This week we have a fantastic guest blogger. Patricia Payton, Senior Manager of Publisher Relations and Content Development for Bowker, has written a follow-up to her webinar on educational standards. Patricia has experience in retail bookstores as well as international markets. She also holds a Master’s degree in Library Information Science specializing in Digital Libraries as well as an MBA. She actively contributes to BISG, AAP, and other industry committees. You can find her on twitter @Metadata24X7.
Interest in cross-marketing trade titles for educational purposes has been growing in recent years. In correlation with this upswing, a Publishers Weekly recap of recent data from Nielsen says the children's book market has grown 40% in the last decade, with a 5% increase in market share over the last three years. With this increased profile for children's books, especially non-fiction, it becomes essential for publishers to better understand the metadata needs of teachers, school librarians, and parents. Clear, accurate, and relevant metadata can be a powerful tool in marketing titles to these audiences, whether you are entering new marketplaces or offering new products to existing markets.
How can you communicate this metadata easily? Using ONIX 3.0 as a format, this highly valuable metadata is simple to organize and pass on. Since ONIX groups metadata points into composites, it is easy to remember the most relevant points for educational metadata: subjects, audience, complexity, and textual content. This means you can improve your metadata in four easy steps. Let's look at each composite in more detail.
- Subject metadata includes BISAC codes, which you are likely familiar with, as well as keywords. In addition, BookNet Canada and BISG have released the Educational Taxonomy, which allows you to tag your books with learning objectives relevant to K-12 curriculums. Finally, Common Core State Standards dot notation can also be sent in ONIX via the subject composite. The recommendations document written by the Educational Taxonomy working group provides further details on both dot notation and the new learning objective tags.
- Audience metadata includes a reference to young adult or juvenile as the main audience for a book. It also includes reading and interest levels for the content. The key is to be specific. An age range of two years is encouraged for younger readers and up to four years for high school titles. Publishers may feel that narrowing age and interest levels limits the saleability of a title, but educators and parents need a narrow range in order to ensure the title is most appropriate for their needs. More details on audience can be found in the Product Metadata Best Practices.
- Complexity metadata refers to leveling information from industry-recognized standards like Fry reading levels, ATOS, Lexile, and Fountas & Pinnell. A publisher should only supply data labeled as one of these schemes after it has been applied by the company responsible for the standard. This information is very important to educators as it provides an unbiased reference point for readability.
- Textual content refers to metadata describing the book itself and includes marketing copy, tables of content, indexes, and author biographies. Book descriptions should be specific for each title rather than a general description used across a series of titles. Tables of content and indexes allow potential buyers to judge the extent of the content per topic area.
Examples of ONIX metadata for each of these topics can be found both within the Educational Taxonomy document and in the BNC webinar on educational standards. In addition, feel free to contact BookNet or Bowker with additional questions on metadata, as our role in the industry is to facilitate retailers, libraries, and schools with the discovery of books that meet their needs. We want to help your metadata reflect your content accurately and in the correct format.