Labelling and metadata (software)

Tom Honeyman t.honeyman at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 4 07:14:54 UTC 2010

Thank you John, that looks extremely interesting! I look forward to  
hearing more about it.


On 04/05/2010, at 12:21 PM, John Hatton wrote:

> On my recording trip, I used some open-source software we’re  
> developing which manages all the folders, meta data, etc. for you.    
> This kind of thing is how I answer Greg’s question:
> > One thing I'm also interested in is not just what are good methods  
> of labeling and adding metadata, but how does it work for you in  
> reality?  How well do you stick to your chosen method?
> I hesitate to mention software you can’t actually get yet, but ah  
> well, I think in the future this group may help us “get it right”.   
> We don’t have a good name for it yet, the code name is “Sponge”.   
> The intent at this time is to help organize and name files, collect  
> metadata, and help evaluate your progress towards goals and coverage  
> (e.g. discourse types) so you know where to concentrate effort.   
> There are other applications out there doing some of these things,  
> too: this is just SIL’s contribution, tuned to the situations/field  
> workers we are familiar with.
> I found having this organizing software extremely helpful, not being  
> much of an organizer/detail person, myself.  One beauty of it for me  
> was that I could use the inevitable down time in the village to type  
> in everything in my paper notebook into a low-power netbook running  
> Sponge, sometimes realizing that I hadn’t entered important  
> information.  If I had waited until I returned home, it would have  
> been too late.  Here’s a screenshot of how my data looked at the end:
> <image001.jpg>
> You’ll notice the “files” tab; under there, I have a list of all the  
> files associated with the current session (event). I can right-click  
> on a file (e.g. a wav) in order to give it a canonical name like  
> we’re discussing in this thread.  I can also add meta data, such as  
> what equipment was used to make the recordings.  That program stores  
> that meta data in a simple xml file adjacent to the one being  
> annotated. For example, a video named “ETR003_Original.avi” would  
> have get a partner named “ETR003.Original.avi.meta”.
> The folder structure managed by Sponge looks like this:
> Edolo Language Documentation Project
>                 People
>                                 Agale Tofona
>                                                 Agale Tofona.jpg
>                                                 Agale  
> Tofona_consent.jpg
>                                                 Agale Tofona.person
>                                 Andaru Maga
>                                 Awi Heolo
>                                 Etc.
>                 Sessions
>                                 ETR001
>                                                 ETR001.session
>                                                 ETR001_Original.MOV
>                                                 ETR001_MonoExtract.WAV
>                                                 ETR001_Scene.jpg
> ETR001_Transcription.txt
>                                 ETR002
>                                 Etc.
> Ok, so it is still early days with this software, we’re not really  
> advertising for testers yet, and it currently only runs on Windows.   
> Before long, we’ll be adding at least OLAC, maybe IMDI support,  
> probably spreadsheet import/export.   The current discussion and  
> others are shaping what we do… if anyone is interested in helping to  
> further steer the development so it meets your needs, please let me  
> know.
> John Hatton
> SIL Papua New Guinea, Palaso, & SIL International Software Development
> Chat Google Talk: hattonjohn Skype: hattonjohn Google Wave: hattonjohn at

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