Newsletter May 2016



Thema version 1.2 readies for release

The Thema International Steering Committee agreed most of the final details of the forthcoming revision at its meeting during the London Book Fair in April. As usual, draft minutes from the meeting are available from the EDItEUR website, and you can browse a preview of the final draft subject headings here.

Following this agreement, preparations to publish the revision to the book subject classification scheme has been completed. The efforts of the Technical Working Group that developed the revision focused on requirements that emerged from the increasing adoption of Thema – some driven by needs made evident from real-world use within a market, and some by issues picked up during translation and mapping exercises. Version 1.2 also expands on some sections to introduce finer distinctions to be drawn where more detail was needed. EDItEUR thanks go to the members of the technical working group for their support: Detlef Bauer, Virginie Clayssen, Fride Fosseng, Alain Fournier, Michael Olenick, Chris Saynor and Howard Willows assisted EDItEUR in evaluating a very full set of suggestions.

A particularly interesting new ‘narrative theme’ has been introduced into the Fiction section at FXR, which in the global English language version of the scheme will be known as ‘sense of place’. This handles a concept known as ‘terroir’ fiction – familiar in France, but not completely unknown elsewhere. This covers fiction set in a very particular location which wholly integrates the locale, almost as a story character in its own right, to the extent it could not be set elsewhere. As the concept is not well known in the English language, ‘sense of place’ will be used, with reference to ‘terroir’ in a scope note (that word is often used with wine, where the locale, its soil and microclimate, lend the drink a distinctive flavour). This shows the scope in Thema for supporting even rather special local traditions as part of a global scheme.

Elsewhere in Thema, changes of interest in version 1.2 include a new code at ATN for performances distributed online such as podcasts and vlogs, specific codes for the piano (AVRG1) and violin (AVRL3). A new code at GBCD for subject dictionaries (eg a legal dictionary, or a dictionary of geology terms), further refinements within society and social sciences for psychology, education and local government. And in sport, there is an expansion of the swimming and diving area of the hierarchy, along with much greater detail for martial arts and skiing, which are particularly well represented in publishing in a number of key book markets. Finally, there has also been the renaming of Geographic qualifiers to ‘Place’ qualifiers as part of the addition of a range of extra-terrestrial codes which now allow specification of locations within the solar system, for non-fiction and occasionally for some science fiction.

The updated draft of the 1.2 scheme is now live (see below left, in English only) on the online browser at It will be formally published as an update to the standard in early June.

Thema browser, version 1.2 draft Thema browser with Hungarian user interface

Meanwhile, national groups responsible for maintaining each Thema language will be working to add to and refine their translations, and updated translations will become available not long after publishing Thema 1.2. There is also continued progress on translations in Chinese, Hungarian (see above right) and Turkish, which will lead to further adoption.

Thema news in brief

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ONIX for Books

ONIX 3.0.3 revision now available

As noted in the March Newsletter, a Technical Working Group presented recommendations to the ONIX International Steering Committee covering a small set of around a dozen enhancements to ONIX 3.0. At the Steering Committee’s meeting during the London Book Fair the recommendations were accepted in full, and at the end of April, a new minor revision, ONIX 3.0.3, was published on the EDItEUR website. The ratification is testament to the care with which the working group considered the original range of proposals – Anna Lionetti, Marie Bilde Rasmussen, Fride Fosseng, Tom Richardson, Luc Audrain, Margot Kersaan, Karina Luke plus EDItEUR staff expertly balanced the competing requirements for new features and added data value with simplicity of implementation and likelihood of real-world adoption.

This new release maintains the established cadence of minor revisions which add optional new functionality every two years. It broadens the range of metadata elements that can be carried in an ONIX message, meets some new or expanded requirements, and avoids adding unduly to the complexity of ONIX.

Issue 33 ONIX codelists released

An updated edition of the ONIX codelists was published alongside ONIX 3.0.3, though obviously most of the additional codes apply to earlier releases too (including, in some cases, ONIX 2.1). These were also ratified by the ONIX International Steering Committee in April.

Issue 34 of the codelists is already in the early stages, and is expected to be published in July. Suggestions for any additions should be discussed with ONIX national groups or sent direct to Graham Bell.

Note that Issue 36 (January 2017) is slated to be the last version of the codelists usable with ONIX 2.1. This timetable is not yet ‘set in stone’, so comments are invited – also to Graham Bell. (Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean ONIX 2.1 will be unusable after the beginning of 2017 – it means only that no further new codes will be added, and is a final part of the phased reduction of support for 2.1.)

ONIX news in brief

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News from ICEDIS: serials, subscriptions & library supply

ICEDIS Meeting at UKSG Bournemouth

ICEDIS held its latest full meeting on 13th April – this time on the concluding day of UKSG’s Bournemouth conference. Despite the scheduling clash with London Book Fair, the committee held an interesting session with good contributions from those attending.

Open Access (OA) enhancements to the ONIX-PC standard again occupied centre stage, with a briefing on the pilot exchanges being carried out by Springer Nature, Harrassowitz, Wiley and LM Info. There was also an update from Ingenta (formerly Publishing Technology): Ingenta has committed to making ONIX-PC exports available to publishers using its systems, and is currently trialling the approach on behalf of Cambridge University Press.

