A product may have any number of contributors. A contributor is always a person or organisation for which additional information may be provided.

The role in which a person or organisation was involved with a work is one of the most important pieces of information, and thus a mandatory entry. Additionally, the position in the sequence of authors as well as the name of the person or Organisation.

Contributors are always indicated in the Contributor Composite. You may provide the following topics regarding contributors:

Please note: to create a valid ONIX, the order of elements stated here is to be maintained.

If you do not wish to explicitly name the contributors of your product, mark your product as “product without contributor”. This also counts as contributor information and will be factored in when calculating the title reporting fee

Contributor Pagination

A contributor pagination defines in which order contributors of various kinds should be named when listing a title. Correct pagination is of particular interest in the case of scientific publications. Please ensure that there is only a single entry for each position.

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference

In ONIX 3.0, it is not possible to enter the contributor pagination within one kind of type of contributor. If you have entered data for SequenceNumber_ resp. b034, there is no need to enter any data for SequenceNumberWithinRole resp. b340 Any such entries would be redundant.

Type of contributor

By entering data for the type of contributor (Code list 17), you define in which form any given person or organisation contributed to the specified work. The most common types are author, translator and publisher. However, other roles include illustrator, script writer, original author, composer and many others. All of these may be selected as a type of contributor.

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference

Language of the Translation

The translation language may be specified in two way:

  • translated from
  • translated to

In order to specify a translation language in the Contributor Composite, the contributor ty must be “Translator” (B06).

The language is to be specified using the appropriate code (Codeliste 74).

Translated from

ONIX 3.0 Short


ONIX 3.0 Reference


Translated to

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference

Type of name

Using the type of name (Code list 18), you may specify that a contributor’s name as listed is a pseudonym or nom de plume.

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference

Contributor Identification Number

To ascertain unambiguously the authorship of contributors sharing a name, you can enter a Contributor Identification Number into Metabooks using standardised files. Additional information regarding standardised files and which of them may be used for Metabooks notifications may be found here.

In ONIX 3.0, you can store a Name Identifier Composite for persons or organisations. The type of identification number is entered in NameIDType resp. x415 using values from Code list 44. The identification number itself is to be entered in IDValue or b244.

Metabooks exclusively supports the following three types of identification number:

Type of contributors nameONIX 3.0
GND – Gemeinsame Normdatei (German)25
ISNI – International Standard Name Identifier16
ORCID – Open Researcher and Contributor ID21

The GND number for Thomas Mann (cf. DNB-entry) is to be entered as follows:

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference

Name of a person

Please note: a contributor must be clearly identified as either a person or an organisation. Hence, the Contributor Composite may only include a personal name or the Name of Organisation.

First Name and Last Name

Names in Metabooks always consist of a first and a last name. Entering a last name is mandatory Hence, if you wish to enter a contributor name with only one name part (e. g. Socrates), please enter it into the field for the last name.

The following shows the preferred ONIX representation of contributor or author names in Metabooks:

ONIX 3.0 Short
<b039>Max Moritz</b039>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
<NamesBeforeKey>Max Moritz</NamesBeforeKey>

Full-Form Name

Instead of a first and last name, you can enter the full and complete name in one field.

The full name may be entered in either inverted or non-inverted form. Because full-form names need to always be separated into first and last name, the following separation rules apply:

  • Full-form Name – inverted
    • String before the first comma represents first name
    • String after the first comma represents last name
    • if there is no comma, the entire string is considered the last name
  • Full-form Name – non-inverted
    • String after the last space represents last name
    • String before the last space represents the first name.
    • if there are no spaces, the entire string represents a last name
ONIX 3.0 Short
<b036>Max Moritz Mustermann</b036>
<b037>Mustermann, Max Moritz</b037>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
<PersonName>Max Moritz Mustermann</PersonName>
<PersonNameInverted>Mustermann, Max Moritz</PersonNameInverted>

Individualising the Person

To provide your customers with more information on product contributors, you can use Vital Data and profession and place of employment to individualise persons.

In addition, individualising a contributor allows conclusions identifying the actual contributor to be drawn in cases of identical names.

Vital data

For persons, it is possible to provide the date of birth as well as the date of death.

Please use the following time formats exclusively (except from code list 55):

  • YYYYMMTT – DateFormat=00
  • YYYYMM – DateFormat=01
  • YYYY – DateFormat=05
  • Free text – DateFormat=12
ONIX 3.0 Short
 <b306 dateformat="12">19. Jahrhundert</b306>
 <b306 dateformat="00">19530412</b306>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
 <Date dateformat="12">19. Jahrhundert</Date>
 <Date dateformat="00">19530412</Date>

Profession and place of employment

For each person, you may provide a profession and / or a place of employment. Unlike ONIX specifications, this entry cannot be repeated in VLB Hence, please ensure that you always provide the most current employment information for the contributor.

If you wish to only provide one of these two data points, you can remove the other from the ProfessionalAffiliation Composite

ONIX 3.0 Short
 <b046>Mustermann AG</b046>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
 <Affiliation>Mustermann AG</Affiliation>

Name of Organisation

Contributors can also be groups of persons or elements of an organisation Examples include a company as the author of a business report or an institute publishing a study.

Providing an organisation in addition to one or more persons is possible, but organisations may also stand alone.

Please note: a contributor must be clearly identified as either a person or an organisation. Hence, the Contributor Composite may only contain either a Personal Name, or the name of an Organisation.

ONIX 3.0 Short
<b047>Mustermann AG</b047>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
<CorporateName>Mustermann AG</CorporateName>

Biographical Information

To give customers with a clearer picture of the person or organisation, it is possible to provide them with extensive information about the works of an author using biographical information. This is a free text entry, where longer texts may be used.

Biographical information can and should be in context with the product, and thus need not be identical for each of several products.

ONIX 3.0 Short
<b044>Weiterführende Informationen zum Urheber</b044>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
<BiographicalNote>Weiterführende Informationen zum Urheber</BiographicalNote>


Links to websites for persons or organisations may be provided as part of the information on the author, or authors. The number of websites per author is unlimited. The links may lead customers to additional, more extensive information on the author.

You may define the type of website (Code list 73) using WebsiteRole or b367.This is not required information. Please note as well that not every value of the code list may make sense in this context. The WebsiteDescription or. b294 is optional as well.

ONIX 3.0 Short
 <b294>private Website des Autoren</b294>
ONIX 3.0 Reference
 <WebsiteDescription>private Website des Autoren</WebsiteDescription>

Product without Author

If no author for a product can be named, it must be declared a “product without author”. This can be done by integrating NoContributor or n339 rather than a Product Composite.

ONIX 3.0 Short
ONIX 3.0 Reference