[okfn-discuss] open film metadata database

Saul Albert saul at theps.net
Thu Apr 13 09:25:21 UTC 2006

On Mon, Apr 10, 2006 at 05:32:26PM +0100, Rufus Pollock wrote:
> Does anyone know whether there is an 'open' source of film metadata. 
> There have been several projects for music metadata including freedb 
> (GPL) and musicbrainz  (by-nc-sa) but I don't know of one for films/dvds 
> (there's IMDB of course but that doesn't seem very open_[1][2][3]).
> Not only would this kind of db be a useful set of open knowledge but 
> with the increasing sales of DVDs and ever cheaper hard disk space 
> people are surely going to start building up dvd collections on their 
> computers in the way they build up their CD collection.

Hi Rufus,

I don't think there is such a thing, as far as I know - although there
are some cataloguing systems for people's off-line content (books, dvds,
cds etc) that nab that kind of information from screen scraping imdb or
using amazon reseller APIs like http://opendb.iamvegan.net/ and of
course, the now-more-or-less-defunct http://dlp.theps.net. When I was
working on this, I talked to jo and other uo librarians about doing a
kind of free isbn brokerage (several of these exist - http://isbndb.com/
for example) based on that to fill in the gaps of isbndb:

The problem with the ISBN system is that it doesn't deal well with
pre-isbn books (which only came about in the 70's), and it's kind of
difficult dealing with different editions, regions, publishers etc.  etc.
for what is essentially the same book. 

I don't think that DVDs necessarily have the same problem - but as far as
I know, CD / music dbs and clients scan track listings and timings to
correlate with track listings already on the database, then apply id3 tag
metadata to encoded media. I have no idea whether such easy-to-search on
metadata can be extracted from DVDs, and standard tag systems applied - I
imagine so, but I've not heard of such a thing or done the research.

Something like you're proposing does seem timely, given that sites like
http://green.tv (an actual, real-life product of the espians!) are
distributing video content and podcasts in multiple formats, then
watching them on their ipods etc..  more people will probably start
ripping and encoding their own dvds for playback on mobile devices.

I have been talking to tav (leader of the espians) about his plans for
the technology underlying green.tv (based on the 'protoplex') and a lot
of nice ajaxy stuff... I think they're planning some really interesting
developments along the lines of splicing and editing online media and
providing people with tools for high quality, multiple-format video
encoding and distribution in such a system.

I'm personally more interested in applying metadata to video / media
content to make it searchable by timeline... so I think there's a lot of
gaps in the video/dvd/self-encoded media market that form a whole of
some sort.

I dunno who might be interested in or able to do something like this
though. There must be a huge pile of prior art. I reckon what's needed
first is a research project to gather who the brains are in the area to
find out what is really missing..



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