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NISO Webinar: E-books (Part 2) Find That E-book – or Not: How Metadata Matters (March 21, 2012): Presentation Slides


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2011 will likely be seen as the tipping point year for e-books. With more and more publications being issued in electronic format, how do users find what is available? How are identifiers such as the …

2011 will likely be seen as the tipping point year for e-books. With more and more publications being issued in electronic format, how do users find what is available? How are identifiers such as the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the new International Standard Text Code (ISTC) being applied to e-books and used in the supply chain? What metadata is crucial for making e-books discoverable? Without quality metadata, e-books will be invisible online. This webinar will discuss the key standards in the metadata supply chain and describe what can be done to ensure the discovery and delivery of the titles users will want to buy and read.

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  • Without decent metadata, your book doesn’t exist. It’s that simple. Without it, you’re nothing. Because metadata is the stuff that gets your book found – the title, the author (spelled correctly), the ISBN, the flap copy or synopsis, the jacket image, the subject codes, the price, the table of contents, the reviews. Anything that describes the book is metadata. And without a good description, nobody knows who you are.
  • Metadata is, in other words, your first SEO strategy. Because those are the elements Google spiders and picks up. Those are the search terms that people type into that search box when they’re looking for your book. So those terms, that metadata, is what will bring your book and your customer together.
  • Fundamentally, metadata is marketing. With bar code scanning apps on smartphones, people can do comparisons, find out where to buy or borrow or download. We used to refer to metadata as the license plate for the book. But these days it’s not so much the license plate as it is the basis for advertising your book. As more people find (and purchase) books online, metadata moves to the front – it PRECEDES the book. It announces the book to the world. It’s a signpost for the book – “FIND IT HERE”.
  • So of course now we’re going to talk about salsa. Last spring, I downloaded Red Laser onto my iPhone. I could not stop playing with it. (Because I am a bar code geek.) I had to scan everything. Which of course taught me a LOT about what metadata could do for you. Say I’m in the supermarket and I want to know if I can get this salsa somewhere else for less. So I scan the bar code…and presumably product information comes up on my iPhone. The name of the product, the price, the location where it can be bought. That’s metadata.
  • Except in this case, that didn’t happen. Someone at Tostitos (or the bar code design firm they outsourced to) really messed up. We’ve got two products with the same identifier (sound familiar?). And while that might work in the grocery store (which probably isn’t selling nail art, so when the grocery store scans that bar code the right metadata comes up because it’s been programmed into the register) that confuses the heck out of my scanner app, which has access to information OUTSIDE the grocery store – all over the web. And it annoys the heck out of me, which is not an experience you want your customers to have.
  • Metadata affects people emotionally. If it’s accurate, it leads to satisfaction – and a sale. If it’s NOT accurate, it leads to frustration, and annoyance, and irritation. THESE ARE NOT FEELINGS YOU WANT YOUR CUSTOMERS TO HAVE.
  • So…on to the world of books. This book right here…is a disaster. If you look at the title, there’s a typo in it right off the bat. There’s no such thing as Tinwae, and I don’t think anybody would ever search on that. It’s also not a common word that search engines would auto-correct. And the cover image tells you NOTHING about what the book is about.
  • Their subject codes are all wrong. This is a book about enameling. It is not a history book. They assigned the subject codes based on that word in the title “Japanning”. But japanning is not about Japan (and it certainly isn’t about history). Japanning is an antiquated way of saying, “enameling”. And you expect antiquated language from an obscure public domain book. But because this metadata was derived from the book without human intervention, it’s…all wrong. And that book isn’t going to ever get any less obscure, because nobody will be able to find it and use it. It’s every bit as lost to history as if it had never been digitized.
  • By comparison, let’s look at this book. Which has great metadata – title is correct, no typos, great cover image that actually shows what the book is talking about, author name is spelled properly….This is a beautiful page on Amazon.
  • And the subject codes actually reflect what the book is about! So if you’re interested in enameling, you can actually find this book!
  • According to a recent eMarketer survey, 61% of purchasers researched & browsed online before purchasing. Only 37% of purchasers did so in physical stores. This puts us back to the notion of your book’s metadata being the foundation for advertising your book online. Online is where people are looking. We’re getting to the point where, if you don’t have a listing on the web (or the listing isn’t an accurate reflection of what your book is about), your product might as well not exist.
