Thema: The new, global subject classification system- Julie Morris- BISG/NISO Changing Standards Landscape at ALA 2014

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Presentation at the 8th Annual BISG/NISO Changing Standards Landscape Forum at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference on June 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV. Julie Morris (BISG) …

Presentation at the 8th Annual BISG/NISO Changing Standards Landscape Forum at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference on June 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV. Julie Morris (BISG) presenting on Thema: The new, global subject classification scheme for books. Event info (and other event slides) here: http://www.niso.org/news/events/2014/alaannual/2014nisobisgforum/

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  • Welcome, thank you, going to talk about Thema…
    My bio.
  • Our agenda is to talk about what Thema is, and why it is relevant to the book industry, in North America and beyond. Hopefully we’ll have time at the end for a discussion.
  • So, I will seek to give convey by the end what Thema is, and why you should care …
  • Let’s break this down in to two parts- first, what is thema?
    Thema is a new global subject code scheme meant to provide an international standard for how publishers, booksellers, and others describe book content.
    used for both print and digital books
    intended for use by all members of the book supply chain.
    It is the only international standard for subject classification of books.

    Going to talk more about Thema as a standard more in detail, but first, let’s take a step back and look at what a subject category classification scheme is all about, and why it’s important…
  • In order to talk about Thema and why it’s important, first we need to define subject categories. Let’s take a step back and look at subject categories used in North America now: BISAC, created and maintained by BISG
    - About BISG
    As Len mentioned in his introduction, BISG is a US-based not-for-profit trade association for the publishing industry, with a global outlook. We are supported by a diverse array of members from all sectors of the supply chain, and are uniquely positioned as the only publishing industry trade association with a horizontal composition.
  • This positions us well to accomplish our mission, which is to facilitate….(refer to Len’s original presentation) Nowhere is this more evident than in the development and maintenance of the BISAC Subject Headings, > go to next slide to talk about process to update BISAC
  • Within the three areas Len mentioned, our focus right now is on standards and best practices. Our Standards and Best Practices work is done through several volunteer-led Committees, including the BISAC Subject Codes Committee, which reviews and maintains the BISAC Subject Headings list, and publishes a new edition annually. Much like the composition of our organization, the Committee is made up of volunteers from retail, publishing, distribution, and data management, and technology companies and organizations, to ensure that all members of the supply chain have their views represented in the formation and evolution of the standard. Chaired by Connie Harbison (Baker & Taylor)
    >>insert slide showing companies involved in subject codes?
  • …now a bit more about BISAC
    System used to classify what books are about
    Developed because a standard was needed for the electronic transfer of subject information that was common among all trading partners
    Like Thema, used by all trading partners, and for both print and digital book products
    Used throughout North America
  • Here’s a look at some of the businesses and organizations currently using BISAC to classify book subject content. Many businesses require that publishers use BISAC Subject Headings when submitting data for all formats (physical and digital).
    Important to emphasize that the use of BISAC in the book trade industry is ubiquitous, and entrenched in databases and systems of all of the above companies, and more.
  • Now, why BISAC is important. Subject codes are used throughout the supply chain for a variety of reasons, including…
    The headings can be used for transmitting information between trading partners, as search terms in bibliographic databases, as access points for database searching, and as shelving guides.
    -Communicates information about the book’s content, allowing users to find books based on common browse categories, lets retailers know where to shelve books, and give publishers mechanisms for making strategic purchasing decisions based on the sales history of a certain category of book, among other things…
    Now let’s look at a couple of these in detail…
  • Let’s take a closer look at how BISAC codes enable book discovery. To borrow an example used by my colleague Len Vlahos, what do these two books have in common? Two different titles, unique authors, two different time periods, two different publishers….
  • Answer: As you may have guessed, these books share the same subject content!

