Skip to main content
OCLC Support

OCLC advice for ONIX providers

Find ONIX-related requirements, expectations, and language for ONIX-providing partners and learn how OCLC uses the ONIX data once it is received.


The saying “Librarians are from MARC; publishers are from ONIX” (NISO, 2022) provides a simplified view of the relationship between libraries and publishers. However, there is a bridge between these two metadata worlds, including within OCLC-managed processes and workflows. OCLC has created this document of ONIX-related requirements and expectations in an effort to better communicate what OCLC needs from ONIX-providing partners and how OCLC uses the ONIX data that is received. Where some vocabulary and concepts might differ between libraries and publishers, we have tried to use language which fits the intended audience of publishers and other members of the publishing industry’s greater metadata supply chain.



  • OCLC requests that ONIX be sent at publication and not earlier in the prepublication stage. 
  • OCLC asks that ONIX records be submitted based on verified final metadata available on publication.
    • This allows for OCLC’s creation and stable communication of data throughout the library network.


  • Best practice for ensuring efficient data updates at OCLC is to include the OCLC Number (OCN) within the updated ONIX record. This allows the record to match the previously submitted record in OCLC’s system and update accordingly. 
    • The OCN is reported back to all ONIX providers after initial submission of a record.
  • OCLC currently does not accept block-level partial updates. After any initial full file of all products, please send the entire record within a delta file.
  • When data updates from ONIX do not happen as you would expect, please contact your OCLC Data Ingest Specialist for further assistance.

The ONIX Record

ONIX Header

  • Please include the SenderName and the SentDateTime (formatted as YYYYMMDD) within the Header.
  • Avoid default language of text and other header defaults – express these elements explicitly in each product record.


  • The RecordReference identifies the record and is a mandatory data point at OCLC. Please ensure that the RecordReference is unique and persistent per product.
    • It is best practice to not simply reuse the ISBN as the RecordReference.
  • Every ONIX product record must include at least one unique and persistent ProductIdentifier.  
    • OCLC prefers that this ProductIdentifier be from the following list:
      • ’06 – DOI’
      • ’15 – ISBN13’
      • ’23 – OCLC Number’
    • Please provide only one ProductIdentifier of type “15 – ISBN13” per Product record.

Primary Content Type and Form of Item

  • The PrimaryContentType is a mandatory data point for OCLC as it determines which mappings will affect the record. Please choose and apply the most specific type possible for the primary product as a whole. 
  • The ProductForm is mandatory for OCLC and should precisely reflect the physical properties of the product. Be as specific as possible. 
  • ProductFormDetail should provide the most comprehensive and precise information about a product’s physical or digital characteristics. Be as specific and thorough as possible.


  • It is mandatory that each product record include a title.
  • Use TitleTypeCode “01 – Distinctive title; Cover title; Title on item”.
    • Other title types can be provided but may be ignored by OCLC.
  • The title should be provided as it appears on the product.
    • On book product, the title should be given as appears on the title page.
    • On video product, the title should be given as appears on the title screen.
  • The title should be provided as a combination of TitleWithoutPrefix and either TitlePrefix or <NoPrefix/>.
  • The Subtitle should match the subtitle as given on the product. Do not include marketing or promotional headlines in this field.
  • In addition, do not include wording about the format or edition of the product in the Title or Subtitle fields. Each piece of information should be provided in its intended field (e.g., in ProductForm, EditionType).


  • It is mandatory for the primary Language of the content to be given using the LanguageRole code “01 – Language of text”. 
  • In addition to the primary language, additional languages should also be provided if they are present in the product.
  • If the product is the result of a translation, provide the LanguageRole “02 – Original language of a translated text”.
    • For translated products, remember also to provide the translator as a contributor where they are named on the book, and it is also possible to include the title in the original language alongside the main title of the book.
  • If any non-Latin alphabet characters are included in any of the text fields within the record, those texts will be captured and retained by OCLC.


