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Help & guidance Guides to Good Practice

Metadata and documentation

Kieron Niven, Archaeology Data Service / Digital Antiquity, Guides to Good Practice

A number of different metadata schemes exist for audio files and the data type is notable in that many formats allow metadata to be embedded within the file itself. The metadata elements described below cover primarily technical aspects and form a minimum of what should be recorded. Generic Project Metadata should also be recorded.

Element Description
Software The software (or device) used to create the file.
Bit Depth E.g. 16 or 24 bit.
Bit Rate Optional, often recorded as kbps
Sample Rate (KHz) E.g. 44.1kHz
Codec Used The codec used in creating the file e.g. FLAC or AAC.
Length of Recording Preferably recorded in hours, minutes, seconds (hh:mm:ss).
Copyright Clearances These are very important for audio files, especially oral histories/interviews.
Transcriptions of interviews Transcripts of interviews can be important documentation particularly in clarifying those involved in recordings and allowing specific individuals to be identified.

Other metadata schemes are outlined by IASA[2] and discussed in detail by JISC Digital Media.