Yesterday I took the second of four metadata BISG webinars. It featured our Bibliographic Manager (or, as I like to call him, our Data Czar), Tom Richardson, along side Richard Stark, Director of Product Data at Barnes & Noble.
This webinar went over the 31 key data elements in ONIX, what they mean and why you should fill them out. It was pretty useful stuff. I signed up because I kind of work with metadata, but indirectly, and I didn’t have all the specifics. I’ve always relied on the Czar and the lovely Meghan MacDonald. But this webcast has given me a bit more independence and insight.
It was full of useful tips and facts. For example:
- Publisher Status Code is not the same as Product Availability Code. A book can have the status code of “active” but still not be available if stock has run out and a reprint is still in progress.
- For an e-book, it’s best to leave the irrelevant fields empty (such as carton quantity), except for page length because customers really need a reference point when judging how long a book will be.
- You should be providing as much information as early as possible. Ideally you want to give customers enough information to make an advance purchase 6 months ahead of publication.
But what I found to be one of the most important points made in the webcast was that metadata is a long-term commitment. We don’t necessarily think of it that way, but we should. We usually acknowledge that ONIX files may need to be corrected if they were faulty or if they were made early and now need to be updated because the page length or subtitle changed. But ONIX also has time-sensitive elements to it. Even if you do everything right, you will need to update it. You’ll want to change the status when the book is published or goes out of print, you’ll want to refer to new editions and formats, and you’ll want to update supply information if you change distributors. And this isn’t even touching on enhanced metadata, which will be covered in the next webcast on June 22nd.
It’s not too late to learn this stuff by signing up for the final two sessions. It’s quick and you can do it over lunch. And as an added incentive BookNet Canada is pleased to offer its readers a 20% discount! Use the promo code “BNC-20” when registering to save!