Newsletter September 2018


Frankfurt Book Fair

Once a year, Frankfurt turns into the world capital of the book and media industry. The Frankfurt Buchmesse (10th–14th October) is the world’s leading venue for printed and digital content – from children’s books and arts to education and academic publishing. Here’s where more than 250,000 publishing experts meet with peers and partners from the technology and creative industries – to do deals, exchange ideas and be inspired, to try out new technologies and cultivate contacts.

FBF18 Business Club

The ‘business class’ way to experience the Frankfurt Fair is via the Business Ticket. This premium ticket provides you with access to the Business Club for networking and meetings, exclusive events and entry to the Opening Ceremony, THE MARKETS conference and the Frankfurt Rights Meeting. You can beat the queues too, with early morning entry and a separate cloakroom.

For more details of the Business Ticket and registration, see

FBF18 ISCS logo

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

Tuesday 9th October, 1:00pm until 5:30 (registration begins at 12:30)
The programme is followed by a drinks reception from 5:30
Haus des Buches, Braubachstraße 16, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2 minutes walk from Dom / Romer u-Bahn station in central Frankfurt
via EventBrite Note that ticketing for the Supply Chain Seminar does not include entry to the Book Fair itself for 10th–14th October

The speaker programme focuses on real-world case studies, standards and best practices, and strategies that use technology to extract the most value from the supply chain. The main programme will be followed by a reception for all seminar delegates from 5:30pm onwards, to celebrate the first five years of success for the Thema subject category scheme.

EDItEUR thanks its partners MVB and Frankfurter Buchmesse for helping to make this event possible.

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Thema version 1.3 translation update

Thema version 1.3 was launched earlier this year, and since then the translations into Danish, French, German, Norwegian and Swedish have been updated and all the documentation has been published on EDItEUR’s website. The interactive browser has also been updated for these languages.

EDItEUR has also updated the existing Thema documentation available on the website, particularly the Executive Briefing and the Basic Instructions, to make sure they cover version 1.3 – and alongside these documents has also brought out some new material aimed at users of the scheme.

Using Thema and ONIX together, questions and answers is a discussion paper that looks at questions about the use of Thema and especially how Thema relates to other metadata sent in an ONIX file is available via the EDItEUR website. EDItEUR has also published ‘50 illustrated examples’ of using Thema on books covering many different subjects. The document shows some real books and the possible Thema codes that might describe them, in a simple and clear format. This is a document which EDItEUR will add to in the future

EDItEUR also encourages users of Thema to join the mailing list and to use it as a forum to discuss use of the scheme and to make suggestions for new codes they think are needed. This way, it will build a community and spread understanding of the scheme, and inform future development, as has happened for the ONIX user group. Details of the mailing list can be found here.

Thema training

BIC and BISG are both offering half-day Thema training courses over the course of the next month or so – ideal if your organisation is considering or adopting Thema. See the Forthcoming Events section below. EDItEUR can also offer cost-effective in-house courses in English or French if more than a handful of delegates would benefit from the training.

If you have any feedback or questions about Thema please contact Chris Saynor at EDItEUR.

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EDItX messaging

EDItX Sales, Sales tax and Inventory Reporting

The EDItX suite of e-commerce messaging standards is much less well known – and less widely implemented – than either ONIX for Books or Thema. But the gains to be made in effective and efficient communication apply equally to EDItX as to the other EDItEUR standards.

One of the barriers to EDItX adoption is the style of the documentation, which can best be described as brief. So EDItEUR has embarked on a programme to update and enhance the documentation of the message specifications, while also adding new functionality to EDItX messages when appropriate. A steering group – open to EDItEUR members and stakeholders who implement or wish to implement EDItX – was set up two years ago to guide this process, following the successful ONIX and Thema governance model.

The first output from this effort will be put to the steering group at its meeting during the Frankfurt Book Fair: there are new versions of the EDItX Sales and Sales Tax reports, and of the EDItX Inventory report, with improved documentation and updated XML schemas.

