Of Tags and Labels

The ASDF data format has tags and labels which, while similar to a certain extent, serve a different purpose. This is sometimes a bit confusing to people new to the format - this page explains and clarifies everything.


Tags are used as an additional hierarchical layer. They are for example used to distinguish observed and synthetic data or two synthetic waveforms calculated with slightly different earth models. Each waveform trace must have a tag - it is used as part of the arrays’ names in the HDF5 file. There are little rules to them but they should be pretty short.

The raw_recording tag is by convention reserved for raw data counts straight from a digitizer.

Other names depend on the use case - common choices are synthetic_prem or processed_1_10_s.


Labels on the other hand are an optional list of words potentially assigned to a waveform. They can be used to describe and label similar waveforms without influencing how they are stored on disc. They are a piece of meta information useful to organize the data a bit better. Its always a list of simple UTF-8 encoded words.