PBCore Controlled Vocabulary Recommendations

The PBCore Controlled Vocabularies Team has been working hard to review the existing state of the PBCore maintained and recommended vocabularies. We have made recommendations for which Asset level elements and attributes we think PBCore should maintain a unique vocabulary for, and which we should recommend the use of specific pre-existing vocabularies for. Our recommendations can be reviewed in this google doc (, where we encourage PBCore users to make comments and ask questions. Starting on Wednesday February 18th, we will be taking your comments into consideration as we proceed to the next step of revising the controlled vocabularies. We greatly appreciate any input from PBCore users.

PBCore: A How-to and Why-to Webinar | Recording from 10/23/2014

On October 23, 2014, the AMIA PBCore Advisory Subcommittee’s Education Team offered a webinar titled “PBCore: A How-to and Why-to Webinar.” Geared toward archivists, librarians, and anyone who has audiovisual collections at their institutions, the presenters offered contextual background; explained the benefits and reasons why PBCore is perfectly suited for managing audiovisual collections; offered step-by-step guidance on inventorying av assets and getting started with PBCore; and described the use of PBCore in different settings, such as asset management, digital preservation, archival description, and use with other schemas such as PREMIS and METS.

Before we got started, I failed to mention why the PBCore Advisory Subcommittee felt it was important to host this webinar. PBCore is already pretty well established within the moving image and audio archival community, but not so much across the archival profession in general. Why? I think it’s because archivists have only recently realized that we are facing an imminent loss of our audiovisual cultural heritage if we don’t take steps to preserve these collections in the next 10-15 years. And for many years, institutions have not dealt with their audiovisual collections, often because these collections represent only a small part of the overall collection; because av collections are more expensive to preserve and manage; and because there aren’t enough people skilled in audiovisual preservation.

The PBCore Advisory Subcommittee is encouraged by the recent invigoration among archivists who are beginning to deal with their deteriorating av collections, as well as the digital video and audio collections, and we know that PBCore has a place in these efforts. PBCore is uniquely suited to provide a standard way for archivists to record metadata about their av collections.

We look forward to providing more opportunities like yesterday’s webinar in the future, as well as improving the schema over the next few months, clarifying and improving documentation, creating our new website, and generating new PBCore resources.

Many thanks to all of those who attended yesterday’s webinar, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the presenters whose email addresses I have listed below:

Casey E. Davis, WGBH | casey_davis [at] wgbh [dot] org
Maureen McCormick Harlow, PBS | mmharlow [at] pbs [dot] org
Sadie Roosa, WGBH | sadie_roosa [at] wgbh [dot] org
Morgan Oscar Morel | moran.morel [at] georgeblood [dot] com

Enjoy the recording and please feel free to share it among your colleagues and networks!
(The chat text is best readable when the video is viewed in full-screen.)

PBCore: A How-to and Why-to Webinar | Recording from 10/23/14 from American Archive on Vimeo.

This post was written by Casey E. Davis, Project Manager for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at WGBH and Chair of the AMIA PBCore Advisory Subcommittee.

PBCore Handout & New PBCore XML Examples

The PBCore Advisory Subcommittee’s Communications Team has created a handout for people considering using PBCore at their institutions. Feel free to download the pdf and share it with your colleagues as you begin to consider options for managing metadata about audiovisual materials in your collections.

Additionally, Education Team member Morgan Oscar Morel has created several new examples of PBCore being used in different contexts, which are all now available on the PBCore website, including:

If you have any examples of PBCore in use at your institution and are willing to share them with the community, please send us an email at

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to members of the Advisory Subcommittee with any questions.

PBCore Presentations from AMIA 2014

Members of the PBCore Advisory Subcommittee of the Association of Moving Image Archivists presented a session at the annual conference titled “Pursuing PBCore: The Revitalization of a Schema and Community.”

Session Chair Casey Davis began the discussion by generally highlighting the background and progress of the PBCore Advisory Subcommittee and called for the community to offer frank feedback on the future of the schema. “Good metadata standards not only provide a usable, understandable, and interoperable model for organizing data about common objects, but…more importantly — there should exist an engaged and forward-thinking community of stewards to carry the standard forward with the industry, as needs continue to change and as the community of users grows,” added Davis.

The session panelists included Jessica Bitely, Preservation Director at the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC); Jack Brighton, Director of New Media and Innovation at Illinois Public Media; John Passmore, Archives Manager at WNYC, and Mary Miller, Peabody Awards Collection Archivist at the University of Georgia.

Jessica explained and outlined the PBCore User and Non-User Survey and its results, as well as how the Education Team plans to address the issues identified in the survey. Jack Brighton and John Passmore provided case studies of how their institutions use PBCore, and Mary Miller provided a skeptic’s perspective on PBCore. Her complicated relationship with PBCore was well summarized in her quote, “I don’t love you, but I need you,” a feeling that many in the audience admitted to having.

But enough of this recap — you can see the slides yourself!

Register for the PBCore webinar!

The AMIA PBCore Advisory Subcommittee is offering a webinar intended for archivists, librarians and other professionals who deal with audiovisual materials and are interested in learning about the PBCore metadata schema and data model.

This introductory webinar will help you learn what PBCore might have to offer your organization, as well as the best way to start using PBCore at your organization.

