The Untold Story: Metadata

Bringing up the topic of metadata usually triggers thoughts about the need to include title and author information in an ebook. While certainly a necessity, this kind of traditional metadata is not what we’re going to delve into now.

One of the big issues facing people with disabilities as they try to enter the ebook market is how to discover the quality of the ebooks they want to buy. One ebook is not the same as another, as we’ve been discussing, and readers need to know what they’re getting when they pay for your product. And you should be rewarded for your commitment to accessibility by having your ebooks stand out from the crowd.

Unfortunately, in the past, once you pushed your ebook into a distribution channel, whatever good work you had done to make your content accessible would become indistinguishable from all the inaccessible content out there to the person on the purchasing end. At about the same time that EPUB 3 was being finalized, however, the people at EDItEUR introduced a new set of accessibility metadata for use in ONIX records. This metadata plugs the information gap.


This guide can’t possibly explain all of ONIX, nor would it be the appropriate place to do so. If you are not familiar with the standard, please visit the EDItEUR Web site for more information.

An ONIX record, if you’re not familiar, is an industry-standard message (xml record) that accompanies your publication, providing distributors with both content and distribution metadata. ...

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