  • The Collection composite is used to carry details of any ‘bibliographic collection’ to which a product belongs – a collection might formally be termed a ‘set’ or a ‘series’. 
    • OCLC expects to receive data about the collection if the product is defined as a part of a collection by the publisher using CollectionType “10 – Publisher collection.”
  • A CollectionIdentifier is mandatory in the Collection composite. 
    • OCLC prefers that this ProductIdentifier be from the following list:
      • ’02 – ISSN’
      • ’06 – DOI’
      • ’15 – ISBN 13’
      • ’22 – URN’
      • ’29 – BNF number’
  • The title of the collection as it appears on the product should be provided as CollectionTitleType “01 – Distinctive title”. OCLC will also ingest CollectionTitleTypes “02 – ISSN Key Title of Serial”. 
  • If your product has a “Series Number,” provide it as it appears on the product as the CollectionTitleElementPartNumber.
    • CollectionSequenceNumber is ignored by OCLC.


  • Multiple contributors should be listed in order using SequenceNumber, with the primary/main contributor listed first.
  • For personal contributors, always include PersonName and PersonNameInverted as a minimum, and a fully structured name is preferred whenever possible (i.e., use KeyNames, NamesBeforeKey and other related fields) 
    • Please provide the name as listed on the product if possible. For example, provide the name as given on a book’s title page.
  • Include any name authority codes or identifiers such as ISNI, ORCID, NACO, VIAF, etc., as the NameIdentifier.
    • OCLC encourages you to add Contributor NameIdentifiers to your records to aid record linking and discoverability.
  • Be consistent with how a contributor’s name is provided. 
    • Systems will see “Smith, Bob” as a different person from “Smith, Robert.”
  • Corporate contributors should be given in CorporateName, not given as if they are a personal contributor.

Conference and Event data

  • If the product is related to a conference or an event, i.e., Conference Proceedings, OCLC will accept data provided in the Event composite.
  • OCLC will not accept data using either the deprecated Conference composite or Block 7 Promotional events.


  • Provide EditionNumber as an integer. 
  • To clearly communicate accessibility features, use the EditionType codes “BRL = Braille edition”, “FAC = Facsimile”, “LTE = Large type/large print”, or “ULP = Ultra large print” if applicable to the product.
  • Use the EditionStatement to relay further information about Edition as it appears on the actual product. 

Extents and Measurements

  • OCLC prefers that you send Extent for a printed book as the number on the last numbered page of the main body content of the book, using ExtentTypeCode “00 – Main Page Count”.
    • OCLC will also accept these additional ExtentTypes: 
      • “11 – Content page count”
      • “05 – Total numbered pages”
      • “06 – Production page count”
  • Extent for an ePublication is the notional number of pages in a print counterpart, as provided using one of the above ExtentTypeCodes. Extent for audio and video content represents the duration of the complete product, to be given as ExtentType “09 – Duration.”
  • For physical products, dimensions should be included in either metric /or US customary (‘Imperial’) units (i.e., provide height and cover width in both millimeters and inches).


  • Please include subject codes from a subject scheme such as BISAC or Thema (ideally, use both). Ensure you follow the best practice guidance for each scheme.
    • For BISAC, no more than three subject codes should be provided, with the most specific code offered first and labeled as the <MainSubject/>.
    • For Thema, it is very rare to need more than four or five subject codes, and often just one or two are all that’s required to fully describe the subject of the book. Where more than one Thema subject code is provided, one must be labeled as the <MainSubject/>.
      • Additionally provide Thema qualifiers where appropriate.
  • Please include Keywords as a semi-colon-separated list but keep the list to a manageable size of no more than 10-15 keywords or phrases.

Publisher and Publication Details

  • The PublisherName and ImprintName are both important to OCLC.
    • The imprint is essentially a brand name, whereas the publisher is the name of an organization or legal entity (and they should both be provided even if they appear to be the same name).
    • The ImprintName is typically that which appears on the title page or spine of a physical book.
  • Be consistent with the presentation of both PublisherName and ImprintName, i.e., spelling, punctuation, and wording.
  • Proprietary Imprint IDs should be unique and persistent if included. 
    • Please notify your OCLC contact of any additions or changes to your ProprietaryImprintID scheme.
  •  Note: Country of Publication is different than Country of Manufacture.

    • The Country of Publication indicates the location of the editorial offices of the imprint, not where the product is manufactured.
  • Provide a City of Publication in your data. It should match that which is given on the product.


