Metadata is data that describes a book’s content and format and provides the information needed to buy and sell books. Here’s a handy glossary with some important terms and organizations so you too can speak fluent Metadata! These terms are selected from the glossary of The Metadata Handbook.
Barcode - an optical machine readable representation of data. The Bookland EAN is the most widely used international barcode format for publishing and encodes the ISBN and price. The Bookland EAN barcode is required for print books by many book retailers and wholesalers and is used for automated tracking of sales information and inventory control.
BISAC Subject Headings - the North American standard for categorizing books based on topical content or genre. They help determine where physical books are shelved and are very important for online bookselling in metadata organization and search. Bookseller databases use them to create lists of titles by subject and in algorithms that suggest similar titles to readers.
Book Industry Study Group (BISG) - an American, not-for-profit membership organization that supports the book publishing industry through the development of standards, best practices, research, and events. BookNet Canada performs a similar role in that country. BISG and BookNet Canada also administer Metadata Certification programs. These programs evaluate the quality of a publisher's or vendor's metadata files based on structure, content, and adherence to best practices. Compliance to industry standards is evaluated and ranked by expert advisers and results in the awarding of levels of certification that may be shared with trading partners to indicate proficiency in metadata creation and adherence to standards.
Classification - is categorization and organization based on shared qualities or characteristics. In book metadata, this involves categorizing books using defined codes or subject lists (controlled vocabularies) to describe a book's content.
Controlled Vocabulary - a selected list of words and phrases used to reduce ambiguity and ensure consistency in description. BISAC Subject Headings, ONIX Code Lists, and Thema are examples of controlled vocabularies. Thema provides global standards for subject heading codes and was released in April 2013. Controlled vocabularies also provide consistency in interpretation of metadata transmitted and processed electronically. Words and phrases may also be represented by codes that further reduce error in machine interpretation. For example, the BISAC Subject Headings are also represented by codes, such as BUS090010, which has a literal translation of BUSINESS and ECONOMICS/E-Commerce/Internet Marketing. The ONIX Contributor Code A01 indicates that the contributor name provided is the author of the book. Other codes indicate, editor, illustrator, and other contributor roles. Controlled vocabularies make it more likely that someone seeking information would retrieve a relevant set of items in a search.
Related story: Metadata Handbook