Inclusivity, Diversity, and Harmonizing the Metadata Supply Chain – Tech Forum 2019

Inclusivity, Diversity, and Harmonizing the Metadata Supply Chain – Tech Forum 2019


– [Chris] So my name’s Chris Saynor and I
work for an organisation called EDItEUR. I’ve been with EDItEUR since end of 2016,
and I look after some of our standards, the ONIX, Thema, and EDItX. Prior to that, I was working in Paris for
an ONIX solutions provider. I’ve been a member of the French Metadata
Committee, the North American one and the UK ones. And prior to that, I was a bookseller in
France and in the UK. Okay, EDItEUR, for those of you who don’t
know…is everybody familiar with EDItEUR? Anybody not?
Okay. So we’re a not-for-profit organisation,
we’re based in London, we basically develop, support,
promote metadata and identification standards for the
global book-supply chain. We’re a membership organisation but all
our standards, of course, are free to use. We have members in 28 countries,
I think we have over 100 members at the moment, from all sectors of the
supply chain, so publishers, retailers, standards organisations, BNC is a member,
libraries, that kind of thing. We also provide services to other
organisations, so, for example, the current executive director of the
International…ISNI agency is also an employee of EDItEUR. And we provide management services to them
as well as to the DOI Foundation. There’s only two full-time staff members,
myself and Graham Bell, who some of you may know,
and we have two part-time members. The family of standards that we maintain,
so ONIX for books, is probably the one you’re most familiar with. We also have one for serials,
there are some other ONIX messages. we have Thema, the subject classification,
which I’ll talk a bit more about today, and EDItX which is a series of
transactional messages which we are currently updating to
harmonise with ONIX 3. So basically any business model that can
be expressed in ONIX 3, you can now start expressing that in the
sales reports, sales-tax reports, inventory reports, ordering. So those are standards. So my talk today. There are a lot of books being published,
and amongst them there are some amazing books from a diverse range of authors. There are books that we can identify with
ourselves, there are books that help us understand other people,
the world we live in, the times we’re living in. There are books that push our boundaries
and help us see things or people through different eyes. And then, there are books that are simply
inclusive and extend our vision on a diverse society. But sometimes, it can feel like those
diverse voices are very hard to find. We’re only giving them the slimmest chance
of actually being heard. So I want to discuss today how metadata
can perhaps help with that. So why am I saying this? So, as part of the work on Thema,
so there are two projects we’re doing with Thema at the moment. We’re starting to get ready for the next
version of Thema which will be 1.4, but we’re also producing
more help documentation. So I’m working on a document that will be
an extended version of this talk. And so, I’ve been doing research and I
came across a book, on a list, done by a librarian,
book’s on diversity and inclusion. But before I decided to put it into the
document, I thought I should go and have a look at the book. So I went to one of London’s largest
booksellers to search for these titles. I asked them if they had it in stock,
they didn’t, and then, I explained what I was looking for. And they very nicely explained, “Ah,
what we do is, when we see a book come in that fits into one of our diversity and
inclusion categories, we keep a list, at the cash desk, and we write them down,
and then, we will put them in a section.” And so, she took me to show me some of the
books they had in stock, and then, she said this to me, as a plea,
“If only there was an easy way for publishers to send
us this information.” Now there may be many reasons why that
bookseller wasn’t actually getting the attended information,
but I did think this was a very good summary of maybe one of the issues. So I had a very very good keynote this
morning talking a lot about diversity and inclusion. So I just thought I found these two quotes
and I thought they would be a good useful summary of how important it is,
these two words are always thought of together. I particularly like the second one,
“Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” But I also feel, I’m in Canada,
and I don’t really need to explain what diversity and inclusion
is to a Canadian audience. As a country, you come out quite well when
we’re thinking about countries that have taken the issues of diversity and
inclusion seriously. I lived in France for a long time where
the discourse is not yet at the same level. So another quote I found. So this was in an interview for NPR
entitled “Diversity in Book Publishing Isn’t Just About Writers,
Marketing Matters Too.” I recommend having a read of this article,
it’s very interesting. And I found this some quote in it,
“The independent bookstore is, by far, our best friend, and underused. It’s about getting the book to the
