Maximizing Metadata: Embedded Metadata Tools

  • Marcia M. Focht Binghamton University
Keywords: metadata, embedded metadata


Archives, libraries, museums, businesses, and individuals have fully embraced the digital era and the proliferation of digital assets abound. The challenge is creating, managing, storing, and sharing these assets. One way to make managing your digital files easier is by using the power of embedded metadata, which encodes data about the digital asset into the file itself. Embedded metadata helps reduce the difficulty of finding an image or audio file on your computer, no need to recall a lengthy URL or scratch your head trying to remember the original source to cite when using or publishing your images. Ensuring that those who might wish to use your images are informed of any copyright constraints and provided with contact information is more manageable than you might think. Embedded metadata enables functionality that streamlines and enhances your research and presentations by making images, video, and audio files searchable and sharable, with easy to identify content, sources, and rights.

This article was written to summarize a presentation with the same title at the Electronic Imaging and the Visual Arts conference in Florence, Italy, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. For more information about EVA, see: Additional information about this specific event can be found on the VRA (Visual Resources Association) blog at: The article will briefly cover the current standards and basics of embedding metadata. Then, three useful, time-saving tools developed by the VRA will be introduced. These tools can be used to create and manage embedded metadata, making your workflow much more efficient. The first tool is a custom XMP palette, which allows you to embed data into your digital files, either singly or in batches. The second tool allows for importing or exporting data from digital files using spreadsheets (perfect for all those digital humanities projects). The final tool allows for the creation of quick Powerpoint presentations, in which digital images and embedded metadata automatically load into the slides. All of this is made possible because of the power of embedded metadata, which makes digital images independent, self-defining, sharable, and flexible.

Author Biography

Marcia M. Focht, Binghamton University

Marcia Focht has been the Curator of the Visual Resources Center at Binghamton University since 1986. In her 30+ year career, she has experienced many transitions and migrations of systems, data, files, and formats. She has long pursued collaboration within the State University system, advocating the sharing of digital assets and tools. Current projects include a series of Digital Humanities presentations and workshops for graduate students, faculty, and staff across disciplines and units. These sessions emphasize hands-on experimentation, sharing knowledge, as well as reliance on standards and best practices. Marcia served two terms as Secretary, was an instructor at the ARLIS NA/VRA Summer Educational Institute (SEI) 2016, and 13 years as Mentor Coordinator of the Visual Resources Association. She was awarded a BFA in Printmaking and an MA in Art History from the University of Denver.

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