Register here for the webinar, which will be held Thursday, October 23, 2014 from 2-4 pm ET. The webinar will be recorded and made available to those who are unable to attend. The webinar room is first come, first serve — so try to join the room a few minutes early to claim your spot.

For those attending AMIA in Savannah, we also hope to see you are our PBCore session and business meeting!

Here’s the info:
Panel Session: “Pursuing PBCore: The Revitalization of a Schema and Community”
Friday October 10, 11am – 12pm

Bring your own lunch to the PBCore Advisory Subcommittee Meeting (anyone with an interest in PBCore is welcome to join!)
Friday, October 10, 12pm – 1pm
Verelist Room

And look for a PBCore Subcommittee member to get your own PBHardcore conference badge!


Mark your calendars for PBCore events at AMIA 2014


Are you headed to Savannah for AMIA this year? Want to get the scoop on current PBCore developments?

If so, go ahead and block off your schedule for Friday, October 10 from 11am – 1pm — it’s going to be a PBHardcore couple of hours!

First, members of the AMIA PBCore Advisory Subcommittee will lead a session titled “Pursuing PBCore: The Revitalization of a Schema and Community.” Casey Davis will introduce the session and speakers and generally introduce the current efforts of the recently established PBCore Advisory Subcommittee. Jessica Bitely will report on the results of the PBCore User and Non-user Survey, highlighting some of the suggestions from the user community as well as the misconceptions brought to light by non-user respondents. Jack Brighton and John Passmore will present on how PBCore is used at their organizations, and Mary Miller will discuss why her organization doesn’t use PBCore. Dave MacCarn will lead a Q & A.

Following the panel session, the PBCore Subcommittee will convene its Business Meeting from 12pm – 1pm. All conference attendees are welcome to join! Bring your brown-bag lunch (and your opinions!) and hear from members of each team discuss the specific efforts of the five established teams — Schema, Education, Website, Documentation, and Communication. The meeting will include 30 minutes for open discussion.

Looking forward to seeing you in Savannah!

PBCore Schema review needs your comments

The PBCore Schema Team is hot on the heels of the next version/update of the PBCore 2.x schema. They’re taking comments and feature requests until September 30, 2014 for the next schema release planned for March 2015.

All parties interested in contributing to the ongoing development and improvement of PBCore should please submit their issues with the current version of the standard to the PBCore GitHub issue tracker. Submitted issues may be related to any aspect of PBCore: the data model, XML schema, individual element or attributes, vocabularies, etc. We also invite you to comment on issues submitted by others.

The URL for the PBCore GitHub issue tracker is:

For instructions on submitting issues to GitHub, please see Lauren Sorensen’s earlier blog post on

PBCore is now being used by a great many public media organizations, film archives, broadcasters, libraries, and academic institutions. With your help, we’ll make the next version more useful for all concerned!

PBCore and Dance Heritage Coalition’s “Media Network”

Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) is bravely and gracefully pioneering the field of dance preservation. As a consortium of institutions holding significant collections documenting the history of dance, they are the only national non-profit organization taking on the special challenges of this field. Those challenges include preserving a multi-format legacy and providing access to its riches while protecting copyright restrictions of the artists and choreographers. This is the aim of DHC’s online “Media Network”, a grant-funded project to create a union research database of dance-related moving images (searchable prototype available at We were especially excited to learn that PBCore was being used to create their unique records, and grateful that Rebecca Fraimow, the hub manager for DHC’s New York preservation hub, offered to tell us how!

Rebecca and her fellow hub managers in Washington D.C. and San Francisco work with local artists to help them preserve their work and perform audiovisual conservation and preservation for the database at each of the hub’s digitization stations. So far they’ve made tremendous progress! While some member archives have performed digitization, the majority of film and analog tapes and born-digital files of one-of-a-kind materials, including performances and interviews, are sent directly to the hubs to be digitized and added to the database. The database currently holds 28,000 PBCore records mapped from MARC records and nearly 800 streaming video.

PBCore allows for each asset on the “Media Network” to include multiple, linked records, including the jpeg for the thumbnail image of the video still, the digital instantiation, for which technical metadata is captured automatically with the upload, the digital backup file, and a physical instantiation. PBCore data fields include form, identification, title, description, and relation to other material, which can be linked to contextual materials like posters, programs and reviews.

For description that is unique to performance, Rebecca and her fellow hub managers map the data to match PBCore fields where they can, adding their own attributes. For example, many of the records have long lists of creative collaborators, such as costume designer, composer, etc.

Streaming of the digital files is available through log-in afforded to member archives, libraries, and education centers in order to prevent unauthorized copying. However, the site makes discovery of the assets possible: the metadata on the front end is extensive and transparent, and anyone searching the union database – scholar, faculty, student, or the general public – can find the location of the physical instantiation.

PBCore might not seem like the obvious choice for the sole national dance-related repository, but in the absence of a performance-based schema, 2.0′s multi-part instantiations and breadth of fields for flexible mapping are supporting DHC’s most essential metadata requirements.

This fall Rebecca will bring her digital preservation skills and creativity to WGBH as an NDSR awarded resident and we are thrilled to welcome her! Congratulations, Rebecca, and thank you for sharing your PBCore experiences with us!

Written by Bryce Roe, intern for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Interview with Rebecca Fraimow, Preservation Hub Manager for Dance Heritage Coalition.