Sound databases are widely used for scientific, commercial, and artistic purposes. Nevertheless there is yet no standard way to manage them. This is due to the complexity of describing and indexing audio content and to the variety of purposes a sound database might address. Recently there appeared Mpeg-7, a standard for audio/visual content metadata that could be a good starting point. Mpeg-7 not only defines a set of description tools but is more generally an open framework hosting specific extensions for specific needs in a common environment. This is crucial since there would be no way to freeze in a monolithic definition all the possible needs of a sound database. This paper outlines how the Mpeg-7 framework can be used, how it can be extended, and how all this can fit into an extensible database design, gathering three years of experience during the CUIDADO project at IRCAM.
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