    … and likely share at least one of the same BISAC subject headings. Likely codes:
    SCI004000 Astronomy  SCI005000 Physics/Astrophysics 
    So, subject codes help readers find books based on subject matter they are interested in, without having the title, author, or other information of a specific book in mind…

    Here you see where the BISAC codes appear in online product information, among other metadata supplied by the publishers. (All of which, we hope, is transmitted through beautifully formed ONIX files)
  • [Taking a look at BISAC structure] Here you see the BISAC codes themselves, alongside the literal heading.

    Let’s take a moment to look quickly at the BISAC structure: a two-tiered structure consisting of a three-character alpha segment (e.g., HIS is used for the HISTORY subject terms) and is followed by a six-character numeric segment, providing a simple, elegant way of communicating a complex set of subject information.
    Further granularity is expressed through trees, but each literal within a major subject [EG, SCIENCE] has its own unique, corresponding code, sharing only the same alpha characters at the beginning.
  • Important to mention that BISAC isn’t the only regional subject code system in use and entrenched within the borders for the country/countries it serves. You are all probably familiar with BIC, developed and maintained by Book Industry Communication, our UK-counterpart and close ally in the world of standards. There are others as well, such as CLIL in France, and so forth…

    All of this describes a well-oiled system in place in North America, and beyond. So, back to our original question- why bother with Thema?
  • Globalization!
    We live in a global publishing ecosystem, comprised of international trading partners.
    BISAC, like other national subject classification schemes provides a common way of communicating subject category information, within the country it serves
    …but, the North American book industry is no longer a self-contained market
    buying and selling increasingly happens across borders, not to mention…
  • Globalization!
    More and more, virtually every major publisher and retailer, are operating on a global stage.
    Publishers are acquiring rights to books written overseas, and selling to multinational retailers like Amazon, Google, and Kobo.
    Those same multinational retailers, now competing in market after market, need to help consumers in different cultures, speaking different languages, find the right book.
    search engines are looking for clues in metadata to help users find exactly what they’re seeking
  • - All of this lays the background for the development of a unified international standard for the classification of books across borders.
    - Thema grew out of a project called iBIC
    iBIC was guided by a small consortium of national standards groups, and led by Book Industry Communication (BIC).
    meant to be an international version of the BIC codes.
  • The U.S. and Canada (through BISG and BookNet Canada) soon joined the effort, iBIC became Thema.
    nearly 20 countries participated in the formation of the standard
    EDItEUR, the U.K.-based global standards organization, took ownership of Thema.
  • A structure was set up for long-term maintenance of the standard, which looks like this:
    -Governed by International Steering Committee,
    Composed of Review Committee and Technical Committee
    - Made up by representatives from various National Groups who have voluntarily joined the effort.
    … BISG Thema Working Group, currently Chaired by Kempton Mooney (Formerly Hachette, now Nielsen) forms the U.S. National Group, and reports into the International Steering Committee (Len Vlahos, BISG, sits on Steering Committee; Kempton Mooney, Nielsen, is on Technical Committee)
  • National Groups include…

    The BISG Thema Working Group, currently Chaired by Kempton Mooney (Formerly Hachette, now Nielsen) forms the U.S. National Group, and reports into the International Steering Committee (Len Vlahos, BISG, sits on Steering Committee; Kempton Mooney, Nielsen, is on Technical Committee)
  • So, what’s so great about Thema?
    Creates a common set of codes which can be used across borders, to facilitate ease of communication in an international ecosystem
    Reduces confusion caused by langauge, cultural, or other differences among national code lists and multiple mappings
    - cuts down on the need to create multiple maps between national/local subject codes
    [for what Howard Willows of Nielsen, the original architect of the Thema standard, calls “map-o-rama,”]
  • -Came from Howard Willows (Nielsen, Thema ISC Chair): represents countries that are participating in Thema.
    Who have committed to forming Thema national groups, or are making efforts to implement Thema
  • Some of the organizations participating in the conversation through representation on national groups, as of June 2014 (also courtesy of Howard Willows)
  • Information courtesy of Graham Bell, EDItEUR as of June 2014
  • Through the efforts of these groups, Version 1.0 of Thema was released in November 2013. Sunrise December 2013.

