Wednesday, August 03, 2005

We need podcast naming conventions

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately as an alternavive to FM and have been noticing that there are many ways podcasts can be named (track name), but most are not named such that they sort properly on your portable device (iPod, whatever).

This seems like such a trivial thing, but in order to organize the podcasts, I have to rename (pretty much) all of them so that the episodes sort in increasing date order. The track number field is particularly abused. Sometimes it lists the month, sometimes blank, sometimes the episode number. Often it varies among episodes from the same podcaster.

Some would argue that this doesn't matter, and technically, it does not. To me, an illogical or random naming structure makes the podcast appear a little less professional. This is particularly a problem, when upon completion of a podcast, the playlist skips to the next file, which may be a month old.

How to fix it (I apologize in advance if thie is difficult to follow...):

My preference is an abbreviated name followed by a date or episode number, like the following, with possible issues listed beside the different options :

ABBR-YY-MM-DD (YY potentially confused with MM or DD)
ABBR-MM-DD (short, but with year rollover issues)
ABBR-NNNN-YYYYMMDD (pretty damn long)

ABBR = abbreviated podcast name
YYYYMMDD = Year-Month-Day. Use leading zeros.
N = episode number.

Always use leading zeros to fill numeric fields to accomodate sorting i.e


rather than :


In short, make the first 17 characters important, because that is all the listener will see (at least on an ipod). Podcast names sort alphabetically when dates are specified appropriately)




or Coverville-101-20050801

where YYYY=year, MM=month, DD=date

Using episode numbers rather than dates immediately following the name allows a few more characters :



DSC-115-2005-07-27 (this is what I do)

Remember to be consistent!
For example, don't do this :

Inside Man Podcast
Episode 2 of 4
Inside Man Episode 1

Don't include spaces, or at least be consistent!

Don't use month or day names! They don't sort properly!
For example, don't do this :

On The Media - Aug 1, 2005
On The Media - Jul 29, 2005
On The Media - Jul 22, 2005

As for track numbers, I would do :
track number = episode number
always "1"
leave it blank

No random numbers in the track field. This is just silly.

Also, no roman numerals. They don't sort numerically.
For example, don't do this :

Podfinder Episode III
Podfinder Episode II
Podfinder Podcast

Keep the podcasts coming!

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