The International ISBN Agency attended the recent London Book Fair as usual. The Agency holds a meeting of its Board there every year, and Agency staff also take the opportunity to meet as many ISBN Agencies as possible informally – this year, this included ISBN delegates from the Malta, Poland and Ukraine Agencies to name just a few.
The Global Register is a free online resource developed by the International ISBN Agency. It includes all the data about publishers (addresses and contact information etc) and their ISBN block allocations (plus in some cases, single ISBN allocations) that the Agency has received from national ISBN agencies around the world. The data is refreshed as frequently as agencies submit their data, and each year the directory and the extent of its coverage grows – it now includes full data from around 125 national and regional ISBN Agencies (of the total of over 150). This represents a relatively small increase compared with the last year, but the trend has been improving steadily since 2008 when the Agency received data from just 87 agencies.
A regional meeting for the ISBN Agencies of the Arab World is being held in Rabat, Morocco in early May, and there will also be a meeting for the agencies of the Balkan region in Bucharest, Romania, in June. These interactive sessions will look at finding resolutions to common problems, as well as how best to understand and adapt to upcoming developments in publishing across the respective regions, and also with respect to new ISBN services.
Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ, ISSN 1041-0031) and its previous incarnations have been published by NISO since 1957. From 2017, ISQ is now a digital-only publication, and for its recently published final print issue, Stella Griffiths of the International ISBN Agency contributed an article on ISBN. As NISO’s publication passes 60 years, it was an apposite moment to look at the reasons for the longevity of ISBN as it approaches its own half century. The article also outlines the work towards the revision of the ISBN Standard and the challenges that ISBN currently faces. The ISBN article is available from the International ISBN Agency website, and full issues of ISQ are available from NISO.
ONIX codelists – controlled vocabularies for use with particular data elements – sit at the heart of ONIX for Books. They are kept up to date via a regular quarterly process of revision, with each update being issued in advance to ONIX national groups and ratified before publication by the ONIX International Steering Committee. This process ensures that each update is broadly useful, and provides benefits for the wide range of ONIX stakeholders.
It’s worth noting that no codes are ever removed from the codelists, to ensure that historic ONIX data remains valid.
Issue 37 of the codelists was released at the beginning of April, after ratification by the steering committee during its meeting at the London Book Fair. This issue is the first that is solely intended for use with ONIX 3.0 – those organisations continuing to use ONIX 2.1 should continue to use issue 36 (or earlier) of the codelists, which is still available from the archive on the EDItEUR website.
Issue 37 adds two new contributor roles, three new variations of supplier roles, and an additional code in list 196 for a summary of the accessibility properties of an e-book – the last being important to maintain a level of compatibility between the accessibility properties in ONIX and in schema.org. The documentation also includes a handful of clarifications to previously-defined codes, for example ensuring that loan extension and loan renewal for library books are treated the same, and making explicit that ‘Yellow Book’ CDs containing audio data – such as ‘mp3 CDs’ – should be classed using code AE in list 150. Of course these clarifications apply to the use of the equivalent codes in ONIX 2.1 as well, although the documentation for these has been frozen and not retrospectively updated.
EDItEUR and BIC held a well-attended workshop in London on 20th April covering issues encountered when embedding HTML or XHTML markup in ONIX data elements. While the standard Specification is relatively clear on how it should be handled, real-world practice is often at odds with this – and the inconsistency of the data provided by publishers leads data recipients like retailers to ignore the markup. The workshop helped clarify how HTML and XHTML markup should be embedded, and helped isolate some IT system issues that could improve the data supplied.
A paper covering the HTML and XHTML markup issues considered at the workshop is available from the EDItEUR website.
The Thema International Steering Committee met during the London Book Fair in March. The meeting saw the biggest attendance yet, with almost all Thema national groups represented, plus an observer from a potential Finnish group. The ISC ratified a range of new national extensions. They comprised a comprehensive range of geographical place qualifiers for France – including the new regional-level administrative structure of France – and for French-speaking Canada. The relatively new national group from Ireland added a list of place qualifiers, educational qualifiers, time-period qualifiers and interest qualifiers. The French Canadian update also added a small group of educational qualifiers for Quebec, some language qualifiers and time-period qualifiers. The United Kingdom filled out its existing place qualifiers with more detail, as well as adding some interest qualifiers. A list of all April 2017 national extension additions can be found at www.editeur.org/151/thema, and of course the spreadsheet and readable versions of Thema available in many languages have been updated. EDItEUR members can also get an SQLite data file (the database that powers the Thema interactive browser) covering all available languages, on request.
The steering committee also discussed the proposed timetable for development of a future Thema 1.3, and for a more wide-ranging review of place qualifiers for countries where there is no geographical detail below country level. While Thema doesn’t aim to become a gazeteer of place names, there are locations where additional geographical detail is warranted, based on the volume of publications about that place – tourist destinations, capital cities, economically-important regions etc. The ISC agreed that an updated list of qualifiers should come before the end of 2017. It also agreed that the demand for new core subject categories across the scheme did not yet justify work on Thema 1.3, but the need was growing and the timetable for 1.3 should be kept under review, with a likely release date of April 2018 or earlier.
Suggestions for additional subject categories or refinements that could be considered for 1.3 are welcome – send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or to your Thema national group.
