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Committee Charters

Committee Charters

Here are the most recent committee charter documents. If you are interested in joining any of these committee efforts, email for more information.


Metadata Committee


Current State
BISG efforts to make ONIX 3.0 the uniform metadata standard in the United States were unsuccessful, and the initiative was tabled in the last quarter of 2018. Industry feedback indicates that current priorities are: identifying and sharing ways to better manage metadata across the supply chain; helping the industry provide timely, high-quality metadata; and marketing applications for book metadata.


  • With the workflow committee, strengthen documentation of the metadata supply chain, identifying weaknesses in the current approach and making recommendations for operational or structural changes that would address any shortcomings

  • Identify ways to adapt BISG best-practices recommendations to meet metadata producers and recipients “where they are”, improving access to current information and identifying areas of need

  • Gather feedback on the marketing applications of greatest immediate need, addressing the leading concerns with a plan that delivers benefits in 2019. Recruit committee participants whose experience informs marketing discussions.


Stakeholder Impact/Benefits

  • Improved understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the current metadata supply chain

  • Recommendations for changes that would improve the way metadata is managed between trading partners

  • Direct application of prior best-practice work in areas that are of greatest need, particularly for metadata providers

  • Provide support to the important and growing use of metadata as a marketing tool



  • Map of the metadata supply chain, documenting strengths and weaknesses

  • Roadmap for deploying the best-practices guide to a wider audience

  • Plan to improve support for marketing applications of book metadata



  • Ability to recruit committee members with adequate background in marketing

  • Potentially, willingness of supply-chain participants to implement recommendations to improve the metadata supply chain


Rights Committee (Kris Kliemann, Chair)


Current State

In a survey conducted by the rights committee to inform its white paper, Publishing Rights: An Untapped Opportunity, the committee found that:


  • The importance of rights transactions is growing, as demand increases across international markets for both English-language and translated works.


  • Failure to collect rights revenue is a growing problem, as transaction volume grows and the systems in place to track agreements fail to keep up.


  • Organizations are “currently missing out on meaningful rights revenue” as a result of problems identifying rights holders and clearing rights.


  • Paper-based workflows and reporting are costly and ineffective, characterized by disconnected systems and a lack of standard approaches.


  • The confusion about who controls which rights has grown worse, particularly for backlist, acquired, and divested works and imprints.


  • Rights holders and rights buyers are looking for technology and workflow solutions that address multiple parts of the rights supply chain.



The rights committee identifies the most important rights-related problems facing the publishing industry, identifies areas of consensus where standards would be valuable, and leads online and in-person events to inform the broader rights committee.


Stakeholder Impact/Benefits

Accurately communicating rights information between parties can grow revenue, reduce transaction costs, and avoid costly errors. Making rights information more accessible for both internal and external audiences also improves publishers’ ability to financially benefit from their intellectual property.



In 2019 the Rights Committee will:

  • Update BISG’s earlier attempts at developing a rights vocabulary, to provide a basis for further rights-related initiatives.


  • Seek out and monitor blockchain initiatives. Provide BISG with feedback on how this technology can support publishing rights statements and transactions.


  • Contribute to the development of a two-hour rights program scheduled for September 2019.



Different parts of the rights community see problems in different ways, and they pursue solutions with different methods and, at times, conflicting objectives. As a result, the value of a uniform taxonomy may be difficult to prove, blocking willingness to invest in a standard.


Supply Chain Charter (2019 Draft)

Current State

The book publishing supply chain is in flux. The supply chains for physical and digital formats were built separately, with overlap in some areas (the role of intermediaries) and distinct differences in others (who creates the final files for different formats; how they are delivered to consumers). Digital formats now account for a significant share of total volume by segment, and the work done to manage them would benefit from tighter integration with the creation of physical formats.

At the same time, audiences are increasingly interest in related, non-book products, and publishers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers lack the standards to handle information and inventory in a timely, cost-effective manner. The internet has helped support the rise of legitimate third-party sellers, whose new and used-book products compete with publisher inventory, as well as gray-market and counterfeit sellers. These changes are not well-understood, and supply-chain participants require both data and strategy to address them effectively.



  • Promote the value of existing standards.


  • Update or implement standards that are of value to multiple parts of the supply chain.


  • Increase awareness about changes and challenges in the book industry supply-chain changes through research, communications, and other actions.


  • Support other BISG initiatives.

Stakeholder Impact/Benefits


  • Standards that are used consistently across the supply chain reduce overall cost and increase transparency in reporting. As the nature of inventory and demand shift, this transparency underpins the industry’s ability to track what is going on within and across channels. More widespread use of appropriate standards, such as XBITs and EDItX, can reduce costs and improve supply-chain effectiveness.


  • A shared understanding of the current supply chain and the potential impact of changes (non-book product and third-party sales are examples) allows the industry to focus on issues and threats that it can address through enforcement, updates to standards, and potentially lobbying conducted by organizations like AAP.


