instantiationPhysical is used to identify the format of a particular instantiation as it exists in a physical form that occupies physical space (e.g., a tape on a shelf). This includes physical digital media, such as a DV tape, audio CD or authored DVD, as well as analog media.

Best practice: PBCore provides a controlled vocabulary for media objects, though any controlled vocabulary can be used as long as it is referenced. For digital storage carriers that contain portable file-based media, such as data CDs, LTO tapes or hard drives, use instantiationDigital to convey the mime type of the file instead of describing the carrier.

instantiationPhysical can be contained by the elements pbcoreInstantiation, pbcoreInstantiationDocument, and instantiationPart.

Usage: optional, not repeatable.


  • sourceoptional. The source attribute provides the name of the authority used to declare the value of the element. Different elements will use the source attribute slightly differently. For example, identifier source (required) should be the name of the organization, institution, system or namespace that the identifier came from, such as “PBS NOLA Code” or an institutional database identifier. For other elements, this might be the name of a controlled vocabulary, namespace or authority list, such as Library of Congress Subject Headings. We recommend a consistent and human readable use.
  • ref optional. The ref attribute is used to supply a source’s URI for the value of the element. Attribute ref can be used to point to a term in a controlled vocabulary, or a URI associated with a source.
  • versionoptional. The version attribute identifies any version information about the authority or convention used to express data of this element.
  • annotationoptional. The annotation attribute includes narrative information intended to clarify the nature of data used in the element. This attribute can be used as a notes field to include any additional information about the element or associated attributes


instantiationPhysical contains no subelements.

Controlled vocabularies

PBCore instantiationPhysical (Video)

PBCore instantiationPhysical (Film)

PBCore instantiationPhysical (Audio)



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