The former two message formats bring features from the ONIX for Books pricing model to EDItX. Earlier versions of the Sales and Sales tax reports implemented only a simple price structure inherited from ONIX 2.1, which meant there were prices describable in ONIX where the sales were not reportable in EDItX. This mismatch has been corrected. In particular, this brings a wider range of e-book business models into play, and allows more comprehensive reporting of sales with potentially complex international price variations.

The EDItX Inventory report was originally conceived for a narrow use case where retailers report sales of stock held on consignment. The new proposal extends its use to ‘digital inventory’ where the status of an e-book master file and its associated metadata needs to be reported from retailer to publisher. This could remove the need for publishers to crawl e-retail websites to check whether their products are actually on sale.

For all three messages, a system of ‘aliases’ has been implemented in the XML to increase the similarities between ONIX and EDItX tag names, without compromising the backward compatibility of existing EDItX reports, and some ONIX codelists are now usable in EDItX too.

If agreed by the steering group, the new versions of the Sales, Sales tax and Inventory report format specifications will be published in late October or early November. If your organisation is interested in implementation, drafts of the specifications can be provided upon request.

If you have any feedback or questions about EDItX please contact Chris Saynor at EDItEUR.

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ONIX for Books

Codelists Issues 42 and 43

The latest Issue 42 of the ONIX codelists was ratified and published in mid-July. This relatively small set of additions and refinements for use with ONIX 3.0 is available in the usual range of formats – readable PDF and HTML, plus a range of machine-readable formats including CSV and XSD for use with ONIX validation software, in-house and off-the-shelf software – from the EDItEUR website.

As noted previously, the additions to the codelists in Issue 42 cover:

As with other issues of the codelists since Issue 37, Issue 42 does not include the lists necessary for use with ONIX 2.1. Those still using 2.1 should continue to use Issue 36, which is the latest set of codelists that is compatible.

A set of proposals for Issue 43 of the codelists was circulated to ONIX National Groups at the end of August, for consideration and comment. These proposals will be discussed by the ONIX International Steering Group at its meeting during the Frankfurt Book Fair.

These proposals cover:

If ratified by the Steering Committee, these new codes will comprise Issue 43 of the codelists, aimed for publication in late October.

Proposed updates to ONIX 3.0.5

A set of proposals for additions to the main ONIX 3.0 message specification is due for consideration by the International Steering Committee during the Frankfurt Book Fair. There are two main proposals, both set to meet current real-world requirements in the data supply chain. These were distributed to the various ONIX National Groups for comments.

The first proposal is to add a data structure to allow the description of a series of promotional events such as an author book signing tour. Publishers often arrange tours of bookshops and other venues, and media appearances, as a vital part of the marketing campaign for a book. Under the proposal, each event on the tour can be described, with its time and place, and any ticketing details. The diagram below shows the proposed structure, in the format used within the ONIX 3.0 Implementation and Best Practice Guide.

PromotionalEvent EventType ContentAudience EventName PromoEventDescription EventDescription EventOccurrence EventOccurrence EventSponsor Website EventOccurrence EventDate CountryCode RegionCode LocationName VenueAddress EventDescription Website

The second key proposal is to add a new <AVItem> structure, analogous to the existing <TextItem> composite in Block 3 of the message. This has a very specific use: to carry timecodes for chapter starts in time-based AV material such as audiobooks, in the same way that <TextItem> can carry page numbers for paginated material.

AVItem AVItemType AVItemIdentifier TimeRun AVDuration AVItemIdentifier AVItemIDType IDTypeName IDValue TimeRun StartTime StartTime EndTime EndTime must include if ID is proprietary, otherwise omit

Of course, these two proposals are optional and fully backwards-compatible, so if data senders or recipients do not wish to use them, they can simply be ignored. New codelists would be added for <EventType> and <AVItemType>, and there may also be new role codes within <Website>.

If you have any feedback or questions about these proposed additions to ONIX – or about the strict schema, the codelists or any other aspect of the standard, please contact Graham Bell at EDItEUR.

Working with the ‘strict’ XSD schema

EDItEUR has been providing validation and evaluation of ONIX 3.0 message files sent in by members, using the strict XSD schema. This advanced schema, introduced earlier in 2018 but still a work-in-progress, implements hundreds of checks on the internal data structure of an ONIX file.

