BISAC Classification Schemes come in three forms:
These codes are widely used in the North American Book Trade.
BISAC Subject Codes
BISAC Subject Codes are the North American standard that publishers use to identify to retailers into which section of their stores a book might be placed. The Best Practice for ONIX is to list one "main" subject, and as many others can as needed to supplement. For example a book of photographs of then and now battle sites might be considered primarily a book of History, Photography or possibly even Travel depending on the book's slant. The publisher provides what the Main one is, and supplements it appropriately.
A BISAC "Main" subject listed in an ONIX file should be as specific as possible – it should be very exceptional to choose a "General" subject as they provide the least information to retailers.
BISAC Subjects are interesting because they change each year – the idea is that they continually mirror the needs of retailers and that the list remains manageable with around 3,000 entries. They should always represent what is actually published at any time and a rule of thumb is that there must be at least 100 active titles in the North American market to warrant a BISAC Subject. Publishers are expected to update their lists yearly to reflect those changes but this is not usually a difficult problem as change is slow.
There is a list of specifically Canadian BISAC Subjects listed below, but all BISAC subjects can be supplemented by using BISAC Regional Themes to a geographical element to any book if it's appropriate. BISAC Subjects are continually being refined and if you have suggestions please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org
See the full list here, but these are the specifically "Canadian" BISAC subject codes:
|ANT054000||ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Canadiana|
|ART015040||ART / Canadian|
|CKB091000||COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / Canadian|
|DRA013000||DRAMA / Canadian|
|FIC089000||FICTION / World Literature / Canada / General|
|FIC090000||FICTION / World Literature / Canada / Colonial & 19th Century|
|FIC090020||FICTION / World Literature / Canada / 20th Century|
|FIC090030||FICTION / World Literature / Canada / 21st Century|
|GAR019010||GARDENING / Regional / Canada|
|HIS006000||HISTORY / Canada / General|
|HIS006010||HISTORY / Canada / Pre-Confederation (to 1867)|
|HIS006020||HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)|
|HIS027160||HISTORY / Military / Canada|
|JUV004040||JUVENILE FICTION / Biographical / Canada|
|JUV016160||JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / Canada / General|
|JUV016170||JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / Canada / Pre-Confederation (to 1867)|
|JUV016180||JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)|
|JUV030030||JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Canada / General|
|JUV030090||JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Canada / Native Canadian|
|JNF025050||JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / Canada / General|
|JNF025230||JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / Canada / Pre-Confederation (to 1867)|
|JNF025240||JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)|
|JNF038040||JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Canada / General|
|JNF038120||JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Canada / Indigenous|
|JUV030090||JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Canada / Indigenous|
|LCO006000||LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Canadian|
|LIT004080||LITERARY CRITICISM / Canadian|
|POE011000||POETRY / Canadian / General|
|POE011010||POETRY / Canadian / Indigenous|
|POL056000||POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Canadian|
|POL056000||POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Canadian|
|TRV006000||SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Canadian Studies|
|TRV006010||TRAVEL / Canada / Atlantic Provinces (NB, NF, NS, PE)|
|TRV006020||TRAVEL / Canada / Ontario (ON)|
|TRV006030||TRAVEL / Canada / Prairie Provinces (MB, SK)|
|TRV006060||TRAVEL / Canada / Quebec (QC)|
|TRV006040||TRAVEL / Canada / Territories & Nunavut (NT, NU, YT)|
|TRV006050||TRAVEL / Canada / Western Provinces (AB, BC)|
|YAF024040||YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Historical / Canada|
|YAF046050||YOUNG ADULT FICTION / People & Places / Canada|
|YAN025050||YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / History / Canada|
|YAN038050||YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / People & Places / Canada|
BISAC Regional Themes
To provide additional help to retailers in identifying books of specific interest, BISAC has also established a system to identify Regional Themes. Canadian retailers and The 49th Shelf have identified this as something of interest to them.
At the moment the formal list identifies provinces and a very limited number of cities and sub-regions, but further refinement is possible. Like BISAC Subjects, the Regional Themes should be supported by actual published books. This allows greater flexibility as the theme can be as loosely geographical as The Canadian Rockies (available), and has the potential to be as specific as a Montreal neighbourhood (no one has proposed one yet) – it's just a matter of how much is published.
A regional theme is intended to refer to the book's content (there are separate means in ONIX to identify the author's home town) and should be used to highlight a book for:
- Appropriate sales representatives;
- Regional purchase by booksellers and chain buyers;
- Cataloging considerations and regional librarians;
- Regional promotions and media.
The point of the Regional Theme is not to limit national sales, but rather to highlight regional opportunities.
Proposals for new codes should be sent to email@example.com. Please note, however, that before BISAC will consider them we must have a list of 50 to 100 titles to demonstrate actual need (BookNet and it's Bibliographic Committee will attempt to build the list from multiple publishers, so if you perceive a need to define a region, let us know).
Note that books about other geographical areas can be similarly supported – the full list is here and there's no reason not to highlight a book related to Prague! – but here is a list of the current Canadian regions covered:
|126.96.36.199.5.0.0||LEVEL_5||Newfoundland & Labrador|
|188.8.131.52.7.1.0||LEVEL_6||Cape Breton Island|
|184.108.40.206.10.0.0||LEVEL_5||Prince Edward Island|
The complete list of Regional Themes is available at https://bisg.org/page/BISACRegionalTheme.
BISAC Merchandising Themes
To provide additional help to retailers in identifying books of specific interest, BISAC has also established Merchandising Codes which are not used much in Canada.
The complete list of Merchandising Themes is available at https://bisg.org/page/BISACMerchandising.