Users of BNC BiblioShare File Quality Reports may have noticed the appearance of a new citation and a couple of users have been in touch to ask “What’s changed?” so I thought I should explain.
The new citation applies to PR.15.3 Other text type code, and states:
484 Other Text Composite: Code 99 - Country of manufacture - "is mandatory for every physical product" NAm Data BP
For those who’ve always wondered, the “NAm Data BP” part of a citation is telling you to look for a reference in the joint BISG/BNC Best Practices for Product Metadata: Guide for North American Data Senders and Receivers. (This venerable document is soon to be released in an improved EPUB-based format but it will still be the equivalent to the June 1, 2015 PDF that everyone should already have for reference.)
Nothing has changed
Country of manufacture has been listed as mandatory for years in the North American best practices and it's critical enough to have its own table of contents listing. It’s not obscure and I’ve always had a citation for it, albeit one I didn’t make live in the quality reports until recently. I’ll quote the business case provided:
Data on Country of Manufacture is critical information for the supply chain. Products manufactured or shipped from a given country may be embargoed or subject to tariffs in another.
Retailers and distributors need this information to know whether they're able to source this product and whether there may be additional expense in doing so. This information is also legally required in some countries, so it's a best practice to include it for all physical products available internationally.
Then why was the citation made live?
Funnily enough, a major Canadian retailer called to say that they couldn’t find Country of Manufacture in the metadata feeds they received.
I checked BiblioShare’s data and confirmed that in the ONIX 2.1 data we have, it was only available on about 10% of records, with the vast majority of those being from one major US publisher, with some availability from university presses. From a retailer’s point-of-view, 10% isn't actionable.
I went a little further and checked our 3.0 records, where I found a comparable percentage even though BiblioShare has much less ONIX 3.0 metadata. Neither of the original 2.1 data suppliers provide us with ONIX 3.0. The weird thing was, it was again mostly from two suppliers: a different major US publisher and a university press. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get new metadata from a 3.0 feed!
The citation hadn't previously been live because we try not to have every possible citation on — just the ones that are relevant. Country of Manufacture fell in one of those grey areas where no one was asking for it in ONIX but it was important enough to be added as an ONIX 2.1 code list addition in 2010 to match its superior support in ONIX 3.0.
A major retailer saying they need a piece of metadata that’s been long identified as critical to their needs isn’t exactly new. It may, however, be new that they're looking to get it from the ONIX feed, which is enough for us to throw the switch on the citation.
So that's what changed: Retailers are looking less at the data they get and trying more to base their expectations and requests on the published standards, which are based on industry discussions seeking solutions to industry problems.
Disagree? Please do: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and say why Country of Manufacture shouldn’t be used in the Canadian supply chain — or maybe why it should be used but not required in ONIX. Do you support it in 3.0 but not 2.1? That works for me.