bookseller, putting on the staff recommended shelf.” It’s about giving an independent
bookseller enough information so they would choose to hand sell it. If you get enough…so one of the examples
they give is making sure the right data is sent out with the gallies, so prior to purchase or with advanced
information, so that a bookseller, be that an independent bookseller or an
online chain or anybody, has the right information
to talk about it. What matters to booksellers is you want to
be able to choose the books that you’re going to put on your recommended shelf. You want to look through
10 books and choose 2. What often happens is you look through
hundreds books to find that two. So…to illustrate that,
as part of my research, I went to meet two
booksellers in North London. I live in London so I’ve done most of the
research in London because it’s easier. And I must admit, it’s pretty pleasant
kind of research, going from bookshop to bookshop talking to people. So Cally and Steve who work in the
Willesden Bookshop, which is a great bookshop, if you’ve read
White Teeth by Zadie Smith, this is the bookshop she used to go to as
a child with her mother and she launched White Teeth at this bookshop. Unfortunately, the physical bookshop had
to close down, as happens in London, they’ve redeveloped it to build a condo. But they still run a subscription business
for schools, libraries, nurseries, other institutions as a specialist in
multicultural children’s books. So I was curious to find out from them how
they found those books, how they chose. Both of them are incredibly experienced
booksellers, so they know what they’re doing, but they showed me some of
the things they do when they’ll get an order from a school that’s got a very
diverse pupils from different backgrounds, so they may be looking for bilingual books
or books that talk about the countries that the children come from. And so, they go and search. So they use…there’s two major
wholesalers in the UK, so they use their sites,
and there’s the data distributors. So they have access to those as
professionals. But so often what they see is one
children’s book code, it says, “Children’s fiction,” and maybe there’s a
very brief description, there may be reasons they may not have
paid the full subscription to have access to fuller data or something,
but so often what they see is very little. They have a principle,
they will never sell a book to any institution that they
haven’t checked themselves. So they do a lot of pre-ordering so they
can read the books. So it’s about, for them,
having to order 100 books to find the few books that are actually going to sell. They also showed me the websites of a
major London-based publisher that has just updated its website for marketing
purposes, but you can’t actually find any books by subject, now. So they’ve stopped ordering from that
publisher because they can no longer find…because the publisher stopped
producing catalogues and doesn’t give any information, the whole website is
designed to be retweeted. Or, at least, we couldn’t find anything on
the website that was by subject. So it’s about giving booksellers,
librarians, educators, readers enough information so they can
make an informed choice. The information that you can send,
the metadata, is really important. Why? Well, we all know that the value of
metadata is about the discoverability. So giving the potential reader,
or the potential seller, librarians or the educators,
the data so they can decide if that title is the right book they’re looking for. When we’re sending the data out,
or displaying the data, some of that data will be displayed
publicly and some of that will be available internally or just on
professional sites. There may be data that,
for commercial reasons, people won’t actually show on the
public-facing site but it’s good to give access to people in the business. The two types of searches as well. There’s the known item,
title, author, subject. So somebody’s looking for a book on a
particular subject, they’re going to look for that. Unknown item search, again,
people are looking by subject, a controlled vocabulary, by keywords,
the uncontrolled vocabulary. There was an interesting talk on keywords
before. And descriptive texts,
descriptive texts are really important. I’m not going to go into detail on
descriptive text but, when it comes to discovering books about
diversity and inclusivity, the descriptive content can be really
important, the description of the title, but also working with the contributors to
create a biography that, if the author is in agreement,
explores their identity. A table of contents can also be an
incredibly rich source of information. And you need that discovery to be able to
turn into sales, that’s what’s important for the publishing industry. So what metadata matters? Subject codes, Thema. I’m going to talk about Thema because I
know Thema very well, but some of the things I’m going to show
you will also apply to the BISAC codes which are used here
in Canada and in the U.S. Something you can send in your ONIX or
another metadata files, the addition type. Things like, “Is the other contents of
this book available in different formats, the large print or the Braille?”
