Get started with the new YA BISAC codes

We gathered together the chair of BISG's BISAC Subject Committee Connie Harbison, our resident standards genius Tom Richardson, and Indigo's Masterdata Team Manager Beatrice Mariani to give a webinar earlier today on what the new YA BISAC codes mean for you and your books. A lot of great discussion came out of that webinar (check out the slides and we'll have the video ready for you shortly), but more importantly one question seemed to cut through the air and resonate with a lot of the participants:

Where do I start?

With a project this daunting, the inclination is to make it the problem of future you. After all, the task of reclassifying all of your frontlist titles alone is scary, not to mention your whole backlist wailing from the shadows. However, with 446 new codes added just for YA, you have never had more tools to aid discoverability of your YA titles and get those books into the hands of readers who are literally hungry for more books, so let's look at how we can break down a task that feels enormous into a process that feels more manageable. 

Let the map be your guide

BISG has released a very helpful 1-to-1 map of currently used juvenile codes mapped to their new YA counterparts. This map is a powerful tool that will be a tremendous help in making initial batch updates to your metadata or a tremendous cross-referencing resource. It's available for download with optional donation

To use the map, select records to be mapped from Juvenile to YA by using the recommended age-range/grade-range values. Each JUV or JNF code will have a recommended, corresponding YAF or YAN code. 

But don't let it run you aground

We want to stress that this resource should not be your only tool in migrating your young adult titles from JUV to YA, as there could be a better, more succinct code out there that could be applied to your title. Not all of the new YA codes have an existing JUV counterpart and, similarly, some of the JUV codes do not map well to YA. In today's webinar, Connie gave a great example:

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Grade range: 7-9
Age range: 12-14

Current classification:
JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic
JUVENILE FICTION / Mysteries & Detective Stories

According to the mapping, would correspond to:
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Fantasy / General
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Mysteries & Detective Stories

However, the better classification to consider would be:
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Magical Realism
(which has no direct map from a JUV heading)

For your frontlist titles especially, make sure you are selecting the most appropriate code for your book and it will save you heartache.

Avoid plotting to many destinations

If your title has cross-audience potential, the recommended best practice is to choose the single, most appropriate code for your content and intended audience. As tempting as it is to slap both a YA and adult BISAC on a book, this is confusing for the supply chain and is not the best way to get your book into the hands of readers. The rule of thumb is that YA (just like juvenile and adult) codes should not be used with headings outside of their own section. 

We hope that with this map and compass, you will find yourself with the tools needed to get started on your journey. If you still need the full list of 2015 BISAC Subject Headings, you can download them from BISG here.