Annotating: Metadata about Media

The tagline of this blog is Metadata about Media Activism. It is my way of saying I want to share with you the information I find about media activism – and other stuff. Information about information a.k.a. metadata. What if it was a lot easier to share and receive this metadata?

With all the audio and video being created and shared it’s hard to sift through it all. I try to navigate this sea of info [text, audio, video] by using chance. I scan other peoples blogs and hope they link to cool stuff I like. If something floats by me then I check it out. If it doesn’t I just wait for another bit of info to make it’s way to me. More times than not if something is important it circles back into my point of view. [Not always] In turn I link to stuff I hope other people will like. My hope is that our loose network of information sharing will better inform us.

Other times I seach for specific keywords that relate to things I want to know. This is where great search engines like Google come in.

When we scan we’re looking for a hook. A bit of information that captures our interest enough to dig deeper. To read a few hundred more words, to listen to a few more minutes of audio, or to watch more video. A good way to create a better hook is to create metadata about your content in a easy to search/scan format. As of this writing the most acurate format for search/scan is text.

Lots of people are working on software that annotates audio and video with text metadata to facilate better scanning and searching. This is also known as comments or “rich media clipping”. One recent example of multimedia annotation software is the BBC Annotatable Audio project. It’s a rather amazing flash application that allows you to listen to audio and create text notes about specific audio sections you select. (Check out the mov demos – editing / annotating a programme Quicktime Mov file (4Mb).) I just wish it was a open source peice of software that the entire world could benefit from. As far as I know this inovation just sits somewhere on a BBC R&D computer. A few other examples of annotating software, aka “rich media clipping”, were mentioned on J. D. Lasica’s blog in his post Annotating rich media. Including one being developed by Our Media.

Don’t blogs already create metadata about audio and video content ? When podcasters share their work they usually create blog posts about it. Often the create detailed show notes in OPML to annotate their audio. I supose people are trying to figure out simple ways to do this for all multimedia content. The solutions that work the best will be ones that help get more people involved. Social software for metadata creation and collection.