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Brainstorming for Media Microformat

This is a brainstorm for media microformat. Examples of media-info can be found here media-info-examples


The Problem

There are infinite ways to publish media by users, but as people try to access those remixing and aggregation become more and more prevalent, having consistent records becomes important. Audio, photos and video show up in each other's publishing spaces, even though they are unique media objects. A photo might be next to the link for an audio piece, as it's visual artwork. A video can be comprised of quotes of other videos, photos and audio. Still photos can be made from videos. All three types of objects can contain subsets of media that is tagged and described. Having a single publishing format to relate them as needed in an organized structure makes sense.

Elements that come up often in practice

Here are some examples of elements that might be included because they seem to come up often in user generated media publishing, either on their own blogs or on service sites, include the following:

Base elements:

  • Title
  • Html URL
  • Media URL
  • Image URL (video and audio)
  • Tags
  • Description / summary
  • Quotes (subsets of the object: a video quote and tags/description associated with it, a region annotation note for a photo, or the quote of a podcast or audio piece, with tags/description -- the technical detail for these subsets exists in the 'more info' section below)
  • Creator
  • License (defaults to copyright, if none exists, but it's there, by US law, and many other areas of the world)

and for audio and visual:

  • Duration

Other info: (This is not the same for all types of media, and is published by users in very limited ways in practice, or is captured from the device or service or in some way, invisible to the user, and therefore often depends on a service to pick it up. It should only appear in a publishing tool under 'more data' at then end, for enthusiast users.)

RatioAspect Ratio?
file sizefile sizefile size
.audio codecaudio codec
.video codec.
.bit / frame ratebit rate
Portrait or Landscape..
Region Annotation (subphotos: calculation of location, size)Quotes of Video (subvideo: in and out points)Quotes of Audio (subaudio: in and out points)
iPod compliant?iPod compliant?iPod compliant?
Inclusion in playlist?Inclusion in playlist?Inclusion in playlist?

Combining with other microformats

Although media items are sometimes presented in isolation they are often found in data structures that are supported by existing microformats. It should therefore be possible to use the media microformat as a child (or in some cases a parent) of these microformats.


Podcast feeds reference a sequence of media items. A media microformat could therefore be used as a child element of hAtom.


A media microformat may used to describe a continuous media stream e.g. a TV channel. An event or a schedule of events on the channel can be signaled using hEvents as child elements. This combination would provide what is necessary to capture a specific event; the media stream information and the timing information.


Splitting Content Semantics from File Format

We should consider splitting file content from file format. A song (content) can be represented as an MP3 audio file (format), or an MPEG-2 music video (format). media-info should be used to describe file content with a separate microformat or link-rel design pattern to describe file format.

Example 1:

  • media-info (content): A song called "Hung Up" by "Madonna"
  • file-format (format): 4.5MB MP3 file encoded at 192Kbps bitrate.

Example 2:

  • media-info (content): A music video called "Hung Up" by "Madonna"
  • file-format (format): 35MB AVI file, MP3 audio codec encoded at 192Kbps, DiVX video codec encoded at 600Kbps

ManuSporny 06:50, 5 Apr 2007 (PDT)