Although BIC has been promoting the value of accurate early product information for more than a decade, we still only have 25 companies certified by our Product Data Excellence scheme. It's true that among those 25 there are companies which account for a high proportion of the books published in the UK, but it is still a reminder of how many publishers fail to understand the vital role that metadata plays - not all of it in obvious ways - in making sales and enabling discovery.
If that is true of physical books, how much more so for the discovery of digital content. The need for full and appropriate metadata in the right place at the right time is going to make massive demands on both publishers and resellers if the market for e-books and other digital content is going to grow and prosper.
These are the issues which have been under scrutiny by our Metadata Futures Group in its work to date. What are the appropriate strategies which should be adopted by publishers to cope with the growing demands from their trading partners for accurate and unambiguous metadata? Some of the answers are what you might expect: support industry standards, migrate to ONIX 3, identify products with as much granularity as you and your entire supply chain needs, develop system structures and hierarchies which minimise duplication and bloat... You can read the report on the group's activity to date here.
There aren't any easy answers, though. There is cost - and maybe no quantifiable ROI - attached to all these developments, and time is not on our side.