Clark FifeRebecca AlbaniOnce locked away exclusively in the card catalogs of libraries, metadata in 2013 has escaped to the Web where in digital form, it describes the contents and context of data files. And because almost every form of published content today is created in digital form, metadata is an essential building block of every publishing business.

For guidance on best practices in metadata, CCC’s Chris Kenneally turned to Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions for publishers, booksellers, and libraries. In a world where brick-and-mortar bookstores are vanishing like white rhinos or blue whales – explains Rebecca Albani, Bowker Publisher Relations Manager – the challenge and burden for metadata about books is to drive first discovery, then sales.

“When you’re sending your data out, you want to make sure you know what people are accepting before you send it out,” Albani explains. “Sending cover images, for example, is very important, because when you’re searching online, if you’re looking up a title and there’s no cover image, you might not necessarily buy that book; a cover makes you buy that book. But when you’re submitting your cover image to providers, you want to make sure that you know exactly the pixels and JPGs, whatever format the vendors need, because different providers accept different things.”

“It’s really about knowing who your audience is, and trying to think about the different ways in which they may be searching for a book,” adds Clark Fife is the Metadata Manager at Macmillanpublishers of trade books and textbooks, as well as scientific journals.

Later this week, at the Digital Book World conference in New York City, metadata experts will tackle the challenge of Making Content Searchable, Findable, and Shareable: Tools and best practices to improve discoverability, in a panel discussion that includes Bowker’s Patricia Payton.

At Bowker, Rebecca Albani assists publishers with making their data more discoverable to customers and, therefore, helping them increase their sales; she also educates publishers on the types of metadata that should be supplied with their titles, as well as the most effective method of submitting this data in order to improve search ability.

Prior to joining Macmillan, Clark worked as the Product Category Manager at Barnes & Noble and, helping to design their subject hierarchy. He was also the Director of Metadata Services at Howcast, an online video site specializing in How-to content.

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