  • Discussing emerging trends, like piracy and counterfeiting, informs the community and provides a foundation for coordinated change. Communication and outreach also provide BISG with opportunities to demonstrate how its committee approach yields benefits across areas that in many other parts of the industry remain silo’d.



  • By November 2019, create and publish a map of the supply chain for book and non-book products, noting areas of supply, including third-party sales, gray-market and counterfeit sales, and demand. Include the map in the November 2019 webinar planned for the supply chain committee. In publishing the map, propose a plan to address identified issues.


  • By December 2019, identify a subset of existing standards for which the committee can define the current state, objectives, benefits, and potential blockers to full implementation. From that list, evaluate and recommend changes to existing supply-chain standards supported by BISG.


  • By December 2019, recommend promotional and communication options to bring information about standards to the supply-chain community.


  • At each committee meeting, update an inventory of supply chain-related issues. Publish this list on a monthly basis and invite members to comment on the list.



Because the supply chain committee works to solve problems that affect multiple segments of the publishing industry, its membership must reflect all of those segments. Representation in key areas (manufacturing, distribution, third-party sales) is limited and needs to be bolstered before the committee can address these problems. Total committee participation also needs to increase to deliver results described here. As well, resources to conduct mapping and other efforts may not be available in the timelines shown here.


Subject Codes Committee (Connie Harbison, chair)

Current State
The BISAC Subject List was developed to help authors, publishers, distributors, retailers, and some libraries categorize books in a more consistent manner. The current list covers four dozen categories and provides almost 5,000 codes to categorize a given title. The list is used in the United States and Canada as the default resource for defining the content of a book.

Internationally, use of Thema, which is currently available in more than 15 languages, continues to grow. Since 2012, the subject codes committee has mapped all BISAC updates to the current version of Thema. The introduction of Thema 1.3, expected in April 2018, will require an updated BISAC to Thema map.


The committee works to keep the BISAC Subject List current, ensuring that it continues to meet the needs of the industry. Its annual and ongoing objectives are to:

  • Review sections (categories) on a cyclical basis, adding or deleting codes as needed, and updating descriptions when warranted


  • Solicit and review requests for updates, which are assessed as they are received from the publishing community and members of the committee.


Stakeholder Impact/Benefits
Many businesses within the North American book industry currently use the headings to aid in search, discovery, and sales. Some libraries are also utilizing the BISAC Subjects to facilitate the browsing experience for patrons. Most supply-chain participants adopt the annual updates quickly (within months) so that they can employ the most up-to-date categories and descriptions.

In 2018, the committee plans to:

  • Meet on a monthly schedule to review a planned set of subject categories that include Medical, Religion, Bibles, Juvenile, and Young Adult, among others.


  • Solicit suggestions from the broader community and consider suggestions to make specific parts of the Subject List more useful to the community.


  • Finalize changes by September 2018 and bring the proposed update to the industry for comment as well as the BISG board for review and approval.


  • Publish the updated list in November 2018, accompanied by an online webinar describing the updates.


  • Through its Thema working group, contribute to the development of Thema 1.3 and, upon its release, map BISAC to the new version of Thema.


A compelling proposal made to the Committee prior to the close of the 2018 Edition 
(mid-August 2018) may delay the edition until we can accommodate the proposal. A delay can occur if BISG membership or the BISG Board voice objection to one or more parts of the new edition, prompting modifications and a need to recirculate the draft.


Workflow Committee


Current State

Both within segments and across the supply chains, workflows in place to deliver information, physical products, and digital products, are not well understood. Best practice is not defined, and cross-segment workflows may not deliver on their requirements in a timely, efficient, or transparent manner. Industry feedback indicates that current priorities include: defining thetools that can be used to improve workflows; and metadata workflows.



• Define what BISG means by workflow, within and across segments


• For one or more publishing workflows, document best practice and identify the tools and resources required to improve approaches already in place


• With the metadata committee, strengthen documentation of the metadata supply chain,identifying weaknesses in the current approach


Stakeholder Impact/Benefits

Both within and across industry segments, existing workflows have been developed as responses to prevailing conditions, with little access to best practice or alternative resources. The workflow committee’s efforts can help close an information gap, fostering best practice and growing awareness of available tools and how they might be used. In turn, this will lower costs and likely improve time to market.



In 2019 the Workflow Committee will:


• Create a workflow “white paper” that defines the term and its application within and across publishing segments.


• Follow the white paper with report on best practices, including the tools and resources of greatest use


• Publish a map of the metadata supply chain, documenting strengths and weaknesses



Workflows are sometimes described as the circulatory system of content businesses, and changing them is likened to a heart transplant, undertaken only when necessary. The willingness of book industry supply chain participants to try new tools and approaches is untested, and uptake may be limited.



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