Our thanks to those EDItEUR members that provided data for this testing. This has allowed EDItEUR to text and improve the strict schema itself, and provided a view of some the common implementation and data errors across a range of publishers and off-the-shelf software applications, and advice on these issues is being added to the Implementation and Best Practice Guide. It’s also helped a range of data senders and system vendors improve their system’s conformance, which in turn should help data recipients because data feeds comply more exactly with the Specification.

The ‘strict’ schema consists of hundreds of assertions or rules such as the one above, and new rules are still being added.

The strict schema is available from the EDItEUR website, and may be suitable for production use in some circumstances. However, it requires an XSD 1.1-compliant parser (so okay if you use oXygen or XML Spy, or Saxon or Xerces, but not if you use .NET or libxml for parsing). It also requires a huge amount of memory to process large ONIX messages. Finally, it produces hundreds or thousands of individual error messages with typical ONIX 3.0 files, particularly when a systematic issue that affects every record is identified. It may be more appropriate as a tool for use during onboarding (setting up a new data feed to a recipient), rather than for everyday production use.

If you’ve implemented ONIX 3.0, then EDItEUR remains happy to provide a level of testing and feedback, particularly to member organisations: send us a sample file, perhaps up to 500 products, with a range of product types (physical, digital), statuses (not yet published, active, perhaps even OP). Samples will be kept confidential, and used on for testing and feedback.

ONIX training

EDItEUR has provided detailed and authoritative in-house training on any aspect of ONIX from beginner to advanced for several years. This part of EDItEUR’s work has expanded significantly, and we can now provide this training in either English or French. Our programme can be a cost effective way of raising the knowledge level of any in-house team. Contact for details. In addition, the same training is provided via BIC, BISG and other organisations, and this is often more cost-effective for just one or two members of staff. BISG will be running an introductory training course on ONIX at the end of October, and BIC will be running introductory and advanced courses on ONIX in November, all delivered by EDItEUR – see the Forthcoming Events section below.

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News from ICEDIS: serials, subscriptions & library supply

A new slot for the Frankfurt ICEDIS Meeting

As you may have seen elsewhere in this Newsletter, EDItEUR has chosen this year to experiment with some new arrangements at Frankfurt. Specifically for those interested in serials and subscriptions standards, the long-standing ICEDIS Frankfurt meeting will now take its place alongside our other meetings that focus on ONIX for Books, EDItX and Thema, during the Book Fair itself.

Instead of the usual Monday afternoon session, this year ICEDIS will be gathering from 3:30 to 5:00 pm on Wednesday 10th October – the opening day of the Book Fair – within the Book Fair itself, in Room Facette, Hall 3 via. This is the same venue we will use for the ONIX for Books International Committee earlier in the afternoon.

We hope that this move will make it possible for more Frankfurt participants to attend – do drop a line to Tim Devenport if you plan to join us on 10th October. We would also like to hear feedback on ways in which ICEDIS could better serve players in the subscriptions and serials supply chain. Co-chair Henning Schönenberger and EDItEUR’s Tim Devenport look forward to welcoming you in Frankfurt.

During the Frankfurt ICEDIS meeting, we will be looking primarily at ONIX-PC, both from the viewpoint of usage and rollout, and from the perspective of users who have signalled changes they would like to see incorporated. Alongside this, we’ll be debating the spread of linked data representations in the library world and beyond, and the specific role in a Linked Data world of persistent identifiers like ISNI, ISSN and DOI.

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ISNI International Agency update

New Registration Agencies join ISNI

Alongside its core work on its own families of standards, EDItEUR also provides administrative and executive support to other agencies active in the sphere of standard identifiers. Currently this includes our offering services to the International DOI Foundation and the ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA).

There continues to be keen interest in the adoption of ISNI, both in the book publishing, library and scholarly areas that were the first to embrace and develop the identifier, and in other emerging areas such as music, rights management & collection, and audiovisual and filmed entertainment sectors. Over 10 million ISNIs have so far been assigned to a range of public identities in the creative spheres, with more than seven hundred thousand relating to organizations and the rest to individuals.

