by Mike McNamee Published 01/10/2013
Metadata has been very much in the news of late, usually involving a certain Edward Snowden and his leaking of the misdeeds of the UK and US governments. Metadata in photography does not normally involve things of interest to the CIA (not unless the terrorists are tagging copyright notices to their images). Camera metadata we are all familiar with if we use Adobe bridge. The screen grab shows the standard metadata of a Raw file with the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and some image data being displayed prominently at the top of the panel. The more detailed metadata such as focal length, subject distance and camera type are displayed in a collapsible menu called Camera Data (Exif ). The keywords (in the tab on the right) were the subject of Dave Wall's article in the last issue of Imagemaker which to some extent prompted this follow-on, using the Imagemaker database as an example.
If you look at John Baikie's file numbers they give no clue as to ownership of the image. If, in a few years' time, we go looking for 'that image of John Baikie's, the girl in the red basque on a concrete staircase' we will never know it is file _MG_4641. But even the simple addition of the file address tree would get us to a point where we only have to look through 17 images. John's images are stored on our system with the full file address of Computer>Pi-Data>PI>2013Pi>Pi_OctNov2013>JOHN BAIKIE ON BOWENS>BOWENS.
In Bridge, searching 'Bowens' did not return a hit. This is the limitation of the simpler systems - what is needed is more sophisticated 'asset management'.
This is where Extensis Portfolio comes into its own. At its most simple level it includes each of the file address locations as a keyword by default once this has been set up in the application preferences. Now if we can recall that the images has something to do with Bowens, searching for anything with 'Bowens' in the keywords will find the file so fast in Extensis Portfolio that you cannot even time the operation. In this case another eight files from a different, unrelated shoot were found, but the eye can quickly scan across the selected images and locate the one being sought. The human brain has a tremendous facility to store and recall images - have you noticed how you always spot one of your own almost instantly if you see it being used in a publication? This finding of 25 files was from a database of 136,000 images. Now suppose that we recall that the shot was made by 'some guy called Baike', but nothing else. The database will still throw up the images although on our system it will also include images from most of what John has provided for us over the years.
Now let's suppose that you cannot remember the name 'John Baikie' quite perfectly - was it Baikie, Bakey, Backie or what? Typing 'Bak' in the search field still brings the files up although the penalty for your imprecise of memory is a larger number of irrelevant files. Even so you still get there in the end.
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