The Importance and Relevance of Metadata

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Yesterday I attended the Embedded Metadata: An Explanation with Real World Uses workshop remotely, as an Art Libraries Society of North America- Twin Cities partnered event. The workshop was led by Greg Reser, metadata specialist at the University of California, San Diego, and you can find the materials on the website. I am not an art librarian or visual resource professional, however we all are impacted by metedata, or the lack there of. Ever tried to make a mixed CD or playlist for someone and had difficulty finding that song on your computer or in your stack of CDs? Why? Lack of metadata.

For me I run into this more with keeping track of articles downloaded and various Word and PDF documents. Sure, I can name things accurately, but wouldn't it be better if it could have a bunch of labels and descriptors rather than just a file name? Enter products like Adobe Pro, which I am just starting to use and very excited about the ability to embed data within the document. No longer do I have to rely on RefWorks or Zotero to tag items, but I can do it myself.

A few highlights from the workshop for me were:


  • On Flickr click on EXIF Data- here is where your data will appear if you embed it within your image!

  • Ever lost original images on your computer? Bulkr is a free tool to download metadata from Flickr.

  • XnView, Bridge and NikonView all allow you to embed metadata fairly easily for a novice like me!

  • Many of the programs will break a name such as Mastel, Kristen into two tags, so to keep them together use quotations. (Hopefully this will improve.)

  • I finally know what DiCOM means when my husband uses it! It is the metadata schema that is used in the medical fields.

Look for the recording in the near future. It was very approachable and applicable no matter if you digitize images, work on a digital repository or just have a bunch of stuff you need to organize on your computer.

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