This year we celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the standardization of SMPTE time code - structural and technical metadata which enables frame accurate synchronization, editing and identification of film, video and audio. Widely adopted before the term metadata came into popular use, SMPTE time code became the backbone of production and post-production processes, and it aids caretakers of audiovisual collections in numerous ways. Looking at the history and uses of SMPTE time code, one understands the limitations of the old description ‘data about data’. Metadata is vital information about the things we make and do, and information that lets us do more.
Metadata gives form to things that are otherwise shapeless and ambiguous, deriving value from concepts, information, and objects that appear to have little intrinsic worth. Metadata is the key to our ability to find, unlock, and use information that would otherwise remain obscure or out of reach. It is the reason we can recognize the creator of a work, find the owner of an object, authenticate historic records, discover the content we are looking for, articulate the value of our collections, and effectively manage them.
A search of the New York Times reveals that the term "metadata" came up once between 1970 and 1980. In contrast the term was used 208 times between 2000 and 2010. Not more relevant, just more recognized, metadata is here to stay, and to that we say, hip hip hooray!!!
All Images on this page are copyright protected and may not be reproduced or used without permission from AudioVisual Preservation Solutions.