May 22, 2022

NISO Publishes E-book Metadata Recommended Practice

From the National Information Standards Organization:

Today sees the publication of the NISO Recommended Practice, E-Book Bibliographic Metadata Requirements in the Sale, Publication, Discovery, Delivery, and Preservation Supply Chain (NISO RP-29-2022). This document, prepared by the E-Book Metadata Working Group and approved by the NISO Information Creation & Curation Topic Committee, incorporates feedback received from publishers, retailers, libraries, service providers, preservation agencies, and others who are using e-book metadata.

The Recommended Practice focuses on several key areas for e-book metadata — defining the minimal requirements for sales, discovery, delivery, electronic holdings management, and preservation purposes; identifying the best way to transmit metadata through the supply chain; updates to titles and holdings; developing rules for e-book metadata deduplication purposes; and sharing a variety of examples of recommended practice implementation.

The Recommended Practice focuses on key metadata elements — titles, names, dates, book identifiers, and subjects — to 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 goal is to provide principles and examples that support shared understanding and, where possible, alignment of e-book metadata practices across sectors, complementing existing e-book best practices and guidelines, such as those published by BISG, EDItEUR, and W3C.

“Ensuring that all stakeholders have a shared understanding of standards, practices, and purposes for the metadata they use is crucial,” says Working Group co-chair Ravit David of Scholars Portal, University of Toronto, “especially since the format, transmission, and applications of e-book metadata are constantly changing, and workflows and data exchange are increasingly automated, massive in scale, and networked.”

Ravit’s co-chair, Alistair Morrison of Johns Hopkins University, notes, “Involving a broad and diverse group of stakeholders, both in the Working Group and through the public comment period, has enabled us to ensure that our recommendations can be widely adopted and used throughout all sectors of the information community.”

“NISO is very grateful to Ravit, Alistair, and all the members of the E-Book Metadata Working Group for developing this Recommended Practice, as well as to everyone who took the time to comment on it,” says NISO’s Executive Director, Todd Carpenter. “Implementing these recommendations will benefit the whole e-book community — from authors to readers, from publishers to retailers, vendors, and libraries.”

Direct to Recommended Practice Document

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.