Intended to enable the identification of various media types for assisting with collection planning, assessment, documentation, infrastructure and preservation planning for their content.

By recording business knowledge, from either internal or external communities, about these various physical media formats one is better able to make on-going access and risk management evaluations.


Search the Mediapedia! - A refreshed draft search facility has been launched to provide a glimpse at some of the information being recorded about various media physical carriers. The site currently contains over 600 Variant records across 136 Holotype carriers covering DATA, SOUND, STILL IMAGE & MOVING IMAGE genres. (See below, for details on searching the database)


Anyone who has content stored upon obscure and older often proprietary physical media carriers, or even more common carriers such as audio and video materials, floppy disks and CDs, will eventually encounter problems accessing this content.

Although accessing current common carrier types may appear to be self evident presently, this may not always be the case. Over time, if individuals or organizations are not proactive there is a risk of losing access to the content stored on these carriers. In some cases, by the time an organization realises there is a problem, it may already be too expensive or even too late to retrieve this content.

In order to assist in managing these risks to carriers, one needs to know a range of information about them. For example: when and by whom the carrier was created; when was it used; the advertised shelf-life versus the actual shelf-life; the dependencies to access a specific carrier type. The Mediapedia was designed to be an open, trusted and sustainable mechanism for documenting, retaining and disseminating this kind of knowledge [1].

The prototype of this web-based resource is intended to enable the identification of various types of carriers and their associated dependencies. Basic information which allows for the identification of carrier types is provided, along with more detailed technical information about the carrier itself, and mechanisms that are needed to provide ongoing access. Future versions could include information about storage requirements, community based risk assessments and information about potential migration paths.

Unlike the Wikipedia [2], the Mediapedia does not require prior knowledge of a carrier’s name for its discovery. It was specifically designed so that carrier types can be identified in a number of different ways. A user can search across physical characteristics, including measurements or descriptive details such as manufacturer, product code and other specific identifying markings that can be found on the carrier. For more advanced users, carriers can be identified through the use of a detailed and systematic classification system that was developed from several common standards, including Dublin Core Type Vocabulary [3] and the RDA/ONIX Framework for Resource Categorization [4]. The primary function of this classification system is to organize the carriers into meaningful and flexible taxonomical groupings or categories, and to make them discoverable to different audiences (see Figure 1). As such, the user can also search by Carrier or Process types within different Genres [5]

Initially they have been categorised by:

figure 1
Figure 1: A diagrammatic representation of the levels of the classification used within the Mediapedia

Additional associated information includes:

  • Intermediate Tool / Access Path / technical requirements
  • Conservation assessment and community conservation knowledge
  • Genre Specific Specifications, Data Sheets & Web Links

[1] Anticipated Mediapedia Online Prototype, mediapedia/apps/
[2] Wikipedia Home Page, at
[3] Dublin Core Type Vocabulary, at
[4] RDA/ONIX Framework for Resource Categorization, at
[5] Mediapedia Classification information, at /#classificationschema 


There are a number of possible usages scenarios for the Mediapedia. These could include both Internal and External applications.

Community Resource Proposal

The Mediapedia is currently a prototype for a web-based resource intended to enable the physical identification of various media carrier types. These could include media across various genres such as film, audio, data, paper carriers, etc. By identifying and knowing the subsequent characteristics and dependencies of these physical media carriers, allows for a more proactive management of the content they contain. As a result of technological change, some of these carriers (and more importantly their content) can often become inaccessible and lost within a short period of time.

It is hoped that the creation and use of the Mediapedia will provide a sustainable way of facilitating carrier type identification as well as documenting technical and preservation information. By enabling a community of specialist individuals and organizations to collaborate in the documentation of these carriers will hopefully create a sustainable body of knowledge which can be accessed centrally and persistently over time. In addition, as this type of web-based service is not only human readable, but eventually could also be machine harvestable, thus it could potentially be re-used by other services and information systems.

Organisational Usage

There are a number of possible usages scenarios for the Mediapedia within an organisation. It can be used to:

  • Record business knowledge
  • Allow media identification for collection assessment
  • Assist in the identification of media when managing collections in order to maintain access to the content
  • Assist in the identification of media when managing associated information technology infrastructure and associated dependencies for their lifecycle management.

Community Usage

In a broader context there is a proposal to extend the Mediapedia resource to become a community web-based resource. This would enable the capture and recording of business knowledge, from a broader knowledge base. Thus, the Mediapedia could be used to:

  • Share information and knowledge with others who also have a similar needs
  • Provide information that is freely accessible and available to others for their access and re-use
  • Develop a community of shared ‘trusted’ knowledge
  • Capture and recording of knowledge about physical media, and its preservation, whilst it is still available
  • Collaborate on conservation options for preservation and access to various physical media types.
  • Additional content system management functionality includes: membership listings, project tracking, calendar, standards, data dictionary, and glossary.

Please contact us,, if you interested in becoming a community contributor.

Search the simple Mediapedia test site

To search our simple test site please direct your browser to:


The visual and physical descriptor fields are at the top of the page.

Remember it is early days, but hopefully have some fun and help us by sending us some useful feedback or even consider becoming a community contributor!