UCS + Open iXML metadata support

On 5 July 2020 the Universal Category System (UCS) (by Tim Nielsen, Justin Drury, and many others) has been launched.
The UCS is a simple way to name sound files for categorizing sound effects and project management. More info here: www.universalcategorysystem.com
The system relies on a Filenaming convention and supports Open iXML for metadata embedding.

It would be really great if Steinberg would support this and possibly add some scripts to simplify metadata writing in the Mediabay.

For more information check out www.universalcategorysystem.com. There are videos explaining the UCS system and the usage and below another video by Justin showing it of.

So, people are asking questions about how it should be implemented, but I’m not an expert on programming and such.

What I can say is this:
UCS involves a category systems that uses 2 approaches:

  1. CatID: a short abbreviation of the category and subcategory of the sound file: For example AMBRoom = Category > Ambience Subcategory > Roomtone.
  2. The category and subcategory are embedded by Soundminer in metadata in the iXML field (not a proprietary field and readable by Nuendo already). In addition, a VendorCategory is added that allows Vendors to add another category layer (a sub-sub category if you will). This is currently not shown in the Mediabay. The category and subcategory are not editable BTW, you can only select from dropdown menu. This behavior should be an option (not a fixed state).

How are these 2 things important and why should Steinberg even do this?

  1. Metadata is of super important for everyone, from editor to mixer or from sound library producer to in house librarian. Having a system in place that is universal helps everyone.
    2.The system is well documented and ready for use and seems like a trivial thing to implement (to me as a non-programmer at least).

An example situation:
you have a sound library and metadata is somehow corrupted/deleted/absent/never embedded. How do you add that to your ever growing library?
Which tags do you add?
Let’s say they are sea side recordings of surf/waves etc. but the filename are like: waves1.wav waves33.wav etc. You will have a hard time making them searchable.
If your were to add a CatID in front of the filename*> AMBSea_Waves 1.wav it would already be much easier to read (Ambience Sea is in the CatID).
However you could also automatically expand this CatID into the Category and Subcategory field (this is the scripting part that Steinberg has to do).
This would allow you to retroactively add metadata in a quick and easy way regardless of the source filename. It is very similar to the Metadata Retrieval Process but would write to the Category Post and Subcategory fields (+VendorCategory).

*You can add more info in the filename if you use the file naming scheme that is proposed by Tim Nielsen in the UCS.

VIDEO with REAPER as an example combined with SM:

Hope this explains the use case a little bit better.



+1 – that’d make the MediaBay much more useful to recordists and sound librarians.

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What’s Soundminers position on this?
They encrypt their metadata so only Soundminer can read it.


Justin Drury is Soundminer and is actively supporting open ixml embedding. So all UCS metadata will be in ixml data fields for users/applications.
Some SM fields will stay ‘ecrypted’ but that’s only for specific field not UCS fields and Description etc.
Check out the website to find links to the facebook group where he has posted some explainer videos.

+1 on this. Would love to see UCS support in Nuendo. This would really help with my work.

That is great news.


I updated with more info!

All for it! Anything that makes life simpler when hunting for sounds is a bonus.

That sounds interesting. We will have a look at this.


HI Timo!
Nice to hear you think it’s interesting! :slight_smile: I was on vacation so missed your reply.
Below you’ll find a comment by Justin Drury from Soundminer as stated on facebook in the Nuendo Sound designers group, I’ve referenced you in that post.

Justin Drury:
Its basically the same key/value pairs in the tag(in the iXML) that Reaper will start allowing when exporting. So flexible fields, any arbitrary keys. You want a Producer tag then go ahead. The Steinberg container in iXML is fixed in its fields, missing things like SubCategory and is a little more difficult to write in comparison.
As an example, you can see at the top one of steinberg’s ixml extensions… MediaTrackNumber, it has a TYPE tag and a VALUE tag, inside an ATTR tag, inside an ATTR_LIST… vs the simple value
[img] https://scontent-ams4-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/116216166_10157152570311625_309897578466702414_o.jpg?_nc_cat=110&_nc_sid=1480c5&_nc_ohc=hy3dzh4t2GsAX-CSZOi&_nc_ht=scontent-ams4-1.xx&oh=b1dd379bfba877d12def1a92c519335d&oe=5F5D0578

Hope this helps!

Hi All, I’ve succesfully attempted to implement UCS in Nuendo by adapting the typelist.xml and PostCategory,xml. I can use the dropdown menu in Mediabay to select a Category and Subcategory for any given Broadcast Wave file. It’s not perfect, but it works ok.

The best thing would still be for Steinberg to pick up on the UCS wave and implement some smart routines and scripts to give us more batch flexibility when adding metadata to our files.

BTW If anyone is interested I can share the XML files… it took me about 2 hours to figure out an efficient way to create them, so I would imagine it’s useful for others as well. let me know!


After some requests, I’ve created a zipfile with the XML’s and an XLSX spreadsheet + a readme.txt file with instructions. Head over to the UCS Slack channel ‘daw-nuendo’ to download. Proceed at your own risk :slight_smile:

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UCS Slack link is unavailable. How can I get access to the files you created? Please & thank you.

Direct link to the slack post.

Appreciate the link, but I dont even know how to access the Slack channel. Upon clicking on link I see no way of even signing up to be a part of the UCS slack channel.

Ah that is not good. I thought getting a slack account was fairly easy… anyway i’ll sent you the data in a PM. Otherwise i will get questions here and i don’t want that :slight_smile:

Hi I’m bumping this thread because Metadata on Nuendo 11 is still a mess.
Nuendo really needs to have a look at their metadata in the MediaBay. It completely messes up Soundminer metadata.
-Notes field is empty.
-BWFDescription is a combination of Scene and Take in one field.
-Description is referenced as Comment.
-Keywords end up in SubCategory
And the list goes on.
Can we please have someone take a look at this, because metadata is super important, for SFX work and Dialogue editing.




agree 100%. Its a shame too.