Newsletter February 2018


London Book Fair

LBF18 logo

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. In 2018, reverting to its usual place on the calendar, LBF will take place on 10–12th April at Olympia, West London. The Fair covers all aspects of the publishing industry. LBF is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. It brings you direct access to customers, content and emerging markets.

Quantum18 logo

The Quantum Conference, to be held on 9th April, presents a compelling programme delivered by globally-renowned speakers. Themes this uear include publishing trends and tactics, new audiences and business models. The entire second half of the programme is dedicated to audio, covering marketing, creating audio, rights, and the challenges of narrating international writing.

EDItEUR at the Fair

During the Fair, EDItEUR will be at stand 7K39. EDItEUR will also be holding its usual meetings for the International Steering Committees for EDItX, Thema and ONIX, as well as its Open Meeting for members. Details of these meetings can be found in the Forthcoming Events listing below.

EDItEUR will also be supporting BIC’s Building a Better Business seminar, where EDItEUR and International ISNI Agency staff will be speaking. EDItEUR has some half-price tickets for the Fair to give away members – contact for details.

International ISBN Agency News

New Edition of the ISBN Standard and Updated User Guidance

The fifth and latest edition of the ISBN Standard (ISO 2108) has been published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

The new Standard was developed by an international working group of 41 experts from 14 countries who were involved with the project for three years, providing advice, feedback and discussion points as the work progressed. The International ISBN Agency was also represented on the working group, which had Stella Griffiths as its Convenor.

While ISBN remains the key identifier for books in the supply chain and will retain its current 13-digit structure, there are significant changes contained in this latest edition of the Standard:

The new ISBN standard is available from ISO.

The International ISBN Agency, a group of experts from national ISBN agencies and other representative book trade organisations have now prepared a new Users’ Manual and series of FAQs based on the latest edition of the Standard. The Users’ Manual is the definitive guide to the ISBN Standard and system. The FAQs provide quick advice on some of the key aspects of ISBN and, in some cases, there are links directly back to the Users’ Manual for further information. The new Users’ Manual and FAQs are freely available (in English only) here. Translations of these documents will be made available on the same webpage as soon as they have been prepared by national ISBN Agencies.

New ISBN Agency in Iraq

Iraq is the latest country to join the ISBN system and details of the new ISBN Agency are as follows:

Iraqi Publishers Union
Almotanabi Street
PO Box 55162, Baghdad Central Post Office

Tel: +964 7901886393
Contact: Dr Isam Al Kawaz

For more information about the appointment of the Iraq ISBN Agency, see this news article on the ISBN International Agency website.

New contact details for the International ISBN Agency

The new address and contact details of the International ISBN Agency are:

International ISBN Agency Ltd
48/49 Russell Square
London WC1B 4JP
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7580 8536

Our e-mail addresses ( and and website address ( remain unchanged.

All of these contact details should be used with immediate effect. Please update your address books and inform your colleagues of the changes.

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Updated Place Qualifiers

The Thema International Steering Committee approved a large range of new Place qualifiers at its meeting during the Frankfurt Book Fair, and these were published at the beginning of November 2017. About 680 new codes have been added, and the global coverage of place names ‘below’ country level is now far more comprehensive. There are still some gaps – there are a few national groups which are still considering what level of detail they would like to add. And there are also a few proposals which have been accepted, but because they are not national extensions, cannot be added until Version 1.3 of Thema is published (see below).

The new place qualifiers can be used with any subject codes, from the obvious travel, history, politics, the arts or cookery, to fiction, languages and so on, in order to give the extra geographical detail needed. They should be used with any codes where geographical information will boost discoverability. For example, they can be used to give the detail that a guide book (WTH – Travel & holiday guides) is about Bogotá (1KLSC-CO-BDA) or that a historical novel (FV) takes place in Prague (1DTJ-CZ-A).

