Labelling and metadata

David Nathan dn2 at SOAS.AC.UK
Mon May 3 10:58:38 UTC 2010

Dear all

About the filenames, there are some excellent suggestions in this
thread, but I think that there is a tendency to conflate the function
of filenames as identifers with the functions that enable retrieval
and access to resources. This conflation remains invisible only while
we all keep imagining that documentation materials are merely "data" -
without some genres, granularities, interface considerations etc. that
relate to the presentation and usage of the resources. In that sense,
you might think (even hypothetically) of the interface by which you
might wish people to access them, and it is probably likely to be some
kind of link. As those familiar with HTML and related technologies
know, a link has a target as well as a "display text" (and other
possible attributes in semantic web formalisms). Translating this back
to one's local data management, there seems a good case for separating
out the two functions mentioned above, and thinking about a simple
linking system (that you can implement easily in spreadsheet pages, or
HTML), and then the relevant considerations for what you want the
"display text" to be - for yourself, and, quite possibly differently,
for other users. This might help resolve out the different issues that
are most relevant for each function in your contexts.

best wishes


At 18:11 03/05/2010, you wrote:
>If you are going to include semantics in the file names can I make a plea that your labels are a little more transparent -- why not use:
>rather than FM09_v10A ?? v could stand for "version" or "volume" or who knows what else, and, as for "A", well that's anyone's guess. Also, if the "09" is a year then write it as >2009 (one might even argue for "felicity" or "meakins" rather than "FM"). I recommend separators like _ as well, as Bill Poser did in his contribution to this discussion. Note also, >that if you have more than 99 video sessions you'll need the label to be:
>I think there are good reasons for being a little more explicit in file names if you want to put in some (useful) semantics like this -- after all YOU know what "FM" "09" "v" "A" mean >but who else could guess? Compare that with:

On 3 May 2010 18:19, Felicity Meakins <f.meakins at> wrote:
This is a good point, particularly if you use two recorders (e.g. audio
recorded plus video camera) to record the same session. I use 'v' and 'a' to
distinguish these. In this respect, it is the recording _session_ that's
primary, not the actual recording.


09=year (full date is in metadata)
10=recording session
A=part of recording session

e.g. recording session may have taken place at X place but over two hours we
recorded 3 stories A, B, C.

On 3/5/10 6:13 PM, "Joe Blythe" <blythe.joe at> wrote:

> The only two cents worth I'd like to add to this discussion is that I had to
> modify my numbering numbering system to indicate whether the original
> recording was made with a video or dedicated audio recorder. I only mark the
> video ones as "vid".
> Thus video files might be
> Because you sometimes need to extract audio files from video files the video
> file, such an extracted audio file would be
> 20100503JBvid01.wav
> This ensures that any files recorded on the same date from a dedicated audio
> recorder (e.g., 20100503JBv01.wav) don't end up with the same file name.
> Joe

Prof Peter K. Austin
Marit Rausing Chair in Field Linguistics
Department of Linguistics, SOAS
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

David Nathan
Endangered Languages Archive

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