  • If an electronic product is available in full on the web, use the Website composite to provide the URL to the actual content, as hosted on the web.
    • WebsiteRole “29 – Web page for full content” indicates that the content is accessible or downloadable at that location.
  • Do not send empty links that do not resolve or broken links that have not been updated. This causes issues throughout the library metadata supply chain.
  • While OCLC does not require you to include website info for print products, it is highly beneficial to the discoverability of your content.

Publishing Status

  • A PublishingStatus of “01 – Cancelled” should only be provided for a product that was planned and then abandoned before publication and has never been made available in any way.
  • An “07 – Out of Print” status should only be provided for a product that has been published but will no longer be produced in this manifestation.
  • When a product with an “02 – Forthcoming” status is published, please update the status to “04 – Active”. This acts as a confirmation of publication.
  • OCLC does not use data supplied as ProductAvailability. We are concerned with the Status of the product, not its ability to be purchased from a specific supplier.

Publishing Date

  • OCLC requires a Publication Date, PublishingDateRole “01 – Publication date” (formatted as YYYYMMDD).
    • The exception being within records for products that are cancelled prior to publication, or those forthcoming products that are postponed indefinitely, per the EDItEUR ONIX Standard.
  • Never supply ‘dummy dates’ like ‘20991231’.
  • The publication date should indicate the date on which the specific manifestation of a work represented by a specific identifier (ISBN, ISSN, etc.) is made available, or published, for the first time anywhere around the world.


  • Please be specific when identifying the intended audience of the product.
  • AudienceRange information should be given if the intended audience is Children, Teenage, Primary Educational, or Secondary Educational.

Collateral Texts

  • The Main Description should be provided as the “03 – Description” text.
    • If you also provide an “02 – Short description” text, it will be overlooked in favor of the “03 – Description” text. 
  • Please provide a Table of Contents that matches that which is provided on the product using TextType code “04 – Table of Contents”.
  • HTML and XHTML coding in texts is not used by OCLC
  • ContentAudience “00-Unrestricted” is expected. Other ContentAudience codes will be ignored by OCLC.

Product Parts and Related Products

  • If your ProductComposition is “10 – Multiple Component retail product” indicating that the described product in the record is comprised of multiple products, OCLC does not look at the ProductPart composite for further information.
  • If you have a product that is composed of distinct individual units, you can include the details of those individual units in the ProductPart composite, as per the EDItEUR standard. However, OCLC also expects a record for the greater product, as well as individual records for each component part.
    • In other words, OCLC does not create individual MARC records for products provided only in the ProductPart composite.
  • OCLC determines the relationship between the greater product and its component parts through the use of the RelatedProduct composite.
    • RelatedProductRelationCode “01 – Includes” should be used within the record for the greater product.
    • RelatedProductRelationCode “02 – Is part of” should be used within the records for the component parts.
  • Other ProductRelationCodes supported by OCLC include:
    • 05 = Replaced by
    • 06 = Alternative format
    • 07 = Has ancillary product
    • 11 = Is other language version of
    • 13 = Epublication based on (print product)
    • 27 = Electronic version available as
    • Other relationships may be provided but will be ignored by OCLC.
  • Related Products should be identified using ISBN13 or OCLC Number.
    • The ProductForm of the related product should be provided where possible.

Table of Requirements

OCLC uses provided ONIX feeds to seed MARC records. Therefore, our requirements for data supplied within the ONIX record may differ from those indicated in the official ONIX specification maintained by EDItEUR.

Requirement ONIX element Nota
Mandatory <RecordReference>  
Mandatory <ProductIdentifier>  
Mandatory <PrimaryContentType>  
Mandatory <ProductForm>  
Mandatory <Title>  
Mandatory <Language>  
Required if applicable <Collection> If <Collection> is included, <CollectionIdentifier> is mandatory.
Required if applicable <Contributor>  
Required if applicable <Edition>  
Required if applicable <Event>  
Required if applicable <Measure>  
Required if applicable <Extent>  
Required if applicable <ProductFormDetail>  
Required if applicable <PublisherName>  
Required if applicable <PublishingDate> Publication Date
Required if applicable <Subject>  
Required if applicable <Website> Mandatory for electronic products
Opcional <Audience>  
Opcional <CollateralText> Description, TOC
Opcional <ProductPart>  
Opcional <RelatedProduct>