The selection of places is not arbitrary. The working group considered a much larger set of proposals which came from national groups, from individual EDItEUR members, from non-member organizations which have an interest in Thema implementation, and from its own research. The proposals have taken into account the number of books found in major international booksellers and publishers (as a measure of the likely value of new codes in international trade), as well as the likely level of use within a particular country’s domestic publishing sector.

Why has my favourite place not got a code? If it was proposed, it’s because the working group judged there were not enough books in commerce at present. If you want to propose a new place qualifier, then this can be done at any time – and evidence of hundreds of books to which the code could be applied would make a new qualifier likely to be accepted.

The meeting in Frankfurt also validated new Educational qualifiers proposed by the German national group. These add a lot of detail for the German language educational sector, but add no real complexity to those who don’t need this level of detail – as with all national extensions, the codes can be truncated back to their core code 4Z-DE- (For German educational curricula).

You can see the updated version on the online browser, or you can download all the documentation from the EDItEUR website (at

Translation updates

Since the publication of this update in November, the Spanish and Norwegian translations have both been updated and can be found on the EDItEUR site in various formats, as well as on the online browser.

Thema v1.3 development

The policy for Thema is that it should aim for a two-year revision cycle for additions and refinements to the core subjects and qualifiers of the scheme, but this cadence may be increased if Thema users see a more urgent need for an update (and national extensions can be added at any time, without an update to the core of the scheme). Version 1.2 was released in May 2016, and for more than six months, the Version 1.3 working group has been reviewing hundreds of proposed new additions and modifications, with the aim of finalising a proposed revision and circulating it to the various national groups. The hope is that any issues can be resolved and Version 1.3 of Thema can be ratified by the International Steering Committee at the time of the London Book Fair in March.

The revision process is based on suggestions and feedback that goes to the national groups, or to EDItEUR directly, and includes suggestions for new codes, revisions to wording of existing codes that may have caused confusion in translation, clarification through the addition of notes and so on. If you ever have any feedback or questions about Thema please contact Chris Saynor at EDItEUR.

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ONIX for Books

ONIX 3.0.4 released

Following the meeting of the ONIX International Steering Committee during the Frankfurt Book Fair, a minor update to ONIX 3.0 was published. This is the fourth update since 2010, and includes only a small number of changes:

The detailed list of additions is available on the EDItEUR website here, and of course the various XML schema files and documentation have been updated. The updated version 3.0.4 specification and XML tools are all available from the main ONIX 3.0 page on the website here.

Advanced ‘Strict’ Schema for ONIX 3.0.4

Over the past few months, some EDItEUR members have been testing an advanced XSD that provides much more comprehensive error checking than the normal XSD schema for ONIX.

Alongside the ONIX 3.0 Specification, the XSD schema is a definition of the structure of ONIX – it defines the tags that can be used, the way they are nested, optional or repeatable, and to some degree the data that each tag may contain. The XSD schema is used for validation – checking that an ONIX data file matches the specification.

But an XSD schema cannot check everything. For example, an XSD cannot do maths – it can’t check whether the check digit on an ISBN is correct. And it can’t check anything based on a data value elsewhere, so it can’t check a so-called co-occurrence constraint (eg ‘if it’s an e-book, it should not have a <Measure> composite’, or even ‘if the dateformat attribute is 00, the date must be in the form YYYYMMDD’). For the same reason, the XSD is unable to check on the use of codes from certain codelists – Lists 28 (in <Audience>), 98, 196, and others. And it cannot check on the rules around inclusion of <ROWSalesRightsType>. There are many rules like this in the ONIX 3.0 Specification which cannot be enforced using the XSD schema.

At least, that’s true with XSD 1.0. XSD 1.1 is a newer version of the XSD schema language which can do maths and check co-occurrence constraints, by setting up rules within the XSD file – and since ONIX is relatively complex, there are several hundred rules. These additional rules can check that an ONIX data file matches the specification much more closely.

Following this testing, an initial – but still experimental – version of the XSD 1.1 is now available via the EDItEUR website. The download contains more detail and instructions on how the new XSD is used.

