Adding Source To Images

by JL Beeken on 1-04-2014

I’ve written a lot about metadata over the years. I’d like to break this down and show you just one way I use it for adding source to images.

Literally thousands of photos and documents have been sent to me with no known source. It’s a long road tracing backwards trying to find out where they came from. Over time it becomes a free-for-all where people think it doesn’t matter. And the it-doesn’t-matter part tends to get on people’s nerves.

There’s a simple alternative to this madness.

After I’ve entered all the data and downloaded an image from FamilySearch, for instance, and made the source citation and applied it to all the applicable fields, I add the source citation to the image as well.

Save Image, FamilySearch

I open the image in XnView (my default image viewer) and copy and paste the source citation into the Caption field.

Copy Source Citation, FamilySearch

This is simply Ctrl+I to open the IPTC data window. Then Paste.

Paste Source to Image, XnView

The other thing I do is immediately re-save it as a TIFF file so I can straighten and crop it without further compromising the image quality.

Then I give it a name and it’s ready to be filed.

I don’t always paste a source citation into the caption. It depends what it is. I don’t do it on photos, for instance. Sometimes I just put the source in the Source field; Ancestry.com, Find A Grave, a person’s name, etc.

I don’t attach any records to my database so I don’t assume I know where a file comes because the source citation in my database knows.

When I send a record to someone else they immediately know where it came from. If it came from a company that’s trying to sell it to as many people as possible, it’s probably not OK to post it publicly. If it came from FamilySearch it is OK. If it was sent to you from someone’s private collection, do you understand their expectations? It’s a good thing to know.

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