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Ten things we learned at our Quarterly Meeting
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The IPG
Posted by IPG
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The last IPG event of 2017 provided valuable advice for two important back-office issues: GDPR and metadata. Here are just some of our takeaways

1 GDPR will be here soon

The new General Data Protection Regulation comes into force in May. It might seem a way off, but it will take some businesses a while to adapt their processes, so it needs attention now, said Fox Williams’ Nigel Miller. “This is a massive piece of legislation… If you’ve not started preparation for GDPR it’s not too late—but now is a good time to do so.”

2 There are six principles to the new rules

GDPR updates data protection for the digital age, and its main aims can be broken down into six core principles: lawfulnewss, fairness and transparency; purpose limitation; data minimisation; data accuracy; storage limitation and integrity and confidentiality. The list of new requirements might seem daunting, but many publishers will be already well on the way to them, Miller said. “The good news is that if you’re complying with the current regulations then you’re in good shape for the new ones.”

3 It’s a good time to review data processes and policies

GDPR-related tasks that publishers may want to consider include a review of data storage and consent, the appointment of a Data Protection Officer or privacy champion and a risk assessment of data safety and breaches. There is more information about GDPR and what businesses need to do in this resource from the Information Commissioner’s Office, and Fox Williams can provide support.

4 Metadata helps browsers

“Good metadata replicates browsing in bookshops online,” said Molly Slight and Sophie Leeds of Scribe UK in their case study of metadata at the Quarterly Meeting. It starts with the basics—like titles, author, ISBN, cover and codes—and this BIC briefing provides a useful summary of what they should entail.

5 Keywords are vital

When choosing your keywords, think about terms that people searching for your book or its subject might use, Slight and Leeds said. Ten to 20 keywords are usually enough, and nouns tend to work best, along with names of important people and events in the book. Keep your keywords dynamic too, responding to things like good reviews and topical search terms.

6 Involve others

Scribe makes sure someone is in overall charge of metadata, but draws on the skills and knowledge of all publishing staff. For example, editors are well-placed to suggest terms about content, while publicists should input about reviews and prizes and sales teams will have a good idea of what retailers and readers are looking for.

7 Metadata should flow freely

Klopstock pointed out that good metadata feeds should flow into many different publishing outputs, like websites, catalogues and social media—and further afield into things like overseas distributors’ databases. As he noted: “Your metadata does a huge amount of work behind the scenes.” But the rewards are worth it, he added, with research showing a close correlation between efficient metadata and sales.

8 Get it sorted early

UK metadata should ideally be finalised at least six months before publication, Klopstock said—and even earlier in some international markets. To hit those sort of deadlines, Slight and Leeds suggested chipping away at metadata tasks a little at a time rather than in concentrated efforts, and mixing up the laborious aspects of preparation with more stimulating jobs.

9 Think about investing in a system

Plenty of publishing systems are available to help make the job of metadata easier, many of them produced by IPG supplier members. Publishers’ choices will depend on requirements, size, skill level and budget, Klopstock said—but they can help just about every business. “You should think very hard about investing in one—without one your feeds might not be regular or accurate.”

10 Managing metadata is like looking after children

Klopstock made a good analogy to illustrate the ups and the downs of bibliographic information. “Metadata is like small children—unruly, accident-prone but with lots of potential. We need to look after them well.”
Molly Slight and Sophie Leeds provide ten top tips for improving metadata, with additional input from EDItEUR’s Graham Bell, on the IPG Skills Hub.

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