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Identifiers for digital content

From: Mo McRoberts <mo.mcroberts@bbc.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2012 16:12:02 +0100
To: semantic-web@w3.org
Message-Id: <1504FA3B-387B-41B8-AFF2-F5256D79F87E@bbc.co.uk>

I've been recently looking into identifiers and metadata for digital content — in the first instance, TV programmes, but also radio shows, films, stills, etc., etc.

As the broadcasting world slowly inches towards a tapeless workflow where things are exchanged as files which can be sent over the Internet (or similar), we're steadily moving away from a world where labels are stuck to tapes containing the relevant identifying information and instead towards one where identifiers can be embedded within the media item itself (or into a metadata 'sidecar').

As these files are… well, files, duplicating them and archiving them is a process of very different shape as compared to with tapes. At this point, having an identifier which is only meaningful within the context of a particular organisation (or worse: within a particular production!) becomes a serious headache.

Ultimately, the point of having these identifiers is to answer two questions:

* What is it?

* What can I do with it [and consequently, how much will it cost?]

And so the thought occurs to me that one way to do this would be through the use of linked data: the identifiers which get embedded and passed around with the media are expressed as URIs, and in particular URIs which can be dereferenced in order to obtain RDF which expresses descriptive metadata, including provenance and licensing information.

I know there are standard schemes for some kinds of media (e.g., ISBNs for books), and vying-to-be-standard schemes for other kinds (e.g., EIDR for movies and TV) — but it strikes me that linked data isn't incompatible with any of these; and that if you're going to specify means of identifying various kinds of content, URIs provide a means to take a uniform approach with everything — and the distinction comes in how you embed that identifier and the nature of the metadata published about the item.

I'd be very interested in people's thoughts on this...


Mo McRoberts - Technical Lead - The Space
0141 422 6036 (Internal: 01-26036) - PGP key CEBCF03E,
Project Office: Room 7083, BBC Television Centre, London W12 7RJ
Received on Thursday, 12 July 2012 15:12:55 UTC

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