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Visual Literacy: Metadata

Provides information on citing images, copyright, presentation best practices, design guidelines, and more

What is Metadata?

  • Metadata is descriptive text included with a digital image file.

  • Metadata for images is like bibliographic data for books and journal articles?
  • Currently, most images on the Internet have little or no descriptive metadata

  • Currently, there is no single standard for digital image metadata, though several organizations are working toward that goal
  • Metadata can be modified easily, so multiple copies of the same image file may have different, and possibly inaccurate, metadata.

Finding Metadata

There are several ways to reveal metadata embedded in an image file. 

1.  In Windows, right click the file and choose "Properties" choose "Properties" from the File menu in Windows Photo Viewer

2.  In Mac OS, right click the file and choose, "Get Info," or choose "Inspector" from the Tools menu in Preview

3.  Most image programs will display metadata, usually under "Properties" or "Get Info."

This is the Windows image properties display:

Windows Image Properties

Scrolling down the "Details" tab reveals descriptions of the image.