Labelling and metadata (software)

Tom Honeyman t.honeyman at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 4 08:33:17 UTC 2010

I guess I should plug a project I was involved in, FieldHelper, which  
I believe might be receiving some development soon (it's only a proof  
of concept now):


On 04/05/2010, at 6:16 PM, Alex Francois wrote:

> I agree with Tom, that John's Sponge software looks really promising.
> In fact John's screen capture also reminded me of a related issue  
> which I never really tackled:  namely, the relationship between my  
> photos and my sound files.
> [The same would apply with video, but I personally tend to have more  
> this problem with photos]
> What I almost always do during a fieldwork session, is to record  
> sound of course, but also take pictures of the storytellers, the  
> situation, etc. As I see such photos today, several years later, I  
> often can vividly remember (until today at least!) when and were I  
> took it, what was the person's name, or which story they were  
> telling when I pressed the button.  Yet I am afraid all these  
> connections (between pictures and sound files) are only stored in my  
> soft drive, a.k.a. my brain.
> I thought these should all be interconnected somewhere, and in a  
> permanent way. Sometimes I add the file-path of both the picture and  
> the sound file, say, on the Toolbox entry where the story is  
> transcribed.  But there might be other ways, right? Ideally this  
> would be done by displaying the very picture, rather than just  
> storing its filename.
> Is there a software which can do that?  Would Sponge do it?  ELAN?  
> Arbil??
> (Peter, here's another "dirty-laundry confession" of mine!)
> best,
> alex.
> Tom Honeyman wrote:
>> Thank you John, that looks extremely interesting! I look forward to  
>> hearing more about it.
>> -tom
>> 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
> -- 
> LACITO - CNRS, France
> 2009-2011:  Visiting Fellow
> 	Dept of Linguistics
> 	School of Culture, History and Language
> 	Australian National University
> 	ACT 0200, Australia
> Home address:
> 	31 Ainsworth St, Mawson, ACT 2607, Australia
> 	ph:  [h]   (+61)-2-6166 5569
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