    Thema can be implemented NOW! We’ll look more at how in a moment…
  • At this point, you may be asking yourself, what now? With multiple standards each structured differently, serving the same purpose in different (and now overlapping) markets, where does the U.S. industry go from here?
  • And more importantly, should I stop using BISAC and start using Thema?
  • The answer to that is no- not yet, anyway…
    The short-term purpose of Thema is not to replace BISAC or any other local subject code schemes (unless the market adopting Thema so desires). Rather, the intent is to create a universal set of descriptors that can map to all others.
    The hope is that U.S. publishers will continue to use BISAC, but will also begin to include the appropriate Thema codes for books being sold outside of North America.
  • While it is possible that Thema will, over time, become the de facto subject code standard worldwide, there is no expectation that U.S. publishers will stop using BISAC in the near future. As we saw earlier, BISAC is entrenched in the North American supply chain, and we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.
    The BISG Subject Codes Committee will continue to update the BISAC headings list on an annual basis

    Meanwhile, our goal is to help the industry begin incorporating Thema codes into their existing systems and databases… (mention each of the efforts)
  • This shows the BNC BISAC to Thema Translator tool, based on the BISG mapping. Some stats:
    95 users have logged in (non-BookNet and non-BISG staff)
    27 have asked to be signed up for the BISG newsletter
    There have been 558 code lookups
    There have been 20 file uploads

    (as of June 17, more every day!)
  • This slide shows how it works…(example) Tool that uses the BISG BISAC to Thema mapping to allow lookup of Thema codes using BISAC entry, either single-code lookup or batch upload (when BISAC are provided, corresponding Thema codes delivered in returned file)
    One BISAC code may map to multiple Thema Subjects and Qualifiers
    When more than one Thema code is returned, both should be used (BISAC is more specific, Thema uses qualifiers to add granularity while remaining flexible…


  • To go back to our earlier example, which at this point probably feels like 5 billion years ago, we said the likely BISAC codes used for this title are Astronomy and possibly Physics/Astrophysics
    With the BISG mapping, the corresponding Thema codes would be…
    This maps pretty easily, with only one code and no qualifiers (this isn’t always the case- let’s look at the structure in more detail to see why…)

  • Note the levels, added flexibility within Thema
    go over what is required and what is optional, for BISAC and Thema (in ONIX)
    Using Thema, a book can be classified with only a subject, more than one subject, or with a combination of one or more appropriate qualifiers.
  • Thema: 20 major subject categories and 6 types of qualifiers
    Over 4,500 current codes (subjects + qualifiers)
    BISAC: 51 major headings and 3,950 total primary codes (many more primary codes with BISAC, fewer qualifiers) = more specificity in primary code, but less flexibility)
  • Looking at the structure of individual codes a bit more, we see that…

    Subject category codes always begin with a letter
    Qualifiers begin with numbers 1-6
    All codes are hierarchical in structure, so A is implied in AJCD; and 1D is implied in 1DDB, etc.
  • To take anther example, probable BISAC headings for the popular novel include…

    - note only two BISAC codes are used, where two Thema codes and three qualifiers
    Using Thema may involve the use of more codes /qualifiers, b/c of the structure
  • Rules for Thema (note they could also apply to BISAC!)
  • Resources for further investigation; all will be made available afterwards, or contact me and I’ll provide more information.
  • To learn more, feel free to reach out to me, and thanks for your interest in Thema.
    Thanks!

