8 Comments on “Who’s who? Digital Photo Annotation”

  1. Tony Proctor says:

    If JPEG were being defined today then it would have been done differently Sue. It’s a rather loose standard and that has resulted in implementation variations where the meta-data is put in different places.

    Abode had a good try at rationalising this with their XMP. Not only could that be inserted into JPEG data but also TIFF and a variety of other formats. It was also RDF-based and so was significant to the Semantic Web. It now has an ISO designation but the retention of the Adobe trademark on the name seems to have put people off.

    This is an important topic but commercial self-interests, poor standards, and a lack of cohesion has resulted in a complete “dog’s dinner”. It’s a little like genealogical data really.


  2. avaragado says:

    Great article. I’ve been thinking a bit about photo metadata too, but concentrating on imprecision – especially imprecise dates. Earlier in the year I came up with a proposal, including a way people can start encoding imprecise dates as tags right now.

    If you’re interested, see http://avaragado.org/2013/04/29/the-fuzziness-business/


    • Imprecision and unreliability are features of historical data, which makes genealogy the ultimate science of imprecision ;-).

      A standardised set of tags relevant to genealogy could be a way forward. If you can come up with definitions, perhaps you would consider contributing to the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO) call for papers.


    • Tony Proctor says:

      There’s a difference between imprecision and granularity in this field. Saying that a photo was taken in 1942/1943 is a case of imprecision but when talking about ’19th century newspapers’ then that’s a case of granularity. Vital records typically have a granularity of one day but that’s not always the case. The GRO index in England & Wales groups entries by yearly quarter – something that the ISO standard doesn’t accommodate at all.

      The ISO 8601 standard is largely the result of an amalgamation of previous standards and so isn’t very consistent. Much of it gets ignored in favour of the pure representation of a Gregorian date or date-time, and that includes ranges, ordinal dates, etc. If you consider dates & date-times by themselves then the standard is good in that they can be sorted with a simple textual sort, and without having to decompose the dates into separate fields. This breaks down for all those peripheral parts of the standard though.

      You might be interested in http://www.parallaxview.co/familyhistorydata/research-notes/dates-calendars#DateValue which is different tack that tries to accommodate other granularity, sorting, and non-Gregorian calendars too.


  3. Louise says:

    Hi Sue,
    Can you please contact me via email about the similarity of someone in your photo to one of mine.
    Cheers, Louise


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