Come August, Brazilian publishers should be able to start implementing ONIX for Books, the international standard for book metadata. Camara Brasileira do Livro (CBL), the industry association, is investing R$197,000 (US$115,000) to make the ONIX platform available, which will enable publishers to electronically upload and update information for their books to electronic databases.
Launched under the moniker Cadastro Nacional do Livro (CANAL), the platform is being beta tested by five publishers selected by CBL, including Saraiva and Gente. CANAL requires a minimum of 17 fields and allows a maximum of 170 fields to be fed with metadata, ranging from the most basic information for a book, such as ISBN and title, to more complicated ancillary data, such as contracts and sales information, and reviews.
According to Karine Pansa, president of CBL, CANAL is crucial to publisher’s success in the digital world. “Publishers will be able to manage all their catalogues through the platform, updating information in real time to all the interested parties. Booksellers, for example, will be able to access that data instantaneously.” This is a distinct advantage over the situation today, when many book shops in Brazil still receive monthly reports from publishers with information on the catalogue and they have to “manually” updated their systems, says Pansa.
CANAL will launch with 450,000 titles in its registry, all provided by Biblioteca Nacional (Brazil’s National Library), but it will be up to the publishers to complete and update the existing data with complementary material. CBL says it will provide courses and lectures on the use of the platform to foster its adoption by the country’s publishing houses.
ONIX for Books was developed in 2000 and now, in its third revision, is the standard platform for book metadata throughout much of North America and Europe. In 2011, CERLALC (Centro Regional para el Fomento del Libro en América Latina y el Caribe), an intergovernmental organization under UNESCO that promotes book publishing and reading in Latin America and the Caribbean, advocated the adoption of the ONIX standard by Brazil and throughout the rest of Latin America.