At BIC’s Building a Better Business seminar at the London Book Fair, Amazon Books announced that its internal subject classification scheme for its European storefronts is now closely aligned with Thema, and so Amazon encourages publishers to provide Thema subject codes in their metadata. Isabel Gouveia of Amazon – pictured speaking above – also introduced Amazon’s Browse Tree Guides, which illustrate how Amazon will classify each book and where it will appear in its 'browse by subject’ tree, based on its Thema code and keywords. These guides are available via Amazon publisher liaison.
It should be stressed that this is for Amazon’s European stores only, but it represents another key adoption of Thema as an international and multilingual subject scheme.
On 12th April, ICEDIS held its latest meeting at the UKSG conference in Harrogate, UK. Co-chaired by Henning Schönenberger of Springer Nature and Laurie Kaplan of ProQuest, nearly twenty representatives of EDItEUR member organizations participated in an interesting and varied session – getting updates on existing initiatives and debating the next priorities for ICEDIS and EDItEUR.
One section of the meeting focused on the ONIX-PC format, designed to communicate descriptive metadata, and where appropriate, prices, for subscription products. Supported by their systems vendor Ingenta, both Cambridge University Press and Elsevier are finalizing details of their recent ONIX-PC implementations ahead of the Summer pricing round for 2018. Existing producers of ONIX-PC – Springer Nature, Wiley, and Taylor & Francis – continue to produce files on a regular basis.
Participants exchanged ideas to drive the usage of this rich metadata, including involving new recipients such as knowledge bases and library systems, as well as possible additional business cases such as ONIX/KBART mapping and communication of journal history and transfers.
Top of the list for short-term ONIX-PC enhancements are features to better handle EU tax regulations and communicate how values are split within multi-component bundles, as well as possible additions to ONIX Serials codelists for price qualifiers.
Looking further ahead, participants discussed the concept of introducing ONIX-PC to the growing community of linked data users – perhaps via an RDF expression of the standard. Given the deepening interest in the library world’s development of BIBFRAME and the evolution of various publisher offerings in linked data format, EDItEUR will coordinate an initial evaluation of how this might be carried out.
The meeting heard updates on related serials standard initiatives from Todd Carpenter of NISO, Laurie Kaplan and Clément Oury of the ISSN International Centre, as well as information on other EDItEUR topics from Graham Bell. Lots more detail will be included in the minutes of the meeting, which will be available shortly from the ICEDIS section of the EDItEUR website.
The next planned face-to-face meetings of ICEDIS will be in Frankfurt just ahead of the Book Fair (Monday 9th October), and in Charleston during the preconference days of the Charleston Conference (Tuesday 7th November, to be confirmed). For further information on these meetings or any other serials topics, please contact Tim Devenport.
Some Newsletter readers may be familiar with the lively and informative Breakfasts organized by EDItEUR member Book Industry Communication (BIC). Given the increasing crossover in content and product management, publishers and their customers frequently need to know more about both books and the ‘journals’ side of their programmes and holdings. And of course online products – most modern journals – can only be effectively sold and used if they are easily discoverable.
With this in mind, BIC is devoting the June Breakfast to the theme of Metadata for Journals Discovery. The session will be hosted at Bowker’s offices in London on Tuesday 27th June. Reservations can be made via Eventbrite, and more detail can be obtained from BIC’s Alaina-Marie Bassett or from Tim Devenport.
May 31st–June 2nd 2017, Javits Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York City, NY10001, USA
(May 31 is a BEA Conference day.) BookExpo America is North America’s largest gathering of book industry professionals from around the globe. It’s the leading business event for publishers, librarians, retailers, booksellers, digital content creators, traditional and self-published authors, media, rights professionals, and movie and television executives. BookExpo provides a focused professional environment to discover emerging authors and the next blockbuster titles, or engage with the world’s most influential publishers. The associated conference events give you an opportunity to learn from industry leaders and peers. For programme details and registration, see www.bookexpoamerica.com
6th June 2017, Faber Creative Spaces, Bloomsbury House, 74–77 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DA, UK
This course is aimed at those responsible for developing and implementing systems for producing or consuming ONIX for Books product data. It is a technical course and is therefore more likely to benefit those with development and operational roles or those with direct managerial responsibility in such areas – one of the key aims is to provide an introduction to XML for those with no previous knowledge of the technology. The course is delivered by Francis Cave, consultant to both BIC and EDItEUR. Details and registration from EventBrite.
June 7th–11th 2017, Westin Indianapolis Hotel, 41 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN46204, USA
The annual conference of the North American Serials Interest Group – an independent organization that promotes communication, understanding, and sharing of ideas among all members of the serials community – provides a casual venue for preconferences, formal sessions, practical workshops, special events, and networking. The emphasis is on thoughtful discourse and informality to promote an intensity of purpose not always possible at other conferences. June 7th and 8th include pre-conference events with the opening sessions on the evening of 8th June. For programme details and registration, see www.nasig.org.
June 22nd–27th 2017, McCormick Place West, 2301 S King Drive, Chicago, IL60616, USA
The American Library Association annual conference is the world’s businest library event, and covers all the key issues in the ongoing transformation of libraries. There’s a wide range of networking opportunities and over 900 exhibitors who feature the latest in books and digital products, online services and software, furniture and other products and services vital to today’s librarians. Who should attend? Librarians, authors, publishers, educators and students – anyone who is passionate about books and libraries. Registration and other information is via the conference website 2017.alaannual.org.
|Graham Bell, Executive Director, EDItEUR|
London, N7 9DP
|Office: +44 20 7503 6418
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