 11)

Part 4, Metadata Best Practices and Industry Certification Programs, is fully revised to provide an overview and guide to using Best Practices for Product Metadata: Guide for North American Senders and Receivers, published in 2015 by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) in coordination with BookNet Canada.

Part 5, Metadata and the Future of Publishing, includes updates from industry experts on trends in metadata and publishing.

The Bibliography and References section is revised and expanded to include recent publications and revisions of existing documentation.

New entries are added to the Glossary and some entries are revised to reflect the most recent information.

Here are brief descriptions of each chapter in the Handbook:

Part 1: Book Industry Players and the Metadata Lifecycle

In Part 1, we outline the role and lifecycle of metadata in major publishing activities and sales channels. “Players” covered include:

• Publishers, including trade, professional, educational, independent, and self-publishers
• Book metadata aggregators, such as Bowker and Nielsen
• Retailers, including independent booksellers, chain bookstores, and online retailers
• Digital-only ebook aggregators such as OverDrive and ProQuest Ebooks
• Library metadata aggregators and library metadata uses
• Vendors specializing in products and services supporting book metadata management and distribution activities

We discuss how and why metadata changes as it flows through the publishing process and then through various reseller systems, platforms, and websites.

Part 2: Book Industry Metadata Standards

Part 2 covers existing and emerging standards important for bookselling in the 21st century. It offers a brief history of metadata standards and practices, introduces standards commonly used within the publishing industry, and discusses the national and international organizations and registries that administer and support them.

As with most major industries, data standards evolved to support the consistent flow of information in electronic form across the supply chain. The need for identifiers and data transmission standards became acute as computer technology became an important part of trade. Early numbering systems in the 1960s grew into the first International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system; the need for machine-to-machine transmission of business data between trading partners led to the development of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards; and the explosive growth of the internet and online retailing required XML-based communication of robust book metadata, resulting in the development of ONIX (Online Information Exchange) for Books as the international standard for sharing book industry product information.

Part 3: Essential Metadata Elements

The ONIX for Books Product Information Message defines and supports hundreds of data fields carrying information about a publication. Publishers are not required to use all the fields, and not all the fields are applicable to every book. Part 3 lists and describes metadata elements considered essential for bookselling and explains why they’re important.

Some of the ways metadata elements function in an online selling environment are not immediately apparent by viewing a title record display on a website. Part 3 explores how these essential elements are used behind the scenes in addition to their more obvious use in direct title search.

Part 3 also includes chapters providing information specific to digital publishing and information about metadata for self-publishers and small publishers.

Part 4: Metadata Best Practices and Certification Programs

Part 4 includes an overview of industry-recommended metadata elements, guidelines for applying these elements, and rules for using the ONIX standard. The Handbook collects basic information about the organizations and their recommended best practices into one reference work.

Book industry organizations administer programs designed to help publishers ensure compliance with industry standards and practices. Part 4 describes how these programs work and why publishers may wish to seek accreditation.

Part 5: Metadata and the Future of Publishing

In Part 5, we conclude with observations from industry leaders on the importance of metadata and how metadata standards and practices continue to evolve along with the rapidly changing nature of publishing itself.

The authors hope The Metadata Handbook will serve as an essential reference for publishers. Ultimately, the goal of this Handbook is to help connect readers to books by explaining how to best use metadata as an essential part of this endeavor.

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