Ideas were exchanged on ways in which the ICEDIS work can be made more accessible and relevant to librarians and vendors closer to the library community. There’s increasing interest in these topics from national libraries such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, as well as from IFLA and other library coalitions. Follow-up approaches to individual libraries and to some of the larger library consortia will be on the agenda over coming months.

Finally, after an interesting debate on the utility of public identifiers such as ISNI (the International Standard Name Identifier) and ORCID, we concluded with extended updates from NISO and on the other, non-serials work in EDItEUR’s portfolio. Draft minutes of the meeting are available for download from the EDItEUR website.

New ICEDIS Co-Chair elected

Among other business at the Bournemouth meeting, the members present elected Henning Schönenberger of Springer Nature as co-chair of ICEDIS. Henning is Director responsible for Data and Metadata across the Springer Nature group, and is well placed to champion the importance of well-structured metadata and communications for many aspects of the serials supply chain. He replaces Shilo de Vries of Taylor & Francis, who stepped down with our thanks after completing her three-year term. Henning will serve alongside co-chair Laurie Kaplan of ProQuest.

ONIX-PC: current and medium-term plans

Two main ONIX-PC objectives were discussed at the Bournemouth meeting. First and foremost, ICEDIS remains committed to maximizing the uptake of this format – preferably in time for the 2017 calendar year pricing round that’s now only a few months away. Wiley, Taylor & Francis and Springer Nature will all be continuing to produce the information and EDItEUR urges other parties in the supply chain interested in receiving ONIX-PC to make contact with these publishers soon. Tim Devenport is happy to put you in touch with the right people if this is useful: email him on With the help of Ingenta, other players including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and perhaps Sage Publications will be able to join the ONIX-PC producers’ list relatively soon.

Second, on completion of the current pilot exchanges, EDItEUR will formally ratify version 1.2 of the standard, which incorporates the newly-defined additional features to support OA business models. In passing, note that the XML schema supplied with version 1.2 is also able to validate files in the two previous versions of ONIX-PC, versions 1.1 and 1.1.1.

Looking a little further ahead, Tim will be polling the membership to establish whether they support additional work in two areas. One could provide enhanced features for communicating EU VAT-related information for mixed print/online products; the other could see the introduction of a basic ONIX-PC Acknowledgement message sent by the data recipient, modeled on that used for ONIX for Books.

JISC group on Journal Policy Expression

Both EDItEUR and a number of its member organizations were represented at a useful JISC discussion session in early May, seeking to define a framework for structured information on OA policies applicable at an individual journal level. This topic is becoming increasingly important as authors, their institutions and funders need up-front information on whether journal policies conform with funder requirements and permit the onward access and in some cases reuse conditions that legislation demands.

JISC’s ideas are at a preliminary stage, but EDItEUR and members of ICEDIS should be in a position to contribute usefully to the eventual recommendations. More information should be available by the time of the July EDItEUR Newsletter.

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New EDItEUR members

Media Services Group

Media Services Group is a leading developer of integrated software solutions for global publishing businesses. For over thirty years, it has provided solutions to help publishers manage the business of book publishing: its range of modular software covers eCommerce/Digital Strategies, Product Lifecycle (Title) Management, Rights and Royalties, CRM, Inventory and Warehouse, Order Fulfillment, Subscriptions, Accounting and much more. The flagship Élan product is cloud-based and provides a unified customer database and financial accounting framework with integrated modules.

Forthcoming Events

EDItEUR’s 38th International Supply Chain Seminar

1–5:30pm followed by a reception, 18th October 2016, Room Concord, Halle 4.C, Messe Frankfurt, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

EDItEUR’s annual International Supply Chain Seminar – a mini-conference dedicated to metadata and content standards for book and e-book publishing – is an essential pre-Frankfurt event for publishers, distributors, booksellers and service providers keen to boost the effectiveness of their business. Registration details to be announced.

38th SSP Annual Meeting – Crossing Boundaries: New Horizons in Scholarly Communication

1–3rd June 2016, Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver, BC V6G 2V4, Canada

Publishers, librarians, authors and researchers will meet at the Society of Scholarly Publisher’s Vancouver conference to examine new ways of bridging concepts and challenging assumptions about the marketplace, business models, and their individual roles in supporting scholarly research. Sessions at this year’s meeting will focus on exploring what lies over the horizon for scholarly publishing. Details from

NASIG 31st Annual Conference – Embracing new horizons

8–12th June 2016, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, 800 Rio Grande Blvd., NW Albuquerque, NM 87104, USA

The annual conference provides a casual venue for preconferences, formal sessions, practical workshops, special events, and networking, with an emphasis on thoughtful discourse and informality for those involved in North American serials publishing. Details from the NASIG website.

ALA 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition

24–27th June 2016, Orange County Convention Center West Building, Orlando, Florida, FL 32819, USA

The America Library Association Annual Conference covers key issues such as innovation and transformation, e-book lending and usability, digital content, community engagement, leadership, the impact and potential of new technologies, books and awards, development, teaching and learning, and best practices on a range of library-related concerns. There's also a wide range of networking opportunities and fun events. Click for the preliminary schedule of events.

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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