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17 January 2005 Why can't I manage my digital images like MP3s? The evolution and intent of multimedia metadata
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This paper considers the deceptively simple question: Why can't digital images be managed in the simple and effective manner in which digital music files are managed? We make the case that the answer is different treatments of metadata in different domains with different goals. A central difference between the two formats stems from the fact that digital music metadata lookup services are collaborative and automate the movement from a digital file to the appropriate metadata, while image metadata services do not. To understand why this difference exists we examine the divergent evolution of metadata standards for digital music and digital images and observed that the processes differ in interesting ways according to their intent. Specifically music metadata was developed primarily for personal file management and community resource sharing, while the focus of image metadata has largely been on information retrieval. We argue that lessons from MP3 metadata can assist individuals facing their growing personal image management challenges. Our focus therefore is not on metadata for cultural heritage institutions or the publishing industry, it is limited to the personal libraries growing on our hard-drives. This bottom-up approach to file management combined with p2p distribution radically altered the music landscape. Might such an approach have a similar impact on image publishing? This paper outlines plans for improving the personal management of digital images-doing image metadata and file management the MP3 way-and considers the likelihood of success.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Abby Goodrum and James Howison "Why can't I manage my digital images like MP3s? The evolution and intent of multimedia metadata", Proc. SPIE 5670, Internet Imaging VI, (17 January 2005);

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