Title and Product Language

Aside from the title as the most critical piece of product information, you will find references on how to identify to your customers in which language a work has been written, and how to describe the origin of academic publications.


The product’s title is the decisive piece of information to gain an initial impression of a product. As a result of their search, customers are presented with a list of titles, whereupon they decide in minimal time whether a product is of interest for them.

The main title is self-evidently the most important piece of information, and mandatorily to be entered into Metabooks. In practice, however, there are additional kinds of titles. Metabooks has been limited to the following three elements of title information, in addition to the main title.

  • Original title: if your product is a translation, you should also provide the original title, original language and original publisher.
  • Short Title: especially if the main title is very long, it is recommended to also provide a short title that can be displayed in search result lists easily and readably.
  • Distributor Title: you may provide this for e-books.

Titles are entered into ONIX 3.0 in the TitleDetailComposite. The type of title is defined in both formats in cells TitleType resp. b202, values to be taken from Code list 15.
The following codes are to be used for the title information in Metabooks.

Code Type of product title
01 (Main) title
03 Original title
05 Short title
10 Distributor title

For each type of title, you can supply a title (TitleText or b203) and a subtitle (Subtitle or b029). If the title is short, you should forego any subtitles, however. ONIX 3.0 has the peculiarity that title and subtitle are encapsulated in a title element composite. The reason for this is that you can specify in each title element composite whether the title is for a product or for a series or hierarchy (collection). The types of title mentioned above are product titles, hence TitleElementLevel or x409 is to be filled with the value 01 from Code list 149.

A main title with title and subtitle is to be entered as follows.

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference

Product language

The product language feature allows customers to determine whether the product is available in a language they can understand and is accessible for them. The book-selling trade uses data on product language particularly to identify foreign-language products and place them separately as appropriate.

For books, you should always specify in which language they are written. If your book is a translation, you can also provide the language on which the original work was written. However, it is also recommended to provide information on available languages for audio and video products, as well as, if applicable, the languages of any subtitles.

Product languages are entered into the Language Composite. The type of language is to be entered in LanguageRole resp. b253, using values from Code list 22 . The specific product language is defined in LanguageCode resp. b252 using values from Code list 74.

If a product contains multiple languages of the same type (e. g. text language in a dictionary, subtitles on a DVD), repeat the Language Composite using the correct code for the type of language. If no proper language for a product can be determined (e. g. a stuffed animal), please enter the language used on its packaging.

A German-language product originally written in French is to be entered as follows:

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference

Data on University publications

If your title is a university publication or thesis, you can also provide the following information:

  • Type of university publication in ThesisType resp. b368 , using values from Code list 72.
  • Name of the university in ThesisPresentedTo resp. b369
  • The year in which it was published in ThesisYear resp. b370 as a four-digit number

With data on university publications or theses, it is mandatory to provide information on the type of thesis.

A bachelor thesis written or defended in 2010 at the Technische Universität Dresden would look as follows

ONIX 3.0 Short
<b369>TU Dresden</b369>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
<ThesisPresentedTo>TU Dresden</ThesisPresentedTo>