Is it a bilingual book? Bilingual books are very important,
especially for schools. Books for dyslexic readers,
high readability. Data about metadata and the contributors,
so their biographies, as I suggested earlier,
and also information about places that are associated with them. Information about language,
so what language the book is in. If the book was translated,
what language was it translated from? Because reading a translated novel or
translated nonfiction can often give you a different perspective on the same thing. Accessibility metadata,
the ONIX code list 196. I know accessibility is taken very
seriously in Canada, it’s really important that,
if you’ve got an accessible title, the metadata about that accessibility
information is also sent. We shouldn’t be creating books that are
supposed to be inclusive and yet excluding an audience,
the print-impaired readers, by not making those books available in an
accessible format. Relationships between products does…
is there something else that exists? Is there an audio version?
Is there a large-print version? Is there a Braille version?
Is there an accessible version? That kind of thing. And then, supply information. So, going back to the Willesden Bookshop,
they said they keep finding books that are published in Canada and the U.S. that are really good that they’d like to
order but they can’t find out who to order it from, there’s no information,
it gives a U.S. supplier or a Canadian supplier and
nothing else. So the information about where that book
is available is really important as well. So I’m going to look a bit more in detail
into subject categorisation. So, as you all know,
subject classifications of books, audios books, digital books is a really
important key to merchandising, to discoverability, to sales,
and to market intelligence. Like adding the right Thema codes or the
right BISAC codes, it gives you tools to create lists for people
who are looking for particular books. It also gives you tools so that you can
start collecting data and statistics about our books that are classified like
this selling more. It was one of the points in the keynote
this morning about having data, about the sales linked to specific groups,
and giving those diverse voices a chance to sell. It’s one of the key access points for
discoverability, subject classification. And again, you aim to increase the sales
by highlighting books that are most appropriate to what these particular
customers seek, if they are educators, if they’re librarians,
if they’re booksellers, or if they’re the end reader. So Thema.
Are you all familiar with Thema? Anybody not?
Okay. So we call it the subject category scheme
for a global book trade because it is a scheme that was created by an
international group. Canada has very good representation in the
creation of Thema, there are two very very active groups, there’s one run by the BNC,
and there’s one run by the BTLF in Montreal. And there are groups from all over the
world who contribute to the creation of Thema. So it’s truly international. There is various documentation available
from the EDItEUR website. So this is what the website looks like. And so, we have various documents that you
might find useful if you want to know more about Thema. And one of the documents we did was this
briefing paper, “Diversity and Inclusivity in Thema 1.3.” This was born out of a question somebody
asked us, so we wrote a reply, and then, we thought it would turn into an
interesting paper. This has actually become the second most
downloaded document from our website, which is encouraging. And this is a document that I am working
on creating a whole new set of worked examples to show people how to use
Thema and ONIX. So Thema shouldn’t be used on its own,
you can look at Thema…so this document gives you ideas about using Thema with
ONIX. It’s about the information that can be
expressed by a subject classification scheme and what you can complement that in
your ONIX data. I’m going to show some examples of that
also. And then, there’s this “Worked Examples”
document, which is quite useful, and there’s going to be
a version of this specifically about diversity and inclusion. And then, there’s the Thema browser. So I’m going to show you some examples of
titles with suggestions of Thema codes. Now, the suggestions I’m making are just
to illustrate points, they’re not necessarily what the
publishers themselves would use. They are all books that I’ve seen or I’ve
looked at. So I haven’t got many Canadian examples,
I have a lot more examples of children’s books or books for teenagers because there
are more available lists [spending] on diversity. I’m not being that inclusive because I
haven’t got time to give you an example of every single aspect of diversity and
inclusivity, so there are things I’ve missed out. So this one is…there are various codes
in Thema, Thema works by post-coordination so there isn’t one subject for one thing,
you can create meaning by sending multiple subjects. So if you look at this particular example,
it’s to illustrate that you can use two of the J codes to illustrate themes about
discrimination and about integration. That will highlight a book that itself is
about diversification. And also, there is a specific code for the
diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Again, this is a book
about gender identity. This is…again, so the main code,
if you were sending this in ONIX, you always send one Thema code as your
main subject. The one main subject is,
if somebody’s got to choose one single subject, they will choose the main
subject. But then, in many of the examples I will
show you, adding these subject codes that indicate this could be a topic suitable
for our diversity pillar, or inclusivity. Our secondary ones. So this one, for example,
we have codes to identify gender. This one…this is, fundamentally,
a book about design but the subject of this book also looks how you can make
sure that design is inclusive, inclusive in the sense that it’s designed
thinking about people who are just may have disabilities. So this code, again,
it’s a code that highlights a particular diversity topic. Right.
