Whose job is it to do this?
The “findability” function goes beyond the usual social media marketing of a book or ebook that most publishers have assigned to Marketing. It goes beyond the usual search engine optimization (SEO), although it is arguably a part of it.
It goes to discovering and notifying as many of the “sites of record” relevant to the book being published as possible, like the Repository of Primary Sources for new online archives. It goes to making the book as locatable an object as it can be, endowing it with “ambient findability.” See Peter Morville’s book of that title here and judge for yourself whether “endowing something with ambient findability” misconstrues what he is saying or how the Web works. Nevertheless, …
Superfluous as they are claimed to be becoming, should publishers leave findability to the librarians (until they become superfluous as well) or to the technorati?
As the book evolves, this “findability” function currently falls between the stools of Commissioning (where the editor discovers the author and pumps him or her not only for the ms but for connections leading to sales/marketing opportunities and further editorial opportunities), Editorial/Production (where the copyeditor, designer and production editor ensure that metadata is assigned and link-checks are run and the work is registered with the Library of Congress), Sales/Marketing (where marketeers scour the author’s questionnaire if it has arrived, create lists of mailing and emailing lists, compile the list of offline and online reviewers/bloggers and design the social media campaign and where a sales account manager with responsiblity for Amazon and other online accounts worries whether IT has included the work in the scheduled ONIX, EDI and customized catalog feeds) and Operations/Finance (where an accountant, analyst or inventory controller assigns the ISBN usually upon receipt of contract approval).
Who assigns and maintains the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a related beggarly question (whose job is it to have a clue that a DOI might be a good thing to assign to a book?).
So if you are self-publishing or publishing books/ebooks, who attends to the ambient findability of what you are publishing? As more and more books go online, isn’t this part of the new craft and art of the book?
By the way, I found Morville’s book one rainy Saturday afternoon while shelving books at the local Oxfam bookstore. I bought it instead of shelving it.