Newsletter July 2020


Previous newsletters can be found on the EDItEUR website.

the EDItEUR team, shown in a group videoconference

‘Business as unusual’

In the face of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19, the EDItEUR staff has been working from home since mid-March, but we’ve been able to maintain most of our development work and efforts to support and promote an open, standards-based publishing supply chain. The health and wellbeing of EDItEUR’s dedicated team is our priority and our office remains temporarily closed. Videoconference meetings are the new way of life, and we’ve deliberately increased the amount of online material we produce – extra webinars with member organisations and our own new ‘visual application notes’, for example.

We expect a gradual return to more normal office working over the next couple of months. However, resumption of business travel and face-to-face training is likely to be several months off yet, so we are now offering some of our training courses remotely – though in order to retain the ‘personal’ feel of the sessions, we’re limiting it to small groups. We’re monitoring the domestic and international situation, and we’ll resume our full programme as soon as we’re able to do so in relative safety.

Frankfurt skyline

And our October International Supply Chain Seminar – usually held in Frankfurt the day prior to the Book Fair – will this year also be an online event. We’re making this a free-of-charge event, in order to showcase the International Supply Chain Seminar to metadata professionals who’ve not been able to join us in Frankfurt before. This mini-conference is a Book Fair must-attend, with expert speakers and news of leading-edge metadata developments from across the industry. Details will be released later this month.

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ONIX for Books

Codelists Issue 50 released

The fiftieth issue of the ONIX controlled vocabularies – the Codelists – was published in early July. Proposals for this issue were circulated to the ONIX National Groups around the world at the beginning of June, and Issue 50 was ratified by the ONIX International Steering Committee during its July online meeting.

Issue 50 includes a number of additions and updates spread across 15 different codelists. List 48 – used in specifying physical measurements – is extended to include weights and dimensions of cartons containing multiple copies of a book, and even pallets of books, used for bulk deliveries across the physical supply chain. There are also new codes covering the assembled sizes of kits, puzzles or display pieces which can be larger than the dimensions of the products as they are supplied.

Recent codelist issues have included a few additions necessary to enable ONIX to carry limited details of toys and games, which are increasingly being handled by bookstores and the book supply chain. Issue 50 enhances this with a new Product form code in List 150 for toy or game accessories, and some List 175 Product form detail codes to describe the material composition of toy, puzzle or game pieces – wooden pieces are often considered ‘premium’.

Other additions and clarifications in this issue include:

A document with the full set of changes is available from the EDItEUR website, together with the updated lists themselves in various formats. The next update of the Codelists – issue 51 – is planned for release in October. Any requests or proposals should be with EDItEUR by the 21st August.

Updates to the ONIX XSD schema

With Issue 50, there are some minor enhancements to the ONIX XSD schema files, including a handful of annotations that will only be seen by developers, and some ‘uniqueness constraints’. For example, although <ProductFormDetail> is repeatable, it’s obvious that each repeat should carry a different code. This:

makes no sense. So the uniqueness constraints now enforce a few such requirements during validation, and will mark an ONIX file as invalid when fields like this are repeated with identical data contents. Similar constraints invalidate multilingual metadata where repeated textual fields lack unique language attributes:

The first repeat here needs the attribute language="eng" added, and the second requires language="ita".

These constraints cannot be implemented in the DTD and RNG schemas. They have previously been limited to the ‘strict’ XSD, but have now been added to the ‘classic’ schema without affecting it’s compatibility.

ONIX news in brief

Embedding HTML in ONIX metadata – visual application note
Audiobook metadata in ONIX webinar

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Thema translations

Since the latest update of Thema was published as version 1.4 (in English) in April, there have been some initial updates to the translations in other languages.

The existing Norwegian (Bokmål) translation has been completely revised and updated. This is a full translation of both headings and the notes, and the latest version also includes some standardised headings for use by Norwegian booksellers on their own websites, when the full Thema heading is long. There is also a brand new translation of Thema into Nynorsk, an alternative written form of Norwegian. At present, this is a translation of the headings only, and uses Bokmål for the notes.

The translations of the headings into Flemish and Finnish have also been fully updated. These, like some other translations, take the same headings-only approach as Nynorsk, but fall back to English for the notes.

All these versions can be found on the Thema online browser, and they can be downloaded as Excel, HTML, XML or JSON files from the EDItEUR website. There’s a total of 23 language versions of Thema available on the browser, either as full translations or headings-only. Thema is now available in Arabic, Czech, Danish, English, German, Spanish, Finnish, French, Canadian French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Norwegian (Nynorsk), Dutch, Flemish, Polish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Slovak, Swedish and Turkish listings. Whenever there is no translation available then the browser will show the English text as a fallback.

Thema documentation

All existing Thema documentation has been updated so it references version 1.4. You can find it on the website here.

This includes a ‘just published’ document Thema for booksellers. This is an introduction to Thema aimed at bookstores, both online and bricks-and-mortar, for those who may come across Thema but aren’t familiar with how it works, how it can be used, and how it’s provided by those further up the global book supply chain. The details are presented in a bookseller-friendly, accessible way, to encourage wider exploration of the opportunities in merchandising and ranging that Thema presents. The paper may also spark ideas for publishers, distributors, wholesalers, and data aggregators, about how they could make use of of Thema with their bookselling partners.

Thema news in brief

Inclusivity and diversity paper

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ISNI news

New website for ISNI

The ISNI International Agency has introduced a redesigned and rebuilt website. With the opportunity presented by a move to a new hosting provider BDS, it has taken steps to tighten website security, replace the web server software, and improve responsiveness in the way that the website displays on a variety of different devices. It will also allow ISNI to deliver its data as Linked Open Data, as noted in a previous EDItEUR Newsletter, though this not available yet.

Regular visitors will notice some differences in site navigation and the way that much of ISNI’s reference material is presented. Particularly popular options – like how to ‘Get an ISNI’ or ‘Search the ISNI Database’ are now more straightforward to use. More improvements are planned over the coming months, including steps to make the site more accessible to visually impaired users.

With 27 ISNI Registration Agencies and 26 ISNI Members, the usage and uptake of ISNI continues to increase, both in domains such as the library community where it has long been established and in other sectors such as the music industry and organizations active in rights management and collections. The ISNI website is an important element in communicating with ISNI users around the world, and the ISNI-IA would welcome feedback on how the site could be improved further.

ISNI news in brief

EDItEUR logo

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New members

Established originally in 1858 as a small school of Western learning in Tokyo, Keio has a history as Japan’s very first private institution of higher learning. Together with the Japanese publishing industry, Keio established its Advanced Publishing Laboratory (APL) within the Graduate School of Media in Fujisawa in 2017. APL aims to contribute to international standardization of e-book technology, most notably EPUB, and has an interest in metadata. The scope of this standardization effort includes text layout based on the long tradition of Japanese typography as well as accessibility in the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Supadu is expert in publisher website solutions, for both trade publishers and University Presses of all sizes. Our specialised web products include: website build and themes, eCommerce solutions, enhanced website search, metadata enrichment and marketing toolkits. Our solutions seamlessly integrate with title management and fulfillment systems: Supadu partners with Ingram, CDC, Longleaf, Firebrand and Stison to name but a few. To contact us for further information, check or e-mail

For further details, contact

Graham Bell, Executive Director, EDItEUR
United House
North Road
London, N7 9DP
Office: +44 20 7503 6418
Mobile: +44 7​8​87 7​5​4958

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