Diving into (meta)data with our Institutional Data Development Team

By: Diana Petrowicz, Mon Sep 21 2020
Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

In our ‘Behind the scenes’ series we take a look at internal Springer Nature teams, explore their work and how they support the librarian community. For this article, we talked to the Springer Nature Institutional Data Development team consisting of Head of Data Development Christina Hoppermann, Discovery & Discovery Services Manager Bobbi Patham, IT Product Manager Elif Eryilmaz-Sigwarth, and Content Data & Content Delivery Manager Lutz Wind.

The current team was formed in January 2020 with the mission to enable discovery of content and access to it, in order to support institutions - including librarians and researchers - in gaining, providing, and disseminating knowledge. They are realizing this mission by developing data strategies, offering state-of-the-art data standards and services, implementing data delivery models, and standardizing processes with a special focus on user, customer, and business needs.

When it comes to supporting the library community, the team is focusing on the specification, generation, and provision of metadata standards such as MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging, governed by the Library of Congress) and KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools, a NISO recommended practice) as well as the provision of standards used for both content data and metadata such as JATS (Journal Article Tag Suite) and BITS (Books Interchange Tag Suite). As a prerequisite, to better meet the needs of librarians for cataloging purposes, this also includes managing the (semantic) enrichment of metadata with unique persistent identifiers (PIDs) for entities such as persons or organizations. Furthermore, knowledge organization systems such as subject headings, taxonomies or ontologies are leveraged for uniquely identifying semantic concepts.

On the data provision level, the team is dealing with how to best provide and distribute data via internally developed services such as the Metadata Downloader tool, the Springer Nature Librarian Portal and automated data feeds, as well as via external collaborations. The latter include in particular collaborations with Discovery Service providers on disseminating data both on product portfolio level and on customers’ holding level - offering also automated solutions - to enable a simple integration into library systems. Beyond the discovery layer, another central component of the team’s work is to ensure that customers can access the content they are entitled to on Springer Nature’s platforms.

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“One of the key factors for our team to achieve the best possible results is to put user experience at the core of our activities. We are working in close collaboration with the library community, both in direct interaction – involving consulting librarians for expert feedback and conducting user research together with our UX department – but also via Springer Nature forums such as our Metadata Advisory Board and Library Advisory Board. We are also actively working with external standardization bodies or industry groups, to better address user needs regarding institutional data development and contribute to the development of data standardization,” elaborates Christina.

Let’s take a look at ongoing projects of the team and each member’s responsibilities:

Christina Hoppermann, Head of Data Development leading the Institutional Data Development Team, joined Springer Nature six years ago and is responsible for developing Springer Nature’s (meta)data strategy. She works in close collaboration with the librarian community, for instance regarding the development of Springer Nature’s MARC records in her role as business owner and data expert but also by being actively involved early in the process when it comes to emerging new standards, future trends or technologies not only within the library environment but also within the wider publishing and research community. As part of this, Christina is a member of various standardization and industry initiatives such as the European BIBFRAME community, regional library standardization groups, Crossref’s Conference PIDs group as well as the Metadata 2020 initiative. Her involvement in the Linked Open Data community, in particular the Library Linked Data field, was also one of the motivations for initiating and managing the technical implementation of persistent identifiers at Springer Nature, including among others ORCID iDs for persons, funder IDs from Crossref’s Funder Registry as well as GRID IDs and ISNI IDs used to uniquely identify organizations. Beyond that, Christina is focusing on the integration of knowledge models as well as on streamlining data architectures and processes to enable new solutions and enhanced user experiences for Springer Nature’s institutional customers. 

Bobbi Patham, the team’s Discovery & Discovery Services Manager, is a member of the NISO Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), which works on technical recommendations for data exchange including data formats, delivery methods, usage reporting, update frequency, and rights of use. Bobbi was involved in the latest ODI Recommended Practice, NISO RP-19-2020, Open Discovery Initiative: Promoting Transparency in Discovery, published June 24, 2020. In her role, Bobbi works closely with discovery service and link resolver providers such as EBSCO, OCLC, ProQuest and ExLibris, facilitating access to Springer Nature’s content. Internally, she engages with various departments to support customer needs in order to increase the discoverability and usage of Springer Nature content, with a strategic focus on areas with a growing number of research contributions such as China. In her daily work, she liaises with the discovery service vendors, ensuring the integrity of the metadata and meeting of targets.

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“I have established a good relationship with the discovery vendors and conduct regular meetings to address customer requirements and optimizations. In addition, I oversee the support of consortium collections on a global level,” says Bobbi.

IT Product Manager Elif Eryilmaz-Sigwarth joined Springer Nature a year ago. She is managing a broad range of applications and services that the Entitlements team provides as well as overseeing the KBART activities across Springer Nature. The Entitlements team provides centralized access to Springer Nature content by supporting different business models through different data standards. 

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“We provide various services and applications to enable accurate access authorization on our platforms to our customers. Beyond our platforms, access information is also shared through KBART with external parties, including Discovery Services and Knowledge Bases, to enable institutional customers having accurate access information in their internal systems,” explains Elif.

She also represents Springer Nature at the NISO KBART Standing Committee. Since the beginning of this year, there have been various improvements on KBART files both for portfolio and customer holdings including enabling Nature.com journals in the holdings as well as providing more accurate coverage dates.


Content Data and Content Delivery Manager Lutz Wind joined Springer Nature six years ago and supports customers on the content side.  In his day-to-day work he focuses on projects such as increasing the full-text XML coverage of Springer Nature’s book and journal content. He works closely with Crossref and takes care of standardization of metadata and related processes based on customer and business needs. One of his main responsibilities is improving the machine readability of Springer Nature eBook and journal content. He is further the business owner of the standards JATS and BITS, which were developed by NISO for describing content and metadata of journal articles and books, respectively.

Images for website © Springer Nature

“Springer Nature recently migrated the data delivery format from using an internal format (A++) to providing two commonly used standards with JATS and BITS instead. The whole migration process went smoothly,” says Lutz. In the meantime, all customers have been migrated to the new formats and Lutz is working on the next phase of the project.

The team is already working on a number of upcoming new products around institutional data development. You can find updates on this blog, our social media channels and our Library Alerts newsletter.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.