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Book Industry Study Group Publishes New Best Practices for Keywords in Metadata

Thursday, February 8, 2018   (0 Comments)
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(New York, NY - February 8, 2018) -- In support of its mission to maintain and implement standardized best practices for its members in the book publishing business, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has released an revised Best Practices for Keywords in Metadata: Guide for North American Data Senders and Receivers, produced by BISG's Metadata Committee and BISAC Subject Codes Committee's Keywords Working Group.

With input from subject matter experts from across the supply chain, this document, an update to the 2014 edition, provides guidance for ONIX data senders and receivers on how best to select, communicate, and utilize keywords in metadata to maximize the opportunities for book product discovery by consumers and partners.

In 2017, in her role as Manager, Cataloging at Barnes & Noble, Caroline A. Hayes analyzed keyword data feeds from various vendors and compared them to the best practices outlined in the original version of the document. What she observed compelled her to convene a new working group to update the instructions for metadata creators.

As Chairperson of the current working group, Ms. Hayes said, "I want publishers to have a tool with which to improve their keyword data so retailers can ensure that books are easier to discover by consumers. Retail partners should be more willing to accept and implement this data if it follows best practices, and I anticipate keyword data will improve sales and customer satisfaction."

The new Best Practices for Keywords in Metadata is another successful collaboration of metadata senders and recipients that was facilitated by BISG to optimize book discovery across the supply chain.

What’s new in the revised Best Practices for Keywords in Metadata:

Among the changes to the document that bring it up to date with current technology and consumer search:

  • Recommendation for character count
  • Comparison of downstream partners’ rules for accepting and using keywords
  • Addition scenarios that illustrate situations in which keywords may be helpful
  • Examples of where and when keywords and other metadata elements may overlap and how best to use them
  • Incorporating keywords into ONIX 3
  • Expanded appendices with resources and definitions of terms

"Fortunately, industry-wide interest in keywords seems to be increasing and current BISG management is extremely supportive of the new version of the document and of providing education about the subject to the industry," said Ms. Hayes.

Contributors to the revised edition include the following metadata and process experts: Tom Adamich (Mitinet Library Services), Ralph Coviello (Proquest/Bowker), Shannon Droge (HarperCollins Christian Publishing), Clark Fife (Macmillan), Brendan Flattery (Harlequin), Sally Franklin (Penguin Random House), Kim Graff (BISG), Connie Harbison (Baker & Taylor, Inc.), Margaret Harrison (Ingram Content Group), Chairperson Caroline A. Hayes (Barnes & Noble), Rena Kornbluh (Hachette Book Group), Keely Kundell (Harlequin), Andrew LaCroix (HarperCollins), Brandi Larsen (Penguin Random House / DK), Erica Leeman (MIT Press), Brian O’Leary (BISG), Timothy Olson (Tyndale House Publishers), Chris Sim (Kadaxis), Joshua Tallent (Firebrand Technologies), Laurel Stokes (Penguin Random House), and Josh Weiss (HarperCollins).

For more information about the revised Best Practices for Keywords in Metadata: Guide for North American Data Senders and Receivers, please visit

About the Book Industry Study Group (BISG)

The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the book industry’s leading trade association for information, standards, and research, creating the connections and conversations that solve problems, advance new ideas, and more profitably bring published content to readers. Its broad membership includes trade, educational, professional, and scholarly publishers, as well as distributors, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and libraries.

In partnership with other industry associations, BISG maintains and implements standardized best practices, develops and shares leading-edge research and information, and fosters education through events and webinars that help our membership and the industry better understand market trends and issues.

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