Transcript

  • 1. 1 Thema Julie Morris, BISG | Julie@bisg.org The NISO/BISG Changing Standards Landscape at ALA 2014 | June 27 © 2013, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. The new, global subject classification scheme Copyright 2014, | The Book Industry Study Group
  • 2. Agenda 2 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. •What is Thema, and why does it matter? •Thema as a subject categories list •The global book trade •Thema vs. BISAC: Structural Analysis •What next? Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 3. 3 © 2013, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group What is Thema, and why do I care?
  • 4. 4 © 2013, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group What is Thema, and why do I care? Thema is a new, unified subject classification scheme for print and digital books in the global trade.
  • 5. 5 © 2013, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group Subject Categories for Books in North America
  • 6. 6 To facilitate innovation and shared solutions for the benefit of all companies and practitioners that create, produce, and distribute published content, and the organizations that support them… © 2013, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 7. Standards and Best Practices Research Education and Events © 2013, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. 7Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 8. BISAC 8 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. • subject classification system for books •developed in 1990’s to standardize the electronic transfer of subject information among all trading partners •used throughout North America •for both print and digital books Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 9. Who uses BISAC? 9 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. • Amazon • Baker & Taylor • Barnes & Noble • Bookscan • Bowker • Indiebound • Indigo • Ingram • Most major publishers • Some libraries • Independent authors Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 10. Why BISAC? 10 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group • Discovery • Cataloging • Tracking (and predicting) sales • Making informed purchasing decisions
  • 11. Discovery: an example 11Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings (Current, 2013) Cosmos by Carl Sagan (Random House, 1980)
  • 12. Discovery: an example 12 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group * Taken from the title detail page for Five Billion Years of Solitude from booksandbooks.com (Cara Cara, FL)
  • 13. BISAC: an example 13 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group SCI 004000 Main Subject Category (SCIENCE) Specific subject within category
  • 14. 14 © 2013, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group What is Thema, and why do I care? Thema is a new, unified classification scheme for print and digital books in the global trade.
  • 15. The problem 15 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 16. The problem: Globalization! 16 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group • Digital trade increases the need for communication among international trading partners • Many international standards exist to support global book trade •ONIX •ISBN •ISNI •EPUB •BISAC (and other national subject schemes) do not
  • 17. Enter Thema 17 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group •
  • 18. Enter Thema 18 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group •
  • 19. Thema Governance 19 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group International Steering Committee (governed by EDItEUR) Technical CommitteeReview Committee National Group National Group National Group National Group
  • 20. Thema National Groups 20 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group •Canada – Booknet Canada and BTLF •Egypt - El Kotob •France – CLIL •Germany, Austria and Switzerland – MVB •Italy – Informazione Editoriali •Norway – Bokbasen •Spain – DILVE •Sweden – Bokrondellen •United Kingdom – BIC •United States – BISG And the list is growing…
  • 21. How can Thema help? 21 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group • International standard for the global book trade •Reduce confusion •Increase discoverability across borders • Reduce the need to map to among multiple national subject heading schemes •BIC •BISAC •CLIL…
  • 22. 22 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. 22 Thema countries: June 2014 Maps from www.presentationmagazine.com
  • 23. Participating Organizations • AIE • Amazon.co.uk • Australian PA • Baker & Taylor • Barnes & Noble • BIC • BISG • Bokrondellen • Booknet Canada • Bowker • BTLF • CB • Danish PA • Dilve • Editis • Electre • Elkotob.com • Elsevier • Giant Chair • Guild of Book Dealers (Russia) • Hachette • HarperCollins • Informazioni Editoriali • Ingram • IPA • Japan Publishers Organisation • Kobo • Kogan Page • Libri • MVB • NTCPDSAC (China) • Nielsen Book • Norske Bokdatabasen • NTCPDS China • Random House • Springer • Waterstones Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group 23
