ONIX For Books: ONIX Codelists Issue 46 released

One of the key ways that ONIX evolves to meet new business requirements is through the regular release of new codelists. These controlled vocabularies are updated quarterly, in January, April, July and October. To maintain ongoing compatibility, no terms or codes are ever removed from the codelists, although occasionally a code is deprecated – meaning it should not be used in new data – but each release adds new codes that extend the functionality of the ONIX standard.

Issue 46 of the codelists was issued in mid-July, and consists of a mix of new codes and clarifications of the notes associated with existing codes. Some of the new codes include

  • a new edition type for books optimised for readers with dyslexia. These optimisations usually consist of extra letter, word and line spacing to reduce ‘crowding’ of words, tinted or coloured backgrounds to reduce the contrast between text and page, and an open, often sans-serif font for readability
  • a new language codes for the varieties of Norman French spoken in the Channel Islands and the French-based Reunionese Creole
  • an extension of codelist 143 from warnings based solely on the US CPSIA legislation to cover additional flashing hazards which may affect people with photosensitive epilepsy, and warnings mandated by California Proposition 65
  • the ability to list or link to a formal abstract of the content of a scholarly publication
  • the ability to provide a temporary ‘holding image’ to be used for promotional purposes before a cover is available
  • a new PDF/UA option in List 196 for use when a PDF is optimised for accessibility and conforms to ISO 14289-1:2014 (note this is not simply a ‘tagged PDF’)

There is also a workaround to be used when an e-publication usage constraint is itself subject to a start date or end date, and a method to specify the countries of registration and operation of corporate contributors.

The new and updated codes are available from the EDItEUR website here in various file formats (XML, CSV, tab-separated and so on), with documentation in HTML or PDF. A list of the changes is available here. Of course, the changes have also been integrated into the ONIX 3.0 Specification and the Implementation and Best practice Guide, and into the DTD, XSD and RNG schemas and the ‘strict’ schema. These are available here.

The next issue of the codelists is planned for release in October 2019, and suggestions for inclusion should be discussed initially with your ONIX national group, then put forward to EDItEUR by the end of August.


  • Do you use the online browser for ONIX codelists at ns.editeur.org/onix? If so, that’s also been updated to cover Issue 46 – in English and most of the other languages – and there's a handy guide to getting the most out of it here.