By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Metadata ‘Underpins Our Digital Age’At the Book Industry Communication program based in London—and called BIC—executive director Karina Urquhart has announced the opening of a new offering called the BIC Metadata Capabilities Directory.
The intent is to allow participants “to share information with each other about their own use of metadata within the supply chain. The directory has been created as part of BIC’s Metadata Map project.”
In explaining the directory more fully, the organization writes, “In simple terms, the Metadata Capabilities Directory is a secure database. All completed submissions will be aggregated and made available in read-only spreadsheet form for other directory participants to review. The directory will be updated each week with responses from new contributors and with updates from existing participants where their own status has changed.
“Participating organizations will be expected to update, or re-confirm, their submission at least once a year to ensure the directory remains current, and the full data will only be available to other participating organizations.”
Metadata, BIC reminds us, a bit eloquently, that “underpins our digital age. It drives discoverability and sales, and therefore demands careful attention in terms of its initial creation, dissemination, and ongoing maintenance.”
That’s much better than “garbage in, garbage out,” right?
“However sometimes best practice,” the project’s material says, “can be undermined by legacy processes, system development limitations, and commercial priorities: but above all by a lack of clarity over the way metadata progresses through the supply chain.”
‘Metadata Drives Discoverability and Sales’
According to BIC’s media messaging, this directory is the first facility available to UK book trade organizations–and organizations trading with UK book trade organizations–to record and describe “what actually happens” (those italics are BIC’s) within their own metadata activities.
All participants in the directory, Urquhart says, will provide a full response to an extensive survey which provides a detailed record of their own metadata policies and practices. “By recording, aggregating, and sharing actual behavior across our industry, the directory will provide an overview of the whole, which will enable contributors to benchmark and calibrate their own activities and help identify development priorities for the future.”
And in making its case for reasons to participate in the new directory program, BIC writes:
“Users will be able to benchmark their own metadata capabilities against all contributing organizations, and against the needs of their supply-chain and trading partners. By doing so, participants will be able to identify:
- metadata gaps: product characteristics that could be supplied/accepted but are not
- data transformation: in which data quality changes as it moves through the supply chain
- development potential: opportunities to improve product data clarity
- metadata effectiveness: prioritize what is really valued by data partners
In a quote provided about the new facility, Howard Willows of Nielsen Book, writes, “At Nielsen Book we’ve long supported the aims and objectives of BIC’s ‘Metadata Map’ project to provide greater transparency and insight into the supply chain for metadata in the UK book industry.
“The Metadata Capabilities Directory is an important step toward those goals.
“We’ll be taking part ourselves from the outset, and we strongly encourage other organizations to consider participating.”
Information and the starting point for participants is here.
More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.