Metadata is data that provides information about a particular file or image. We can also call it a characteristic of the file. However, metadata is not the safest place to backup your data, as it contains sensitive file information.
It is essential to understand how to work with such data (view, edit, delete). In addition, I will explain how to manage metadata using effective programs and explore the top 5 tools that can help you organize your work with metadata properly.
In this discussion, I aim to explore the significance of metadata associated with images.
Types of Metadata
Let’s make it easier by categorizing metadata into two types: Technical and Subject or Content-related.
Technical metadata is generally auto-generated by your software or gadgets such as digital cameras. Below, we’ll dive into ten significant technical and image metadata fields which are widely utilized and are of immense value:
|Date and Time||This field records the date and time the photo was taken, which can be very helpful for cataloging and sorting images.|
|Camera Make and Model||The type of camera used to take the picture can influence the image’s characteristics. Professional photographers often want to know this information.|
|Exposure||This refers to how long the camera’s sensor was exposed to light. It’s a key factor in how bright or dark the image appears.|
|Aperture||This is the size of the opening in the lens when the picture was taken. It affects the depth of field and the amount of light reaching the sensor.|
|ISO Speed||This refers to the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to light. A higher ISO speed increases the sensor’s sensitivity to light, allowing for better performance in low-light conditions but possibly introducing more noise into the image.|
|Focal Length||This is the distance between the camera’s sensor and the lens, which influences the perspective and zoom level of the image.|
|Flash||This field indicates whether the camera’s flash was used when taking the photo.|
|GPS Coordinates||Some cameras and smartphones can record the GPS coordinates where the photo was taken. This is particularly useful for travel photography.|
|Resolution||The number of pixels in the image’s width and height. Higher resolution means more detail.|
|File Size||The size of the digital image file, often given in kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB). This can be important for storage considerations.|
Subject or Content-Related Metadata
Moving beyond metadata fields linked to camera configurations and image features, there exist additional metadata fields pertaining to the image content that prove to be extremely beneficial for functions like search, classification, and management. Here are a few examples:
|Object Tags/Labels||These are tags or labels that identify the objects or subjects present in the image. These could be automatically generated using AI or manually added.|
|People/face tags||If the image includes people, metadata can include names of those people, if tagged. Some systems can detect and recognize faces, automatically tagging people who have been identified previously.|
|Location Name||If the GPS coordinates are available, they can be translated into a human-readable place name such as a city or a landmark.|
|Copyright||Copyright metadata typically identifies the image’s legal owner, often with their contact details and possibly the copyright year.|
|License Usage Rights||License usage rights detail the permissions given for the image’s use. These could range from “All Rights Reserved” to various Creative Commons licenses, specifying conditions such as attribution or non-commercial use requirements. Respecting Copyright and License Usage Rights is crucial to avoid legal issues when using images, ensuring you have the appropriate permissions and adhere to any licensing conditions.|
|Image Description/Caption||A written description or caption providing context or additional information about the image.|
|Keywords||Keywords can be manually added or automatically generated to describe the contents of the image and aid in searching and categorization.|
|Copyright Information||This can include the name of the image creator or copyright holder, usage rights, or license information.|
|Emotional Attributes||Some advanced AI systems can analyze the content of the image and provide metadata on the overall mood or emotion of the image (e.g., happy, sad, calm, etc.)|
Due to its structured appearance, metadata is readable not only by people but also by computers. As a result, it can be processed by machines and used for various purposes, such as indexing, searching, merging, and automatic processing.
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Viewing and Editing File Metadata
Let’s delve into the realm of handling image metadata across various platforms.
How to View, Edit, or Remove Metadata in Windows
- View: Right-click on the image file, select ‘Properties’, then click on the ‘Details’ tab.
- Edit: Change some of the fields directly on the ‘Details’ tab.
- Remove: Click ‘Remove Properties and Personal Information’, then choose ‘Remove the following properties from this file’ and select what metadata you want to remove.
How to view, edit or remove Metadata in macOS
- View: Select the image file, then use ‘Command+I’ to get info. You’ll see basic metadata under ‘More Info’.
- Edit: Use additional software like Adobe Lightroom, Bridge or a command line tools like ExifTool.
- Remove: Use the ‘Remove Location Info’ option under the ‘Image’ menu in the ‘Preview’ app.
How to view, edit or remove Metadata in Linux
- View: Use the ‘exif’ or ‘file’ commands in the terminal.
- Edit/Remove: Use additional software like ‘ExifTool’, which is a powerful command-line utility.
How to view, edit or remove Metadata in Android
- View/Edit: Install a third-party app like ‘Photo Exif Editor’..
- Remove: Some third-party apps offer this feature, but it can be tricky due to Android’s system limitations.
How to view, edit or remove Metadata in OSX
- View: Similar to macOS, use ‘Command+I’ to view basic metadata.
- Edit: Use additional software like Adobe Lightroom.
- Remove: Use the ‘Remove Location Info’ option under the ‘Tools’ menu in the ‘Preview’ app.
How to View Metadata in Photoshop
- Open the image for which you want to check the metadata.
- Head to the File menu, then click File info. And you can also press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I on Windows and Command + Option + Shift + I on Mac.
- From here, you can copy or edit the metadata.
- Click OK to save your changes.
