Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow

NISO and OCLC Publish White Paper that Reveals Opportunities in the Book Supply Chain

DUBLIN, Ohio, and Baltimore, MD - July 7, 2009 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and OCLC announce the publication of a white paper on Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow, written by consultant Judy Luther (President, Informed Strategies), that analyzes the current state of metadata creation, exchange, and use throughout the book supply chain.
With the number of book formats multiplying and the amount of digital content growing rapidly, the metadata required to support the discovery, sale, and use of content by a global audience is increasing exponentially. At the same time, economic pressures on all stakeholders in the supply chain-from publishers to wholesalers to booksellers to metadata suppliers and to librarians-present greater challenges for providing quality and comprehensive metadata at every point in the cycle.

Through interviews with over 30 industry representatives, Luther has created a book metadata exchange map illustrating the workflow and metadata exchange and has identified opportunities for eliminating redundancies and making the entire process more economical.

"The ability to efficiently transmit and correctly display metadata that supports decisions to acquire books has made the underlying structure and exchange of metadata even more important to the success of the publisher supply chain and libraries," explained Luther.

The white paper was commissioned by NISO and OCLC as a follow-up to the Symposium for Publishers and Librarians held by OCLC on March 18-19, 2009 to discuss book metadata. Both organizations share the vision of an environment where data can be exchanged seamlessly between different systems and both are focused on reducing the costs of this exchange for all participants in the supply chain of data and content.

"The white paper illustrates how effectively both publishers and libraries have implemented their respective standards of ONIX for Books and MARC, but also shows how silos have grown up around the two standards," stated Todd Carpenter, NISO Managing Director. "There are definite opportunities for breaking down these silos and both communities are eager to find better methods for interoperability and streamlining their operations."

"Efficiently and effectively reusing metadata from publishers supports the continued relevance and success of library bibliographic control going forward," said Karen Calhoun, Vice President, OCLC WorldCat and Metadata Services. "It is important that libraries, publishers, and metadata suppliers collaborate in the ongoing development and evolution of best practices and standards in support of Web-scale services."

"Current publisher and library workflows and methodologies for metadata creation and maintenance are not sustainable. It is crucial to the future of publishers and libraries that we move toward collaborative, creative, and networked use of publisher and library metadata for the benefit of multiple user communities," said Renee Register, Senior Product Manager, OCLC WorldCat and Metadata Services.

NISO and OCLC plan to hold ongoing events to continue the dialog among publishers, librarians, and metadata suppliers. Specific actions identified in the report will be pursued with the establishment of working groups to develop recommended practices or standards as needed.

Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow is available on the NISO Web site at: and on OCLC Web sites at and Information about the Symposium for Publishers and Librarians is available on the OCLC Web site at:

About NISO
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: For more information please contact NISO on (301) 654-2512 or via email on

About OCLC
Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit library service and research organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation, library management and Web services to 71,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories. OCLC and its member libraries worldwide have created and maintain WorldCat, the world's richest online resource for finding library materials. Search on the Web at For more information, visit

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