Mulling Metadata for Events

by | Jan 28, 2015

Creating digital resources is only one aspect of amplifying your event. Ensuring those resources get to the widest possible audience is also vital.

 
The main emphasis of event amplification is to make use of participants’ online social and professional networks to spread the ideas and conversations associated with a conference as far as possible. This often involves creating digital resources that participants can share and comment upon, from videos to slides, audio recordings to blog posts. These are usually hosted on the most popular online sharing platform for that media, be that YouTube, Slideshare, Soundcloud or elsewhere.

If you are going to the trouble and expense of producing these materials, it is important to ensure that they are widely discoverable beyond the direct network connections of your delegates. However, we often see conference materials uploaded in a hurry after the event, with little or no descriptive data or tags. This seems like such a wasted opportunity that we felt we needed to share our quick and easy-to-use event media templates to help organisers consider what to include.

Templates

 
Disclaimer: These templates will not help you shoot to the top of the Google Search results. However, they can help to make your content more discoverable and accessible to a general audience with relatively little effort, and make your materials look more professional. You will still need to concentrate on sharing and promoting your content if you want it to reach a specific audience.
 

Description Text

 
When uploading a video, slide deck or photograph to an online sharing site, we always include the following information in the description section:

 
[Full Presentation Title] by [Speaker Name] from [Speaker Affiliation + Link]
 
Presented at [Event Name], [Event Venue] on [Event Date]
 
Organised by [Event Company/Host + Link]
 
Produced by [Production Company + Link]
 
Other materials relating to this presentation are available at: [Link]
 
For more information about this presentation, or the [Event Name], please visit: [Link]
 

Keeping this consistent format for our description text allows us to upload files quickly and ensure everyone involved gets a credit/link.

At the request of the organisers, we sometimes add a list of sponsor names and links to the description to highlight their support for the event.
 

Tags

 
Most online sharing sites allow you to tag your content in addition to adding a description. However, knowing what tags to include can be tricky, and it often ends up being potluck after the obvious event hashtag.

When we are tagging online content – including blog posts, videos, audio files, slides and photographs – we use the following checklist to identify suitable tags:

 

  • Event Name
  • Event Hashtag
  • Speaker Name
  • Host Organisation
  • Speaker Organisation
  • Venue Name
  • Presentation Title Keywords
  • Presentation Section Headings
  • Related Hashtags
  • Sponsor Names

Some of these tags will be common to all of the resources, so we list these in a comma-separated list so they can be copied and pasted in to avoid errors and speed up the process.
 

Other Techniques to Improve Accessibility and Discoverability

 

Transcripts

 
If your speaker has a script or detailed notes for their presentation, these can be really useful for increasing the discoverability and accessibility of your online resources.

You can reuse these notes in the descriptions for videos or slides, or use them as the basis for a blog post summarising the content of a long video. This will enable viewers to scan through and make a quick decision about whether it is worth spending the time to watch a video in full, and will allow users who cannot access the video for any reason to glean the key points.

YouTube automatically produces closed captions for each video you upload. However, the captions can be of variable quality. If you have the time/resources to produce and upload your own captions, then this will also increase the discoverability and accessibility of your video content. These captions can also be auto-translated by YouTube, which is a big bonus if you have an international audience for your event topic.

I would always recommend adding the videos as a caption file upon upload to YouTube, over ‘baking in’ the captions during the video production process, unless you are planning to use the same video file in other contexts.
 

File Metadata

 
Some media file types allow you to add extra metadata to a file. For instance, you can add a cover art image to the metadata of an audio file, which is then displayed by whatever software or tool you/the audience uses to play the file, if the facility exists. This could be used as another place to display your conference branding – allowing future interested listeners to identify and track down further resources associated with the conference.

 

Final Thoughts

 
With the exception of the effort involved in creating video captions, all of these techniques are very quick, low effort ways to increase the accessibility and discoverability of an online resource. Whilst there are undoubtedly more techniques you can use if you want to get further into the world of metadata, those included here do not require any special skills.

When applying these templates, it is still important to know your audience and consider what extra information might be useful to them. For instance, when we post videos for Bath Folk Festival, we include the names of composers/lyricists as well as the performers, to help those with an interest in the origins of traditional songs and tunes.

We hope these templates give you a useful starting point to creating description and tagging practices for the digital materials you produce at your event. If you have a tip you’d like to share, please leave a comment!
 
Image Credit: Gideon Burton

 

Need Help?

 
If you would like help producing digital resources for your conference or workshop, please contact kirsty@eventamplifier.com to discuss your needs and get a quote.

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