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News & Press: General Announcements

BISG Updates Its Committee Structure

Wednesday, November 7, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

Last week, I wrote that BISG does its most important work in committee. Whenever we’re discussing issues affecting the book industry, we turn to one or more of our committees to gain an industry perspective on our challenges and opportunities.

The industry has evolved over the last several years, and our committee structure is evolving with it. As we approach 2019, we’re announcing three significant changes: the creation of a workflow committee; the de-activation of the content structure committee; and a refocusing of the charter for the metadata committee.


As publishing content has become increasingly digital-first and at times digital-only, the importance of creating and managing content in forms that are distribution- and sale-ready has also grown. How publishing works largely determines how it competes, particularly as content forms and channels evolve.

At the same time, pathways for creating and managing digital information, including metadata and rights, have been updated only partially. New technologies, such as blockchain, offer potential benefits, but they don’t map well to existing content and information workflows. In all cases, the effective management of digital information is a supply chain issue, calling for standards and best practices across multiple segments of the book industry.

To address these issues in 2019, BISG is planning to launch a workflow committee. The new committee will identify the most important workflow-related problems facing the book industry, define areas of consensus where standards and best practices are needed, and lead online and in-person events to foster awareness and adoption of those standards and best practices.

Content Structure

Making room for a workflow initiative requires us to make choices, and for 2019 we have decided to de-activate the content structure committee. Over the last several years, members working as part of the content structure committee have helped make EPUB and content accessibility widely understood across multiple segments of the book industry.

Today, however, we find ourselves working in a part of our industry with many organizations dedicated to sorting out digital content issues. These include DAISY, Benetech, AMAC, and AHEAD, as well as several working groups within the W3C. We will continue to support their efforts, but in 2019 we will look to them to first define objectives and identify areas in which BISG engagement makes sense.


One other change is planned, in this case with the metadata committee. At its meeting on October 25, the BISG Board directed us to develop a new charter for the metadata committee, one that included ways to better engage marketing departments in metadata planning, development, and deployment. This revised charter will be brought forward for review at the next meeting of the Board, scheduled for January 24.

Recognizing that this work will take time, the Board voted to put the metadata committee on hiatus until it can review and approve a revised charter. The committee meetings scheduled for November, December, and January will be cancelled, and the February meeting will be set as a tentative first date for a reconstituted metadata committee.

After a revised charter is reviewed and approved, we'll send out a reorganization notice to the full community. Between now and that reorganization meeting, the BISG office will serve as a contact point for issues related to ONIX, EDItEUR, and any code list changes.

While these are significant changes to BISG’s committee structure, we feel they will provide us with an enhanced ability to solve problems that affect two or more parts of the supply chain. Look for additional information in the weeks to come.


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