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Re: [ARSCLIST] File naming for digital audio and associated files
Many thanks to you and to Steven Barr for your suggestions!
Quoting Steve Green <sgreen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
> Greetings again,
> I think Steven Barr's comments and my own earlier ones were both
> addressing mainly the issue of assigning "call numbers" to physical
> items, in this case tapes. Susan has now clarified that she and her
> colleague are dealing with computer-based file naming issues rather
> than tape numbering and labeling, so I apologize if I misunderstood
> the original question and started drifting off on a tangent. I continue
> to think that simplicity is best in any numbering or filing scheme,
> whether on the shelf on on a computer, but I'll let someone else take a
> stab at offering specific suggestions regarding the digital ID numbers
> and keeping the audio files linked to the transcripts.
> Susan, thanks for explaining further what you are working on there.
> Good luck and best wishes,
> Steve G.
> Steve Green
> Western Folklife Center
> Elko, Nevada
> On Nov 3, 2004, at 1:03 PM, Susan Hooyenga wrote:
> > Hi Steve,
> > Thank you for your help, and I'm sorry we weren't clear about what
> > sort of items
> > we were naming. The tapes already have call numbers assigned by the
> > Alaska
> > Native Language Center; when they were digitized, they were assigned ID
> > numbers, which may or may be kept in the next phase of the project.
> > Right now
> > Andrea is working on digital transcripts and time-alignment files, so
> > she's
> > trying to figure out the best scheme for identifying all of the files.
> > Thanks again,
> > Susan Hooyenga
> > Quoting Steve Green <sgreen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
> >> Some thoughts on file naming for audio materials.
> >> But first, can you clarify whether you are speaking of a numbering
> >> system for physical recordings such as cassettes, or a file naming
> >> system for computer-based digital sound files? It sounds like you are
> >> dealing with a collection of tapes, probably cassettes?
> >> In practice, it is easiest and most efficient to store physically
> >> tangible recordings (we can refer to them as sound "carriers" as
> >> distinguished from what might be called the "sonic content") in simple
> >> numerical sequences. It seems to work best for cassettes, DATs, CDs,
> >> and open reel tapes to have their own separate format-based sequences.
> >> Additions to a collection or series simply get the next highest number
> >> in the sequence and are added at the end. A finding aid (database,
> >> collection inventory, etc) can enumerate the actual carrier numbers
> >> associated with a given collection or series. This is important and
> >> helps alert users when a collection has recordings in several
> >> different
> >> formats.
> >> What you want to avoid is having to write complex identifying numbers
> >> on carrier items and their containers. For one thing, most cassettes
> >> and DATs have very little room for writing on shells and j-cards.
> >> Writing on CDs and CD-Rs should be kept to a minimum because of
> >> potential problems associated with writing directly on CD surfaces. In
> >> theory, a simple unique number is all that should be needed to
> >> retrieve
> >> and re-file recording carriers. The number is made unique by the
> >> addition of a format code that can be either a prefix or suffix.
> >> For example
> >> CT001
> >> CT002
> >> CT003, etc.
> >> DT001
> >> DT002
> >> DT003, etc.
> >> There is a strong temptation to include additional clues to the
> >> content
> >> by incorporating initials, dates, locations, project names, and so
> >> forth. But these quickly can become unwieldy when dealing with all the
> >> different format types and dimensions out there. One school of thought
> >> suggests that you want all these indicators labeled on your carrier
> >> items because if somehow the recordings were separated from an index
> >> or
> >> database, there are still clues as to what the recording is and how to
> >> link it back to other documentation that may exist. While that is, in
> >> theory, a good argument for using a more complex compound numbering
> >> system, I believe that in a library, archives, or other relatively
> >> stable curatorial situation, the likelihood of recordings becoming
> >> irrevocably separated from the master shelflist are rather slim--
> >> assuming that databases and other support files are backed up and
> >> stored offsite as is the recommended practice.
> >> They say recordings collections are only as accessible as the
> >> documentation that exists about them. I feel that a well-maintained
> >> database can contain a wealth of information about the physical
> >> carriers as well as the provenance and content and can point users and
> >> curators easily and quickly to a unique, specific shelf location, so
> >> that complex, compound numbering systems are unnecessary. Even with
> >> all
> >> those extra initials, project code abbreviations, dates, etc. written
> >> on the carrier, someone still has to be able to decode what it all
> >> means, and that still falls back on external documentation that is
> >> maintained in a file somewhere.
> >> As for file naming of digital audio files on a computer down to the
> >> track or segment level: Assuming you start with a physical carrier
> >> item
> >> to begin with, and assuming that the carrier has a unique number like
> >> DT541 or CT229, it is then easy enough to add on a track or sequential
> >> item number to the file name, for instance: DT541.01. Again, you need
> >> an external database or other type of computer file in which to
> >> maintain information (metadata) about the individual track or segment.
> >> It seems to me that long, compound file names on a computer simply
> >> increases the likelihood of error in naming or searching for files,
> >> and
> >> there may be limitations on the syntax of the filename as dictated by
> >> the operating system.
> >> When all is said and done, I have found that, when possible, keeping
> >> things simple in the numbering, naming and labeling department makes
> >> things that much easier to track and manage.
> >> Hope this helps, and naturally I would be interested to hear other
> >> ideas and points of view as well.
> >> Best wishes,
> >> Steve Green
> >> Western Folklife Center
> >> Elko, Nevada
> >> *******
> >> On Nov 3, 2004, at 10:49 AM, Susan Hooyenga wrote:
> >>> I'm posting this for a colleague on a linguistic project in Alaska:
> >>> ------------------
> >>> My question concerns file naming conventions. We are working to
> >>> create
> >>> an
> >>> archive of the Dena'ina (Athabascan) Audio Collection, which contains
> >>> a few
> >>> hundred tapes, and associated transcription and alignment files. We
> >>> need a file
> >>> naming system for individual audio tracks (narratives) that addresses
> >>> key
> >>> identification information without being too unwieldy or too brief.
> >>> Some of
> >>> this information includes:
> >>> -the ID number of the original tape in the collection
> >>> -the name (or initials) of the speaker
> >>> -the content of the narrative (ie ''tools'' or ''hunting moose'')
> >>> Our main problem at the moment is deciding which bits of information
> >>> should be
> >>> part of the file name and which should be included in an index or
> >>> some
> >>> kind of
> >>> metadata file.
> >>> We'd very much appreciate any input or direction to any sources of
> >>> information
> >>> on file naming conventions and audio archiving.
> >>> Andrea Berez
> >>> ------------------
> >>> I'll pass the answers on to Andrea - thanks!
> >>> Susan Hooyenga
> >>> E-MELD
> >>> ----------------------------------------------------------------
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