The Association for Recorded Sound Collections Technical Committee (ARSC TC) recently announced the release of their “Study of Embedded Metadata Support in Audio Recording Software: Summary of Findings and Conclusions”. AudioVisual Preservation Solutions President Chris Lacinak and Consultant Peter Oleksik played significant roles in co-ordinating the study and authoring the report, along with invaluable contributions from Walter Forsberg (NYU), Mike Casey (Indiana University), Marcos Sueiro Bal (WNYC Radio), Tom Endres (BMS/Chace), Tommy Sjöberg (Folkmusikens hus), Bruce Gordon (Harvard University), Preston Cabe (George Blood Audio & Video), and the full Technical Committee.
According to the ARSC press release, the study was designed by the Technical Committee to evaluate “support for embedded metadata within and across a variety of audio recording software applications” in order to assess two primary questions:
1. How well does embedded metadata persist, and is its integrity maintained, within any given file as it is handled by various applications over time?
2. How well is embedded metadata handled during the process of creating a derivative?
The findings of the study are of major importance to individuals and organizations concerned with the long-term use and management of digital audio files, concluding that “persistence and integrity issues are prevalent across the audio software applications studied”. Until now the internal workings of files and software studied here have been obscure or inaccessible to the majority of people who work with digital audio. Thanks to the methodologies developed by the Technical Committee and the development of tools like BWF MetaEdit, that knowledge and the means for integrity testing have been opened up to archivists, producers, engineers, and other stakeholders. AVPS is honored to have had the opportunity to contribute to this work.