[uf-discuss] Happy New Year! Microformats in 2006.

Paul Bryson paul at msn.com
Tue Jan 3 10:49:26 PST 2006

"Tantek Ç elik" wrote...
> One hypothesis: we need actual users of media who are somewhat technically
> savvy, rather than media info domain experts (who seem to have a 100% 
> track
> record of falling into the aforementioned complexity and over-design 
> traps),
> to help brainstorm and model what people *really* publish about media on 
> the
> Web.  Will that be possible?
> I want to see this happen.  I'm not a media info domain expert.  If I have
> to, I'll jump in myself and be draconian about the simplification.  I'm
> hoping that at least a few of the experts out there are tired of the
> complexity and over-design of previous/existing attempts (including 
> perhaps
> the attempts by their own companies), and would at least entertain and try
> simpler approaches.  In the interest of a fresh look focused first on
> simplicity and minimalism, here is a start:
> http://microformats.org/wiki/media-info-examples

Ironically, I was just charged with throwing together a video page much like 
Google Video's for CES.  It is to bad there wasn't a preexisting microformat 
to pull from.

Unfortunately, I am a bit of an expert in the area of media info tagging, 
although in a file container (not web) specific context, so take what I say 
with a grain of salt.

Off hand, I would say the primary existing file tagging systems (in order of 
use) are

A comparison of some different formats tags can be found here:

I created the top site and it has more formats, but it has been almost two 
years since I touched it.  Both sites are largely based on each other.  AAF 
is not listed as it is an extremely large standard, and as it is based on 
MPEG-7, I have no idea what the licensing is like for it.

For a starting point, I would look at ID3v1 as it is common to add lots of 
tagging information to audio files, and ID3v1 was the simplest and first to 
really cater to this market.  A quick intro to it is available here:

The information that is contained is:
Title (name of the song)
Artist (name of the band/singer/whatever)
Album (Name of the CD or album the song is from)
Year (year the song or CD was released)
Comment (Whatever you want to say about the song)
Genre (We have both kinds of music, country and western.)
Track (Which track from a CD the song is from)

Obviously people found this pretty restricting, given how much effort was 
poured into making new tagging standards.  Unfortunately, most of what was 
developed is either to complex and restrictive (ID3V2) or to loose to be 
meaningful over a large area (Ogg Comments).

Most of the items from the ID3v1 would be pretty simple to apply.  I am 
guessing that  you could use some sort of hCard for the Artist, although I 
don't know the implications of having an hCard for a group of people instead 
of an individual.  Either way, an hCard being used for the Artist would 
alleviate much of the tagging information people want just for audio. 
(Could someone please come up with an alternate name for 'Title' as this 
seems to be used everywhere?)

In  addition to the above items, here are things that people often seem to 
want to include and/or display.

Bitrate  (I'm not sure why this isn't in any of the strawman 
media-metadata-examples as I see it everywhere.)
Segmentations (Track on a CD, CD in a set.  Episode in a season, season in a 
running.  Part of a larger set where the division occurs solely due to 
Dates (When it was recorded, when it was released, when it was re-released, 
when this file was encoded)
Size (in bytes/octets)
Length (in seconds)
Cover (The DVD/CD cover, posters, screenshots)

I'm thinking that a Rating and a few other pieces of information can be 
consolidated to hReview.

Cost is another one, but that really should also be pulled from another 
microformat.  Has there been any progress on listings?

I list the above not with the expectation that all of it should be defined, 
but rather as a listing of what I have seen as the type of information that 
people usually want to see, although as I said, most of my experience comes 
from offline file storage.


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