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Resolving Chaos: exploring the options

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  1. Resolving Chaos: exploring the options Charleston November 6 2009 Mark Bide, Executive Director, EDItEUR

  2. About EDItEUR • London-based global trade standards organization for books and serials supply chains • Established 1991 • Not-for-profit membership organization • ONIX family of communications standards • ONIX for Books • ONIX for Serials (online subscription products including ebooks) • ONIX for Publication Licenses • EDI • RFID • Manage the International ISBN Agency

  3. ISBN – what route out of the chaos?

  4. The solutions being tried or proposed • Use proprietary product identifiers in the channel • Have someone else apply ISBNs in the channel • Introduce yet another new identifier… • “ISBN +metadata”

  5. Solution 1:Vendor-assigned proprietary identifiers • Advantages • Some vendors already apply proprietary identifiers at the level of individual SKUs, so no additional work • Publishers don’t need to bother with proliferation of new identifiers, and can simply issue an “ebook ISBN” (against which vendors report) • Disadvantages • Further along the chain (eg in libraries) the identifiers will be inconsistent and have no meaning (and may be impossible to manage) • A return to pre-ISBN days? Will we need to reinvent the ISBN • Reality check • A return to a pre-ISBN world • The worst of all possible worlds? identifiers which look like ISBNs but are not • A systems driven solution – semantic and technical chaos

  6. Solution 2:Third-party (wholesaler) assigned ISBNs • Advantages • Identifier familiar throughout the chain • Publishers don’t need to bother with proliferation of new identifiers, and can simply issue an “ebook ISBN” (against which vendors report) • Disadvantages • Potentially, considerable confusion – is the channel the correct point of granularity? • Publishers deeply dislike the idea of someone else being allowed to identify “their books” • Reality check • Some wholesalers have ISBN prefix and will begin to assigning • “We will always prefer the publisher’s format specific ISBN and also will link the parent ISBN to our own prefixed number”

  7. Solution 3:Another level of identifier • The Global Release Identifier [GRid] • Identifies… “bundles of one or more Digital Resources compiled for the purpose of electronic distribution. It is not used to identify any specific Product which contains such a Release, or individual instances of the Release.” • Purpose: to manage the proliferation of products and the lack of an appropriate standard product identifier • The music industry has never had its own standard product identifier • Has used UPC/EAN

  8. The music industry identification model ISWC Song ISRC Recording Recording Recording Recording Many recordings of the same song

  9. The music industry identification model ISWC Song Song Song ISRC Other content Recording Recording Recording GRid Release Prop. UPC ISRC! Product Product Product Product Many products with the same content, but different technical characteristics, permissions etc

  10. Another identifier for the book industry? • Advantages • Clarity of identification • Disadvantages • Implementation costs and comprehension problems • Reality check [in the music industry] • GRid adoption has been slow • Different labels are applying in different ways • The labels have never been very disciplined in applying ISRC • There is a huge amount of metadata required in reporting • Not simply “10 copies of GRid 123 sold this month” • Standard product identifiers also required?

  11. Solution 4:ISBN + Metadata • Advantages • Identifier familiar throughout the chain • Least disruption to existing systems? • Disadvantages • Confuses the semantic of the ISBN – stands for different things in print and digital environments • Probably more complex to implement than it appears • eg Books in Print; library and publisher systems, commercial messaging • Reality check • Clearly the preferred solution for some publishers • Has everyone thought through the system implications

  12. Questions we would like to address • What level of granularity best meets your requirements? • Generic ebook identifier? • Format (e.g. pdf, epub?) • Platform (e.g. ebrary)? • Which of these solutions best meets your requirements? • Proprietary identifiers • ISBNs assigned in the channel • A new identifier (like GRid) • “ISBN + metadata” (ie using the ISBN as a GRid) • Does any of this change when you think about fragments (individual chapters...)?

  13. Thank you

  14. ISTC – the solution to textual work identification?

  15. What is the ISTC for? • The purpose of the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) is to enable the efficient identification of textual works. The ISTC provides a means of uniquely and persistently identifying textual works in information systems and of facilitating the exchange of information about those works between authors, agents, publishers, retailers, libraries, rights administrators and other interested parties, on an international level. • The ISTC may be applied to any textual work, whenever there is an intention to produce such a work in the form of one or more manifestations. It provides an identification data element for applications that record and exchange information about textual works and related manifestations. For example, the ISTC may be used for the purposes of collocating subsequent manifestations of the same work or derivations of the same work in applications involving electronic rights administration or information retrieval.

  16. The challenge of a standard work identifier for books – different identity model requirements Different users may have different functional requirements – so may have a different view of the necessary granularity: • Publishers may need to collocate all the different manifestations of the same edition of a book they publish • Retailers may need to do the same…or may need to collocate all the different editions of “the same work” from many different publishers • Librarians may need to collocate the same work, but distinguish between what FRBR calls different “expressions” of “the same work” • Rights management organisations may need to distinguish between different versions of “the same work” because of differences in rights ownership

  17. A soluble problem? • Yes… but at the expense of rather more sophisticated metadata management than we are used to • Many relationships have to be created and managed • And what about the problems of “fragments” of text… • …or photographs • Serious system implications for everyone who needs to manage the ISTC • ISTC will need to find a sustainable economic model