Okay, we are data nerds. Data junkies, even, if you will. We spend time (a lot of time) looking at and thinking about how to make data more accessible, both for people and for machines.
Sometimes issues crop up in the data that are complicated and nuanced and take time to unravel to get the data flowing smoothly again. This isn’t one of those issues. This is an easy check that you can do on your own records that could make a big difference in making sure your data can be processed and retrieved correctly.
Here’s our plea to all publishers with data in BiblioShare: Take a couple minutes to run this quick report and make sure the spelling of your corporate name in your ONIX files is consistent through all of your titles.
I know you’re probably thinking: “What? Of course we know how to spell our own name!”
My guess is that you might be surprised.
You say Tomato, we see Tomahto, Ltd.
This issue affects many publishers in our BiblioShare database, from indies to the biggest names in the business. Looking at supplier name for one large publisher (names have been changed to protect the innocent), we see that seven distinct supplier names are listed where there should be two. Even with the most straightforward names, we are seeing variations like these:
Publisher Name Ltd
Publisher Name Ltd.
Publisher Name, Limited
If you start including other elements (Inc., Press, Publishers…) the possible variations for a single name are endless.
Why is name authority so important? Here are three compelling reasons:
- Discoverability. Consider how it works when you’re designating an author name: Choosing one distinct spelling and using it consistently vastly improves your discoverability—which means that readers can find your author’s work. It’s the same with publisher and imprint names: If a consumer is a fan of an imprint or a regional publisher, you want to be sure they can find all of your titles when they go looking for them.
- Efficiency. If a publisher or distributor name is spelled incorrectly, this may lead to “excludes” when your ONIX file is sent to a retailer or aggregator. (Excludes means the title record does not get processed automatically and must instead be manually processed, leading to delays.)
- Accuracy. BookNet Canada is regularly asked to put together research reports on subjects like how many titles were published in a given year by multinational or Canadian publishers. When we’re running these reports, variations in publisher names make it difficult to confirm that we’re getting accurate numbers.
Spell your name consistently in 4 easy steps
Humour us… take a few minutes and review your publisher and supplier names in BiblioShare.
There’s a quick and easy report in BiblioShare that will tell you what you need to know:
- Sign into your BiblioShare account.
- From the main toolbar, open “Bibliographic Tools.”
- On the Search page to the far right, there is a box labeled “Reports.” Run the first report on the list, “Publisher / Supplier Name.” This will create a list and count of all the variations on what appears as Publisher or Supplier name in your ONIX file.
- Go back to your source data and fix the errors.
- Note: Be very wary of creating a new name!
Go ahead, run the report. And feel free to let us know how it goes! Taunt us and say “Hey, BookNet, my data is awesome”—we’ll be glad to hear it! Or, alternatively, you might finally solve the mystery of why certain titles aren’t showing up on all your reports.
If you are not a BiblioShare user and want to take advantage, then get in touch. BiblioShare is free to use, and it’s an excellent way to market your titles and validate your ONIX files all at the same time. Visit our introduction to BiblioShare to find out more.
Make your data work for you. Not against you!