How Do I Use CSV Files to Add Metadata in Bulk?

CSV files allow you to add metadata to multiple uploads with one master file.

CSV stands for "Comma Separated Value". It's essentially a text file, but you can use any spreadsheet editor - including Excel, OpenOffice, or Google Docs to edit it.

Creating a CSV File

You can start from a blank file, but it is not required. You can download a CSV file listing all your files in you have uploaded.

Log into your account > Hover cursor over account avatar  > Click on Uploads > APPLY CSV

Identify the type of media you are working with, click the corresponding tab and click Download CSV

When you click on Download CSV link, a file with an extension .csv will be downloaded to your computer. This is essentially a text file but you can use use Excel or the free OpenOffice to work on the data in a spreadsheet mode which is a much simpler way to work with mass data.

When you open up the download .csv file, it will most likely look like a compressed text with all data on one file per row (1 clip, 1 audio file, etc.) separated by commas. This is not the view you will work with.

  • Select the entire data by clicking on the column mark (e.g. Column A) and go to the top menu Data > Text to Columns This will pull up a wizard window.
  • Ensure Delimited is marked
  • Click Next
  • Select Comma
  • Enter Next
  • Click Finish

Once your metadata CSV file is nicely parsed, you can modify metadata as you need to and apply (upload) the modified .csv via APPLY CSV page. The spreadsheet is laid out so the first row is the header/name of the data fields you want to adjust. These column names are completely case insensitive. The remaining rows are one row of data per clip.

Key Metadata

Remember clipid and originalfilename are key metadata, the data based on which our database recognizes a file and assigns respective data. It is very important to include only one Key Metadata. If you included both keys, the database will be confused and there will be no result.

Best Practices

General recommendation is to delete from your CSV file all of the columns and rows you are not planning to update and keep the file slim. This is to avoid errors by shifted columns/rows.

Keep a copy of your originally downloaded, unmodified CSV file saved in your computer in case your modifications are not recognized. In that case you can simply use the original file to restore data as they were initially.

When saving a modified CSV file, it is important to pay attention how it is saved. To save spreadsheet as CSV using OpenOffice:

Go to Menu > File/Save as type: Text CSV (.csv)

Click Keep Current Format

This will open up a small popup window asking for details. Verify that the file is being saved as following:

Character set: Unicode (UTF-8)

Field delimeter: , <- Comma

Text delimeter: " <- The normal quotation mark

There are many great formulas and simple tricks in Excel or OpenOffice spreadsheets that can save time. We suggest checking lynda.com for quick walkthroughs.

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