pbcoreInstantiationDocument is the equivalent of the instantiation element, but used for the expression of an instantiation record at the root of an XML document. This is most commonly used when referenced from other schemas, or if you want to create and express a single, stand-alone instantiation.

Best practice: This is most commonly used when Intellectual Content (in other words, descriptive metadata) is not expressed using PBCore, but rather another standard such as MODS or Dublin Core.

pbcoreInstantiationDocument is a root element and cannot be contained by any other elements.

Usage: not repeatable.


  • startTime optional.  Attribute startTime combines with the endTime attribute to define a specific media segment within a broader timeline of an asset and/or instantiation. Best practice: This is a free text attribute and can be applied at the asset or instantiation level. When used at the asset level, it may be used to talk generally about the start/end time of a segment (e.g. “30 minutes”), or by providing a timestamp to a specific point in an instantiation. If you’re doing that for element at the asset level, we suggest referencing the instantiation ID you are referring to in timeAnnotation. One example would be if a six-hour long tape was broken into multiple programs, and each instantiation might have its start time labeled as when the instantiation began in the timeline of the broader tape. Another example for this usage might be a digital file created from a VHS tape that contains multiple segments. In the digital copy, color bars are removed from the beginning, and black from the end of the digital instantiation. Time references referring to the segments on the physical VHS are no longer relevant; therefore it’s important to tie start and end time references to a specific instantiation, e.g. use the asset ID and timestamp.
  • endTime – optional.  Attribute endTime combines with a similar value in the startTime attribute to define a specific media segment within a broader timeline of an asset and/or instantiation.
  • timeAnnotationoptional.  Attribute timeAnnotation includes narrative information intended to clarify information about the value of the startTime and endTime attributes.


pbcoreInstantiation contains the following subelements:

  • instantiationIdentifier – required. The instantiationIdentifier element contains an unambiguous reference or identifier for a particular instantiation of an asset.
  • instantiationDate – optional. A date associated with an instantiation.
  • instantiationPhysical – optional. Use the element instantiationPhysical to identify the format of a particular instantiation as it exists in a physical form that occupies physical space (e.g., a tape on a shelf). This includes physical digital media, such as a DV tape, audio CD or authored DVD, as well as analog media.
  • instantiationDigital – optional.  Use the element instantiationDigital to identify the format of a particular instantiation of an asset as it exists as a digital file on a server, hard drive, or other digital storage medium. Digital instantiations should be expressed as a formal Internet MIME types.
  • instantiationStandardoptional.  If the instantiation is a physical item, instantiationStandard can be used to refer to the broadcast standard of the video signal (e.g. NTSC, PAL), or the audio encoding (e.g. Dolby A, vertical cut). If the instantiation is a digital item, instantiationStandard should be used to express the container format of the digital file (e.g. MXF).
  • instantiationLocation required.  instantiationLocation may contain information about a specific location for an instantiation, such as an organization’s name, departmental name, shelf ID and contact information. The instantiationLocation for a digital file should include domain, path or URI to the file.
  • instantiationMediaType optional.  This element identifies the general, high level nature of the content of an instantiation. It uses categories that show how content is presented to an observer, e.g., as a sound, text or moving image.
  • instantiationGenerations optional.  The instantiationGeneration element identifies the use type and provenance of the instantiation. The generation of a video tape may be an “Original Master” or “Dub”, the generation of a film reel may be an “Original Negative” or “Composite Positive”, an audiotape may be a “Master” or “Mix Element”, an image may be a “Photograph” or a “Photocopy”.
  • instantiationFileSize – optional.  This element indicates the file size of a digital instantiation. It should contain only numerical values. As a standard, express the file size in bytes. Units of Measure should be declared in the unitsOfMeasure attribute.
  • instantiationTimeStart – optional.  This element describes the point at which playback begins for a time-based instantiation. It is likely that the content on a tape may begin an arbitrary amount of time after the beginning of the instantiation. Best practice is to use a timestamp format such as HH:MM:SS[:|;]FF or HH:MM:SS.mmm or S.mmm.
  • instantiationDuration optional.  The element instantiationDuration provides a timestamp for the overall length or duration of a time-based media item. It represents the playback time. Best practice is to use a timestamp format such as HH:MM:SS[:|;]FF or HH:MM:SS.mmm or S.mmm
  • instantiationDataRate optional.  The element instantiationDataRate expresses the amount of data in a digital media file that is encoded, delivered or distributed, for every second of time. This should be expressed as numerical data, with the units of measure declared in the unitsOfMeasure attribute. For example, if the audio file is 56 kilobits/second, then 56 should be the value of instantiationDataRate and the attribute unitsOfMeasure should be kilobits/second.
  • instantiationColors optional.  The element instantiationColors indicates the overall color, grayscale, or black and white nature of the presentation of an instantiation, as a single occurrence or combination of occurrences in or throughout the instantiation.
  • instantiationTracks optional.  The element instantiationTracks is simply intended to indicate the number and type of tracks that are found in a media item, whether it is analog or digital. (e.g. 1 video track, 2 audio tracks, 1 text track, 1 sprite track, etc.) Other configuration information specific to these identified tracks should be described using instantiationChannelConfiguration.
  • instantiationChannelConfiguration optional.  The element instantiationChannelConfiguration is designed to indicate, at a general narrative level, the arrangement or configuration of specific channels or layers of information within an instantiation’s tracks. Examples are 2-track mono, 8- track stereo, or video track with alpha channel.
  • instantiationLanguage optional.  The element language identifies the primary language of the instantiation’s audio or text. Alternative audio or text tracks and their associated languages should be identified using the element instantiationAlternativeModes.
  • instantiationAlternativeModes optional.  The element instantiationAlternativeModes is a catch-all metadata element that identifies equivalent alternatives to the primary visual, sound or textual information that exists in an instantiation. These are modes that offer alternative ways to see, hear, and read the content of an instantiation. Examples include DVI (Descriptive Video Information), SAP (Supplementary Audio Program), ClosedCaptions, OpenCaptions, Subtitles, Language Dubs, and Transcripts. For each instance of available alternativeModes, the mode and its associated language should be identified together, if applicable. Examples include ‘SAP in English,’ ‘SAP in Spanish,’ ‘Subtitle in French,’ ‘OpenCaption in Arabic.’
  • instantiationEssenceTrack optional.  The instantiationEssenceTrack element is an XML container element that allows for grouping of related essenceTrack elements and their repeated use. Use instantiationEssenceTrack element to describe the individual streams that comprise an instantiation, such as audio, video, timecode, etc.
  • instantiationRelation optional.  The instantiationRelation element is a container for sub-elements instantiationRelationType and instantiationRelationIdentifier to describe relationships to other instantiations.
  • instantiationRights optional.  The instantiationRights element is a container for sub-elements rightsSummary, rightsLink and rightsEmbedded to describe rights particular to this instantiation.
  • instantiationAnnotation – optional.  The instantiationAnnotation element is used to add any supplementary information about an instantiation of the instantiation or the metadata used to describe it. It clarifies element values, terms, descriptors, and vocabularies that may not be otherwise sufficiently understood.
  • instantiationPart – optional.  InstantiationPart is a container that allows the instantiation to be split into multiple parts, which can describe the parts of a multi-section instantiation, e.g., a multi-disk DVD or vitagraph record and 35mm reel that are intended for synchronous playback. It contains all of the elements that a pbcoreInstantiation element would typically contain.
  • instantiationExtension optional.  Extensions are either a wrapper containing a specific element from another standard OR embedded xml containing the extension.


Submit any issues or suggested changes for future schema iterations by creating a ticket in our Github repository.