"Product type" for virtual world instrument database - seeking advice

Hey everyone,

I’m currently working on my doctoral dissertation on virtual “ethnic”/“world” instruments, and have been creating a database for my thesis research. I’ve got about 350+ titles from 100+ developers at the moment, with both current and discontinued titles, or as much as I could find online.

I’ve got title, developer, country of developer, file size, release date, name of producer/performer (if available), that sort of stuff. I haven’t even entered every single title for each developer (companies like Loopmasters have little variations of libraries) but I think I’ve got a pretty good representation of what’s out there.

One of the fields I want to include is “product type” and I’m having trouble deciding how to go about it. Most products nowadays are Kontakt soundware, and then there are wav+rex libraries, loop packs, some standalone (like Kong Audio chinese instruments with their own GUIs), mobile apps, multi-format (wav+rex+sf2…), and even expansion packs for old hardware samplers. I’m having trouble finding a good guideline for the number and kind of formats to use for this field. The closest I’ve come is the search engine on KVR, which has fields like General Plug-in Types, Plugin Formats, Sample Formats, etc., with lists of formats and categories, but I find there’s a lot of crossover and gets really confusing how products can be sorted. I’ve also read some books on VST instruments and they’re kind of useless.

I get the feeling there’s no clear-cut way to do this, but would anyone have suggestions/resources? And by the way, I’m happy to share the database once I get it all sorted if anyone’s interested. I also plan to include product image and maybe a link to product description for every product for discourse analysis.

Thanks in advance!

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I’d probably use some sort of many-to-many, generic tags field for these, so that one instrument might be tagged with sound-library, kontakt, and rex or whatever else… For dedicated instruments, you could also have have separate tags for standalone, plugin, vst and au, etc

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hmm…so, two (or possibly more) fields for product type? that might be an option! I’d also try to set up a pull-down menu in the master form that allows multiple selections.

something to think about. thank you!!

If your form is an HTML form, there are many different bits of JavaScript available on the web that will help you create tagging inputs such as these:

I think the problem you’ll run into is that software instruments or really anything digital can be many things. What you’re looking for sounds like a traditional/standard taxonomy which would work more nicely for acoustic instruments. I agree with @rknLA that you’d be better off with a many-to-many, which is what sites like Modular Grid use.

No wisdom as of yet, but just wanted to chime in and say that this is an amazing topic for a dissertation!

Have you come across the book Presets: Digital Shortcuts to Sound by Stefan Goldmann at all in yr research? Feel like it touches a bit on ‘authentic’ cultural object vs simulacrum in an interesting way at points-

Hey @mdg, thanks! Boy have I come across that Presets book! I bought it a few months ago and devoured it. Such insightful stuff from both Goldmann and the interviewees. The M1 is particularly interesting, and I actually had a Skype interview Jack Hotop last year, one of the M1’s lead sound programmers. Super sweet guy - he still does Korg demos at NAMM shows.

Funny you should mention simulacrum; I also started reading Baudrillard recently. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around all of his ideas but I know there’s something useable in there :slight_smile:

@Jonny - at one point I used the Hornbostel-Sachs taxonomy in my database, which might still be useful for certain kinds of filtering, say, if i want to see what types of acoustic ethnic instruments gets virtualized the most.

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