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    60 sounds
    697 posts
    Request for a new FAQ for tagging sounds


    I think it would greatly help most of us to sort of get a lesson in tagging the sounds that we upload because while I do want my samples to be found by people who might need them the most, I also wish to minimize the weird tagging I tend to give my files. For instance, I would add the tags "record" and "recording" but I am pretty sure I am being redundant. Is "recording" a tag that may also lead to "record" as a tag?
    I mean you know, certain general rules and an understanding of how the freesound search engine works (in relation to tags) would help greatly!
    If there's already such a thing, please link me, because I failed to find a post regarding this. I am not the best of forum-finders.
    Thanks!

  • avatar
    75 sounds
    203 posts


    Yes, me to I could use some help.

    Maybe we can help each other, by typing it in the comments of a sample??(if you want to)

    Just an idea.......

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
  • avatar
    1439 sounds
    1565 posts


    Right...
    First of all, thank you for asking the question. It is very relevant and not as easy to answer as some may think...

    To start with... How does the Freesound search engine work?
    It looks accross all fields on the sample file (this includes tags, description, the uploader's nickname and the sample filename itself!)
    In fact, looking at all these things can sometimes not be what you need... as it can be confusing!
    Also... the same word can have many meanings... making things even more complicated!

    So... how do we make the search engine work for us?
    I will use your tags "record" and "recording" as an example.
    Try this yourself to best understand what I mean. Type "record" on the red searchbox on the top right of the screen.
    At the moment these are the first 4 sounds that come up (the first 4 search results may change in the futre, as more sounds are be added to the database):
    rbh thunder storm.wav
    http://www.freesound.org/people/RHumphries/sounds/2523/
    heart beat.mp3
    http://www.freesound.org/people/greyseraphim/sounds/21409/
    record scratch.wav
    http://www.freesound.org/people/luffy/sounds/3536/
    oceanwavescrushing.wav
    http://www.freesound.org/people/Luftrum/sounds/48412/

    A look at the first sound reveals it is a field recording of a thunderstorm. The word "record" appears nowhere in the sample description or tags. The search obviously picked up the word "recorded" in the description.

    The second sample is a recording of a 'heartbeat' made by tapping into a stethoscope and recording the resulting sound. Again, the word "record" appears nowhere and the search has picked the word "recorder" in the description.

    The third sample is a record scratch.
    The word "record" appears in the sample filename, and as a tag.

    The fourth sample is a recording of crashing waves.
    Again the word "record" does not appear anywhere... in the description there is the word "recording" and "field-recording" in the tags.

    So, the top 4 results of the search resulted in 4 very different sounds: a thunderstorm, a heartbeat, a vinyl scratch and the sound of crashing waves. As a search for a particular sound it was not very usefull.
    So, if ou are looking for a particular sound there are two things you can do. Say that you are looking for a vinyl scratch sound.
    1) You could try typing on the search box "record scratch vinyl" - by using several keywords you are more likely to get the exact kind of sound you are after. With these words you get only vinyl scratch sounds as the first 4 hits.
    2) Type "record" again in the search box and press enter. This time, look under the hood by pressing the 'show advanced search options' button under the search box.
    Here you can choose which fields you want to look at. This is very useful for example if you are looking for sounds from a specific user.
    If you select 'tags' you will notice that you get only vinyl scratch records as the top 4 hits.

    Also note that you can select from the dropbox next to the search box. This selection box allows you to choose the way in which the search results are sorted. Sorting by rating or by number of downloads can be particularly useful - best sounds tend to be highest rated / most downloaded.

    So... lets now apply this in reverse to decide how to tag samples.
    Some quick and fast rules:
    a) use as many keywords as you can. For a vinyl record scratch use "vinyl", "record", "scratch" and also other things you can think of "DJ", "dance", "needle", "scratching".
    b) It is also very useful to combine words, for example "record-scratch" or "vinyl-scratch".
    Since "record" could refer to a vinyl record, breaking a record...but also, as we saw above, searching for the word "record" will also return restuls containing "recording", "recorder" and "recorded".
    "scratch" and "scratching" could also refer to any scratching sound, not just record scratching.
    "vinyl-scratch" and "record-scratch" are much more specific, and therefore are better tags.
    c) Finally, when unsure, before tagging a sound run a few searches on Freesound trying to find the type of sound you are after. See how others have tagged similar sounds and use the tags you find most useful.

    Certain tags are ambiguous and should be avoided.
    For example "record" on its own, as we have seen is not a very good tag. A search for "record" will return anything that has been tagged as "recording" or contains that word in the description... as you may imagine "recording" is a very frequent word at Freesound!
    Best to use a composite tag, such as "field-recording", "studio-recording", "amateur-recording" or "music-recording".

    Hope this helps!

    hmmmm..... erm..... I forgot...
  • avatar
    75 sounds
    203 posts


    Oke, I have been thinking about this a little today.(and listening)
    Listen to your sound, and really try to hear what it sounds like.
    Sometimes a recording of a bus sounds like a rocket or like a train.
    Go with the flow of the sound....

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
  • avatar
    1439 sounds
    1565 posts


    @ escortmarius

    True. But you should also always make sure that the description is true to what the sound actually is.

    Say you drop a big book and record the sound.
    You could tag it as "bang" "loud" "explosion" "shot"
    All these tags probably more useful for the sound than "book". However, I would use "book" as a tag too.

    Most importantly, you should describe it as "dropping of a heavy book" or something to that effect.

    hmmmm..... erm..... I forgot...
  • avatar
    60 sounds
    697 posts


    I think a bigger part of this would be to understand user habits in terms of statistics. For instance, if I do put in field-recording, when someone searches simply for "record", what are the chances that the person may find a "field-recording" tag? Or are there users who specifically use the hyphenated form of "field-recording"? Or actually search by the terms "field recording" at all?

    I think it would be cool if the developers released a little chart of user habits and most sought-out terms (although it should be no surprise there) so that we, uploaders, might be able to deliver the sounds in a better and more efficient manner to our community.

    I have a few more questions, but I am busy with something. I'll come back later on repost my the remaining questions.

    Thank you, AlienXXX!

  • avatar
    3090 sounds
    307 posts


    afleetingspeck wrote:

    I think it would be cool if the developers released a little chart of user habits and most sought-out terms (although it should be no surprise there) so that we, uploaders, might be able to deliver the sounds in a better and more efficient manner to our community.

    You can look at many of the commonly used tags here:
    http://www.freesound.org/browse/tags/
    I suppose that doesn't tell you exactly what people are looking for, but perhaps looking at the most downloaded sounds would help with that?

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