Labelling and metadata on the hodge-podge of recordings on your home computer

Aidan Wilson aidan.wilson at SYDNEY.EDU.AU
Sun May 2 11:31:17 UTC 2010

Hey Greg,

I'd actually leave most of the stuff in your filename to a metadata file 
and leave the filename like:
20100405-01.wav, .eaf, .mp3, whatever,
And have a spreadsheet of metadata for a bunch of recordings, where you 
keep information like recordist, speaker, language, location, as well as 
date and a rough breakdown of contents. It's probably a good idea to also 
have this stuff in a text file; one per file, but also in a general 
spreadsheet for all files:
filename, 	date, 	language, 	recordist, 	speaker, 	location
20100405-01,	2010-04-05,	Marra,	gd, 	fr, 	Ngukurr

While it's a good idea to try and keep as much identifying information in 
the filename, it can look cluttered, and it may tempt you from proper 
collection of metadata in a spreadsheet. Also, without a list of 
abbreviations to inform someone looking at your files how to interpret 
the elements in your filename, it may go to waste.


Aidan Wilson

The University of Sydney
+612 9036 9558
+61428 458 969
aidan.wilson at

On Sun, 2 May 2010, Greg Dickson wrote:

> Hello,
> I'm trying to tidy up my files on my home laptop, which I've only ever used
> secondarily to whatever computer I was assigned by various workplaces.  Over
> about four years, I've ended up with a real hodge-podge of recordings and
> files in all kinds of languages made in all kinds of situations by all kinds
> of people even! (When you lend out your Zoom recorder it can come back with
> interesting things on it!).  I thought it's time for a spring clean.
> I'm pretty decided on a way to label my files consistently, but would
> appreciate any feedback or shared experiences.
> I thought I'd go with something like:
> 100405MARfrNGUgd01
> Which is DATE (April 5, 2010) LANGUAGE (Marra) speaker (initials: fr)
> LOCATION (Ngukurr) "recorded by" (gd = me) Series number (1st in the series)
> And then any ELAN, metadata, video or text files will have the same name,
> just a different file extension.
> I'm wondering though, what should I do about metadata?  What do others do?
>  How necessary is keeping metadata for such a miscellaneous collection of
> files?  And how do I do it?  One place I worked at just kept a store of .txt
> files of metadata - 1 file for each recording.  Is that a good way?
> Any help or info appreciated.
> Guda mingi,
> (That's all now)
> Greg Dickson
> PO Box 2468
> Katherine NT 0852
> Ph: 8971 0207 / 0427 391 153
> Email: munanga at

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