The metadata handbook

On Tuesday, July 24 I'll be part of a four-person program discussing "The benefits and challenges of maintaining quality product metadata". Organized by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), the event is targeted at publishing executives interested in more effective metadata management.

Also participating are Phil Madans (Hachette Book Group), Ashleigh Gardner (Kobo) and Matt Supko (American Booksellers Association). The event, which costs $250 for BISG members and $500 for non-members, takes place at Kaplan Publishing (395 Hudson Street in New York) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This event brings to a close the work I've been doing with BISG to assess the use and modification of metadata in the book industry supply chain. My presentation will include the results of a five-week study of how metadata updates propagate through a set of ten consumer-facing book sites.

Publishers interested in improving their use of product metadata might want to take a look at "The Metadata Handbook", co-written by Renee Register and Thad McIlroy. Available in a variety of formats, the book offers a practical set of explanations and recommendations to help publishers prepare and maintain effective metadata.

McIlroy and Register have also written thoughtful responses to the BISG report. Using everyday examples, McIlroy recently posted "How metadata gets mangled", a sobering overview of a problem we also saw in the research project.

And in the first of a three-part series of posts, Register invokes an apt description from a vintage movie: "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Our process recommendations are deeply rooted in trying to get members of the book industry supply chain to communicate in a more timely and transparent manner. For the sake of book sales, that can't happen quickly or often enough.

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.