Note: You can’t edit the entire metadata, for example you cant edit information about the camera or data of file creation.
How to Change Metadata in InDesign
Edit metadata in image files
- In InDesign, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the image, and then choose Edit Original. …
- In the original application, select file> File Info.
- Edit the metadata, and then click OK.
If you are an amateur and need to view and edit the metadata in some instances, we recommend Photoscape.
If you need more capabilities to edit metadata. Here are our top 5 programs.
Types of Metadata Specifications
Before we move on to the next chapter, let’s look at the basic definitions of metadata types:
|EXIF||Exchangeable image file format (officially Exif, according to JEIDA/JEITA/CIPA specifications) is a standard that specifies the formats for images, sound, and ancillary tags used by digital cameras (including smartphones), scanners and other systems handling image and sound files recorded by digital cameras.|
|IPTC||The Information Interchange Model (IIM) is a file structure and set of metadata attributes that can be applied to text, images and other media types|
|XMP||The Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is an ISO standard, originally created by Adobe Systems Inc., for the creation, processing and interchange of standardized and custom metadata for digital documents and data sets.|
|ID3||ID3 is a metadata container most often used in conjunction with the MP3 audio file format. It allows information such as the title, artist, album, track number, and other information about the file to be stored in the file itself.|
Consequently, there are different types and formats for recording and storing metadata. In this article, we will not delve into the specifics of each type. However, if you or a technical specialist of your company have any questions about how to edit a specific type of metadata, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Daminion support service; we will try to offer you the best solution.
Top 5 Programs for Editing Metadata
The biggest problem with metadata editing tools is that there are multiple metadata specifications, like EXIF, XMP, IPTC, etc… that can store the same information. For example a location tag can be stored in XMP and IPTC. Copyrights can be stored in XMP, IPTC and EXIF as: IPTC:CopyrightNotice, EXIF:Copyright, and XMP:DC:Rights fields. Keywords can stored in a dozen of locations!
It make sense doesn’t care about handling this consistency roles and to have just one place to change and store metadata. This is where you can think about using of a media management software like Daminion. It stores metadata in its database for quick filtering of data, and maps it to different metadata fields according to mapping rules. You don’t need to deal with clunky interfaces or study command line staffs.
Another benefit of digital media management tools is you can work with files in batch. For example, select 100 images from the recent event, and assign them a Title and Category. Daminion can sync these info back to file metadata in a range of media formats, and avoid metadata collisions in different metadata parts.
Mapping Tags to Metadata
Each tag is mapped into a set of metadata. The Place Tag is mapped into eight metadata fields:
- IPTC:Country, IPTC: State, IPTC:City, IPTC:Location
- XMP:Country, XMP: State, XMP:City, XMP:Location
Any changes to the Place Tag are reflected in the metadata. So, the Place Tag will be filled out from information extracted from the IPTC/XMP, during the import.
ExifTool is a powerful, open-source software developed by Phil Harvey for reading, writing, and editing metadata across a range of file types. This platform-independent Perl library and command-line application supports numerous metadata formats including EXIF, GPS, IPTC, and XMP.
Apart from image files, ExifTool can also handle metadata in audio and video files. Its capability extends to geotagging images by correlating timestamps or embedding GPS coordinates. The tool’s flexibility allows it to be integrated into various workflows and used in scripts and automations. Comprehensive online documentation supports its use.
Remember that like any tool, ExifTool requires some knowledge and skill to use effectively, especially given its command-line nature. However, its power and flexibility make it a favorite among many who need to work with metadata regularly.
If you’re not a software developer and prefer a user-friendly interface for handling metadata, consider using Daminion. This tool utilizes ExifTool for metadata management. Daminion allows for batch processing and accounts for scenarios where tags or keywords could map to multiple metadata sources, thus ensuring proper synchronization
AnalogExif is a free metadata editor for scanned films and DSC-captured digital images. Modify the most EXIF, IPTC, and XMP metadata tags for JPEG and TIFF files.
Utility for batch processing of images. In addition to the possibility of batch processing of metadata, it has a tool for editing metadata in a separate file.
Exif Pilot is a Free EXIF Editor that allows you to manipulate METAdata within image files. Unfortunately, the free version doesn’t come with batch processing; you’ll be required to pay a small fee for the addon plugin.
Can You Remove Metadata?
Yes, it’s possible to remove metadata. The programs and software mentioned above can accomplish this task for various files. Specifically, Daminion DAM provides two ways to achieve this:
- Sync tags with metadata in automatic or manual modes. Any tags that are removed will also be deleted from the file’s metadata.
- When exporting images, you have the option to select which metadata you wish to retain in the exported image. Be mindful that your sensitive metadata could be visible to others.
The significance of metadata within digital files, especially images, cannot be overstated. From technical data to content-based details, metadata provides an invaluable resource for organizing, searching, and understanding our digital assets.
As we’ve explored, a range of tools, from ExifTool to Daminion, and all operating systems offer ways to view, edit, or remove this data. While managing metadata can seem daunting, especially given the potential implications for rights management and personal privacy, understanding its role and the tools at your disposal can make this task manageable and beneficial.
As we continue to generate and navigate an ever-expanding digital landscape, proficiency in handling metadata will become an increasingly vital skill.
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