Please download the Archive Metadata document here (updated 20210612) and study it along with the information provided below. The document is in spreadsheet format, with a tab for each collection.


The prefix meta, of Latin or Greek derivation, means “with,” “behind,” “beyond.” In combination with “data,” it designates data that give information about other data.

The Archive’s data are the files in the Repository (moving images, still images, sound recordings, and text documents), and its Metadata provide information about those items. Like any other table or spreadsheet, the Archive Metadata sheets (five in all, each on a tab visible at the bottom of your screen) display rows (records), and columns (fields). Each record/row corresponds to one Archive item, e.g., a video of a performance, a sound recording of a workshop, a photo from a Vodou dance, or an interview transcription.

Each field/column corresponds to a type of descriptor of the items. The following list should clarify what we mean by descriptor:

    • Collection – name of Collector
    • Subcollection – one of several three-letter codes for activity type
    • Title – Short title of the item, e.g., “Makandal Backstage at Citicorp Center”
    • Description – A dozen of more words about people, activity, occasion, and place (Note that further description appears with online files, e.g., in the Show More area below a YouTube video.)
    • Type – document type, e.g., moving image
    • Source – pre-digitization identifier
    • Creator – item author, e.g., name of photographer
    • Rights – copyright and permission details
    • Date – item date
    • Date Accuracy – exact, very good estimate (within a month), good estimate (within a year), fair estimate
    • Identifier – source identifier plus appended post-digitization file extension; includes links to online items
    • Format – type of source medium, e.g., VHS tape, film negative, etc.
    • Language – language of sound recording, moving image, or text document; not applicable to still images
    • Notes – additional miscellaneous but relevant information

The User may find the current Metadata document here (updated 20210612). The Identifier (post-digitization) field, Column K, contains a link to the item online. Spreadsheets are updated when new items have been added to the online collection. The date of the most recent update appears with each link to Metadata, using this eight-digit date format: yyyymmdd (e.g., November 21, 2018 = 20181121).

Identifiers and Codes

An identifier is a multi-node combination of letters and/or numbers assigned to each item in the Archive. Each node, separated from surrounding nodes by underscores (low lines) contains information for the User. Nodes appear from left to right in this order:

    • Repository code will always be MAK for Makandal
    • Collection code, two uppercase letters established by Makandal, to date,
      • CR, Regnault Collection
      • LW, Wilcken Collection
      • PN, Nerestan Collection
      • SD, Deats Collection
      • TF, Tokyo Collection
      • TP, Pich Collection
    • Subcollection code, three uppercase letters indicating subcategory within a Collection
      • EDU, educational events, e.g., classes, workshops, lecture-demonstrations
      • INT, interviews, both audio and transcription
      • PER, performances
      • PRI, private life events
      • PUB, public life, e.g., reviews, articles, press photos, award documentation
      • REH, rehearsals
      • STU, studio recordings
      • VOD, Vodou rites and related sacred activities
    • Series code, a period plus three-digit number appended to the Subcollection code to indicate a specific Item or set of Items within the Subcollection (a Series might contain only one Item but may contain more)
    • Item code, a four-digit number indicating an Item within a Series followed by two lowercase letters that signify the nature of resource (mi=moving image, si=still image, sr=sound recording, td=text document)
    • File type code, always two lowercase letters (ma=master, co=copy)
    • Date code, an eight-digit number (yyyymmdd) indicating an Item’s creation date
    • File extension, appended to the identifier post-digitization (lower resolution for public access, higher for preservation)
      • moving images, .mp4 (public access) or .mov (preservation)
      • still images, .jpg (public access) or .tif (preservation)
      • sound recordings, .mp3 (public access) or .wav (preservation)
      • text document, .pdf (both public access and preservation)


MAK_TP_PER.002_0004si_co_20031115 (pre-digitization source identifier)
MAK_TP_PER.002_0004si_co_20031115.jpg (public access document)
MAK_TP_PER.002_0004si_co_20031115.tif (preservation document)

The item above belongs to the Pich Collection (TP for photographer Tom Pich). He created it as part of the second series in his Performance Subcollection (PER.002). This still image (photo) was the fourth in the series (0004si). The Archive’s source document was a copy (co) that Mr. Pich made from his master. He created the photo on 15 November 2003 (20031115). The file extensions .jpg and .tif were appended to the source identifier after digitization for public access online and for preservation offline.

MAK_LW_VOD.010_0001sr_ma_19850928 (pre-digitization source identifier)
MAK_LW_VOD.010_0001sr_ma_19850928.mp3 (public access document)
MAK_LW_VOD.010_0001sr_ma_19850928.wav (preservation document)

The item above belongs to the Wilcken Collection (LW for musicologist Lois Wilcken). She created it at the tenth event submitted to her Vodou Subcollection (VOD.010). This sound recording is the first item in a series of one made at a Vodou dance (0001sr). The Archive’s source document was Dr. Wilcken’s master (ma). She created the recording on 28 September 1985 (19850928). The file extensions .mp3 and .wav were appended to the source identifier after digitization for public access online and for preservation offline.

Note: Subcollection codes, e.g., PER.002 and VOD.010 in the examples above, do not necessarily reflect creation chronology, rather, the eight-digit date code reflects creation chronology from earliest to latest. Subcollection codes reflect the order in which items were submitted by the Collector.

Featured Image: Detail from art by Kesler Pierre representing the vèvè (sacred Vodou diagram) for Ountò, spirit of the drums and drummers.


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