Y. All the children’s and teenage codes in
Thema start with Y. This book is just a book
about the body, it’s brilliant. This is one of the books they showed me at
that book shop. Actually I bought a copy because it’s
really good. But it uses a secondary code, the YXP,
so it’s a diversity and inclusivity tag. This is because this book,
while it talks about the body, it talks about all sorts of bodies. It talks about the body,
in a very child-friendly way, from birth to death,
but it talks about gender identity, it shows bodies of all different colours,
shapes, people in wheelchairs. But it’s all done in a very inclusive way. Every single book these two women have
written is done in the same way. And that flag in ONIX,
this is…in ONIX…in Thema, you can see the note,
it’s meant to give a chance to children’s authors to flag up titles
that are like this. There are many children’s illustrated
titles that are very inclusive. They just have illustrations or stories
that just include everybody. Another aspect of flagging up things. So this one has…so this is a picture
book, it’s a story book, but there’s two codes here I picked up
from the children’s section, Islam, and girls and women. Because the way this picture book works it
explores both topics. It’s a very good picture book. So this is a code where part of the
subject is Islam and part of the subject is girls. So there’s two in there,
give somebody a flag so they can create, “I’m looking for children’s picture books
that treat things that to do with Islam or to do with girls.”
Another book. Again, I’ve picked out…there’s another
picture story book, picked out two codes, YNRJ and YNRP, both because the subject of
these butcher books story of two boys who live in Brooklyn,
one Jewish, one’s Muslim, they meet each other and discover
everything…you know, they exchange information about their
perspective religions, so it’s a good subject code. But I’ve also added to qualifiers,
Thema has sets of qualifiers. These two, the 5HPK and PW,
has a set of qualifiers about festivals and holidays. This book looks at Ramadan and
Rosh Hashanah, because, apparently, in the story, they fall on the same period
which happens only every 400 years or something. So the qualifiers are also
very important flags. Okay, with the children’s section,
a lot of the meaning in Thema is built up by using several codes. This one, there’s a code for…again,
this is a school story about friendship, but the diversity code here would be the
YXZM, “Migration and Refugees.” This is a story about a Syrian refugee boy
integrating into a school in London. The story itself is a really
good example of inclusivity. The way the writer explores this story is
really good, it’s a really good story. I read it because I wanted to see what it
was about. It’s been nominated for awards in the UK. So this one I’ve added the YXP code
because of the way the story is. So, if I was the publisher and I knew the
story, I think this one should have the YXP, as well as the refugee code. So the refugee code would be something
that somebody can use to pick out, “I’m looking for children’s titles that
talk about issues for refugees.” Now, as I said, we’re preparing for 1.4,
Thema 1.4, and we’ve had feedback saying that I shouldn’t have these two words
together, migration and refugees should not be in the same code heading. So that’s something that we’ve taken
account of and we’ve put in the suggestions for the next update. Thema is something, I’ll mention that
again, but Thema is something that is evolving because the market evolves,
the way we use words evolve. So we do look at that kind of thing. This is another one,
another diversity topic. So again, it’s a book for teenagers but
this one deals with somebody with cerebral palsy who’s a wheelchair user and her
experiences at a special camp where she discovers other people like herself. I found this on a list of books
recommended for pupils who have disabilities, written by a charity
who specialises in helping children with disabilities, looking for books that
give a positive image. So here, again, the Y code,
the YXK is a way of highlighting the title. So I’ve been doing a lot of reading of
teenage titles to find books to illustrate this. This one, again, this one
