The first two axioms of the <indecs> metadata project were ‘Metadata is critical’ and ‘Stuff is complex.’ These axioms apply to both archives and commercial intellectual property. Multiple institutions may have copies of a film, which may be ‘the same’ in some contexts and ‘different’ in others. Further, different holders will almost always have different metadata. Linking archives and other sources aids discovery and increases the amount of available metadata. However, different archives call things by different names – variant titles, local titles, etc. — and have different terms for almost everything, so finding shared items is hard.
The Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR), based on the DOI system (ISO 26324:2012), is an <indecs> descendant, and so has the necessary formal structures to enable connectivity among all parties in the moving image community. This paper examines uses of EIDR in an archival context, based on experiences at the BFI, ITV, and the UK Copyright Hub:
- Improving metadata and catalogues within an archive. This is supported through technology, process, formal standards, and the large curated and peer-reviewed database.
- Linking to information from other sources. This is possible because EIDR treats external identifiers as first-class metadata, so an EIDR identifier contains pointers to other information.
- Forming a better understanding of when things really are the same and when they are different. This flows naturally from the <indecs> principle of ‘appropriate granularity.’
- Improved collaboration with commercial entities. This is possible because the parties can discover shared interest through a common identifier and structured metadata.
Raymond Drewry is Principal Scientist at MovieLabs. He is the original architect of the EIDR system, vice-chair of the International DOI Foundation, and a board member of the Linked Content Coalition. He has designed and implemented systems that range from the first fully interactive digital cable network in Europe, through the first-ever networked digital video system for journalists at an international sporting event, to real-time robotics systems for special effects and mechanical-industrial performance pieces. He was also a contributor to version 1 of Microsoft Windows and the first releases of the X11 window system from MIT. He has been CTO at Aggregator TV, a UK-based OTT content company, and before that CTO and VP of engineering at Liberate Technologies, providing infrastructure software to the digital cable industry. He was also Director of Technology for New Media at Sybase; Principal Engineer and Architect for graphics systems at Digital Equipment Corporation; and an engineering manager at Microsoft. His patents, publications, and contributions to technical standards cover distributed systems and networked applications; hardware and software for graphics and multimedia; and metadata and identifiers. He has a BA in Classics (Latin) and Computer Science from Yale University.