Newsletter November 2015


Frankfurt Book Fair 2015

EDItEUR enjoyed a highly successful Frankfurt Book Fair, with important meetings of the International Steering Committees for Thema and for ONIX for Books, of the ICEDIS committee, and the relaunch of the International Supply Chain Seminar mini-conference. Our sincere thanks to all those who attended or supported these events. We particularly thank those who attended the EDItEUR Member’s Open Meeting – we are always grateful to you for committing the time to attend during what is a busy few days for everyone. It was a genuine pleasure to meet a number of new members, as well as catch up with old friends.

37th International Supply Chain Seminar

Ronald Schild presents VLB-Tix

EDItEUR’s International Supply Chain Seminar was held on the Tuesday before the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair. After four years as a track within another, larger, conference, 2015 marked the relaunch of the Seminar as an stand-alone event.

The Seminar was a huge success, with a sell-out audience, and a real mix of in-depth and highly relevant presentations from the speakers. Feedback from the attendees has been unwaveringly positive.

EDItEUR thanks the following sponsors and partners for their immensely valuable contributions to the success of the Supply Chain Seminar:

Bowker logo
Klopotek logo
onixsuite logo
Publishing Technolgoy logo

Buchmesse logo
isbn logo
tisp logo

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International ISBN Agency

Annual General Meeting 2015

The 2015 ISBN Annual General Meeting took place in September in Kuta on the island of Bali in Indonesia. We were very pleased with the event, which was attended by 57 delegates from 31 national ISBN Agencies, and we would like to give special and well-deserved thanks to the National Library of Indonesia for hosting such a wonderful meeting.

There were presentations on a variety of different topics, and we were delighted that the programme was able to incorporate a number of different presenters during the meeting. In particular there were special sessions on the rise of self-publishing given by Beat Barblan, United States ISBN Agency and Alenka Kanič, Slovenia ISBN Agency; on policies for applications by foreign publishers given by Marcel Barriault of the Canada ISBN Agency; and publishing in Indonesia and South-East Asia by the Indonesia Publishers’ Association.

Once again we benefited from cooperation with the International ISMN Agency, which held its AGM during the same week in the same location. Our thanks go to Carolin Unger and Dr. Hartmut Walravens for their extensive help and cooperation with the arrangements.

South-East Asian Regional Seminar

Alongside the AGM, the International ISBN Agency also held a regional seminar. This included delegates from Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Pacific, Seychelles and Myanmar as well as Carolin Unger from the International ISMN Agency. We were very pleased to be able to meet with these delegates, many of whom we’d not had the chance to meet in person previously.

The seminar took place the day before the AGM, and included detailed sessions on the application of ISBN, data issues and compliance with the standard, plus associated topics such as books in print databases. We hope that the seminar provided a valuable experience for participants giving them knowledge and techniques that they can apply in their daily work.

Revision of the ISBN Standard

The ISO Working Group for ISBN – comprising 38 experts from 14 countries – has continued to make progress.

ISO’s latest guidelines stated that International Standards should not make any reference to registration agencies. The Committee Draft of the revised ISBN Standard that was issued for ballot in February 2015 had to comply with this guideline, but members of the ISBN Working Group and national body representatives expressed concern about this limitation – the registration agencies remain absolutely vital to the promotion, management and maintenance of the ISBN system. ISBN lodged an appeal with the Technical Management Board (TMB) of ISO. The TMB has now confirmed that ISBN will be allowed to make limited references to registration agencies in the revised Standard. It proposed particular wording which the ISBN Working Group has now incorporated into the latest version of the draft.

The Working Group held a conference call in October when final amendments to the draft were agreed. The text has now been submitted to the Secretariat of ISO/TC46/SC9 with a request that it be issued for ballot as a Draft International Standard. Once issued, the ballot period will last three months, so results of the vote and details of any comments submitted are expected by about March 2016.

50 years of Standard Book Numbering

On 13 October, during Frankfurt Book Fair, the Agency marked 50 years of standard book numbering with a reception during EDItEUR’s International Supply Chain Seminar. Stella Griffiths outlined the history and success of the ISBN standard, and presented a timeline showing the key ISBN-related events of the last 50 years. The anniversary was also featured in one of The Bookseller Daily magazines during the Fair.

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The well-attended meeting of the Thema International Steering Committee at Frankfurt 2015 made a number of important decisions. Representatives from Turkey and China, and an observer from Portugal, underlined the scale of international interest that continues to build for the scheme, and translations for Mandarin Chinese, Turkish and Greek continue to make progress.

