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A Countdown Calendar for ONIX 3.0

Monday, January 27, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

Earlier this month, BISG's metadata committee discussed and endorsed a "countdown calendar" to help guide the U.S. book industry as it moves to ONIX 3.0. The calendar is tied to Amazon's plan to require ONIX 3.0 for print formats by the end of 2020.

In their discussions in December and January, the members of the metadata committee agreed that any calendar should target August 2020 as the desired date for ONIX 3.0 readiness. The number of new print titles released in the fall and the demands of the fourth-quarter selling season made a later date far less desirable.

The calendar is a living document and will be updated as needed until the industry is ready for adoption of the standard. Several industry overviews (outlined in this post) will be published by BISG in 2020, and all metadata providers and recipients are encouraged to review the calendar now to make sure their own plans support a timely transition.

The next significant date come in a bit less than a month, when recipients are asked to confirm their readiness to support ONIX 3. By that date (February 21), publishers are encouraged to have a timeline in place to test their ability to generate ONIX 3. The working target for publisher tests of their ability to create ONIX 3 for print format is the end of March, but the committee recognizes that some publishers may need more time.

Starting February 21, BISG and EDItEUR will offer ONIX training in New York, Minneapolis, and Chicago. Member companies Elsevier, Lerner Publishing, and Baker & Taylor are hosting the training in these cities. Some spots remain open in all sessions; registration is available on the BISG web site.

Communications and updates from BISG are set for February 25 (a blog post like this one), April 24 (at the BISG Annual Meeting of Members), May 5 (a webinar on moving from ONIX 2.1 to ONIX 3), potentially at an in-person session held at BookExpo in late May, June 23, and July 21. Other updates and reminders may be added as the calendar takes hold.

We hope to come to the Annual Meeting with an update that says most or all senders have had their primary testing partner review and provide feedback on an ONIX 3 file. The calendar notes the value of using an ONIX XSD to validate the file, a test that both the sender (publisher) and recipient can conduct. Copies of the XSD are available on the EDItEUR web site.

We're also hoping to confirm providers and recipients as ONIX 3-ready by May 18. That's a reasonably ambitious goal, and we expect we'll need to create a set of "short list" companies that still need to work on overall readiness. A great many publishers are served by metadata service providers who are already ONIX 3.0-ready; the work required after May 18 may be centered around the workflows in place to create metadata that meets the standard.

Throughout the year, the metadata committee will include ONIX 3.0 readiness as one of its agenda items (it will do the same for discussions of the 979 prefix for U.S. ISBNs). The committee meets monthly, typically at 11 a.m. ET on the third Wednesday of each month. Any employee of a BISG member is eligible to join the committee; apply through your member account or write us at to be added.

If your company is not a member and you need direction or guidance on any aspect of the move to ONIX 3.0, contact the BISG office at the same email address, and we'll figure out how to get your questions answered.


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