I put in for the subject codes, the second
one on mental health. So this one deals with problems that
teenagers can face with real mental-health issues,
but I’ve also put in the qualifiers. So if you look at the three last
qualifiers, there’s one relating to adolescence teenage years that we have
qualifiers in Thema that allow you to say that a particular book is about a
particular subject. One of the main subjects of this book is
the teenage years, dealing with mental health, but also dealing with
identity. The narrator, she’s a Muslim girl,
and her identity, as a Muslim but also as a fan of this boy’s band whose lead
singer happens to be transgender. Transgender is another one that we’ve been
asked to review the wording we use for this qualifier. And we’re going to review it in Thema 1.4
when the working group starts to get together. Because it’s more common
in the English language to use the word trans, so we’ve had conversations
with academics, people who have been writing books about trans issues,
that we shouldn’t be using the word transgender. But Thema is a global subject scheme,
it has to be understood by people whose first language is not necessarily English. Thema’s currently available in 17
languages, it’s been translated, but there are a lot of people who access
it through English, so we have to think about the words from those point of views
as well. Sometimes with Thema we’re told that the
headings are really long. Why are they so long? It’s because they need to be understood by
a lot of people. A retailer who uses Thema codes on a
website doesn’t have to use the same headings as we have. Spoiler alert, sorry,
I’ve spoilt the end of this one. So again, just to show an example of the
codes, so the YXB, there’s an LGBT code for children and teenagers,
so it’s in there, as well as dealing with things like death. But the qualifiers, so we have relating to
gay, lesbian, and bisexual qualifier. We have, as we saw in the previous slide,
a separate qualifier for transgender. But I also wanted to introduce the first
of the national qualifiers. So this is, within Thema, as you may know,
you can have national extensions, that means a specific group can say,
“In our market, we need some codes to indicate this.”
This one came from the U.S. group, so they wanted a code so they could
highlight books that were related to Latino Americans. There are two groups,
the BNC group and the BTLF group, based on language, but those two groups,
for example, if Canada wanted to add national extensions,
it would be through those groups and those groups would make the suggestions if they
were needed for the Canadian supply chain. And, if anybody’s interested in
contributing to that, they should get in touch with the two
organisations. Diversity about socio-economic issues. And this one I’ve chosen because it’s
a novel, but it’s in translation, so there’s a Thema code for fiction in
translation. In many countries, fiction in translation
is actually a very common subject, so we have…they’re almost like
qualifiers in Thema, so there’s special features of fiction,
which is what fiction in translation is, and then, we have narrative themes. There are narrative themes like
coming-of-age. So social issues. The inclusivity around socio-economic
issues they’re hard to spot, they’re much harder to find. This one, for example,
deals with growing up gay in the late 90s early noughties in North France,
and it gives you a totally different vision of France away from the
Parisian-style novels and everybody’s happy. This is an incredibly eye-opening account
of what it’s like to be poor in France. We also are using the 5PSG flag,
relating to gay people, because that’s part of the story. These are hard ones to identify,
books about class. We have been asked to…so, in the UK,
Penguin Random House set up a diversity and inclusivity working group,
and they had a metadata subgroup in that, and they’ve been looking at their own
publications, at Thema, looking to see where they may think there
are missing codes. And one of the codes they’ve identified,
they’ve given us a whole list of really good suggestions, and one of the codes
they’ve identified is an ability to talk about class discrimination based
on…which is really strong in some countries.
