Note: In view of the current Coronavirus pandemic, CCC staff, along with the industry, are not currently attending any conferences, other than virtual ones. Stay safe!
In February, Kurt Heisler and David Schott represented Copyright Clearance Center at the NISO+ Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Heisler is a Director of Publisher Sales, responsible for helping publishers with developing their metadata strategies, smart content and the evolving publishing ecosystems in relation to open science and open access. Schott is the Senior Manager of CCC’s Research and Analysis team, which focuses on better understanding the publishing industry through data-driven analysis and market research. Often working together, their collective expertise spans CCC’s understanding of metadata and standards, how investments in metadata quality manifest in our industry, and what it takes to “do metadata right.” (For an example of this expertise, see our recent podcast, “Healthy Metadata and the EU Copyright Directive.”)
NISO+ is a new addition to the conference circuit, sprouting from the recent merging of NFAIS and NISO. NISO’s core focus and output are the standards and recommended practices used across industries worldwide. Those standards and practices are built from collaborative working groups and teams of subject matter experts and are produced to facilitate interoperability and common understanding in trade and communication. The attendees of the conference included technologists, publishers, researchers, librarians, funders, aggregators, ontologists and many (self-described) “data wonks.” CCC is involved in events like this with a unique perspective as we work closely with creators, users, aggregators and rightsholders worldwide and thereby see, from multiple facets, how both high- and basic-quality metadata can bolster the transfer of information.
Across the three days of presentations, with so many varied topics (such as artificial intelligence, open access and funding mandates, JATS XML schema elements and the economies at play in publishing), a few consistent themes and messages emerged among presenters and attendees:
#1: Metadata is immeasurably powerful
Metadata is the heart of research and publishing. Whether it is enabling AI-based discovery, creating insights into business workflows, enabling the transfer of licensing information or driving features in content management systems, metadata is like a port, granting access to the seas of underlying information and data. Metadata can be harnessed to find new opportunities, increase business efficiency and enhance product features.
#2: There are challenges in strategy and execution
Today, decision makers and those executing metadata strategy face complete information overload, rapidly changing ontologies and technologies, rights management complexities and increased customer expectations. Absent strong collaboration, shared experiences or guidance, these challenges become daunting and potentially insurmountable. Attendees seemed to agree on a sense of urgency: the time is now to act on a forward-thinking approach to metadata that at once solves unique business problems and aligns with the global digital marketplace.
#3: Help exists and there are solutions
Engaging in community collaboration, seeking industry expertise, and utilizing best practices — these are strategies that work together to form new business value while addressing an organization’s goals and maintaining interoperability with the rest of the information services world. Challenges indeed! Each situation is different and requires evaluation and strategic decisions about how metadata will be created, ingested or delivered in the publishing ecosystem. Metadata decisions need to reflect awareness of all relevant members of the provider’s knowledge supply chain and include considerations of factors both internal and external.
CCC has been in the trenches of metadata for quite some time. Over the years we have managed complex rights ontologies representing nuances of global rights licensing, we ingest over nearly a couple of hundred daily feeds from content creators, publishers, aggregators and libraries worldwide and we house them all in a bibliographic management system containing over 150 million records. We’ve seen it all. Publishers are facing significant metadata challenges more frequently and more intensely these days and many need guidance developing their metadata and content management strategy. With years of experience CCC offers a valuable and unique perspective on how the flow of information can be streamlined and maximized for organizations. CCC looks forward to even more direct engagement with publishers, researchers and members of the metadata community in the near future.