BNC SalesData Tip #6: Bibliographic Data Gone Bad

One of the most popular question topics from BNC SalesData users is bibliographic data: where is it sourced; how is it updated; and how can errors in the data be corrected? Since we love nothing more than to rhapsodize over bibliographic data and metadata in the supply chain, we’ll climb up on our soapbox and share all the details with you!

SalesData imports its bibliographic data from RR Bowker Books in Print, and we work together with Bowker to ensure that the Canadian market information is up-to-date and reflected in the import files for SalesData. Update files for biblio data are processed every evening. Bowker, in turn, sources its data directly from publisher and distributor uploads and ONIX files. 1-2-3, simple as can be, right?

It seems simple, but in fact Bowker is collating and prioritizing data from numerous sources, and generally there are

several data sources for the same title record: the originating publisher; US distributors; Canadian distributors; international distributors.  And ONIX, that universal standard of biblio data communication, largely dictates the format of the data but the content of each feed can be more flexible and changeable. Add several different systems importing, exporting and interpreting that data, and the occasional error is going to appear.

In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, don’t panic! For quick fixes within the SalesData system, we have a Correction Form in the Title/ISBN page.You can click through on the ‘Report a bibliographic error’ link, enter your change and click submit.  Your change suggestion has to go through a manual approval process, so it may be 2 business days before a change will go live.

This method is also time consuming, and is ultimately only a band-aid solution. While it will make a short term correction in the SalesData system, it does not correct the error at the source. If the error exists in a publisher ONIX file, the manual correction will be overwritten by update importsthe correction will also need to be made in the publisher and/or distributor’s records.

If you see a group of your titles with errors, it is more efficient to just send us a note at with some details about the titles that look incorrect to you. We can investigate and often make corrections systemically, eliminating the manual change process, and saving time for everyone. Submitting your ONIX files to BiblioShare can speed up our investigation as well, because we can refer directly to your source data.

You are the experts on your own titles, so let’s work together to keep biblio data on the right track!