Pat PaytonRenee RegisterPublishers and authors who want to sell their books in the Digital Age need to learn a new language: Metadata. It sounds like a computer language, and in a way it is, but metadata is much more. It’s as old as the ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt, and as new as the World Wide Web.

Professional publishers, large and small, need to master the development and distribution of comprehensive metadata for the books they publish. The Metadata Handbook is a one-stop guide for success, and as co-author, Renee Register tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally, metadata serves a pair of grand purposes.

“First is the information needed for product description – what the potential reader or consumer might need to know, either to find or discover a book, and, importantly, to decide if that’s the book that they want,” she explains. “But what we often don’t talk about is the information needed for effective commerce.  And this is what publishers and their trading partners need to know and track and analyze for business reasons. A lot of this metadata the consumer doesn’t even see, but it’s driving behind-the-scenes transactions and business analysis and strategy.”

Even though metadata pre-dates the world of e-books and tablets, it is essential publishing in 2013 because only with accurate and complete metadata can digital products be located — and purchased – online.

“This is an important handbook for every publisher to have and to read through, so that they can see what is their next action plan,” notes Patricia Payton, Senior Manager of Publisher Relations and Content Development for Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions. “And since metadata is evolving, the question will be, what am I going to do in the next six months?  What am I going to do in the next 12 months? Metadata will continue to be a focus in publishing over the next several years, because we are moving and changing as we go.”

The Metadata HandbookIn addition to being the co-author (with Thad McIlroy) of The Metadata Handbook, Renee Register is founder of DataCurate, a company supporting publishers and libraries in the development of data policies, practices, and systems designed to connect readers to content. She has over 20 years’ experience in building and growing innovative metadata systems, products, and services, including ten years with Ingram Book Group and six years with OCLC, a global library cooperative.

On Tuesday, February 12, at the Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in New York City, Renee Register will present, “Creating Powerful Metadata,” a 90-minute workshop where participants will employ an online tool for metadata entry and transformation to ONIX. Also at TOC, Pat Payton joins other Bowker colleagues for an “Ask Me Anything” panel on Thursday, February 14.

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