  • 24. Global Thema Adoption Growing 24 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group • China, Japan, Poland, Australia joined ISC since fall 2013. • Denmark and Korea currently evaluating Thema. • In the United Kingdom: – Nielsen receiving Thema codes from at least one publisher – several major IT vendors building Thema into their systems (Klopotek, Virtusales, Giant Chair) • German Books in Print system (VLB) now including Thema codes in live data
  • 25. Thema is live! 25 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group • Version 1.0 released November 2013 • Sunrise date December 2013 •2014 is the year for implementation!
  • 26. What now? 26 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 27. What now? 27 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group • Will Thema replace BISAC?
  • 28. What now? 28 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group •Will Thema replace BISAC? Eventually, yes (possibly) But not yet…
  • 29. What now? 29 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group •BISG BISAC to Thema mapping released January 2014 •BookNet Canada and BISG BISAC to Thema Translator •BIC to Thema mapping available •Other mappings being developed
  • 30. Implementation 30 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 31. Implementation 31 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group
  • 32. Five Billion Years… 32 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group BISAC SCI004000 Astronomy SCI005000 Physics/Astrophysics Thema PG Astronomy, Space & Time PHVB Astrophysics Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars, by Lee Billings
  • 33. BISAC vs. Thema: Structural Elements 33 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group BISAC Thema •Subject Category (required in ONIX) PHO021000 PHOTOGRAPHY / Commercial •Regional code (optional) 1.1.2.2.0.0.0 LEVEL_4England •Merchandising code (optional) EV080EVENT / Graduation •Subject Category (required in ONIX) AJ Photography & Photographs •Geographic Qualifiers 1HFGU Uganda •Language Qualifiers 2ACSC Iceland •Time Period Qualifiers 3MD 16th Century •Educational Purpose Qualifiers 4GH For International GCSE •Interest Qualifiers 5AG Interest Age: from c 6 years •Artistic Style Qualifiers 6BA Baroque
  • 34. BISAC vs. Thema: Structural Elements 34 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group BISAC Thema • 51 Top-level subject categories • About 3950 total subject codes + Regional and Merchandising Themes • 20 Top-level subject categories • About 2,500 total subject codes • 6 Types of Qualifiers • Over 4,500 total codes
  • 35. Thema: Structural Elements cont’d 35 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group 1. Subject Category codes Code English heading A The Arts AJ Photography & Photographs AJC Photographs: Collections AJCD Individual photographers 2. Qualifiers Code English heading 1 Geographic Qualifiers (do not use “1” alone) 1D Europe 1DD Western Europe 1DDB Belgium 1DD-BE-B Brussels 1DD-BE-F Flanders
  • 36. War and Peace 36 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group BISAC FIC004000 Fiction/ Classics FIC032000 Fiction/ War & Military 1.6.16.0.0.0.0 LEVEL_3Russia Thema FBC Classic fiction 1DTA Russia 3MNB Early 19th century c 1800 to c 1850 FYT Fiction in translation [If in any language other than Russian] War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
  • 37. Thema: The rules 37 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group 1. First category used should be the primary subject 2. Classify as precisely as applicable, but as broadly as required 3. Assign as many categories as are required 4. Pay attention to scope notes and “see also” references 5. Add qualifiers whenever appropriate 6. Consider context, and audience 7. General codes need not be used in addition to more specific codes within the same hierarchy 8. Not a rule but a guideline: no more than 5 each codes/qualifiers should be necessary.
  • 38. Find out more about Thema! 38 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group • Download the official documentation from the EDItEUR site: http://www.editeur.org/151/Thema/ •Browse the Thema subject categories hierarchy: http://editeur.dyndns.org/thema/en •Lookup Thema codes with the BISAC to Thema translator: http://bisactothema.biblioshare.org/ or purchase the complete mapping: https://www.bisg.org/publications/bisac-subject-headings-2013- edition •Contact your national group with questions! http://www.editeur.org/153/maintenance-and- support#thema_ng_and_isc
  • 39. 39 © 2012, the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. Thank you! Julie Morris Project Manager, Standards and Best Practices Book Industry Study Group julie@bisg.org @JN_Morris Copyright 2014, The Book Industry Study Group