Do you have an ISNI? Nearly 10 million people do.
Find out at

Like EDItEUR (ISNI 0000 0004 4914 9201), ISNI-IA is a membership organization, to date supported by over forty regular Members and Registration Agencies. Recent months have seen registration agency numbers swell with the addition of EDItEUR member BTLF (active in the Francophone publishing industries in Canada), the National Libraries of Sweden and Spain, and two new entrants from the music industry – Soundways Inc. (USA) and Consolidated Independent (UK). The latter two join YouTube, which became an ISNI Registration Agency early in 2018, in representing the recorded music sector.

Alongside its central function of assigning and curating unique identifiers to ‘public personas’ (whether personal or organizational), ISNI is also busy with various project activities. These currently include making organizational IDs more transparently accessible for search and retrieval, and introducing a facility to offer ISNIs and carefully selected parts of the associated metadata as open Linked Data or in more traditional tabular format under CC0 and via licensed access. Given the nature of ISNI, this has required work to ensure privacy regulations are adhered to, both by the International Agency itself, and its registration agencies and members.

If you’d like to learn more about the work of ISNI, please drop an e-mail to ISNI Executive Director Tim Devenport (ISNI 0000 0004 5913 7837).

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EDItEUR Member’s Open Meeting

A face-to-face open meeting for EDItEUR members is normally held at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In recent years this has immediately followed the ONIX International Steering Committee meeting. But not all members can attend – either they are not at the Frankfurt Fair at all, or they cannot attend because of other priorities during their valuable and limited time in Frankfurt. This year, as an experiment, EDItEUR will be holding two or more online events, instead of a single face-to-face member’s meeting.

Details will be announced shortly after the Frankfurt Fair. We plan to use Goto Meeting or similar software, just as we do for working group meetings, and we hope this will allow a greater number of attendees to benefit. The Open Meeting is an opportunity for members to receive an update direct from the EDItEUR staff and consultants, to ask questions and to pose suggestions for future work. We hope you’ll be able to join us.

Forthcoming Events

Digital Book World Conference

2nd–4th October 2018, Music City Center, 201 5th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203, USA

Digital Book World 2018 is a gathering of the wide world of publishing – trade and educational, corporate, independent and self-publishing, plus companies creating amazing tools and services for publishers. The core philosophy of Digital Book World is that the next big insight may not come from another publisher that looks just like you. Rather, it may come from an organization publishing material in an entirely different sector and in an entirely different way. For further details, see, Registration is via EventBrite.

40th International Supply Chain Seminar

1:00–5:30pm, 9th October, Haus des Buches, Braubachstraße 16, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

EDItEUR’s annual International Supply Chain Seminar, a mini-conference dedicated to identifiers, metadata and content standards for book and e-book publishing, is the essential pre-Frankfurt event for publishers, distributors, booksellers and service providers keen to boost the effectiveness of their business. Early-bird registration from £125 via EventBrite until 28th July. For further details, contact

Frankfurt Book Fair 2018

10th–14th October, Messe Frankfurt, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The 2018 Frankfurter Buchmesse will be the Fair’s 70th anniversary, and this year’s Guest of Honour is Georgia. The Frankfurt fair is the most important international marketplace for content, as well as a trendsetting event for society and a major cultural festival. The Business Ticket will return to offer a comprehensive range of valuable services and a haven from the crowds. As usual, EDItEUR will be hosting several meetings ahead of and during the Book Fair. For further details and ticketing, see

EDItEUR EDItX International Steering Committee meeting

9:00–10:00am, 10th October, Room Consens, Hall 4.C, Messe Frankfurt
The EDItX International Steering Committee is open to representatives of EDItX national groups and other interested parties by invitation. For details, contact Chris Saynor.

EDItEUR Thema International Steering Committee meeting

10:15–12:00noon, 10th October, Room Brillanz, Hall 4.2, Messe Frankfurt
The Thema International Steering Committee is open to representatives of Thema national groups and invited observers. For details, contact Chris Saynor.

EDItEUR ONIX International Steering Committee meeting

1:00–3:00pm, 10th October, Room Facette, Hall 3 Via, Messe Frankfurt
The ONIX for Books International Steering Committee is open to representatives of ONIX national groups and invited observers. For details, contact Graham Bell.

