In an effort to establish standardized systems for managing digital book and journal publishing, the Association of American Publishers has initiated both a metadata clearinghouse and a survey of systems used by publishers to process and transmit online bibliographic and descriptive content.

AAP and John Wiley & Sons are collaborating on the Metadata Information Clearing House (Interactive) -- MICI -- an interactive online database that will allow publishers to input comments, questions and descriptive information about their individual metadata procedures. Metadata, which is essentially digital information about digital content, allows publishers to identify and locate digital content and to establish links and relationships among different kinds of content.

Carol Risher, AAP v-p of copyright and technology, told PW the MICI project will lead to a prototype metadatabase that will ultimately ensure more comprehensive and accurate search engine results, content reuse and analysis of customer activity. MICI will also incorporate the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which is currently tagged to more than 85,000 digital articles from professional publishers. "Metadata is a hot topic," said Risher. "MICI will let us know who's working on what." The MICI site can be reached via the AAP Web site (www. or via the John Wiley site (

The AAP is examining how publishers are transmitting such basic information as book jacket images, catalogue entries and author background to online retailers. The AAP's Enabling Technology Committee held a day-long workshop in New York City last week for more than 65 publishers and publishing vendors to discuss "whether they use TIFs or JPGs, ftp transfers or floppy disks," explained Carol Risher." The information gleaned from the event will be used to guide vendors in developing standards for publishers.