Webinar Recap: What is PBCore and why should I use PBCore?

This is the second post in a series about the PBCore webinar that the Education Team presented in October 2014. A recording of the webinar can be found here, and we’ll be recapping the event over the next few weeks.  The webinar began with a brief history of PBCore, which is outlined here.

Hopefully, by now you know what PBCore is. Previous blog posts have tackled the what. Still not sure?? Allow me to tackle the why.

Your problem: 

You’ve got stuff. Lots of it. It’s on different servers, in different file formats, in different vaults, on different shelves, on reels and cassettes. You have multiple copies of the same recording hiding in different places; you might have masters and derivatives, or you might just have the same copied tape sitting in 10 satellite locations. You’re worried about reaching the character limit of your file-system because the most recent set of files were begun with: project_x_03012015_onlocation_raw_master_copy_1

Your solution:



PBCore is built on several important principles which can untangle your mess of files, folders, tapes, servers, and shelves.

Specific, but standard

Metadata standards are like opinions – everybody’s got one – but having this one in your pocket gives you an advantage. PBCore is specifically built to support the workflows and descriptive needs of the audiovisual community, all the way from production to long-term archival storage and preservation. It’s got a lot in common with other metadata standards with which you might already be familiar, Dublin Core and EBUCore. However, it’s not too specific that different parts of the community can’t use it – PBCore can accommodate other (non-AV) materials as well.

And finally, here’s a long list of peer institutions that use it already:

The Smithsonian Channel

The Dance Heritage Coalition

Alliance for Community Media

International Criminal Tribunals, The Hague

University of Notre Dame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

American Archive of Public Broadcasting

… and more


As the audiovisual and archival communities become more digital-centric, the ability to seamlessly share information between organizations is paramount. Having a common language to describe not only what materials are, but where they are, and in what context they exist, is essential. And while your custom descriptive process might work right now (and bravo to you for developing your own!), we have all gone through trying to share our work with our peers, only to find that we’re speaking completely different languages. PBCore gives you the shared vocabulary you need.

Now that you know why, in future weeks, we’ll be exploring exactly how to implement PBCore in your own collections.


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