Mediapedia: Physical Format Carrier Resource

The Mediapedia resource is intended to enable the identification of various physical media carrier types for assisting with collection planning, assessment, documentation, infrastructure and preservation planning for the content they hold. These could include media across various genres such as cine, video, photo, audio, data, paper carriers, microfilm, etc.

By recording business knowledge, from either internal or external communities, about these various media carrier formats one is better equipped to enable to make an access and risk management evaluation.

To search the Mediapedia, proceed to the SEARCH page and enter search criteria in one or more of the available fields. The physical and visual descriptive fields are at the top of the page.

The Mediapedia was a 2009 initiative in support of digital collecting at the National Library of Australia.

Other interested participants included:

  • IASA - International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives

  • National Film & Sound Archives of Australia

  • Powerhouse Museum

  • Archives New Zealand


About this Community Resource

The Mediapedia is 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.

This resource is designed to enable the capture and recording of associated technical and business knowledge, from either internal or external communities, about these various physical media formats. This is augmented by its systematic classification approach which enables identification of a wide range of media types, allowing for better evaluation, risk management assessments and associated decisions about their content.

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 identificationfor 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.


If you would like to know more about this Mediapedia resource or should you have any suggestions of improving the search interface please contact:
Douglas Elford c/o: or refer to:


Creative Commons License
The Mediapedia work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.