Thema Danish extensions

For the first time, at Frankfurt, the ISC ratified a set of new national extensions covering geographic and educational detail for Denmark, plus a couple of extensions from the UK Thema group. Addition of national extensions – independent of any revision of the main core of the scheme – may now be repeated on a quarterly basis, in a process similar to that used for ONIX Codelist changes. The new extensions are (like all national extensions) optional parts of the scheme, but have now been added to the online browser as shown above, and to the downloadable translations of the Thema subject headings in each language.

A technical sub-group studying geographic extensions presented interim findings to the ISC. The aim of the group is to explore approaches to definition of geographic extensions for countries that do not currently have active Thema groups. Some sample guidelines and example approaches to providing these extensions were circulated and feedback is now being reviewed.

Following a series of detailed candidate proposals from national groups, a list of 100 potential additions or changes to Thema that would form a version 1.2 release were discussed. The steering committee concluded that there is now enough business need to begin detailed work, and agreed a target for publication of Thema 1.2 around London Book Fair 2016. A technical sub-group has been convened to take this revision forward, and will shortly make a call for any further suggestions for the 1.2 release.

Also at Frankfurt there were a number of informative presentations on Thema made as part of EDItEUR’s International Supply Chain Seminar. Presentations from ISC Chair Howard Willows of Nielsen covered the history and status of the scheme, whilst Ronald Schild of MVB spoke about Thema as the core subject categorisation scheme within the new German books-in-print system VLB-Tix. Both presentations are on the EDItEUR website.

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ONIX for Books

The ONIX International Steering Committee meeting at Frankfurt was well attended, and ably chaired by Laurent Dervieu of Electre. It ratified the release of Codelists Issue 31, and set up a technical sub-group to select which of a range of potential additions to ONIX 3.0 should be adopted into the standard.

The technical sub-group will study a range of proposals made to the Steering Committee, a few of which were outlined in the previous Newsletter – these proposals come from national groups, from EDItEUR members, and from EDItEUR itself. However, a balance needs to be struck between adding new features to the ONIX 3.0 standard and adding complexity (particularly for recipients). Each new feature added needs to deliver worthwhile value – better discoverability, simpler supply chain communication and so on – rather than simply being ‘nice to have’. The sub-group will report back with a recommendation, and the publication of the ONIX 3.0.3 minor update is timetabled for the first quarter of 2016.

Issue 31 ONIX codelists released

Following ratification by the ISC, a very small set of additional codelist entries was published at the end of October. Issue 31 includes:

The new codes have been integrated with the usual ONIX 3.0 specification documents, and with the codelist files for 3.0 and 2.1 available from the EDItEUR website.

Issue 32 is planned for release in January, and suggestions for new codes should be discussed with national groups and/or sent to EDItEUR before the end of November.

ONIX in Portuguese

Brazilian e-book distributor Bibliomundi has provided a translation of the ONIX 3.0 Specification into Brazilian Portuguese, and it’s now available from the EDItEUR website (though note that it’s not a complete translation – it focuses on those elements of ONIX that are most vital for e-books). EDItEUR welcomes such translations, though please check with EDItEUR before embarking on what is inevitably a substantial piece of work.

ONIX news in brief

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News from ICEDIS: serials, subscriptions & library supply

Recap: the role of ICEDIS

For readers new to this newsletter, a brief reminder that ICEDIS is the special-interest group for EDItEUR members interested in serials and subscription products. ICEDIS attracts wide representation from organizations active in the serials supply chain and is chaired by two senior business figures – currently Shilo de Vries of Taylor & Francis and newly-elected Laurie Kaplan of ProQuest.

ICEDIS provides business input to EDItEUR’s serials work and exercises a governance role for those serials standards that EDItEUR maintains. There are three full ICEDIS meetings a year, two in Europe (in Frankfurt, and at UKSG) and one in North America (at the Charleston Conference). In between these sessions, ICEDIS contacts and project work continue via working groups and conference calls.

ICEDIS Frankfurt

This year’s Frankfurt ICEDIS meeting was held on 12th October, just ahead of the opening of the Book Fair. Most of the first half of this well attended session was occupied with Open Access-related initiatives, notably the ICEDIS OA working group and the proposed OA extensions to ONIX-PC.

Discussion was by no means limited to technical issues. Participants saw just as much significance in our reaching out to other groups that are considering how best to support OA models and their impact throughout the chain from funder to researcher and on to publishers, libraries and readers. ICEDIS will continue not only with the ONIX-PC work but also in liaison and cooperation with other efforts.

A thought-provoking guest presentation from Ian Hames (Publisher Solutions International) on the perils of IP-authenticated access to online resources was followed by updates from Todd Carpenter (NISO) on other serials standards initiatives, and a briefing from EDItEUR’s Graham Bell on other aspects of EDItEUR’s current work.

