Proposal Metadata Options

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Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to add options for metadata processing, so that users can merge existing metadata (or not) more easily.
Proposal pages are used on an ongoing basis by the Audacity development team and are open to edits from visitors to the wiki. They are a good way to get community feedback on a proposal.

  • Note: Proposals for Google Summer of Code projects are significantly different in structure, are submitted via Google's web app and may or may not have a corresponding proposal page.

The Problem

When opening an Audacity project that has existing metadata the default metadata template, if it has data in fields that are unused in the existing metadata, fills in the corresponding fields in the project metadata. This can result in unwanted data being added to the existing metadata.

See also Metadata discussion page for related tracked issues.

Proposed Feature

In discussion with Paul, we propose to:

  1. Change the default metadata behavior to cause the default metadata template data to be automatically merged only in the case of a new project.
  2. Add a Merge button to the Edit Metadata dialog which would enable the user to "merge" the default metadata data into an existing project as it does now. This means that the merge will not overwrite any existing data.

Note: When opening an existing project with existing metadata no change would be made to that metadata unless the user chose the "merge" option.

Peter 11Feb18: the planning document for removing "stuck in a mode" bear-traps calls for:
  • In Preferences>Import/Export - folk often don't know how to turn it off. Suggest an off switch in the metadata dialog on export.
  • I would also like to see the preferences for showing the metadata dialog to be "off" by default (though the above "off switch" could mitigate the need for this.)

Developer/QA Backing

Quotes from emails between Paul and Cliff:

  • Paul: "Or should the rule simply be, apply defaults only to newly created projects."
  • Cliff: "Yes! That sound good to me."
  • Paul: "And perhaps add a "merge defaults" button to the editing dialog. Which might require us to specify what happens if there is a conflict for one of the tags -- overwrite or not?"
  • Cliff: "There's no way of knowing if someone is using this "feature" of Merge, but if someone is already using it in that way we wouldn't want to break it for them so do we add an overwrite option or just we decide how it is? Presently it does not overwrite, but just adds so keeping it that way I think would be adequate. Basically right now the project metadata overwrites the default in those fields that the project metadata has filled in."
  • Paul: "Can you make an enhancement request in Bugzilla so we don't forget the idea?"

Use Cases

Using metadata in an Audacity project.


See the proposal above.

GUI Examples


Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal

See Bug #51 Summary: Metadata import/export occasionally non-orthogonal (closed in favor of this proposal)

Bugs relating to metadata

Some user feedback from the Forum

feature to reorder or remove standard metadata tags

post by redslider » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:21 am

There may be some reason, but I can think of none that requires Audacity to compel the use of the 7 standard metadata tags as it does. I don't mean the data, I'm referring to the standard tags themselves which cannot be edited or removed. For our personal collections this may not be the items or order of items we want at all, and I find it annoying and intrusive to have them unalterable as permanent fields. I'd like to organize my collection with my own tags, in the order I prefer, on top. Can anyone explain why user customization of these seven tags is deliberately prevented? I suggest a feature added to the metadata editor in which these tags can be organized to suit the users preferences or removed altogether and replaced by tags more appropriate to a particular user.