So that’s gone as a suggestion. So, with this one, again,
building up meaning. So if you’re choosing one section,
this would go in time travel, it’s one of those novels that goes…you
know, part of the story takes place in the 70s and part in the early 19th century. But again, I’m using the narrative theme,
social issues. Social issues are often a way of
highlighting books that could be talking about diversity or inclusivity issues. And also, I wanted to use this to
highlight the national qualifier relating to African-Americans, which again,
comes from the U.S. Another, one on national qualifiers,
this is the what Australia has submitted and was integrated into Thema is they have
a qualifier relating to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders,
that is the term they use at the moment in Australia, it’s what they asked us to
add, it’s the officially accepted term. But Australia is also going through a
debate about the suitability of terms. So if the Australian national group comes
to us and says, “Actually, we no longer use those terms,
we want to change it,” then this can be updated. As the importance of national qualifiers,
that, if you have particular needs in your market, Thema is flexible enough
so we can add those. Place qualifiers, really
important in Thema. You can use place qualifiers for guides,
for history books, but you can also use it for fiction, both adult and children’s,
to identify the place. So this one takes place in Jamaica. But also, there’s important information
that you should be sending in ONIX. So the Willesden Bookshop people,
they showed me this publisher does a lot of bilingual books and they use a lot of
them because the same story exists in many languages. This is the English and Somali version. So, in ONIX, you’ve got
the fact that is a bilingual edition and you’ve got the languages that
it’s in. Those languages are really important. It’s really hard sometimes to find books
in other languages for schools. Again, books about other places and other
cultures, but this one I’ve put in is a translated title. This was originally written in French so
it’s a really good illustrated children’s book. But, as it’s French and translated into
English, it gives a different vision to children because the trip around the
world is much more geared to places that the French would know. So that’s another example. Place. So it’s in the title but it’s also you can
send it in the codes because, if it’s there as a Thema code saying,
“The action of this novel takes place in Harare,” it’s much easier to build
lists to create things using a code than it is if you’re just searching
through titles. But again, it’s something in your ONIX. The place, the country code,
you can associate information about where somebody comes from. I know it’s very important to identify
authors that come from Canada, so you’re probably
familiar with this code list, “Citizen of.” But I talked to another bookshop,
in North London, specialises in books by authors from the Caribbean and from
Africa. So this kind of information they say is
really hard to find, identifying authors that are from the
countries in the Caribbean or are from countries in Africa. So the country codes, or region codes,
or city are also information. And then, you start building up lots of
different bits of information. So, for example, with this title,
you have a lot of access points. Every bit of metadata that you send is
important to somebody. It might seem like I’m sending too much
information or I’m displaying too much information but somebody will want that
information and find it important. So, on this one, you’ve
got your Thema qualifiers. For place, you’ve got information about
the author who’s from Eritrea, you’ve got the information of the language
it was originally written in. But this one also has , in the subtitle,
there’s information that gives a clue to the diversity and, also,
in the series title. And again, as I said earlier,
in the descriptive data that you send, you can also highlight these issues. Not issues, you can
highlight these things. I believe this author lives in Toronto. I think. Something else I don’t think it’s used
enough is prize composite. In the UK, everybody’s obsessed with the
Costa Prize, or the Booker Prize, and that’s what everybody puts in the
title, tries to get in, but there are many many prizes.
I found a few. If a book is shortlisted or wins one of
these prizes, there are lots of prizes that help you identify these books could
be interesting, these books could be, you know, open us towards a different kind
of author. So it’s worth including information about
prizes, in a structured way, through ONIX because somebody will find
that interesting. Librarians will find that interesting,
educators who are looking particular books, booksellers,
the independent booksellers will use that information. With this one, I wanted to highlight
another qualifier, 5AR, for reluctant or struggling readers. So that’s another form of inclusion,
it’s the inclusion of those readers who feel excluded from young readers who feel
excluded because the books aren’t suitable for them. So we have a flag, there are three flags
I’m going to show you. So this one for reluctant or struggling
readers who are children or teenagers, it’s a really valuable bit of information
to educators and to librarians when you’re trying to compile a list. Most of these books will be, what we call,
high-low, so higher interest age, lower reading age. So the publishers had this one written
specifically for a reading age of 8, which is the lower half of the ONIX,
but the interest age is 12 to 16. So these are really important as well,
it’s about including as many readers as possible. Another aspect is, as I showed you at the
beginning, told you at the beginning, addition type. So this is part of DK’s,
Dorling Kindersley publishes a series of children’s picture books that are also
available as Braille editions. I saw the editor of these books give a
talk and she was talking…she championed these because her daughter was born blind
and she found there was nothing she could share with her daughter.