The meeting concluded with the nomination and election of ProQuest’s Laurie Kaplan as co-chair, replacing Dan Heffernan of Advantage who has completed his term. Minutes of the meeting will be available shortly. The next Europe-based ICEDIS meeting will be on Wednesday 13th April 2016, on the closing day of the UKSG Conference in Bournemouth, UK.

EDItEUR & ICEDIS in Charleston

An ICEDIS meeting and EDItEUR briefing session was held on 4th November in Charleston, SC, on the first full morning of the Charleston Conference. EDItEUR’s Tim Devenport updated meeting participants – including quite a few from guest organizations – on recent ICEDIS work, primarily focusing on Open Access. Tim also gave a briefing on wider EDItEUR work on ONIX for Books and the Thema international subject classification scheme.

NISO’s Todd Carpenter was on hand to range over other current standards initiatives of interest to ICEDIS, and our guest speaker, Justin Spence of Publisher Solutions International, lifted the lid on a range of troubling issues caused by poorly recorded or even fraudulently claimed IP addresses. (PSI were kind enough to offer guest speakers for both the Frankfurt and Charleston events.)

The Charleston ICEDIS was the first with Laurie Kaplan in the chair, and she led a lively initial brainstorm on how we can better involve our librarian end-users and LMS vendors in our work going forward. It was also something of a swansong for Dan Heffernan of Advantage, who has completed just over three years in the hot seat – farewell (as chair!) and many thanks, Dan!

ONIX-PC v1.2 draft released for pilot exchanges

Open Access (OA) models continue to proliferate in the journals world, alongside the more traditional paid-for subscription models. In recent months, EDItEUR has been working with an ICEDIS OA working group to specify features of OA journals that can usefully be communicated through the supply chain, primarily to aid discoverability for these titles.

Based on working group inputs, we have drafted an extended version 1.2 of the ONIX-PC format that includes explicit support for OA (and of course paid) subscription products. Documentation and supporting resources, including an XML schema, serials codelists Issue 8, and a number of sample files can be found on the ONIX-PC page of the EDItEUR website. Exchanges to ‘road test’ the draft should commence shortly, with Springer and Wiley producing test outputs and Harrassowitz and LM Info being among the first to evaluate and upload the test data.

If you would like to know more about this initiative or the ICEDIS OA working group please contact Tim Devenport.

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Forthcoming Events

FutureBook conference

4th December 2015, Mermaid Conference and Events Centre, Puddle Dock, Blackfriars, London EC4V 3DB

FutureBook brings together leading thinkers in publishing, retail, editorial, writing, marketing and tech, along with speakers from other industries. This is the fifth anniversary of FutureBook, the largest digital publishing conference in Europe. A week-long series of events culminates in the FutureBook Conference on December 4th, and is aimed at those invested in and passionate about the future of books. FutureBook is the must-attend event for anyone who wants to face our digital future from a position of power.

Discovery and Discoverability seminar

20th January 2016, Chancellors Hall, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

A half-day seminar in UCLs series of events addressing new topics and developments in publishing, library and information. Discovery and Discoverability will focus on innovations in how publications and library collections are being enhanced for discovery, how they are exposed to search engines and discovery tools and disseminated through social media. It will present both the latest technologies and case studies from different sectors as to how users go about their seaching. Details at the University College London website.

ALA Midwinter meeting

8–12 January 2016, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210

ALA Midwinter Meetings are among the premier global library events each year, bringing together the newsmakers, innovators, thought leaders, and influencers in the library field from all over the world. Details at the American Library Association website.

Digital Book World conference

7–9th March 2016, Hilton New York Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10019

Now celebrating its seventh year, Digital Book World is the preeminent conference on digital content and digital publishing strategies. In brings together over 1500 media, publishing and technology professionals from around the world for a two-day conference focused on developing, building and transforming organizations to compete in the fast-changing digital media ecosystem. Details at

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New EDItEUR members


BooksoniX cloud-based publishing management service, built around the ONIX standards, feeds millions of ISBNs every week to recipients worldwide. Title data is automatically manipulated, reformatted, validated and disseminated daily in the required format of each recipient. All phases are handled by BooksoniX from testing to regular live feeds. BooksoniX data is highly praised by the UK’s leading data agencies, and many others around the world. Publishers, distributors and sales agents across the globe have made BooksoniX an integral part of their publishing processes, with the additional easy-to-use facilities of workflow/production management, automated marketing e-mail shots, foreign rights management, contacts management, marketing material templates, and automatically-updated websites with full e-commerce facilties.

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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