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Writing on the back of a digital photo

media photograph organizing filing retrieval system productivity

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#1 Vyger


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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:38 AM

I do hope RM do not object to this post, I believe it would benefit many RM users and is not a product plug.


Since the question or organizing media repeatedly comes up I had been planning a video to show what has worked for me. Essentially digital files should be organized outside RM although I would also agree that RM Media Gallery should have the ability to read basic metadata with the option to import/sync.


Anyway my planned video is cancelled as Alison Taylor does a pretty good job of covering the angles and advantages on the Rootstach link below.


Writing on the back of a Digital Photo

Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach


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#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:32 PM

I think Alison Taylor's video is excellent and that it has a great deal of relevance to RM and to RM users.


Among many other thoughts I had while watching the video, I was reminded of the change that happened when RM added the ability to tag media to other objects such as people, places, citations, etc.. Previous to the change you started with the object and linked to the media. After the change, you could still start with the object and link to the media and you also could also go the other direction - starting with the media and tagging to the object.


Previous to the change in RM, each object's link to a particular media file could have its own caption, and two different objects that linked to the same media file could have different captions for the same media file. For example, for a photo of two brothers, John Doe's caption could say "John Doe and his younger brother William" and William Doe's caption could say "William Doe and his older brother John". After the change, the RM caption essentially became associated only with the media file and therefore each media file could have only one caption in RM. I was pretty bummed out by the change because I had spent hundreds of hours captioning media files with multiple captions. I lost all my captioning work with no hope of getting it back.


When I expressed my concerns on these forums, I received basically no support. I'm going from memory here, but other forum members expressed the view that a caption for a photograph really should be associated only with the photograph itself and not with the context in which the photograph appears. And if the caption for the photograph really should be associated only with the photograph itself without regard to context, then the photograph really should just have one caption.


That brings us back to Alison Taylor's video. She talked about a number of ways to "caption" a photo, including some very low tech ways. For example, you can hand write your captioning information on a piece of paper and scan in your piece of paper along with the photo. But she also talked about using the IPTC data that's actually a part of the media file. In looking at IPTC data, it seems pretty apparent to me that it follows the "one caption per photo" model. And yet it still seems to me that different captions in different contexts make sense. Newspapers frequently print a file photograph of a newsworthy person that they have printed before, but for a new story the file photograph may be printed with a different caption than it was the previous time.


The alternative to having captioning information to be stored in the media file itself is to have a database system where the captions are stored in the database. In this environment, it would certainly be possible to have multiple captions. Whether real world software that manages photos has multi-captioning ability I don't know. But I do think that some of them have the ability to include pixel coordinates that for example would isolate one face out of a group photograph without having to make separate copies of the photograph for each face that is thus isolated. Surely under these circumstances, there would have to be a "caption" of some sort associated with each set of pixel coordinates for each face? I don't really know how these systems work.


That brings us back to RM. The RM database seems to have  unused data fields for such things as pixel coordinates. Perhaps this was planning for the future? I don't know, and such a feature may or may not ever appear in RM. But if ever it did, then you would think that each "sub-image" created electronically with pixel coordinates would need to have its own sub-caption. If so, then that would restore to RM the ability to caption by context, not just caption on the basis of one caption per photo.



#3 KFN


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Posted 02 March 2017 - 01:40 PM

I can't speak about RM and as it has been pointed out that my background in Photography, Genealogy, Software Design, Library Technology and GEDCOM is not always beneficial to the forum I'll try to keep this as general as possible.


I've been using an off line database for sourcing and maintaining my documents and photos for a dozen years probably a lot more.  GEDCOM and any Genealogy database currently based on it should not be used to completely document sources, digital documents and more importantly digital photos.


I had a little problem watching the suggested video because of a technical issue on my part, but based on what I could see I think she has some good things to say.


Most genealogy databases that I've seen and used do a reasonable job of tracking documents and photos (from here on all call these items "media") for their own purposes.  The real problem (and I think this is what the video is talking about) is that none of the information in the genealogy database is portable with the media (a document or a photo) so that when a new item of media is added to the Genealogy software, the software knows about the media BUT the media knows nothing about itself.  All media, be it a photo, MS-Word Document, PDF etc has some form of internal metadata that the user can populate with information about the media and which is retained with the media.  For example an MS-Word Document can have a Title, Author, Creation Date, Number of Pages, "Tags" Comments, as well as added "User Defined" attribute/metadata.  This is also true of Photos and PDFs.  I deal in my business with these attributes/metadata daily.


These metadata elements should be populated by the cataloger as the media is acquired (or to use a library term "Accessioned"), then as the media item is added as a source to the Genealogy Database/Software this information should be used and displayed by the software straight out of the media file.  If media that is added to the database does not have these attributes filled in the software should ask for the information and rather than adding the data to its database, it should update and change the media item with the data and rely on that metadata (from the media) NOT its database.


The software I use to catalog media does this when I create the media, and as I use organize the media it adds tags (aka metadata) to the media.  To take the concept a little farther I name all of my media files with a long unique name based on the Accession information I generate, relying on the metadata to tell me what the file is all about.   This file name is the used as a REFN ID in my GEDCOM database to visually connect the OBJT in the GEDCOM Database with he the Media Item in the file share storage location.


I realize this got less than "General", but it is hard to discuss this type of technical stuff without getting too detailed.

#4 TomH


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Posted 02 March 2017 - 04:56 PM

I agree with Jerry 100%. RootsMagic ought to return to the caption per tag but have the default caption, date and description come from the media file's metadata. Within RM, it should be possible to modify the media file's metadata and the default caption, date and description independently and to copy in either direction. Each RM Media Tags is an individual record in the MediaLinkTable whose structure from RM4 on remains capable of storing a unique caption, date and description for each tag along with the coordinates of rectangular snippets from the media image, such as a head shot from a group of people.


There was recent discussion in the Facebook group.


RM used to support the transfer of tag-specific captions, dates and descriptions through (custom?) GEDCOM, iirc. One would have to examine the output from RM4 to see if it bore any resemblance to what KFN describes.

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#5 robertjacobs0


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Posted 03 March 2017 - 03:45 PM

John Cardinal's GedSite program allows one to use to use either the embedded (metadata) caption or a user-composed caption for exhibits on its image pages. It's a really good feature when one has both recently made digital images and older (usually scanned) photos.





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