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Metadata Lost: Social Media and Photo Sharing

American Photobooth

Mike Ashenfelder at the Signal (LOC) writes:

“…While some comments on news blogs claim that professional photographers are raising this issue because they are only concerned about maintaining copyright or attribution information, it’s not that simple. That is because most methods of storing this information use one of three different storage “containers” within a digital image to hold the information. If copyright or contact information is removed, that almost always means that captions, locations and even the date the photo was taken will be lost as well.

A recent example concerns a controversial photograph that people thought was taken by master photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, rather than Andrej Vasilenko, despite the modern clothing and backpack.

However, it’s not just about proper attribution or maintaining your copyright notice, it’s also about preservation. For example, while many people may know some well-known online images (like Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother”), if they downloaded it, would they know where or when it was taken if we lost all the metadata, including the caption? Most documentary images will have little cultural value if we don’t know at least a few of the basic Who, What, Why, When, Where and How’s of the image in front of us….”

Read the rest: Social Media Networks Stripping Data from Your Digital Photos | The Signal: Digital Preservation

Image Credit: Copyright Nakki Goranin, American Photobooth