Tagging is a great way to organize your URLs. If you have accumulated a large number of audio and video URLs that you wish to access from your media hub and you feel that breaking them into groups would have made your life much easier, then you are in the right place. Not only that tagging will allow you to break your URLs into groups but rather unlike placing them in folders, each URL can belong to more than one group, and therefore tagging is considered a more flexible tool to organize items than a folder hierarchy is. The one conceptual difference betwen tags and folders is that you do not place an item in a folder, but rather you associate a tag with an item, so you bring the tag to the item and not the item to the tag. Once you grasp this difference, taging will prove easier than folders and it will be much more flexible and fun to do, since you have total freedom to create your own taxonomy and if you suddently realize that there is a different grouping criteria you wish to employ you do not need to break your existing groups (as would be the case with folders) you can just have them both co-exist one next to the other.
Let’s start with an example illustrating how you can use tags, all the details pertaining to this example will be covered in the following sections. If a URL has the tags,
movie trailers.comedy.madagascar, artist.U2, director.steven spielberg, then when we browse our media library by tags these items will be displayed as shown below:
Other movie trailers of comedies
Tagging is also called sometimes labeling, this is because associating tags with URLs can be thought of as inventing a label and attaching this label to all the URLs that you feel belong to the group this label represents. Let’s take an example, consider a collection of URLs that has many Internet radio statios with holiday tunes. Let’s say we wish them all to be grouped and accessible under the label
Holiday Tunes, then all we need to do is edit each of these URLs in the TVersity Media Server GUI (by locating it in the list of URLs and double clicking on it) and adding
Holiday Tunes in the tags text box (if we already have some tags there we need to use a comma to separate between them). By clicking the
submit button for each of them we will be saving this and the server will automatically create now a new group titled
Holiday Tunes that will appear from now on on our TV when we browse our audio library by tags. We can of-course associate this tag with as many URLs as we wish or to remove the tag from some of the URLs when we no longer wish to have them belong to this group. If the group becomes empty it will be removed completely and the next time we browse our audio library by tags it won’t appear there anymore.
Tags vs. Folders
So far we were able to create a group of URLs and access this group on our TV screen. While this is helpful, it is nothing special really and we could achieve this by creating a
Holiday Tunes folder as well. However let’s assume we also wish to create a group of radio stations that are appropriate for kids under the
Kids Tunes label and let’s also assume that some of the radio stations that were tagged as
Holiday Tunes should also be labeled as
Kids Tunes. If we were using folders it would not be easy to do since we cannot place a URL in two different folders. As a workaround we could of-course create another copy of this radio station but this would be quite painful to do and if in the future we decide to rename this station then we will need to do it twice or more (if we need to label it with additional labels). we could instead try and create a shortcut to this item and while this is somewhat better, keeping track of our shortcuts is quite a demanding task. This is where tagging really shines, we can simply associate the
Kids Tunes label with all the relevant radio stations, not worrying at all how many other labels they already have. When we browse the
Holiday Tunes group in our audio library we will see all the stations belonging to this group and when we browse the
Kids Tunes group we will see all the radio stations belonging to that group. The fact that there is some overlap between them should not concern us at all, it just works as it should and that is it.
Let’s say we now wish to break the Kids stations to smaller groups, one such subgroup for each child we have (Sara and Joe) so that they can easily access their stations. With folders we could just create two subfolders and move the URLs to those subfolders. Of-course if both Sara and Joe happen to like the same radio station we are going to have to replicate or create a shortcut to this radio station, but with tags we do not need to do that. TVersity Media Server is the first to come up with the notion of hierarchical tags (so remember when everyone else adopts it, you saw it here first!), all we would need to do is to associate the tag
Kids Tunes.Sara with the radio stations that Sara likes and the tag
Kids Tunes.Joe with the radio stations that Joe likes (notice the dot separating between the two levels of hierarchy). If we wish to have some radio stations accessible from the
Kids Tunes group without needing to further dive into the specific kid subgroup we can leave the
Kids Tunes tag as well for those radio stations. The fact that there is or isn’t an overlap is of no concern, everyone will be able to easily access exactly the stuff they want. Of-course we can have more than two levels of hierarchy so if each kid now wishes to break their radio stations to smaller groups they can easily do so.
While tagging is very flexible, it can also be error prone and time consuming. This is mainly because one needs to re-type the tags for each URL, a process in which there is considerable repetition and in which the probability for errors due to tag inconsistency is high. In order to simplify and speed up the tagging process, future versions of TVersity Media Server will offer some tagging tools designed to reduce the chance of an error and shorten the time it takes to do proper tagging. These tools will include automatic tag completion (i.e. some completion suggestions are offered as one types in a tag), and the ability to associate a tag with several URLs in one operation.
