Without being anywhere near expert on any aspect of library cataloging. I imagine all of this
crowd-source mishmash makes it harder to have any sort of uniform information about things. I'd like
to know this -- is there a uniform standard, used by all library catalogs, of how to express and
describe classical symphony movements, and has it been applied for all recorded symphonies so far?
If you want to see what I'm talking about, go on iTunes or Amazon and look for versions of any
popular symphony. Look at all the different ways a movement is labelled. Also look at how composers,
conductors, orchestras and soloists are labelled, and how it varies within metadata fields. It's a
jungle out there! Also look at song titles. Take a popular song with a parenthetical phrase in the
title. Sometimes the parenthetical phrase is listed, sometimes not. Sometimes songwriters are
lastname, firstname and sometimes the opposite. Look at all the ways Herbert Von Karajan and the
Berlin Philharmonic are listed, depending on what crowd-source entered what metadata on what
recording. It's maddening if one wants to build a digital library with any sort of consistency.
I first encountered this when I ripped all the original Mercury Living Presence CDs into an iTunes
library, patiently waiting while the software took forever to crunch them into ALAC format. Every
disc I inserted, I had to do something to correct the metadata so it was consistent with previously
ripped discs. It's been that way with almost every CD I've ever ripped into iTunes or, later, my
networked server library. I figure you stand about an 80% chance you'll have to correct something,
usually the year of the recording but almost just as often the name of the artist (in order to keep
the same person under the same name throughout a library). Another really annoying new "feature" is
parentheticals like "(2012 REMASTER)" after a track name. Who cares? Just put it in the comments
As you can tell, this definitely annoys me! Aside from the time-wasting inconvenience of bad data,
it's a problem that should never have happened.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steven Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2016 10:58 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A case in point why CDText should have been used for metadata from Day 1
> What can be done now to create the more accurate cataloging we all desire.
> Is this a neglected implied mission of the ARSC Cataloging Committee?
> Properly done, this benefits all, libraries as well as the general public.
> If so should this be on their agenda at the ARSC conference?
> AT the moment, the committee seems to be working on issues related to
> libraries only. They also have met for the last 2 years opposite the
> meeting of the Copyright Committee. I'm interested in both but the
> schedulers can't seem to separate the times for them and adjusting the
> present copyright law, which impinges on musical creation, is my priority.
> Steve Smolian
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2016 8:46 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] A case in point why CDText should have been used for
> metadata from Day 1
> The 1995 Smithsonian collection "Big Band Renaissance: the Evolution of the
> Jazz Orchestra" is a great example of group-source metadata FUBAR.
> dBPowerAmp's CD ripper program allows use of multiple metadata sources, and
> by default does some sort of amalgam of whatever sources you've told it to
> check. The amalgam on this set is comical! So I manually checked metadata
> from each source. They are all different, and only GD3 (whatever that is) is
> anywhere near accurate. I find this often happens with compilations -- for
> instance freedB and/or AllMusic will have different top-level stuff like
> titles and whether or not it's a compilation for different individual CDs in
> the same box set.
> All of this could have been prevented if the industry embraced CDText from
> the get-go and agreed on uniform naming standards for artists and song
> titles. I remember the arguments back in the 80's -- it's hard enough to
> enter PQ codes into these balky Sony editing systems, and no CD players have
> displays for CDText, so why bother. Very short-sighted. The net-net today is
> that anyone who wants uniform naming and accurate information in a digital
> library has to spend a lot of time editing the crappy metadata that's out
> there in group-source land. And, copyright owners have ceded control of
> their metadata to a group-source no-QC cluter-you-know-what.
> -- Tom Fine