  • This is what I call the metadata trail, and what’s important to realize is that IT BEGINS WITH THE PUBLISHER. Good metadata originates at home. Publishers then send their metadata to distributors and data aggregators, who then provide it to “the big guys”.
  • As a publisher, your book information is YOURS. It’s not Bowker’s, it’s not your distributor’s. It is every bit as yours as the books themselves. And in many ways it’s more important than the books are, simply because if you ignore it, your customers will ignore your books. So own your metadata. Work it. Use it.
  • As a publisher, you’re exposed! Because book information isn’t just for professionals anymore. Used to be that only librarians or folks in the warehouse would see your metadata. But now, consumers see it! And they see it everywhere on the web – at online bookstores, in search engines, in online library catalogs, via iPhone apps… EVERYWHERE.
  • All right, so we all get the point. Without good metadata, I’m nothing. So what does that mean in terms of my everyday work?
  • Most of all…USE IT. Send it out to your trading partners so they know what books you have on offer. Populate your website with it. Generate your catalogs with it. Use it to organize your workflow. If you’re using your metadata every single day – if you’re FACED with it every single day – its quality will improve. You’ll notice when things aren’t right and you’ll fix them. You’ll be the first line of defense against ineffective metadata.
  • And then it’s all rainbows and unicorns from that point on! Or something.
  • I am pleased to be here today to share with you information on the identification of eBooks.
  • I will take you through ISBNs first and then through the use of ISTCs, striving to provide examples as well as the theory behind the assignment of each identifier.
  • Let’s get started. Not all items need and ISBN. Here is an example of a government document with no ISBN assignment. In the retail world, we can find other examples such as bookmarks and non book items that have been assigned ISBNs in order to be listed in inventory and sold through an inventory system that is based on ISBN.
  • eBooks, however, do need and ISBN. Further, digital Books should not be assigned the same ISBN as any Physical Book. Further, ISBNs for Digital Books should be labeled “ISBN”, not “eISBN.” There is no such standard as an “eISBN”, nor is this the proper way to differentiate Digital Book formats.
  • Next, any number identified as an ISBN must be a valid ISBN obtained from an officially sanctioned ISBN registration agency . Digital Books should never be identified with a number that is in the same format as an ISBN or labeled “ISBN” unless that number is a legitimate ISBN issued by an official ISBN registration agency, such as R.R. Bowker in the US. Even if you send out the information not quoting the number as an identifier, if it starts with 978 and is 13 digits others may misinterpret it as an ISBN as is the case here.
  • And just like in the three bears, we eventually find an example that is just right. An ISBN associated only with the eBook version of the book; not stretched over from the print books; or made up to fill a field in the catalog.
  • But now is where it starts to get tricky. Just one ISBN for all eBooks is not good enough, we still need to identify different types of eBooks from one another, just as we do for print variations of hardback, paperback, slipcase, etc.I think this is where most publishers get confused and where more effort needs spent to understand when to apply new ISBNs.In this example, the publisher has assigned one ISBN to the PDF version (on the left) of their book and a different ISBN to the EPUB version (on the right).
  • My list of “rules to remember” are outlined in the international ISBN agency policy and clarified in the BISG policy statement that was released late last year. The first few rules are mainly to assist publishing in deciding if it is necessary to assign a new ISBN to an item.First, Digital Books of the same title but different file format (i.e., EPUB, PDF, etc.) and/or different usage rights should not be assigned or display the same ISBN. This is the same as with print books. Not following this policy can lead to confused consumers,the delivery of an incorrect product, and improper or duplicate cataloging of the title by libraries and registration agencies.
  • Further, if two digital books are created, one is an exact textual reproduction of a Physical Book and the other an enhanced version that includes video, audio, etc., then the two Digital Books are unique and different products, and each requires a unique ISBN.
  • Next,identical Digital Books (i.e. an EPUB being sold on various vendor sites) should not carry different ISBNs. File format combined with usage rights are the drivers.Finally, price variances alone also do not mean that a book is required to have a unique ISBN.That said, the publisher can assign them in these cases if they choose to, such as when using test pricing and full retail pricing on different vendors at the same time. Also, should a publisher choose to track orders and sales at a granular level by publisher for an eBook is the same price at all vendors, they can assign different isbns per vendor.  To summarize, there must be a differentiating factor (or factors) in the Digital Book’s content, file format, usage rights or metadata for a new ISBN to be assigned.
