View Full Version : Metadata query


iain robinson
08-08-2012, 10:07 AM
Hi all

We are producing an ePUB for a bimonthly magazine we typeset in Adobe Indesign for a customer. They put them on their website behind a pay-wall, so we are not uploading via the iBookstore (although they say the majority of their readers will be using iPads). I added some metadata in Indesign and then some more in the ePUB itself but I'm surprised at how little of it is used by iBooks (or ADE for that matter).

For example, each article in the magazine has a different author and I made sure all their names were in separate <dc:creator> tags in the content.opf file. Only the first author shows up in iBooks (and ADE). The file validates with no errors. I was also hoping that, since the readers may have multiple issues of the magazine in iBooks, they could search by author or keyword to find a particular issue but that doesn't work either.

Am I missing something or is adding metadata in the file itself only done in case it becomes useful in the future (and has no real use at the moment)?

thanks,
Iain

Jellby
08-08-2012, 10:37 AM
You have discovered that reading applications, make little use of all the metadata in a book. The (optional) role and file-as attributes are also seldom used. Books can even have several titles (I created a multilingual version of the Divine Comedy with the title in several languages), but I know of no application (not even Calibre) that handles this.

In addition, there are some pieces of metadata for which there's no standard way to specify them, such series title and number.

However, I'd advise against some workarounds you might be tempted to use, like putting all authors in a single <dc:creator> tag ("John Jones, Martin Martinson and Philip Philippoussis"), or including the series in the book title ("The Final Trilogy II: Sequel"). This only disencourages proper metadata handling.

iain robinson
08-08-2012, 10:49 AM
Thanks for your input Jellby. Confirmed my fears!

I wasn't planning what you suggested but I was planning to put "Various authors" in the <dc:creator> tag (so as not to promote the first author to the only author) and then list the various author's names in amongst the keywords (<dc:subject>) so at least they are all in there (in case one day some software exists that actually cares about this sort of thing). Does that sound reasonable?

Jellby
08-08-2012, 12:19 PM
I was planning to put "Various authors" in the <dc:creator> tag (so as not to promote the first author to the only author) and then list the various author's names in amongst the keywords (<dc:subject>) so at least they are all in there (in case one day some software exists that actually cares about this sort of thing). Does that sound reasonable?

Well, I don't like that either, and it won't help with future software. "Various authors" is obviously not an author (and it only works in English, users in other languages would like the equivalent phrase in other languages, even if the book is in English), and the different actual authors are not really "subjects" of the book (unless the book is about them). Do you expect future software to recognize "Various authors" as a keyword indicating that the author names will be found in <dc:subject> tags?

If you (or your customer) cannot bear with the behaviour of current programs, I'd suggest simply adding "Various authors" as the first <dc:creator>, but leaving all the others there. If you are concerned about searching, I'd put the author names in the <dc:description> tag...

PS. This is only my personal opinion. You can obviously do whatever you want, there's no metadata police :)

iain robinson
08-08-2012, 01:07 PM
I accept that my proposed solution is not perfect but does at least get round the immediate problems with how the information is displayed in the current generation of kit. I'd be loath to have it appear wrong in current kit to suit what future kit may or may not do. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't!:chinscratch:

I like your compromise though - including various authors and all the other authors too. Smart thinking!

thanks again