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ONIX websites: your bibliographic data and the Mugo ONIX Bridge

By: Doug Plant | May 23, 2013 | Business solutions, Case study, and eZ Publish add-ons

In the world of books, book publishing and bookselling, the metadata exchange format “ONIX” is the preeminent method of communicating information about a book. In spite of the fact that ONIX is a rather flawed standard and protocol for exchanging bibliographic information, it is the standard which everyone has settled on. Mugo has been working with ONIX since 2003, first building a freely available ONIX management system as a proof of concept for the Centre for Canadian Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University and most recently building a turn-key system for an ONIX website - that is - an ONIX powered website.

The ONIX Bridge is a compelling solution for any publisher that has access to their ONIX feed and who wants to establish a position in the global online marketplace, if you’ll permit the expression. Our favorite CMS, eZ Publish, is one of the most advanced open source CMS’s around. It provides a broad range of functionalities and a robust platform that will support the different facets of a successful online presence for many years into the future. The combination, eZ Publish + the ONIX Bridge, is an efficient way to leverage an ONIX feed and take strides in that gargantuan marketplace.

Mugo originally wrote the ONIX Bridge for The 49th Shelf - the online compendium of 60,000+ Canadian books and ebooks - and it is a heavyweight solution. It deals with ONIX data from various types of feeds and many variations on the standard. It scales and performs well, and it has several years of production use in various circumstances - It’s not the most difficult data import we’ve ever done, but if you can avoid doing it yourself, I’d recommend that. In addition to the ongoing data-pull for The 49th Shelf, we are using the bridge for some of our client publishers to drive their websites.

ONIX data rendered on The 49th Shelf

ONIX data rendered on The 49th Shelf

Actually, the hardest part of the solution is to understand the needs of a publisher’s website and to achieve those with the available data. We have done this a dozen or more times now and this experience is captured in an extension for our favourite CMS, eZ Publish. The extension accomplishes book pages; author pages; book lists; browsing by category, author, imprint, etc., etc. Basically, everything that you need to get your title list online and presented in such a way that you can make the best use of SEO, social media, online community, direct sales, improved discovery and marketing automation.

We believe that this is a compelling model for book publishers. If you need to update something on the website - add an award or a review to a book, for example - it makes all the sense to actually update the data in your ONIX feed so that it goes out to your supply chain, and then with a few additional buttons it also shows up on your website via the ONIX Bridge. We understand that there are times where this isn't a good pattern and so all the data that is imported into the CMS is also editable within the CMS so that you can directly modify it there. And sometimes you simply want the modifications in the CMS to stay put, so you can do that too.

Drop us a note and we can set up a demo with your ONIX data.