Bid to OSI
Metadata Standard – Finalisation & Implementation
Prepared for: Janet Haven
Prepared by: Jamie King
A joint application by:
A current concern for all kinds of video producers is to better share and distribute their materials, both to reach wider audiences and to facilitate wider cooperation and learning.Massive increases in the speed of consumer-grade internet connections and disk storage space, as well as innovations in distributing software, mean that online distribution is now a viable option for media producers. As proprietary services like YouTube (www.youtube.com) have shown, there is now a strong online viewership. The only barrier to reaching a world audience with media content is the treatment of media files in a way that makes it easy for other online entities to find them and use them. That is the problem this project seeks to address.
Attempts to create centralized, independent online repositories of audiovisual material have met with varying degrees of success. Now, instead of attempting to centralize resources, participants in the Transmission network <www.transmission.cc> are moving towards a common metadata and online syndication/distribution standard for use by diverse independent media groups and outlets. The intention is to allow parties to retain hosting and maintenance of their own materials, while facilitating widespread information exchange and collaborative use, re-use and distribution.
This process has the potential to transform the way that video is published, accessed and presented online, enabling media to reach interested audiences much more effectively than it does at present. There is also significant immediate utility here for the specific group of independent media and campaign video projects that have initiated the Transmission standard. If we can create a standard that is agreed by most interested parties, we can then cooperate to encode all our video content in this way. The benefits of this to all of us are immense. We will be able to create, subscribe to, and recombine feeds of each others’ video material and display the results on our own pages or wherever we like. Viewers will be able to find their way to our content much more easily.
Work To Date
Recommendations have been developed for a pragmatic, common metadata and syndication standard. A proposed standard was presented at the re:transmission gathering in London, 15th October 2006, incorporating the recommendations in an extant syndication format (Atom). The proposal <http://shiftspace.cc/jamie/tx_report_0.1.html> was welcomed as the first practical step towards the basic 'glue' that will take online video distribution to the next level. It was designed to be:
• as easy as possible to understand and implement for video producers and distributors
• applicable to as many different kinds of AV content as possible without being unwieldy
• compliant wherever possible to available standards for describing and distributing content online
Our recommendations have now been subjected to substantial consultation, and are in need of redrafting to take account of comments received.
There is a Metadata Working Group to take the drafting of our proposal forward, including the authors of the proposal and about other five experts who contribute in-kind advice and assistance. The mailing list for this group is found at: <http:// lists.transmission.cc/mailman/listinfo/metadata>.
The manager of this grant would be Jamie King as an employee of ShiftSpace, a not for profit company registered in the UK, whose activities centre around developing the benefits of shared information.
Summary of Intent
As a network of social change video projects, Transmission now needs to promote final agreement on and adoption of the metadata standard it is proposing. A working 0.2 set of draft specifications has been created, and the next phase is to move toward to a more stable framework that can be used for experimental implementations.
The funding applied for here covers:
• Finalisation of the Transmission metadata standard in light of feedback received to date, including collating and reviewing all the comments, suggestions and questions so far; resolving any queries and generating a 0.3 draft of the recommendations incorporating these; and drafting some implementation guidelines. This document would then be sent to the meta:tx list for a new round of feedback. After final alterations it would then be published on a specially created section of the Transmission site. By that stage it should as much as possible reflect the concerns and considerations of all stakeholders.
• Ongoing consultation and informing of user groups towards widespread adoption of the standard. This activity included reviewing discussion on list; bringing in other interested parties; maintaining and updating the standard; dealing with queries about the standard; promoting the standard professionally, e.g. advising on implementation of metadata standard in existing video podcasting modules to popular CMSes, like Wordpress, the video module in Drupal, in Aggregator2 module in Drupal and others.
The primary function of the metadata standard itself is to allow disparate groups producing independent video to distribute material in such a way that is interoperable with other sites. The paradigm of ‘one site, one site’s content’ is shifting to ‘many sources of content, many destinations’. Bearing this in mind, we consider the following exemplary use cases:
a) A small, independent video producer makes their content available using the metadata standard currently being worked on. By doing so, their content is able to be carried on a number of sites, who promote the content and thus bring their material to a far wider audience than would be possible given their own means.
Both these use-cases have been identified as critically important by members of the Transmission network.
b) Conversely, a project that does not produce video material per se but which would like to present AV material can do so through use of particular implementations of this standard (see for example (ii) below. Subscribing to feeds of AV material is possble now, but the Transmission standard provides for rights management metadata, attribution, and media containers and -- particularly importantly -- consistency, such that the video feeds become a reliable way of adding value to a project.
ITEM DAYS @ UKP 140 / day COST UKP
FINALISATION 18 Days (2 people, 9 days ea) 2,520.00
CONSULTATION & OUTREACH 4 Days / Month for 6 months 3,360,00
DEVELOPMENT & IMPLEMENTATIONS 30 Days (with 10 days supporting third parties) 4,200,00
PROJECT MANAGEMENT 14 Days 1,960.00
TOTAL 11,940.00 UKP
Work will be carried out in collaboration between IFIWatch, Exequo and Shiftspace. It is likely Jan Gerber and Jamie King will work on finalisation of the current standard; some of the funds for implementations (about 10 days) will go directly to paying organisations to make technical updates to their services. IFIWatch, Exequo and Shiftspace will work together on taking the standard forward, including applying for any further funding (Consultation and Outreach), and will divide the funds accordingly.