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A Case Study from AMG Publishers: Creating a consistent flow of information

Monday, November 7, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheri Toomb
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Order Out of Chaos:
A case study about creating a consistent flow of correct information

By Dr. Warren P. Baker, Senior Editor, AMG Publishers

Information. It is what bridges the gap between publisher and consumer. If they don’t know about the book, they can’t buy the book. So getting the word out there is a key aspect of doing business. Metadata, the information about our books, has never been more important than it is in the digital age. Not having your information out there means no sales. Misinformation about your products also results in lost sales, and brings about customer confusion and frustration.  Finding a solution to keep accurate information in front of as many consumers as possible will benefit everyone.

When AMG Publishers began the process of creating eBooks we became aware that in some cases there were as many variations of information about a product as there were places where that information was found. It seemed like every online vendor had different information, and changes we made to correct problems were slowly implemented. In one case, we would make the changes one day only to have someone else’s feed about our books replace the information we had just corrected. The need was there for one centralized database that could somehow be used both internally and externally to make our metadata consistent and accurate across the wide spectrum of vendors, distributors, and even in our own house.

It was about this time, at an ECPA Executive Leadership Summit, that I learned of a company called Firebrand Technologies.  Firebrand has an Eloquence program that provided a database for all our metadata, from which both Excel and ONIX feeds can be delivered automatically. 

Through Eloquence we can keep all our metadata in one place; we make it accurate there, and Firebrand sends it out to hundreds of trading partners. We no longer have to spend hours working in Excel to provide our metadata to various partners via their own specialized spreadsheets. And if there is a discrepancy between our data and what a trading partner has on the web, we simply notify Firebrand and Firebrand takes care of connecting with that partner to get it corrected.

Now that we have an organized database, we keep finding more and more uses for it. Earlier this year we decided it was time for a new website and web store.  We didn’t want to do a one-time conversion of data and then have to keep updating both the store and our database separately. So I thought, why not use our ONIX feed from Firebrand to do this?  If the trading partners use it for their stores, why shouldn’t we use it for our store?  So, we had our web store and site designer build an interface to receive the ONIX data and use that data to create and update the database for our web store. Each week, when we have the file of updated entries from Firebrand, the interface allows us to make those changes we made into Eloquence right into our store. We have gone from having a chaotic collection of metadata about our books to having one consistent flow of information for everyone.

Dr. Warren Baker is the Senior Editor of AMG Publishers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He is co-author of The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, and the general editor of The Complete Word Study Old Testament.  He also served as managing editor of The Complete Word Study Dictionary:  New Testament and The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible.

Dr. Baker holds several degrees: B.A., Clearwater Christian College; M.Div., S.T.M., and D.R.E., Faith Theological Seminary.  He served as Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Faith Seminary until he began his career in Christian publishing twenty-one years ago.

ECPA has partnered with Firebrand Technologies, Inc. to offer  ECPA Title Management Web: an online solution that allows marketing departments of any size publisher to manage the data for their title listing in one convenient location. Everything from images, to jacket copy, table of contents, and awards information can be easily stored in this online repository. 

For more information, contact Mark Kuyper, ECPA or Doug Lessing, Firebrand.

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