Embedded Metadata in Cultural Image Collections and Beyond: Embedding Metadata in Image Files at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo

  • Sheryl Frisch California Polytechnic State University
Keywords: embedded metadata, digital images, workflow


This article is based on the presentation, “Embedded Metadata in Cultural Image Collections and Beyond: Embedding Metadata in Image Files at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo,” given at the Visual Resources Association’s (VRA) annual conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 18,2012. This case study illustrates the practice of embedding metadata into image files at CalPoly’s Art and Design Department’s Visual Resources Collection, from its early stages to today. It will show the evolution of using embedded metadata as a method of applying descriptive label information to images, to its use in cataloging, and how the practice can lead to the discovery of digital resources that enhance teaching and learning. Developing a digital workflow within the parameters available resources and student staffing is also discussed.


The success of embedding metadata into image files at CalPoly is due to the efforts of many people who have generously shared their time and expertise. John Vu created the first customized XMP panels and export and import, programing scripts. Greg Reser of UC San Diego upgraded John’s panels, and developed the CSU panel and export/import scripts for the Visual Collective, the CSU system’s shared digital image database. He further developed the VRA metadata panel under the auspices of VRA’s DSC’s Embedded Metadata Working Group (EMwg). Dr. Kathleen Cohen, Director of WorldImages, gave permission to use the images of works of art for this article. Thanks also go to colleagues in the CSU system, Vickie Aubourg, Director of the Harold Hay Media Resource Center at CalPoly, and Karen Kessel, Visual Resource Specialist at Sonoma State for their expert advice and input. Also appreciated are CalPoly’s Art and Design faculty and the College of Liberal Arts for their constant support, as well as the CSU’s Systemwide Digital Library Services for their work on the Visual Collective.

Author Biography

Sheryl Frisch, California Polytechnic State University

Sheryl Frisch is the is the Visual Resource Specialist in the Department of Art and Design, at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She has a Masters in the History of Art from the University of California, Riverside. She has been working on digital image projects in the California State University system since 1998, and is a member of the Visual Resources Association (VRA). She has served on various VRA committees throughout her career and is currently co-chairing the Data Standards Committee (DSC).

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