What Is UCS ?

The Universal Category System, is a universal categorization system developed to standardize the way audio files are organized and named. Soundminer‘s team developed this system to address the issue of the lack of standardization in the sound industry, where different creators and libraries used varied naming conventions, making the search and organization of audio files difficult or incoherent.

Main Objectives and Features of UCS

  • Standardization : Provide a standard structure for naming and organizing audio files, thereby facilitating the search and integration of different sound libraries
  • Compatibility : Ensure that audio files can be easily shared and used across different systems and software without the need for renaming
  • Search Efficiency : Improve the efficiency of audio file searches by using consistent naming conventions and well-defined metadata
  • Flexibility : Allow users to adapt and customize naming conventions according to their specific needs while maintaining a consistent basic structure.

Structure of an UCS Sound File

The UCS system uses a hierarchical structure to organize audio files. This structure includes several levels of categories, each defined by codes and descriptions. Here is a simplified example of the structure :

  • Category : High-level categories that group general types of sounds (e.g., “AMBIENCES, » « ANIMALS »)
  • SubCategory : Subdivisions of the main categories that provide more detail (e.g., “URBAN, » “REPTILE”)
  • FXName : Additional terms that specify the type of sound or specific characteristics.

Example of UCS Naming for a sound from an Audio Field Library :

AMBUrbn_STREET-Distant Traffic Rumble_AF_LKDN_5.0.wav

  • AMB is the main category (Ambiences)
  • Urban is the subcategory 
  • STREET is an addition from me specifying where the recording was made
  • Distant Traffic Rumble is a brief description detailing what the sound contains (FXName)
  • AF indicates the developer of the sound, here AF stands for Audio Field
  • LKDN specifies the library the sound comes from, an abbreviation for LOCKDOWN NIGHT here
  • 5.0 provides additional information about the sound’s specification, here its 5.0 Surround format.

Screenshot of soundminer.

Advantages of UCS

  • Increased Efficiency : Users can find the sounds they need more quickly thanks to clear and consistent organization, in different languages
  • Compatibility : Files can be easily shared and used across different platforms and software without requiring modifications
  • Growing Adoption : As it becomes a standard in the industry, more and more creators and libraries are adopting UCS, thereby improving the consistency and compatibility of audio files.

In summary, the Universal Category System is an effort to bring consistency and efficiency to the organization and management of audio files, making the work of sound industry professionals easier.

UCS at Audio Field

Therefore, it made sense to adopt this classification system for naming the sounds offered in the Audio Field sound libraries, providing a consistent approach to metadata entry and standardizing the sounds for sharing with sound editors and sound artisans worldwide.

You will find for each sound pack all the UCS metadata gathered in the same file on the associated product page, in extended or reduced format.

All the information of the UCS system via the link universalcategorysystem.com

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