There has been a recent slew of standards updates, from subject codes to ONIX, so our Bibliographic Manager Tom Richardson is here to round up all the excitement into one handy overview.
And, if you missed our webinar, Major Updates in Bibliographic Standards – Subjects & More, you can watch the video, or see the slides to learn more about the updates you should be focusing on implementing in 2018.
The 2017 BISAC subject codes were just released
Best practice is to use the current release for all the BISAC codes on your list, with the caveat that you should give retailers time to get their systems up-to-date before you send out changes. It’s a good idea to check with them, but given the late fall release, you can plan for after January. The yearly changes usually affect a small number of books but if they do affect you, it's actually more important to your company’s lists that year. Putting off making the changes may make it a lot harder.
Please note that the BISAC-to-Thema mapping has NOT been released yet. It will follow later, likely in February (TBC). BNC's BISAC-to-Thema Translator will NOT be updated until the mapping is released.
The BISAC subject list highlights changes made each year, which makes it easy to update. This year, 86 new codes have been added throughout the list. Here are some areas with multiple additions:
- Biography & Autobiography
- Comics & Graphic Novels
- Fiction (27 in total)
- LGBT (two sections affected)
- Mystery & Detective
- Romance (10!)
- Study Aids
- Technology & Engineering: Food Sciences
- Travel: Special Interest
- True Crime
There are other changes integrated into the subject list and to facilitate their update they're also provided in separate lists. The following code changes should be reviewed, as better or more focused options may exist:
- 31 literals (or, headings) have been updated (the code remains active).
- Three codes have been made inactive (the code is no longer used).
- Five codes have had their scope reduced (the code remains active).
Version vs update — it’s time to update your documentation
EDItEUR's ONIX documentation is organized, systematic, and detailed. One example is in how they differentiate between an "issue update" and a "version change."
A new "issue number" happens when the ONIX code lists are updated — around four times a year. A “version change” means new functionality in the ONIX 3.0 structure, i.e., new composites and elements are added. These happen as needed but usually are between one and two years apart.
BookNet Canada recommends updating your documentation and schema with every issue update but you MUST update them for every version change. Below we dive into the announcement that ONIX 3.0's Issue 39 and Version 3.0.4 have been released, so this is the time to update your ONIX 3.0 documentation and schema.
While ONIX 2.1 has not changed and remains locked to Issue 36, you still need to plan for supporting new metadata. There's an entire decade of post-2.1 development supported in ONIX 3.0. How do you plan to use it? And how do you plan to use it if you don’t implement ONIX 3.0?
If you need help finding and choosing among the documentation options at EDItEUR, look here.
New interactive code list lookup sites available
EDItEUR is also supporting both ONIX code lists and Thema Subject and Qualifier lists with dedicated lookup sites, complete with their notes. Pro tip on using either of these in any form: Read the notes! You can't know the intent or the value without them, and using precisely defined metadata is fundamental to any business exchange. While the description isn't intentionally misleading, the notes do provide clarity. Use your software drop-downs as reminders for the definitions the notes provide and these interactive look-ups make it easy to check. (A little prompt to developers: You should think about how to integrate note access into your ONIX systems and these might help.)
ONIX Issue 39 released
Please see the full list of changes here: ONIX for Books code lists Issue 39. Some of the changes are used in ONIX 3.0.4 (more on this version change below), but highlights of particular note to Canadians are:
- EDItEUR clarifies entries on:
- List 2 (3.0 only) Product Composition
- List 51 Product Relation (Related Product)
- List 164 (3.0 only) Work Relation code
- List 175 (3.0 only) Product Form Detail
Clarified entries are always worth reviewing because it's done in response to misuse and need. These are all "basic" lists that everyone supports.
- List 79 (applies to 3.0 only): Product Form Feature offers new support of "Point and watch" as an alternative to the already supported "Point and listen" codes.
- List 160 (3.0 only): Product Form has new alternatives for downloadable audio files that are also available for streaming and streamed audio files.
- List 239 (3.0 only): A new code list for Supplier contacts needed to support part of the new version.
ONIX Version 3.0.4 released
Find it here: Changes for ONIX 3.0.4.
This is a relatively small version update and is well detailed in the attached documentation. The following highlights are of particular interest in Canada:
- It now supports detailed contact information for Suppliers, including using identifiers and establishing a unique code list for the Role.
- The Price Constraint established for digital use in Version 3.0.3 needed additional support for licensing, which has been provided in price-specific EPUB License and Expression composites.
- Name as Subject’s definition has been broadened to allow it to support fictional characters, both fictionalized versions of real people or organizations as well as entirely fictional entities.
- Support for “reserved” stock. This is generally something traded between publishers and distributors and not released to retailers, but it can now be carried within an ONIX record.
- Support for Language within Content. While North American metadata doesn’t currently make use of Content Item, this is expected to change, as it’s where complicated structured content can be added. That content might be in a different language than the record and it can now be specified.
There are several other changes, one to provide support for French taxes within price and some additional tweaks to Content Item, all of which can be found in the attached document.
Thema has been updated
Thema is also organized by EDItEUR and is moving to a version/update structure similar to ONIX:
- There will be regular changes to Qualifier lists — especially needed for National Extensions but can include "regular" Qualifier codes — that will happen several times a year.
- Changes to the main Subject list will happen less frequently as part of a formal version change. The goal is yearly at the London Book Fair, but there are international board meetings for both Thema and ONIX at both the Frankfurt and London book fairs and version changes might happen at either.
There have been extensive additions to the Qualifier list made since the initial release of Thema 1.2. Most of them involve National Extensions from other countries but Quebec has added some for their province and there are new Geography codes:
- 1KBC‑CA‑Z Canada: Places of interest
- 1KBZAS St. Lawrence River & tributaries
- 1KBZAS‑CA‑L Yukon River & tributaries
Like ONIX, Thema users should expect to use current lists and to update them regularly. As the system becomes more stable expect BookNet Canada to announce updates as it currently does for ONIX issue changes.
Expect a new Thema version soon
Version 1.3 will be released soon — expected for February 2018 but certainly by the London Book Fair.
Get involved with Thema
There is an Implementer Group specific for Canadian English-language Thema that can be joined by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
And you can request to join the Thema CEL Working Group by contacting the same email.