Confused about metadata—what it is, how to use it, and how it applies to your ebooks? Fear not, for the Book Industry Study Group has released its Best Practices for Product Metadata, a combination of two previous guides for metadata senders and recipients. The guide provides tips for improving metadata accuracy, especially as it applies to digital products.
Best Practices identifies metadata fields, proper field usage and requirements for downstream partners (retailers, wholesalers, etc.). This information is incredibly valuable because, as proven by BISG’s 2012 study, The Development, Use, and Modification of Book Product Metadata, publishers tend to input imprecise information into fields in hopes of attracting a wider audience.
In reality, broad and inaccurate metadata makes products more difficult to find for consumers and can lead downstream partners to augment the metadata they receive, leading to further inaccuracies.
BISG’s Best Practices also emphasizes the ONIX 3.0 formatting standard, which better tracks ebook metadata and will fully replace ONIX 2.1 by the end of 2014. As more retailers begin to require this format, publishers can utilize this reference guide to aid in the transition.
Best Practices for Product Metadata is available as a free download on BISG’s website and will be updated regularly as metadata requirements change.
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