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What information to include and which fields to use has long been a subject of discussion, and both podficcers and podfic listeners have bemoaned the lack of an agreed standard. ID3 tags are not as necessary for streaming, but some fans who download podfic to listen to later edit the metadata to match their personal system.
A political aspect to podfic metadata is where and whether to mention the name of the podficcer. This relates to ongoing debates about podfic as a creative fanwork in its own right. Early podfics sometimes did not mention the podficcer's name anywhere--not in the cover art, the id3 tags, or in the recording itself.
Elements to include
Information about the podfic that the podficcer or the listener might add as metadata:
- fic title
- fic author
- URL of the fanfic
- the fact that it's a podfic
- series title, if the fic is part of a series
- challenge name, if the podfic was created for a challenge, fest, exchange, etc.
- anthology name, if the podfic is part of an anthology
- music used, if any
- maybe the track number if the podfic is split into multiple files
Metadata fields used
The lack of standardization may be in part due to the fact that the ID3 field names are intended to describe music. Another problem is that available fields have not been consistent from one device to another. Practices and personal systems also change over time, but it's unlikely for a podficcer to reupload an older file just to fix the metadata.
Metadata leaked to last.fm suggests a variety of approaches: "podfic" is listed on the site as both an artist and a genre. The fic author is frequently listed as the artist; sometimes a parenthetical is included (see Astolat (Author)), and sometimes it isn't (see Rageprufrock). Likewise, the podficcer: see reena_jenkins and rhea314 (reader). Capitalization varies.
The album field has variously been used for the fandom, the podficcer, the series title, the fic title (especially if the podfic is split into multiple files), or the fact that it's a podfic. See the albums listed under reena_jenkins and Rhea314.
The Awesome Ladies Podfic Anthology has specific metadata requirements for all podfic submitted:
-The metadata should follow this format:
Other types of metadata
Other categories of data related to podfic that are not referred to as podfic metadata:
- The podficcer reads aloud the fanfic's header information at the beginning of the recording.
- The announcement post, AO3 fanwork page, or Audiofic Archive entry also lists metadata aka headers, warnings, tags, labels.
- Podfic Cover Art is a related work that can be embedded in the file itself and displayed as part of the announcement post. It often displays the title, author, and reader. Some podficcers may go further and add fandom, pairing, and/or rating.
- File metadata such as the file name, file size, and length. File size or length are often included in the header information.
- Podfic and Last.fm
- A Podfic Tagging & Organization Tutorial, Archived version by Bessyboo (November 7, 2011)
- Tagging, Archived version podficmeta discussion (February 20, 2010)
- Podfic Posting Guide, Archived version by Shmaylor (2017-05-12)