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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More about Metadata

In life, there are many things that seem God-given. They just make complicated things so much simpler. One of them is the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC). These folks essentially invented metadata. That is, information about images and documents that can be embedded in them according to a world-wide accepted standard.

For the past year I have ramped up the frequency of teaching about the value of metadata with your photo and document archives. This is not something exclusive to professionals. Everyday folk—especially genealogists—should take advantage of it.

Typically, I use Adobe Bridge CS5 for my lectures. The Cadillac of them all is database/archive software called Extensis Porfolio. However, I'm not sure how likely they are going to continue supporting individuals and small businesses. Like Adobe and their Creative Cloud madness, Extensis is not immune to greed. The IPTC has a wonderful list of commercial software that support metadata within various useful categories. Although this list does not include Paintshop Pro, Gimp or PhotoLine, I have personally confirmed that these excellent Photoshop alternative programs also support metadata.

The nice thing about metadata is that it stays in your files regardless of the operating system or software used—generally. I say that because you can strip out the information by re-saving the files in a different format and/or trashing the original file.

IBM/PC computers have the ability to instantly access, enter and modify metadata. Using your mouse, just right-click the file and choose Properties. This article at explains metadata in Properties and quite extensively. Check out Genealogy Star's article about metadata too. It will be overwhelming to learn at first. However, after some practice, you'll find metadata quite useful.

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