Practical ePub metadata: Authorship
by Liza Daly
The ePub format allows for a fairly comprehensive set of book-friendly metadata, mostly drawn from the Dublin Core set of terms. Knowing what metadata to use and how it will appear in today’s and tomorrow’s readers is key; here are some recommendations:
Two elements describe authorship of a work:
dc:contributor. As you might guess,
dc:creator designates the primary authorship, though there can be more than one.
Each author should be in their own element.. Don’t do this:
<dc:creator>James F. Smith, Thomas Jones</dc:creator>
<dc:creator>James F. Smith</dc:creator> <dc:creator>Thomas Jones</dc:creator>
We recommend that anyone who had any kind of significant authorship role be marked as a
dc:creator. Most reading systems use this element to discover or search for the author name, so ensure that individual authors in a multi-author work are so tagged.
A contributor designation is appropriate to describe individuals who had a non-primary role in the work. For example, if a multi-author work had multiple editors, or you want to capture additional staff like proofreaders, illustrators or the like, then use
ePub allows ebook creators to indicate how the values in these elements should be sorted. Name sorting, especially internationally, is a surprisingly difficult problem.
We recommend listing the author names in display order (usually First Middle Last) in the element text, and then setting
opf:file-as to Last, First Middle, or whatever is appropriate in your source language.
<dc:creator opf:file-as="Smith, James F.">James F. Smith</dc:creator> <dc:creator opf:file-as="Jones, Thomas">Thomas Jones</dc:creator>
ePub extends Dublin Core by providing the
opf:role attribute. This allows ebook creators to more precisely describe the contributions made by individuals listed in
dc:contributor. It’s always a good idea to fill this out, even if not all reading systems display it:
<dc:creator opf:role="edt" opf:file-as="Smith, James F.">James F. Smith </dc:creator> <dc:creator opf:role="edt" opf:file-as="Jones, Thomas">Thomas Jones</dc:creator> <dc:creator opf:role="aut" opf:file-as="MacNeil, Lisa">Lisa MacNeil</dc:creator>
The recommended list of values for
opf:role come from the MARC code list.