NISO E-Book Metadata Recommended Practice Now Available For Public Comment

The NISO Working Group on E-Book Bibliographic Metadata Requirements in the Sale, Publication, Discovery, Delivery, and Preservation Supply Chain invites comments on its proposed Recommended Practice. Everyone involved in producing and using e-book metadata — publishers, retailers, libraries, service providers, and preservation agencies — is encouraged to share their feedback by August 2, 2020.

In a world where the format, transmission, and applications of e-book metadata are changing, and where metadata workflows and data exchange are becoming ever more automated, massive in scale, and networked, there is a crucial need for all stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of standards, practices, and purposes. 

The Working Group’s recommendations touch on several areas of focus for e-book metadata — defining the minimal requirements for sales, discovery, delivery, deaccessioning, and preservation purposes; identifying the best way to transmit metadata through the supply chain; addressing the use of metadata records and transfer of information in describing updates to metadata records and record sets; developing rules for e-book metadata deduplication purposes; and sharing a variety of examples of recommended practice implementation. 

According to Working Group co-chair Ravit David of Scholars Portal, University of Toronto, “Working Group members, representing diverse perspectives in the e-book landscape, shared details of varied metadata workflows and their rationales with each other. We determined that the overall purpose of this recommended practice should be to provide principles and examples in order to support  a shared understanding and, where possible, alignment of our e-book metadata practices. We feel this approach acknowledges the practicalities of this area of work, and will improve communication and consistency across existing guidelines and communities of practice.”

The second co-chair, Alistair Morrison of Johns Hopkins University, added, “Analysis of stakeholder-specific use cases supported our decision to focus closely on a short list of metadata elements: titles, names, dates, book identifiers, and subjects. Recommendations involving these elements enable basic functions of e-book metadata that apply across all stakeholder organizations: identifying a book, matching records for the same book or version, and distinguishing records that refer to different books or versions. The NISO E-Book Metadata Recommended Practice supports and complements existing e-book best practices and guidelines, such as those published by BISG, EDItEUR, and W3C.”  

NISO's Associate Executive Director, Nettie Lagace, commented, "The members of the E-Book Metadata Working Group are to be commended for their tireless efforts to develop this recommended practice. Once finalized and implemented, these recommendations will benefit the whole e-book community — from authors to readers, from publishers to retailers, vendors, and libraries. NISO welcomes feedback on this proposed recommended practice from anyone who creates and/or uses e-book metadata” 

The draft Recommended Practice is available at

About NISO

NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of information standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO website (


Nettie Lagace

Associate Executive Director
Nettie Lagace is the Associate Executive Director at NISO, where she is responsible for facilitating the work of NISO's topic committees and development groups for standards and best practices, and ...