Martin Dow, of MediaMixer partner Acuity Unlimited, was asked to give a short talk on the subject of “Web Semantics”, as it might apply to the FOCAL audience, at the FOCAL conference on 10 July in London, “Metadata and Why it is Important”.

The talk was billed under the “New Developments” section. The focus of the talk was to briefly introduce what “web semantics” referred to, to highlight recent achievements in institutional archival practices through engineering with the web architecture, and how the properties of the web might help realise scale and reuse – particularly through the property of enabling cooperation without coordination, the separation of concerns for metadata acquisition, preservation and reuse.

The conference attracted FOCAL professionals: archive owners, managers, technical staff and archive researchers/archive producers. Some, for example from major broadcast archives, were already familiar with semantic web concepts, whilst for others the concepts were of interest but the practice still seemed quite distant from tape- and file- based day-to-day environments. The New Developments section also featured talks from Godfrey Rust, leading data modelling challenges for the Linked Content Coalition and the UK Copyright Hu, an organisationally and technically coordinated “hub” solution to interoperable rights metadata, and Mark Vermaat of SilverMouse regarding content identifiers. The programme was broad in scope, with sessions from industry expert Carol Owen and Sara Hill from services organisation Prime Focus, case studies from AP and ITV, industry experts Richard Wright on realities of working with legacy formats in a file-based broadcast environment, Paul Collard on his product’s metadata interface for digitisation work, “data wrangling” at the BBC, and an insightful session around archive research practices, with Matthew Butson from Getty Images. Given the semantic web is capable of generically representing all kinds of structured metadata, current and emergent industry practices are important to MediaMixer’s future understanding of the maturity models required to engage within these industry segments.

MediaMixer as a project is promoting the use of innovative semantic technology for analysing, annotating, managing and re-using media assets at the fragment level to the benefit of both the media owner and the media consumer.

However, any new technology needs explanation: what technology exists for each task? where is it and how can I use it? what does it support, what not, and what experiences have been had with it? MediaMixer supports interested adopters on its community portal with lists of useful software and demonstrators, and can directly help community members via online forums, events and offers of knowledge and technology transfer*.

As part of this, we just published the first version of the Core Technology Set.  This document introduces the different aspects of MediaMixer technology with a state of the art, existing technology and specifications, and links to further information and downloads. We cover:

  • Media Fragment specification, server playout and client playout
  • Media Fragment creation via visual analysis
  • Media Fragment description using annotation models and controlled vocabularies
  • Media Fragment rights management
  • Media Fragment asset management including fragment identification
  • Media Fragment re-use via search and retrieval in IT systems

This technology is in flux and we will update the Core Technology Set when necessary. Any registered community member (registration is free) can access the document, and if you have questions or comments on it, you can start a discussion in our What is MediaMixer? forum.