Every studio and freelance engineer has a requirement to back-up (archive) their work. Based on the typical chaotic recording workflow, it’s clear that the archiving process needs to be simple and fast. At the same time, the files must be ‘findable’ (not just by the person archiving them) a month, a year, or ten years later. So what makes files findable, and how much effort is required?

The simplest ‘back-up’ is to use unstructured storage like Google Drive, DropBox or local media. Unstructured storage is essentially a hard drive which relies on file and folder names (no external meta-data) to locate files. Search is limited to file and folder names. This may work for personal storage, but completely breaks down when third-parties need to retrieve files. Imagine poking around on ‘someone else’s’ hard drive to find your masters. At the opposite extreme are Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems with taxonomy’s and time consuming data entry requirements. Years ago, on first seeing these systems, I was seduced by the sales pitch of how cool it would be to search your archive by artist, album, genre, engineer, song, mix, version, and session. Now when I see these systems, my first thought is who’s going to enter all that data?


Certified Archives uses what we call ‘Smart Archiving’ which balances effort and functionality. ‘Smart Archiving’ relies on a few key meta-data fields to drive a powerful search feature. The meta-data is applied at the project/session level so it’s entered once which takes about 10 seconds. The fields include;

  • Project/Session Name
  • Artist
  • External ID – (Optional ID number from booking system)

Once set up, every transfer for a project is archived and an any number additional files and folders can be archived by simply dragging and dropping them on the Certified Archives application. Certified Archives automatically preserves the file name and folder structure and captures the following file level information;

  • Type of upload
  • Directory structure and file names.
  • File sizes, file types and for .WAV files, bit rate and bit depth.
  • Name(s) of uploader(s)/downloader(s).
  • Time and date.
  • Cryptographic hashes that uniquely identify every file in the transfer.
  • Audio Only cryptographic hashes for .WAV files
Murat Aktar

Author Murat Aktar

More posts by Murat Aktar