Task Forces/Metadata/Laura Dawson Interview

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LAURA DAWSON, Bowker [Bill]

Laura's first observation was that there is "so much metadata available—that's not the problem." She said that "wrangling all the descriptions" is really the problem, because of the proliferation of vocabularies and terms.

The biggest pain point for publishers in her view is "the problem of updates." Hachette sends metadata to X recipient; that metadata doesn't see the light of day for three weeks; in the meantime the metadata has been updated in a weekly feed. Feeds can overwrite other feeds.

Another key problem: different versions needed for different recipients: "there is no one true ONIX."

Issues are not as much about the structure, or about the vocabularies, but how they are used.

There is also a vocabulary issue re subjects of components: BISAC doesn't work, "not granular enough." "If you really want to embed metadata in a meaningful way, you can't do it." (She mentioned IPTC codes in this context.)

She is a big fan of schema.org. Publishers need to use identifiers for people (ISNI, ORCID).

What's needed is some combination of bibliographic ontology and relations.

May need different types for selling books vs. finding them. Library schemes (e.g., BibEx group) primarily focus on libraries, which have properties like "holdings" and "checking out a book" that are irrelevant to publishers.

She said that "Google should be the primary audience--that's how people find books." Search engines and the indexing they do are key. Perhaps making this information viewable is the key, the link back to the OWP and W3C--"even if the content isn't available on the open web."