Guys, we've got a small data issue.
I know it's hard to believe, but a recent meeting of Canada's Bibliographic Committee has unearthed an imbalance in the force data supply and demand from the industry.
We know that publishers put a lot of work into creating fantastic marketing collateral for their books. They have author photos and interior images galore; whispers of sample PDF chapters abound; and we've even heard rumours of some digital BLADs deep in the corners of the interwebs. Retailers, libraries, and aggregators like 49th Shelf all want to get their hands on these glorious tools of promotion to increase visibility and discoverability of the titles readers want, nay deserve, but these materials are not always included in the metadata, and are instead provided in a myriad of different ways, some more easily accessible than others.
There also seems to be some confusion surrounding dates in ONIX. Our Bibliographic Manager, AKA Borgesean librarian of infinite data, dug into the volumes of data provided to BiblioShare this year to discover that 99.5% of bibliographic records provided this year include a record for publication date, which is fantastic! But what does "publication date" actually mean to publishers, and how does that definition differ in understanding between companies, or even between publishers and retailers? Beyond publication date, the inclusion of dates drops off considerably:
We wouldn't want confusion over dates to cause a book to go on sale before its grand debut, nor would we want anyone to miss out on any sales due to a date-related kerfuffle.
BookNet wants to know—we need to know more from all parties involved, from publishers and retailers to libraries and aggregators, about the kind of data that's available and desired in order to help publish, distribute, sell, and loan books more effectively. If we knew what was out there, BiblioShare could become a more powerful aggregate for the information needed by the supply chain.
That's why we've created two bibliographic surveys. Publishers: we want a glimpse into the data you're providing on marketing collateral and dates, and the methods with which you're providing it. Retailers, libraries, and aggregators: we want to know what you're lusting after, and how to best disseminate this information to you.
Both surveys are straightforward, should take about 10 minutes to complete, and can be filled out by one or two people, depending on who does what in your organization.
We'd love it if you would take a few moments to provide essential industry insight by filling out these surveys. After all, we're all in this together, and by sharing information and working towards better solutions and standards, we can keep improving our close-knit Canadian publishing community.