FileMeta

File Identity and Metadata Project
by Brandt Redd

What is FileMeta?

The identity of a digital file should be a feature of the file. This principle may seem self-evident but it’s not the way digital devices presently operate. Today, the identity of a file is the responsibility of the file system, database, or document management system in which the file is stored.

The FileMeta philosophy – that identity belongs in the file – affects the design of applications, operating systems and personal devices. Usability testing and focus groups are already guiding change in this direction. File systems are routinely indexed, “Tagging” is a common meme for internet applications. Music files such as MP3, M4A, and AAC are accessed according to attributes like genre, artist, and album. Conventional file systems are hidden from users on consumer devices like phones and tablets because they are deemed too difficult to use.

The FileMeta Project seeks to accelerate this change by:

  • Reporting on related work,
  • Documenting metadata elements and file type identification,
  • Proposing and sharing best practices,
  • and Sharing source code to metadata tools.

For a deeper introduction, see the FileMeta Manifesto

FileMeta Applications:

  • CodeBits: Lightweight code sharing based on FileMeta principles.
  • MetaTags: A format for metadata embedded in text much like hashtags.