EDItEUR ICEDIS Committee Meeting

Please note the new venue 3:30–17:00pm, 10th October, Room Facette, Hall 3 Via, Messe Frankfurt
ICEDIS will hold its next full meeting in Frankfurt. This is intended for members of EDItEUR with a particular interest in serials and subscriptions products, together with linked data in the library world. For further details, contact EDItEUR’s Tim Devenport.

Metadata Power training course

1:30–5:00pm, 24th October 2018, Ibis Styles Southwark Rose, 43-47 Southwark Bridge Rd, London SE1 9HH, UK
This introductory-level course on the commercial importance of metadata describes how publishers can take responsibility for and manage their data (without specifically mentioning ONIX). And it takes a look at the ‘data supply chain’ – how the key data gets from publisher to bookstore and library catalogue. For details and enrollment for this joint PTC/BIC/EDItEUR course, see the PTC website, or contact

Implementing Thema training course

1:45–5:00pm, 30th October 2018, Publishers Association, 50 Southwark Street, London SE1 1UN, UK
Besides providing an overview of Thema, details of the scheme and practical subject classification exercises, this course will guide delegates through the processes involved in implementing Thema in their systems and product records, and in managing the migration from BIC to Thema. Registration is via BIC’s EventBrite page. EDItEUR members should use the ‘Friends of BIC’ booking option. For more details, see the BIC website.

ONIX: essentials training course

8:30am–4:30pm, 30th October 2018, Metropolitan Library Council, 8th Floor, 599 11th Avenue, New York, NY10003, USA
This intensive ONIX training is geared toward beginner and mid-level ONIX users. Participants will learn about the history and use of ONIX, study all the essential data structures and how they are assembled into an ONIX message, review best practices and debunk a few common misconceptions. For more details and registration see the BISG website. EDItEUR members who are not also BISG members should contact BISG for member’s pricing for this course and others listed below.

ONIX: the Price composite

8:30am–4:30pm, 31st October 2018, Macmillan Learning, Roslin Room, 46th Floor, 1 New York Plaza, New York, NY10004, USA
This BISG workshop, which focuses almost exclusively on the ONIX 3.0 <Price> composite, incorporates a tutorial on the detail of ONIX prices and a discussion of best practices, as well as a critique of real-world data. For more details and registration, see the BISG website.

ONIX 2.1 to 3.0 Transition training course

1pm–4:30pm, 31st October 2018, Macmillan Learning, Roslin Room, 46th Floor, 1 New York Plaza, New York, NY10004, USA
This is a special half-day training session covering issues related to the transition between ONIX 2.1 and ONIX 3.0. For more details and registration, see the BISG website.

ONIX 2.1 to 3.0 Transition training course

8:30pm–noon, 1st November 2018, Metropolitan Library Council, 8th Floor, 599 11th Avenue, New York, NY10003, USA
This is a special half-day training session covering issues related to the transition between ONIX 2.1 and ONIX 3.0. For more details and registration, see the BISG website.

Thema: essentials training course

1pm–4:30pm, 1st November 2018, Metropolitan Library Council, 8th Floor, 599 11th Avenue, New York, NY10003, USA
This half-day course provides an overview of Thema, an in-depth view of the structure of the scheme, and practical subject classification exercises. For more details and registration, see the BISG website.

ONIX: essentials training course

9:00am–5pm, Publishers Association, First Floor, 50 Southwark Street, London SE1 1UN, UK
This intensive training course introduces the ONIX standard and the essentials of producing, managing, and disseminating book metadata. It mixes the background and theory of metadata with real-world practice and guidance in an approachable but authoritative way. Suitable for beginners and intermediate ONIX users.
For more details and registration, see the BIC’s EventBrite page.

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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

Privacy policy

Alongside the introduction of new European privacy regulations, EDItEUR updated its privacy policy in May 2018. This can be viewed via the EDItEUR website. If you no longer wish to receive updates on EDItEUR’s activities via this e-mailed Newsletter, or if your contact details need updating, then let us know (via Copies of previous newsletters can always be viewed on the EDItEUR website.