This is a friendly call for creators of MP3’s to follow some very simple guidelines that will make end users lives easier, and be a testimony to the messages we preach & teach. If you value the material you post publicly on the Internet, please demonstrate it’s value by following these 3 very simple guidelines.
1. Edit the ID3 tags thoughtfully. ID3 tags are the meta information that allows users to locate material based on the artist/speaker, album, name, date, etc. A large percentage of MP3’s have no ID3 tags whatsoever. They are simply identified by the file name, which is so over encrypted and unintelligible to be of any use. Fill in the speakers name in the ‘artist’ category. Use ‘album’ to identify the preaching series or workshop. Fill in the ‘name’ or ‘title’ section with a clear title .
2. Be consistent with your naming convention. I have seen quite a number of series or conferences that vary the spelling of a name, and each variation appears within it’s tag differently. I can’t tell you how many Don Carson names I have to scour to find my Don Carson audio (D. A. Carson, DA Carson, D A Carson, Don Carson, Dr. Don Carson, Dr Don Carson, Dr. D. A. Carson, Dr DA Carson…you get the idea). This happens within series or conferences. Personally I think the ‘Dr.’ bit adds an unnecessary level of complexity. When you add a ‘Dr.’ or ‘Dr’ or ‘Dr. __’ the problem becomes exponential. Watch that you don’t mistakenly put a space before or after the name as this will also create a new instance of the tag.
3. Compress your files. We don’t need to waste bandwidth or hard drive space. I still see 1 hour speech files as large as 90 mb. That’s more than 3 times what is necessary. You should be able to get 60 minutes below 25 mb with little loss of quality. Switch off stereo and you reduce it by half. The speaker is talking into one mic, which makes stereo needless. There are plenty of good compression tools on the net. Audacity is a very good free package.
We live in a digital world, and we produce digital content. Let’s take care that what digital content we create has as much care applied to it’s digital format as the care we use in the exegesis of the message contained within.