Information about information is called metadata. For example, an audio file contains audio information. The name of the person that created the file, the length of the file, the title of the file, description, and so on, are all examples of metadata a file might contain.
Metadata is useful for several reasons:
The iTunes and iPod user interfaces are built from metadata. For example, clicking the Artist category would yield useless results if you didn’t enter information for the artist metadata.
It makes browsing and searching much more efficient and helpful to your audience. Listeners can search by the information in the Artist field, search by your groupings, or any other category.
It supports and reinforces the content. For example, in an educational context, metadata meets the needs of different learning styles. There are visual learners and those who learn better by reading text. A speech of a political leader could include the text of the speech that listeners can read as they hear the speech, and it could include a picture of the speaker so listeners can connect emotionally to the voice.
While you can enter some metadata when you publish your files to the server, it is also important to include some embedded metadata in the file itself. iTunes and many other applications can display and use this metadata for cataloging as well as search and retrieval functions. If you add metadata to file formats that support metadata in iTunes, the metadata stays with the content even if it is moved.
In iTunes, metadata appears when you select a file and choose File > Get Info. The Get Info window can contain the following panes: Summary, Info, Video, Sorting, Options, Lyrics, and Artwork. The following table includes examples of iTunes metadata categories and some ideas of how you might use them for nonmusical content.
Name of the article, lecture, podcast, episode, and so on.
Author, instructor, lecturer, or source of the content.
Year the content was published or created.
Name of the podcast series, lecture series, course name, or chapter name or number.
Organize your content by theme (such as all your lectures on Italian comedic operas as opposed to the Italian romantic operas). It might be helpful for your listeners to sort by grouping.
Add a brief description of your content, add a website reference, or your email address.
Make notes about the content that your listener might need to know. For example: “Lecture recorded on April 15, 2006” or “This recording contains lectures 1 and 2.”
Broad category, for example, by subject (such as architecture), by publisher, by organization (such as a university name), or by type (such as podcast).
Note: Some iTunes users create smart playlists using the Genre category to transfer content automatically to iPod.
For podcasts and other content, you could include a transcript to support hearing disabled learners, a summary, a list of support resources, text for a speech, text of a poem, or other information.
Note: Lyrics pane is not available for video.
Include an image for the cover art for your content. The image is displayed in iTunes in the Now Playing window when the content is selected. The image is also shown on an iPod that can display photos while the audio is being played.
To use specific artwork for individual tracks within a video, use QuickTime Pro to set the video’s poster frame. A poster frame is a still image from a video that represents the video. The default poster frame is the first frame in the video. iTunes U displays the track artwork in places such as track links and the Get Info Summary pane upon download.
© 2011 Apple Inc. All Rights Reserved. (Last updated: 2011-11-03)