Metadata Presentation to the Intelligent Content Conference 2013


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Here's a overview of the state of metadata in early 2013. I use by example metadata for books (in ONIX) but use that to consider the broader metadata landscape

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  • Copyright 2013 by Thad McIlroy. All rights reserved.
  • Our new book, The Metadata Handbook, was published on November 15, 2012. It is the ONLY book on metadata for book publishers.
  • Different authors see metadata’s role differently. In NISO’s very good free publication, “Understanding Metadata,” ( the author sees metadata as having three main roles.
  • The same author examined metadata’s functions and uses.
  • At its most basic level, metadata can be just a product identifier enabling ecommerce. Here’s Google’s simplified view.
  • Next we need to find a system to classify subjects and topics, a whole area of study and refinement.
  • Metadata for images is both topical and very easy to get a handle on.
  • I love EXIF because it’s robust, easy for users to grok, stable and well-documented, and automatically derives a rich set of data upon which the user layers additional metadata classification.
  • Although even EXIF requires the IPTC supplemental data focused on rights.
  • Understanding metadata today means moving beyond your silo and getting a handle on the disparate metadata initiatives cover such a broad range of content types.
  • My current specialty is book metadata. I’ve been working diligently in the very specific weeds of book metadata for about two years now. I’d rate my skill somewhere near a B or a B+ after all that diligent effort.
  • While there are many metadata standards, my co-author, Renee Register, likes to remind me that metadata is a core concept. The standard follows the use-case. But metadata can and should be seen first from a fundamental business-case perspective. The weeds can waits.
  • Typical of data standards, industry practice ALWAYS falls behind standards-setting. ONIX 2.1 was set in 2004 and supplanted in 2009 (4 years ago!) by ONIX 3. Needless to say, 90% of the industry is still on 2.1. You’ve got nearly two more years to make the not very difficult transition to the 3.0 standard, and Editeur, the industry group behind ONIX, is infinitely and ever-so-patiently supportive of the move. Yeah Graham Bell!
  • Here’s a little flow chart illustrating that there are many touchpoints for book metadata. Not surprisingly, each touchpoint adds at least as much challenges to the data integrity as it does add value.
  • In book metadata both the U.S. BISG industry group and the U.K. BIC group have a vision of CORE elements. These elements, of necessity covering both physical and digital work, are got between being comprehensive and remaining broadly relevant.
  • Here’s how core metadata plays out on a book retail site.
  • Here’s how enhanced metadata plays out on a book retail site.
  • When you’re ready, but not a moment sooner, it’s time to plunge into the well-written but long and complex ONIX documentation on the Editeur site ( One does not browse. One studies.
  • ISBN has become a problem point in book metadata. It was always intended to be a sole identifier of discreet physical objects: books in hardcover and paper, and audiobooks. The industry initially treated ISBN for digital by applying a single ISBN to “digital”. Then we saw that there were significant content and commercial differences between varying digital formats, from PDF through EPUB 2.1 and 3.01, Kindle Mobi and KF8 and Apple iBooks and more. These variances impact both content and commerce and are proofing to be ISBN’s downfall. THE ISTC – International Standard Text Code – has promise but little adoption.
  • Books are changing and so will be their identifiers over the next few years.
  • I think, supported by the gorillas of search, is perhaps the most promising step in imaging a future for metadata for electronic publishing.
  • Please keep in touch: Thank you!
  • Metadata Presentation to the Intelligent Content Conference 2013

    1. 1. Metadata’sBeating Hear t Thad McIlroy Presentation to Intelligent Content Conference 2013 February 8, 2013
    2. 2. My Background• 8 years in bookselling & publishing• 15 years in the U.S. studying the intersection of technology & print publishing @ Seybold• 10 years running The Future of• 2 years on the dry & dusty metadata trail• Co-author The Metadata Handbook
    3. 3. The Metadata Handbook:A Book Publisher’s Guide to Creating &Distributing Metadata for Print and EbooksRenee Register, DataCurateThad McIlroy, The Future of Publishing$95 for ebook (in 3 formats)$125 for printPublished November 15, 2012 themetadatahandbook.c om
    4. 4. Types of Metadata Technical  Information about the digital file itself Administrative  To help manage the digital file and the original resource Descriptive  Describes the content of the original resource — who, what, where, when
    5. 5. Function and Uses Discovery Identification Association Selection Management Preservation Rights management Exchange Aggregation
    6. 6. Unique product identifiers UPC Retail EAN Retail JAN (Japan) Retail ISBN Books MPN (Manufacturer) Parts Brand Stuff
    7. 7. Categorize Your Product
    8. 8. Metadata for Images
    9. 9. EXIF: Metadata at Its Finest
    10. 10. Except IPTC is Required for ©
    11. 11. Metadata for... Apps Books Documents Photos and illustrations Music and sounds Video Web
    12. 12. W hy Book Metadata? To create a unique record in the catalogue To transact between publisher/wholesaler & retailer  (The trail used to end here) To transact between author and reader  Usually mediated by a publisher  And possibly by a wholesaler “adding value” to the data
    13. 13. ONIX ≠ Metadata Metadata can be in any format ISBN was traditionally the most important metadata element ONIX is the only standard in use for books
    14. 14. ONIX 2.1 vs. 3.0 Most “downstream” players are still on 2.1 You’ve got till December 2014 to switch But it’s like postponing getting a filling for a cavity
    15. 15. Core Metadata Elements for Books BISG Product Metadata Best PracticesStandard Product Identifier Item DescriptionISBN 13/GTIN 13/EAN 13 Product Form (Format, Binding, Packaging, Digital Information)Content Description Extent (Page count/RunningTitle/Name of Product Time/File Size)Contributor(s) DRM/Usage ConstraintsPublisher/Imprint/Brand Name Weight and DimensionsPublication Date Number of PiecesBISAC Subject(s)Language(s) of Product Content CommerceSeries/Set Information Price(s)Edition Information Publisher Proprietary DiscountIntended Audience for Product (ONIX CodeAudience code/Age/Reading level) Publisher Status CodeIllustration and Multimedia Details Product Availability CodeTextual Description of Content and Territorial RightsOther Text Content (May include Table of Bar Code IndicatorContents, Excerpts, etc.) Strict On-Sale DateDigital Image of Product Return Code Case Pack/Carton Quantity Distributor/Vendor of Record Related Products
    16. 16. Core Metadata—Retail Site
    17. 17. Enhanced Metadata—Retail Site
    18. 18. ONIX 3.01 Str uctureTop Level Message Header Blocks Product Record  1: Product DescriptionPlus  2: Marketing Codelists (currently Collateral #20)  3: Content DetailTags  4: Publishing Detail “Reference names”  5: Related Material vs. “Short tags”  6: Product Supply  P.26 Supply detail
    19. 19. W hy ISBN is Failing It has dual role as an identifier and a unit of e-commerce Selling chapters as well as books Renting ebooks and textbooks ISTC is part of the solution
    20. 20. W here is Book MetadataHeaded? ONIX 3.01 by end of 2014 Internationalization of book metadata New (and revised) identifiers to encompass  Book as standalone object vs.  Book as web-native content  Books in browsers
    21. 21. W her e is MetadataHeaded?
    22. 22. For Mor e Infor mation s=metadata data-tips-beginner-intermediate-advanced- handbook/1