21 Book Information and Metadata


Adding rich metadata to your publication in Pressbooks will make it discoverable in search engines and indexes, and capture all relevant publication details.

Metadata is added to your Pressbook by the OE team, and there are compulsory and optional fields to complete. Much of this metadata will appear on the homepage page of your Pressbook online. See the Pressbooks User Guide for full details.

There are some issues to be aware of in creating your metadata, outlined below.

Book Information

Pay particular attention to the wording of your title, subtitle and book description as this will maximise the discoverability of your work by search engines and in indexed collections. Your description should be like an article abstract. Keep it brief and succinct (about 250 words) and consider how to describe your work as an elevator pitch.

You can also add keywords. Choose words that represent the principal themes represented in your work and think of what an individual might put into a search engine.

The Subject Categories options are used in the Pressbook Directory and are important for users who are browsing for relevant publications to adopt or adapt for their own student cohorts.

Book Descriptions

Please give some thought to the following descriptions:

Book Tagline: This is a very short, one-line sentence that explains why someone should read your book. Ideally, the tagline is something that would fit in a tweet.

Short Description: A short paragraph describing your book. The short description is displayed beneath the title and author near the top of your book’s webbook homepage. The short description will also be included in the Pressbooks Directory if no long description is present.

Long Description:  A longer paragraph about your book that can also include reviews, praise, blurbs, etc. The long will be displayed on your webbook’s homepage and will be displayed in the Pressbooks Directory, if available.

These fields will give your eBook context and aid discoverable. See also the section below about search engine optimisation.


Traditionally published books are assigned a unique identifier that distinguishes them from all other publications, including subsequent revisions or editions. These unique identifiers can assist in the shareability and discoverability of your work and allow tracking of altmetrics more readily. The OE team will arrange an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your open text.

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique handle used to identify digital publications like online books. DOIs are commonly used for academic publications. If you are affiliated with a university, the OE team will be able to help you generate a DOI for use with your book. If set, the DOI will be displayed on your webbook’s homepage. This field is optional. Please ask the OE team if you’d like a DOI for your eBook.


Book contributors can include authors, editors, translators, reviewers, illustrators, and others.

In Pressbooks, you can assign book-level contributors to one or more of several roles. These details will appear on the landing of your book. You can also assign chapter-level contributors and add the metadata at this level.

Pressbooks’ contributor feature also allows you to create and display author bios in chapters or at the end of the book. Use this feature to include authors’ names, credentials, and other important information that might signal expertise. Include any relevant links—for instance, to your institution or a list of your published works. It is highly recommended that you mention institutional affiliation. If you have multiple authors, we recommend using this feature in every chapter to highlight the authority of the authors throughout.

Search Engine Optimisation Tips

Search engine optimisation is essentially a digital marketing tool. With some well-chosen words in your headings, alt text, book description and metadata, your book will be more discoverable by Google and other search engines. Give some consideration to what words a student (or another potential reader) will use in their search.

Elements in the book that contribute to the discoverability of your book, particularly by Google, include:

  • well-structured heading hierarchies
  • concise and descriptive alt text
  • citations and links to other sources
  • descriptive summary on each page (for example, learning objectives or key takeaways)
  • concise and descriptive book description/blurb
  • complete metadata, especially the subject field
  • interlinking to other web pages.
Be aware that a user may not land at the start of your book, instead landing at a chapter that has words relevant to their search.


Chapter Attribution

This chapter has been adapted in parts from:

Open Publishing Guide for Authors by University of Southern Queensland. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Book info in Pressbooks User Guide by Pressbooks. Licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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JCU OER Author Guide Copyright © 2023 by James Cook University Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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