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News & Press: General Announcements

Committee Charters: A Look Inside BISG Committees

Monday, February 3, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

Last month, BISG announced plans to bring ONIX training to three cities: New York, Minneapolis, and Chicago. Sessions are scheduled in the last week of February, with the full plan posted on the BISG web site.

Demand has been steady, and some of the planned sessions are nearing capacity. The February 21 half-day course on ONIX pricing is an exception; it's a hands-on workshop that still has some openings. All of the training for the February schedule will be led by Graham Bell, executive director of EDItEUR, the international organization responsible for maintaining ONIX, Thema, EDItX, and other standards.

BISG has maintained a close relationship with EDItEUR throughout the two decades that ONIX has been a metadata standard for book publishing. Through our metadata committee, we represent the U.S. market on the standard's International Steering Committee, which meets twice each year at the London and Frankfurt Book Fairs. EDItEUR staff join almost all of BISG's monthly committee calls, both to answer questions and hear from the U.S. market directly.

Much of this is old news to the more than 100 members of our metadata committee, but it happens in background for most of BISG's membership. That's both the value of BISG committees, which convene monthly to solve problems affecting two or more parts of the supply chain, and somewhat their curse: working out the details almost always happens inside these meetings.

We do a few things to help make visible the work done in committees. First among these are our committee charters. At least annually, each of our five standing committees writes a brief overview of the current situation for their primary focus, then outlines objectives, stakeholder benefits, projected deliverables, and potential roadblocks for its work. The BISG Board reviews these charters, which were approved at the Board's January meeting.

The web site features links to the charters for our metadata and identification, rights, subject codes, supply chain, and workflow committees. The summary page for committee charters also includes links to detailed work plans for several of our committees.

The charters are steady throughout a year, typically, but work plans change, particularly as market environments change. As recently as last week, members of our supply chain committee were sharing what they could about the potential impact of the Corona virus on production capacity in China. It's not a question you anticipate when writing a work plan, but it's part of the value that BISG committees provide.

To bring this full circle: committees also help us make decisions about things like ONIX training. Member companies Elsevier (New York), Lerner Publishing (Minneapolis), and Baker & Taylor (Chicago, hosted at a Follett office just west of the city) are active members of the metadata committee, and they volunteered space to host training sessions. We're there because our members are there. Providing members with a seat at the table is a core benefit of our committee work, and we're grateful to their support as they give BISG members and EDItEUR a seat at their tables.


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