Food for thought

Yesterday, Laura Dawson and I presented "Metadata goes global", a three-hour workshop that is part of O'Reilly Media's Tools of Change program at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The workshop was divided into three segments:

  • Getting metadata right
  • Making metadata effective
  • Preparing for the next wave

In the first section, we tried to answer four basic questions:

  1. Where are we today?
  2. What needs to change in the current system?
  3. How do we get ready? and
  4. What might we be missing?

In addition, I had a chance to revisit three metadata trends (globalization, integration with content and persistent evolution) that I raised at a recent Firebrand community conference.

In the second segment, we talked about best practices for product discovery, metadata workflows for physical and digital products, managing metadata across global markets, and options for clearly communicating rights. We also examined the likelihood that territorial rights as currently configured persist in an era of online content catalogues.

In the final part, Laura talked about the impact of search on product discovery and the potential of two emerging identifiers (ISTC and ISNI) for improving the visibility of books online. We were also asked about DOI, which Laura tracks but did not include in the final version of the presentation (a function of the time we had to cover all of this material).

At the outset, we were asked several questions, including: How can you make discovery happen, deep into the content that you have? Can you get metadata to recognize video and audio content? and, How can we use metadata to manage royalties? Throughout the discussion, we answered another 15 or so questions, lending an interactive feel to the morning.

One of the more encouraging discussions started with a comment that European national libraries are known to play a significant role in making books more visible, something less studied in the United States. A member of the audience pointed to discovery data from Library Journal that was presented at last February's Tools of Change conference. Metadata as a topic is always interesting, but metadata as a vehicle for discovery is more than food for thought.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.