November 15- November 22, 2007 Edition

BISG Examines
Challenges of Tracking
and Trading Digital Content

NEW YORK, NY/11/12/07–Consultant Michael Holdsworth, formerly managing director of EMEA, Cambridge University Press, told an annual meeting of the Book Industry Study

Group last week that “there are probably no easy answers” to how the book industry deals with the proliferation of digital products in the supply chain.

At the members-only meeting in New York City November 6, Holdsworth and a half dozen other experts examined the industry’s needs going forward into a world where content is delivered digitally.

Each year at the BISG Annual Meeting of Members, book industry professionals from across the supply chain gather to discuss new research, emerging trends, and exciting new possibilities.

“With the coming to market of new reading devices, and the likely emergence of a completely new supply chain for digital delivery of everything from complete e$B!>(Bbooks to individual chapters or smaller fragments, it appears that the revolution in electronic publishing is set to extend through all sectors of the book industry,” he said.

Holdsworth explained that the challenge for the industry will be to manage the explosion of hundreds of thousands of pieces of content–from book-length work to content fragments, all of which must be identified, tracked and traded. “There are two established identifiers within the industry – the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). They are self$B!>(Bevidently the place to start. And it would clearly be desirable if, either separately or in combination, these two identifiers could between them be configured or reconfigured to meet at least some of the new requirements.

Among the promising solutions will be to establish a consistent naming convention for marketing files, perhaps following the lead provided by Amazon submission and the BATCHConnecdt imitative in the UK. Holdsowrth said “there would be considerable value in collocating these under an ISTC (International Standard Text Code) umbrella,” including not just file-naming, but also identifying, and designing a metadata dictionary.”

He also sees the addition of some sort of “intelligence” being built into a new hybrid ISBN-DOI-co-standard, which has been called “Actionable ISBN” or “Bookland DOI.” The ISTC standard is expected to be introduced next year and will assign a single identification number to the various formats for a single piece of content.

For example, the same content or pieces of that content might be distributed as downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, online access, print/eBook bundles, Google and Amazon, POD and $B!F(Blive books’, chunks, fragments and articles. The same content might be licensed,sublicensed or rented to websites or other entities. Under the ideal ISTC standard, the content, no matter how it is distributed, would be identified under a single identifier.

The complete transcript of his speech can be found at