  • Now let’s address ISBN assignment later in the supply chain. If a Digital Book (an EPUB, for example) enters the supply chain and is subsequently converted for rendering on various digital devices, has particular usage rights and/or restrictions applied—in any or all combinations—then a separate Digital Book has been created and a unique ISBN should be assigned. The third-party assigned ISBN can be from a pool of publisher-supplied ISBNs that are made available to the third-party, or from a pool of ISBNs the third-party has obtained on their own.
  • This is where many publishers say “wait a minute, I control my ISBNs”. As a publisher, you can be in control by handing the pool of ISBNs to the third party or by assigning ISBNs ahead of releasing your metadata and content files to the supply chain. If you choose not to, there are guidelines for those third parties to follow as well.If the third-party is using an ISBN from a publisher-supplied pool of numbers, it is incumbent on that third-party to communicate back to the publisher which ISBN is being assigned to which specific Digital Book. It is the responsibility of any third-party assigning a unique ISBN to a Digital Book to maintain and update the original metadata supplied by the publisher to ensure that the most current metadata is always made available to the Consumer. It is also the responsibility of any third-party assigning a unique ISBN to ensure that the link to the publisher-provided ISBN is maintained so that sales data and other information can be passed back to the publisher based on this original Identifier.
  • So that is a lot of detailed examples, that I hope have added to your understanding of ISBN assignments. In summary, if you are only going to take away one think on eBook ISBNs, I would recommend this formula.
  • Now let’s look at the ISTC. Since this is a newer identifier here is more background information on it.The International Standard Text Code is used for the unique identification of textual works. The ISTC identifies the text, not the format. ISTC has been an ISO Standard (ISO 21047) since March 2009. An example of the practical use of the ISTC is to identify related works based on content so that websites can display print, eBook & audio manifestations together for customers.
  • Further, there is no concept of ownership of an ISTC number; the same number should be used by anyone wherever the same work appears and needs to be identified. There is no restriction concerning which registration agency a registration request must be submitted through. Anybody wishing to check whether or not a particular work has already been registered will be able to do so by accessing a free-to-use search facility available on the International ISTC Agency website.While, the ISTC is democratic, the registration agencies do monitor who is registering what.  The general public is not now registering whatever they want to.  Registrants could be considered as:  Publishers, Authors, Agents, and Librarians (in this order).Note that these are all professional registrants.
  • A single database is used to hold all ISTC records, regardless of which country they were registered in. Anybody wishing to register a textual work, submits a request to an ISTC registration agency with the necessary metadata needed to distinguish that work from all others. If a work has not already been registered (i.e., if the metadata supplied on the registration request is found to be unique), then a new ISTC number is returned by the system; if a work has already been registered, then the existing ISTC number is returned.
  • Unlike the ISBN, the ISTC is perfect for multiple formats because it collocates different manifestations of the same text. It is an attempt to identify all related items no matter who created them or where they are in their life cycle. Not only will the ISTC tie together all formats containing same content from a single publisher, individual versions from different publishers will also be tagged with a single ISTC.In this example, the eBook and print books are from the original publisher and the library binding and playaway editions have had ISBNs assigned by the conversion house who made the derivative products. They all share the same ISTC.
  • ISTCs can be layered to show where the text was derived from including additional content, adapted content, and foreign translations. In each of these cases, the work would show the same source ISTC, but different ISTCs for each textual variation of the original.Thus these works couldbe automatically displayed together on a web page, even though the records are for publications of distinct works with their own individual titles.
  • Here is an example of some of the relationship ISTCs in use. 1984 would have the source ISTC, others here would use the translated, adaptation, and related compilation codes.
  • The ISTC also helps search engines determine which products belong together even though some products with different content might have very similar or even identical names, and even though some products containing the desired content have entirely different names.
  • Going back to our previous example of ISBNs for digital formats. These would have a single ISTC
  • All of these individual ISBNs would be tied together by a single ISTC. If you think about MARC storage of multiple ISBNs in the 020 field and ONIX’s capability for storing all of these individual ISBNs in the related product composite, you can see that ISTC adds a layer of identification allowing single identifier for machine collocation across multiple metadata records.
  • The ISTC considers the text of a work and it can consider the audio script as text. However, it does not consider video. So in this case, if the enhanced eBook reads the text of the book aloud, these items would share an ISTC. If the enhanced version has additional audio or supplemental audio, such as an interview with the author that is not in the text of the work, then the enhanced version of the book would receive a new ISTC and the source ISTC would be that of the original eBook.