She was learning, she was talking about a very
interesting concept of the first sounds when your child is
born blind and doesn’t understand the sounds that you are hearing. So, fascinating talk,
it’s a very difficult concept to create as a book. But those edition types are important
because, as she said, it was really hard for her to find
physical books that were available in Braille in the trade that she could
read with her daughter. This one, again, it’s fiction in
translation and it’s available in large type. Large type is still important in many
markets, so that’s another one that’s important. I actually finished reading this one,
it’s actually quite good. I recommend it. So another of those five qualifiers. So I came across this publisher,
they specialise in books for people who are in mid to late-stage dementia,
their picture books with quotes so that carers or family can engage in
conversation through books with pictures that are easy to talk about and ones that
are easy to talk about. Very very specialised publisher,
there aren’t many books about…so this is 5AZ was something we introduced in the
last update of Thema to help flag up those books that could be suitable
for working with people. Now, again, we’ve had feedback that we
shouldn’t have included autism in this section, which is
a legitimate bit of feedback. So, in the next version,
we’re looking at how we…create a code that would allow people to flag up that
the book is suitable for people that are on the autism spectrum. So these little things that we do in Thema
we try and add them. They may not be for many books but for the
few books that do get those flags, they’re really important. For all of the different bits of metadata
that you can add, it may not seem like there’s many books or it may not seem
that it’s very important, but every single bit of metadata that you
can add to use the subject codes, to use keywords, to use description,
but to put in things about the contributor,
to put in things about prizes, anything that gives people information. The people that are looking for these
books will really appreciate if that information is supplied by the publisher
or is available on websites, etc. And I wanted to finish with list 196 and
accessibility. So I took this example from LIA, in Italy,
the LIA organisation in Italy is going through the every digital publication
that’s available in Italy and is making it accessible. They then put in our websites
so that every version of the book available in Italy is accessible. And they request the metadata and they
display the metadata. So the bottom half of this,
so you’ve got the ONIX metadata accessibility and, on the bottom half,
is how they display it in friendly messages. Europe has just passed legislation
making…they’ve got 6 years, like GDPR, to make all digital publications,
forthcoming digital publications, accessible, you have to send the metadata,
you have to make all platforms accessible, and any reading device,
the forthcoming reading device has to be accessible. So list 196. So, as I was saying,
Thema is constantly evolving because the market and society are changing. So I’ve tried to give a few examples of
how maybe Thema and ONIX can help flag up those titles. But there are things that are missing,
there are things that you can’t yet express. So you have to look at what you can do
already but, if there are things that you can’t do that you want to do,
I encourage you to get involved as we’re starting to think about the next version. The next version will probably come out
this time next year, it takes a while to go through everything. But you should get involved with your
national group, you should get in touch with the Thema group for BookNet Canada. Or if you’re a francophone,
you should get in touch with BTLF and gets involved. Because we need to know what the right
words are, we never add anything to any of our standards because we want to,
we do it because the supply chain needs it, it’s because
we get requests from you. – [Female] I’m just wondering if you can
speak a bit to how you sort of balance the need to be vague enough to encompass like
a global experience with the need to, you know, identify what the actual
experiences are. Like the code for social issues like that
can encompass so much. – That’s why the Thema allows you to build
up. So if you’re using the fiction social
issues, narrative themes…narrative themes are a qualifier,
so they flag up something but, in the examples we give,
the best practise we encourage people to use that with something else. That is a really good question because
sometimes you can get really detailed. Some of the suggestions I was making,
not everybody will want to display all that information on the
public-facing website, but giving that information does help
other people in the supply chain make choices. So that you may not display
narrative-theme social issues, or you may not display which social issues
you’re talking about, but it’s important to give that detail. It is hard because…I talked to somebody
who says that the publisher that that person worked for was reluctant to use
some Thema codes in case their books got put into a pigeonhole,
that they were less willing to express that there might be a diversity theme in
case that was labelled as only that diversity theme. So it’s balanced.

Danny Hutson

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