The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Congratulations if you have scanned your old family photos and documents or invested in a digital camera to preserve today’s pictures for future family historians. Before resting on your laurels, take a moment to recall all the old photos you’ve come across that you wish had labels describing the people, places, or events pictured. Your digital images have a built-in capability to create such labels – descriptions that won’t get separated from their subjects – with ease that would amaze our forebears. With today’s image files, what you see is only part of what you get! Let’s take a look “behind the scenes” of your digital photos.
All sorts of information can be stored inside the digital file itself, such as:
Date and time information. Many digital cameras will print this on the picture, but they also can save it with the image file.
Camera settings. This includes static information such as the camera model and make, and information that varies with each image such as orientation, aperture, shutter speed, focal length, metering mode, and ISO speed information.
A thumbnail for previewing the picture on the camera’s LCD screen, in file managers, and in photo manipulation software.
Descriptions and copyright information.
Longitude and latitude where the picture was taken
Any information about the picture or its subject that you choose to add, ing one of the free or cheap photo editing packages I’ll describe in a bit.
This extra information is called metadata.
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