AES Journal Forum

Why Archive Audio Metadata?

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The standard definition of metadata is data about the data. The concept of metadata that is associated with (audio) program material is not new. The information on tape box labels has been with us for years. The difference now is that with the proliferation of audio formats and encoding methods, the user has to know more about the audio data before it can be used or presented in the way that was originally intended. Some metadata is static in that it applies to an entire program, but other metadata may control how the program is presented and thus changes with time. Synchronization of dynamic metadata is therefore improtant. Much more emphasis is being placed on reusing program material, so asset management has become a major factor in creating, using, and archiving audio. Asset management metadata should not be stored with the audio itself; that would be like storing a library's catalog cards by tucking them into each book before shelving the books. The unique material identified (UMID) is analogous to the number assigned to each book that links it to its description in the catalog. These three main classes of audio metadata are all necessary. All need to be treated and transported differently, but all must be archived with the audio information if the audio is to be useful to others.

JAES Volume 49 Issue 7/8 pp. 622-625; July 2001
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AES - Audio Engineering Society