3 thoughts on “Data flows in the book world”

  1. Another report worth keeping sight of is Celia Burton’s “Onix for Libraries” (2001)
    But one of the problems in any discussion about the value of ONIX in the continuum of data flow is that, like MARC, it’s principally a transmission standard. Like MARC it includes a number of coded lists that ensure consistency of content, but generally it’s a data carrier – no more, no less. Mapping ONIX elements to MARC is one thing; ensuring that the content that’s being mapped is appropriate for use in a different environment is quite another.

  2. An important topic. So, as you note, one of the current biggest incentives for publishers to supply relatively good metadata is Amazon. And I don’t mean Amazon as synechdoche for things like it — I mean Amazon itself, singularly, due to it’s giant market position.
    So publishers supply metadata to Amazon, in some format, but don’t necessarily supply it in a format or through a mechanism available to anyone else.
    So, it’s worth thinking about — can the library chain of communication get this metadata _from Amazon_ in any useful way? There may not be sufficient metadata in Amazon to support library needs — but is some better than none? One could theoretically get metadata from Amazon for free through Amazon’s API, although Amazon’s terms of service for the API make this use somewhat questionable.
    I’m not very familiar with library acquisitions processes, but I know many libraries are now actually purchasing books through Amazon, I think through an intentional library program Amazon has? I wonder if Amazon supplies any metadata with these library purchased books, in what formats? I wonder if it would be worthwhile for OCLC to explore making some kind of deal with Amazon where OCLC is explicitly allowed to harvest metadata from Amazon to serve as the seed of richer library metadata.

  3. For much of the content it carries, ONIX is more structured than MARC 21, and its content is more formalized. In some ways the recent additions to MARC 21 made to accommodate the needs of the Germanophone cataloging community–whose content is similarly more structured and formalized–may serendipitously facilitate the accommodation of relevant ONIX data without severe degradation.

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