Consonance will let you provide information on non-text content of your products by

  1. Specifying a single count and description for the illustrations of an entire work, or
  2. By varying the count and description of illustrations for each product, or
  3. By using ONIX ancillary contents specifications to provide a complete categorisation of the count and description of a range of non-text contents, including illustrations and other content.

Old school

In times past, it was sufficient to give simple information to the trade on the content of your books. They have words, they have illustrations, so-many, and of this type. You may be familiar with the simple method of providing a number of illustrations and a piece of free-form text in which you gave more details (Twenty-four colour photographs by the author).

While this approach is still available, and certainly valid for legacy products, we encourage you to also adopt the more detailed and internationally-appropriate approach described below.

International text

The ONIX standard allows publishers to send illustration notes in multiple languages. This allows them to describe the content in the languages of all of their major markets. Consonance does not currently support specification of different language illustration notes, and it is unclear in many cases whether metadata aggregators have systems capable of distributing them.

Ancillary contents

For an international metadata audience, the single number and free-form text approach was held to be insufficient, and the more structured Ancillary Contents section was added to ONIX. 

That’s a strange expression

What are ancillary contents? We consulted a dictionary: something which functions in a supplementary or supporting role.

We take that to mean something which is not the main text content of a book, which explains why ancillary contents also includes non-illustration items such as indices and GPS grids.

So the simple number of illustrations element is now documented in ONIX with a note.

  The total number of illustrations in a book or other printed product. The more informative free text field <illustrationsnote> and/or the <ancillarycontent> composite are strongly preferred, but where a sender of product information maintains only a simple numeric field, the <numberofillustrations> element may be used.",

Types of content

The ancillary content structure allows you to choose from an ONIX code list any of a number of content types.

At time of writing, these are the values.

Code Value Code Description ONIX Notes Our notes
00 Unspecified, see description See description in the element If you think of a new form of ancillary content not yet documented, add it here. For example, Citations, or Stickers.
01 Illustrations, black and white   Notice the pattern of providing both a black and white count …
02 Illustrations, color   … and a colour count.
03 Halftones, black and white Including black and white photographs Photographs, rather technically referred to as Halftones
04 Halftones, color Including color photographs  
05 Line drawings, black and white    
06 Line drawings, color    
07 Tables, black and white    
08 Tables, color    
09 Illustrations, unspecified   Unspecified as a qualification on the content type is evidently a late entry.
10 Halftones, unspecified Including photographs  
11 Tables, unspecified    
12 Line drawings, unspecified    
13 Halftones, duotone    
14 Maps    
15 Frontispiece    
16 Diagrams    
17 Figures    
18 Charts   Not graphs, as documented against code 21.
19 Recorded music items Recorded music extracts or examples, or complete recorded work(s), accompanying textual or other content We start to stray away from the illustrations …
20 Printed music items Printed music extracts or examples, or complete music score(s), accompanying textual or other content  
21 Graphs To be used in the mathematical sense of a diagram that represents numerical values plotted against an origin and axes, cf codes 16 and 18  
22 Plates, unspecified ‘Plates’ means illustrations that are on separate pages bound into the body of a book  
23 Plates, black and white ‘Plates’ means illustrations that are on separate pages bound into the body of a book  
24 Plates, color ‘Plates’ means illustrations that are on separate pages bound into the body of a book  
25 Index    
26 Bibliography    
27 Inset maps Larger-scale inset maps of places or features of interest included in a map product  
28 GPS grids GPS grids included in a map product  
29 Glossary    

Each of these types can be associated with your work (or product – see below), with the addition of two extra items of information in each case.

  1. The number of items: more relevant for some entries than others, as it might be rare to enumerate the indices in the work.
  2. A descriptive piece of text: this allows you to more fully describe the inclusion of the content type in the work. For example, 16 Colour Plates, or Index with approximately 800 entries. This is required by ONIX for the 00: Unspecified content type.

By using the ancillary content codes themselves, alongside the number of items and description, you can give a very complete level of detail on the non-text content of your book.

Differences between Works and Products

You will probably find that in most cases the specification for illustrations or ancillary contents is the same across all products for a work. If so, it is sufficient to provide a specification only for the work.

Typical situations in which this might not be the case are

  • Where a newer edition differs from its older edition.
  • Where an illustrated or special edition is created.
  • Where an eBook might, for technical or economical reasons, contain a greater or fewer number and/or type of ancillary content items than the related print books. In particular, augmented eBooks might contain recorded music items, an audio track, audio snippets, or other technical features worth mentioning in addition to plain text.

If there are products for which a default work-level ancillary content or illustration specification is not appropriate, you can either provide a specification of every product individually, or you can decide on a set of defaults that cover the majority of products and then provide a specification for any that differ.