Time to get funky with PBCore

Written by Jack Brighton on Saturday, April 04, 2009

Yesterday somebody asked me "Is anything really happening with PBCore? Or is it a nice idea that CPB funded and then left hanging out to dry?" The answer seems to be yes, and maybe.

I'm aware of several significant PBCore projects, mostly below the CPB radar:

  • An open source media player that will ingest content and metadata via PBCore records
  • A Drupal profile that will include PBCore among other methods for exchanging media
  • A project to build PBCore modules for other CMSs including ExpressionEngine, and Joomla
  • The folks at NPR Online are adding PBCore as an output format for the NPR API
  • A preservation repository for media using PBCore as its metadata foundation

I also just saw a CPB RFP for STEM projects relating to climate science, requiring the use of PBCore for all project media.

Meanwhile, OPB is tackling the next phase of the American Archive project, which could play a large role in shaping the future of PBCore. This is critical, because without a formal change-management process, active development, and support, A/V archivists and online media developers aren't likely to have confidence that PBCore will become a common standard for the long-term.

I think it should be, because PBCore is simply a great standard for A/V metadata. It's simple enough for most people to understand, but detailed enough to be truly useful. But the PBCore project needs further work, including refining the controlled vocabularies for subjects, genres, and probably everything else. The PBCore Resource Group has been dormant, and I don't see evidence that anyone else has officially taken the reins. Correct me if I'm wrong please. 

I suspect this is the year that PBCore either sinks or swims. There are lots of good reasons it should emerge as a common standard, and lots of "things" being developed around it. The question is, who will take responsibility for maintaining the PBCore standard?


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