By now it should be clear that tagging is a great way to organize your URLs in accordance with your personal preference, but tagging can be valuable not just for individual needs but also as a language for people to describe URLs they wish to share with one another. TVersity Media Server intends to allow URL sharing among users and to make these URLs searchable by leveraging the information provided by users in the tags. For this to work well, users need to make some extra effort beyond just tagging for their own needs, and agree to some tagging convention. If each user does it with his/her URLs then we will all be able to enjoy a global repository of URLs and find exactly what we want in this repository, of-course one must make sure that the flexibility of tags is not lost in the maze of the convention and the freedom to personalize our media is maintained. You can think of this convention as the language of URL tagging, designed to allow us to understand each other and in the same time not take away from our ability to express ourselves individually. With this in mind we povide below some special tags and the context in which they should be used:
|Artist||The artist tag should be used for URLs that have a specific aritst associated with them, e.g. `artist.U2` should be used with every Maddona audio/video related URL. This tag is relevant for audio, video and images and has the same meaning for all of them.|
|Album||The album tag should be used for URLs that belong to some collection and together form the complete art as intended by the artist or publisher. A music album is perhaps the most trivial example, but the name of some TV series is a great example too of something that can be thought of as an album, possibly with finer subgrouping into seasons, e.g. `album.seinfeld.season 1.Episode Name`.|
|Genre||The genre tag should be used to define a category to which the item belongs. The kind of categorization that makes sense for a given URL depends greatly on the subject matter and so there is no attempt here to define the genres themselves, however the tagging should be done such that as we proceed down the hierarchy it gets more and more detailed, so e.g. `genre.rock.alternative rock` is appropriate for a music track URL, but if one has in their library music URLs, audiobook URLs, podcasts URLs, and radio station URLs then one may wish to add another level of hierarchy to the tagging such that the previous example becomes `genre.music.rock.alternative rock`. One should not add a level of hierarchy for audio/video/image since the distinction between these categories is already maintained in TVersity Media Server and so there is no need to make things more cumbersome if no purpose is served.|
|Language||The language tag should be used to define the language of the media, whether it is the language of a soundtrack of the media, subtitles or anything else. Since a media can have several soundtracks and subtitles the tag can appear many times. If one wishes to indicate the part of the media that pertains to the language they can do so by adding it after the language tag, however the name of the language will always be last, e.g. `language.soundtrack.english` or `language.spansih` or `langugae.subtitles.hebrew`, etc.|
|Date||This tag should be used to describe a date associated with the media of the given URL. It can be e.g. the release year of a movie or a specific date in which a home video was shot. In cases where there are several different dates that are relevant to the media and one wishes to tag more than one of them, the date tag can be followed by the type of the date while the date itself will always come at the end, e.g. `date.release.2005`, or `date.publication.1994`, or `date.print.2003` or `date.may 8, 2001` or `date.2001.may.8`, etc.|
|Order||This tag should be used to describe the order of the media URL in a collection to which it belongs. Since any tag essentially defines a collection the ordering can be related to any of the tags. If one wishes to provide more than one method of oredering, then the order tag should be followed by the name of the ordering method, e.g. `order.1`, or `order.track.1` or `order.season.2` or `order.episode.4`, etc.|
|Source||The source tag should be used for the website URL from which the media URL was extracted. This gives proper acknowledgement to the source from which the media URL came, and is especially important in cases where it is not possible to guess the website URL from the media URL.|
|Region||The region tag should be used to describe the geographic location from which the media is originating. Like the genre URL, it needs to be more and more detailed as the hierarchy gets deeper, so e.g. one can use the tag `region.USA` or `region.USA.DC` or `region.USA.DC.Washington`.|
|Rating||The rating tag should be used to define how someone rated the media of a given URL. Since ratings can come from many different sources, one should have the rating tag followed by the rating source and then the actual rating. The terminology used in the actual rating depends on the source of the rating, so e.g. one can use `rating.mpaa.pg13` for formal movie ratings or `rating.user.9/10` for average rating by users, or `rating.my.***` for ones own rating based on one preferred system (in this case stars).|
|Director||The director tag should be used to name the director of a movie (but also of other videos and audio tracks). If a movie has several directors then the tag can be used several times, such that in each occurence a different director name is provided.|
|Actor||The actor tag should be used to name the actrors of a movie. Since a typical movie has multiple actors, the tag can be used several times such that in each occurence a different actor name is provided.|
|Producer||The producer tag should be used to name the producer of a movie (but also of other videos and audio tracks). If a movie has several producer then the tag can be used several times, such that in each occurence a different producer name is provided.|
|Publisher||The publisher tag should be used to name the publisher of the media. If the media has several publishers then the tag can be used several times, such that in each occurence a different publisher name is provided.|
|Author||The author tag should be used to name the author of a book (but also of other types of media for which it is meaningful). If a book has several authors then the tag can be used several times, such that in each occurence a different author name is provided.|
|Name||This tag should be used to describe the name of a person or an entity whose involvment with the media of the URL is not covered by any of the more specific tags provided above. The name tag should be followed by the role and then the name of the person or entity, e.g. `name.host.conan`.|
|Icon||This tag should be used to associate an icon with the media, by providing a URL that points to an image file. Since there may be several icons that one wishes to associate with a given media the tag can be used several time. Furthermore since there can be different types of icons one may wish to associate with the same media, the icon tag can be followed by something that describe the type of the icon while the image URL should always be provided at the end. For example, `icon.http://...jpg` or `icon.coverart.http://...jpg`, etc.|
All tags are case insensitive.
Tags are intended to be combined with one another to produce an even more interesting subgrouping. This relation between tags is not captured by the tags themselves but rather will be captured when TVersity adds support for smart playlists.
Changes and additions to the table can be proposed in the forums.
Most of the tags in the table can and will be converted by the media server to DIDL-Lite (the metatdata language used in the UPNP AV standard) and therefore media hubs confomring to the UPNP AV standard can benefit from them as well.