The ‘strict’ XSD is intended for validating relatively small ONIX files at this stage – say less than 20 Product records – and by those with some XML vaidation experience. It’s still in development, and it will continue to be updated, to add new validation rules, correct any bugs that are reported and so on. It’s already proving to be useful in the EDItEUR office, as a first step in checking the files that are often sent to us for evaluation.

EDItEUR is interested to receive some real-world ONIX 3.0 files to test the new strict XSD. Send any samples – which will be kept confidential and used only for this testing – to Graham Bell.

To avoid any doubt, the strict XSD 1.1 will not replace the standard XSD, because not all XML validation software is compatible with XSD 1.1 – you need an XML editor like oXygen or XML Spy, and it won’t work with Microsoft’s .NET validator or any software based on the common libxml parser library. But if you have the right software, give it a go!

ONIX training

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News from ICEDIS: serials, subscriptions & library supply

ICEDIS Meetings during Autumn 2017

ICEDIS held its two usual meetings during Autumn 2017, one in the Old World and one in the New.

October 9th saw ICEDIS in Frankfurt, just ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair. This was followed on 7th November by a combined ICEDIS/EDItEUR session in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Charleston Conference.

Attendances at both meetings were somewhat down over those of recent years and EDItEUR will consider whether more can be done in terms of advance publicity and, perhaps, better scheduling to make future meetings more accessible to EDItEUR members. Minutes of the Frankfurt meeting (chaired by Henning Schoenenberger of Springer Nature) are available via the EDItEUR website and those of the Charleston meeting (chaired by Laurie Kaplan) will be posted on the same page shortly.

In Frankfurt, participants ranged widely over topics from ONIX-PC implementations, through Linked Data and on to a suggestion that ICEDIS might provide a platform for wider discussions and familiarization on persistent identifiers. For ONIX-PC, agreed follow-up actions to encourage wider exploitation included these:

During both meetings, Heather Staines (, and a director of Project COUNTER) kindly gave useful updates on the rollout of COUNTER version 5.

Given the smaller group present in Charleston (the meeting was unfortunately scheduled against the popular ‘Vendor Showcase’ event), there was also valuable discussion of the growing importance of Linked Data, and ways in which an LD expression of selected ONIX-PC concepts could integrate with the wider Open LD ecosphere.


The next full ICEDIS meeting is scheduled to take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 11th April at UKSG in Glasgow. More details will be circulated in due course, and if you plan to participate, please let us know via

Linked Data expressions of ONIX-PC: call for business partners

To continue our investigations of Linked Data expressions of ONIX-PC, EDItEUR needs partners and wider buy-in into the concept. Springer Nature has already expressed an interest in being involved, and we would love to see a couple more organizations step up, to avoid a linked data version of the “one telephone problem”! If you’d like to participate in taking ONIX-PC and thus serial product metadata communication on to a new level, drop a line to Tim Devenport.

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ISNI International Agency News

Membership update

Since the last Newsletter, two quite diverse players have joined up as Registration Agencies for ISNI (the International Standard Name Identifier). EDItEUR provides both administrative and executive management support for the ISNI International Agency in a similar way to functions we have provided to ISBN over many years.

The China Knowledge Centre for Engineering Science and Technology (CKCEST) recently came on board as ISNI’s first member/registration agency in China – thus extending further both the subject specializations and the geographical coverage offered by ISNI RAGs. And more recently still, ISNI-IA reached agreement for Google/YouTube to become a very significant registration agency.

This major step into the recorded music world with YouTube – which foresees ISNI IDs being assigned over coming years to several million more composers and performers – has been under consideration for several years and represents an exciting and potentially transformative opportunity for ISNI. It’s also indicative of the widespread interest (in music, in film and beyond) we have seen in applying the ISNI approach and ISNI IDs to generic problems already very familiar in text-based supply chains: the need to disambiguate and uniquely identify individuals and organizations engaged in creative activities, so that works may be correctly attributed and rights/royalties effectively managed.