  • In most of these examples, there was a single ISTC. So if you are only going to take away one think on ISTCs, I would recommend this formula.
  • With both the ISBN and the ISTC. The key reason to use identifiers is to enhance discoverability, i.e. making it easier for people to connect with your content.ISBNs can be purchased through MyIdentifiers.comFurther, I have added a link to the BISG policy statement on digital identification of eBooks.While still in the initial stages of implementation, you can currently get ISTCs for from Bowker.BISG has scheduled a meeting this month to start focusing attention on title identification so you will be hearing more about this identifier and the BISG work in the future.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Critical Elements ofE-books: Standards for Formatting and MetadataPart 2: Find That E-book – or Not: How Metadata Matters March 21, 2012Speakers: Laura Dawson, Pat Payton, and Graham Bell
    • 2. Without You Im NothingMetadata Quality and its Importance in E-Book Discovery Laura Dawson Communications Chief Firebrand Technologies
    • 3. Online 61%In Store 37% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80%
    • 4. Publisher Data BookBowker/Ingram/B&T Data BookGoogle/Amazon/B&N Data Book
    • 5. Metadata as a functional map (best practices)Acquisition/P&L Editorial Production/Design Marketing •Assign ISBNs to •Assign BISAC •Create cover image •Create market- tradable products categories •Assign page counts specific product •Assign •Create initial •Assign format descriptions title/author/price product types •Aggregate advance descriptions reviews •Confirm pub date Metadata repository
    • 6. …Profit!
    • 7. Pointing readers to the correct book: ISBN, ISTC, and E-book AssignmentPat Payton ( Director, Publisher Relations and ContentDevelopmentBowker
    • 8. HighlightsISBN• Examples of current usage on digital works• Rules to remember• Third Party AssignmentsISTC• Definition of identifier• Process for obtaining• Examples of usage on digital works
    • 9. Not All Items Need ISBNs
    • 10. eBooks Need Separate ISBN
    • 11. ISBN Must Be Valid
    • 12. Unique ISBN for eBook
    • 13. PDF EPUB
    • 14. Rules to Remembercontent + print format content + file format + = unique ISBN usage rights = unique ISBN PDF for library use perpetual access multiple use limited printing EPUB sold by retailer to single consumer
    • 15. Rules to RememberEnhanced eBooks = unique ISBN
    • 16. Rules to Remember vendor <> unique ISBN (but is allowed) pricing <> unique ISBN (but is allowed)Retailer A sells at $15.95Retailer B discounts to $9.95Retailer C tests at $3.95 for 30 days, then $15.95
    • 17. Third Party ISBN Assignments Printing restrictions Unique ISBN put on library edition Reformat forPublisher particular EPUB device No printing restrictions Unique ISBN on consumer edition
    • 18. Guidelines for Third Parties • Link new ISBNs to publisher supplied ones • Maintain publisher metadata for consumers • Provide sales feedback using original ISBN
    • 19. Remember Thiscontent + file format + usage rights = unique ISBN
    • 20. International Standard Text Code (ISTC)
    • 21. Democratic IdentifierAnyone can apply for ISTC – Publishers – Librarians – Authors
    • 22. Process of Assignment New ISTC ISTC returned to assigned userUser submits request to Single internationalregistration databaseagency with searched metadata Existing ISTC number returned ISTC returned to user
    • 23. Universal Identifier Breaking Dawn ISTC A03-2010-0000000F-F 97816165792039780316032834 9780316176156 9780606231084 Audio book--SpecialE-Book Paper Library Binding FormatA03-2010-0000000F-F A03-2010-0000000F-F A03-2010-0000000F-F A03-2010-0000000F-F
    • 24. Relationship IdentifierISTC relationship codes• Related Compilation• Revision• Adaptation• Translated• Abridged version• Annotated version
    • 25. Relationship Identifier
    • 26. Relationship Identifier
    • 27. PDF + EPUB = Same ISTC
    • 28. Same Content = Same ISTC PDF for library use perpetual access multiple use limited printing EPUB sold by retailer to single consumer
    • 29. Enhanced eBooks = ? Same ISTC or derivative ISTC Depending on text of work
    • 30. Remember Thissame textual content = single ISTC
    • 31. ResourcesISBN• Can be purchased through• BISG Policy POL 1101 at www.bisg.orgISTC• ISTCs are available from Bowker• BISG Identifiers working group