Linked Open Data from ISNI

Among several other current initiatives, ISNI is actively planning to expand into Linked Data. A number of its current members and several external parties have expressed serious interest in our plans, which aim to make available assigned ISNI IDs and core, public-domain metadata associated with those identities in the form of Linked Open Data. The RDF data model for this initiative is being finalized and ISNI-IA hopes to see ISNI Linked Data start to be disseminated (via regular data dumps and also a real-time API) later this year.

Once again, if you would like to learn more about this initiative, or are interested in brainstorming possible partnerships, please contact ISNI Executive Director, Tim Devenport.

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New EDItEUR members

International Labour Organization

Since 1919, the International Labour Organization, represented by the International Labour Office (ILO), has brought together Governments, employers and workers in its 187 member States in common action to promote decent work throughout the world.

The International Labour Office is one of the world’s leading publishers and a centre of excellence for knowledge, research and policy analysis on the world of work. Information products issued by the ILO publishing programme are valued references for researchers, practitioners and policy-makers worldwide.

By integrating publishing practices for content creation, editorial, production and marketing, ILO Publishing is actively promoting standardization in the Office, emphasizing the importance of adopting and following publishing industry standards and identifiers as core elements for successful dissemination and outreach.

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Forthcoming Events

BookNet Canada – Tech Forum and ebookcraft

22–23rd March 2018, MaRS Discovery District, 101 College St, Toronto, ON M5G 1L7, Canada

The annual Tech Forum focuses on digital developments in the book publishing industry. As the largest tech-focused professional development event in the Canadian publishing industry, it provides hundreds of book industry professionals with the opportunity to learn, debate, network, and glimpse the future of our industry. For further details, see

41st Annual UKSG Conference and Exhibition

9–11th April 2018, Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow G3 8YW, Scotland

The conference is a major event in the scholarly communications calendar and attracts over 900 delegates each year from around the world – librarians, publishers, content providers, consultants and intermediaries. The conference combines high-quality plenary presentations, lightning talks and breakout sessions with a major trade exhibition and entertaining social events. For details, see

London Book Fair 2018

10–12th April 2018, Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London W14 8UX, UK

The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels, and covers all aspects of the publishing industry. There will be some free-to-attend seminars and events in the Insights seminar programme, BIC’s Building a better business seminar and the EDItEUR Open Meeting for members. EDItEUR has some half-price tickets for the Fair for members – contact for details – and EDItEUR will be at stand 7K39. For further details, see

EDItEUR International Steering Committee Meetings

9.15am–3.00pm, 11 April 2018, The Dark Room, London Book Fair, Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London W14 8UX, UK

EDItEUR will hold its various steering committee meetings for ONIX, Thema and EDItX (attendance by invitation) during the London Book Fair. There will also be an informal meetup for members of the Steering Committees at 6.00pm on 10th April, sponsored by BISG and Pruneau. For further details, contact

EDItEUR Open Meeting for members

3:30pm, 11 April 2018, The Dark Room, London Book Fair, Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London W14 8UX, UK

Any EDItEUR member is welcome and invited to attend the Open Meeting. It’s your an opportunity to learn more about EDItEUR’s current projects and progress, speak to EDItEUR staff, as well as for members to provide feedback on current work and suggest new areas of work. For further details, contact

BIC Building a Better Business Seminar

10am, 12th April 2018, The Olympia Room, London Book Fair, Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London W14 8UX, UK

Since 1999, BIC’s annual seminar at LBF has provided both national and international representatives of the book industry with an opportunity to meet and exchange views and information on all aspects of the supply chain. For more details, see

Digital Publishing Summit Europe

16–17th May 2018, Spreespeicher building, Stralauer Allee 2, 10245 Berlin, Germany

This is the third iteration of a yearly event previously known as the EPUB Summit. The new name illustrates the extension of the event’s focus from specifically EPUB-related to more generic digital publishing matters, and clearly positions the event as the European counterpart of the W3C Digital Publishing Summit in the US. For more details, see

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For further details, contact

Graham Bell, Executive Director, EDItEUR
United House
North Road
London, N7 9DP
Office: +44 20 7503 6418
Mobile: +44 7887 754958