Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Source Citation Trick: Embed Citation in Image Properties

I've been participating in a series of lively conversations over at the Transitional Genealogist's Forum on RootsWeb about source citations and I highly recommend the site for those like my who are moving from genealogy hobbyist to genealogy professional.  There is even a RSS feed for those who want to follow the conversation in their blog reader.

I wanted to share one trick that I've developed in citing my sources and linking the digital images for those citations.  In summary, it involves editing the metadata comments of the image and adding the source citation.  This way, if I share the image with a fellow researcher, they can get the source citation automatically and I don't need to send it separately or my entire research log.

Here's how I've done it:

1.  Create the source citation.  I do this in my research log.

2.  Highlight the source citation text, right-click with the mouse (or press F10) and from the Shortcut Menu and select Copy.

3.  Go to the saved digital image in Windows Explorer.

4.  Select the image and with the mouse, right-click and select Properties.  Then select the Details tab.

5.  Click in the Comments field and then right-click and select Paste.  The source citation text from the research log will appear.

6.  Click OK.  The source citation is now embedded into the image properties.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Becky Higgins said...

Great idea. Thanks for the tip!!

JL said...

3 questions: Does this carry through when you email an image? Does the citation survive when you burn it to disk and mail the disk to someone or try to retrieve it from a backup? What happens when the people you share the image with use a different operating system?

Thomas MacEntee said...


I just ran a test and emailed the image with the embedded properties to a friend. They reported that the Comments field was intact with my source citation.

I assume the same would happen then in copying the image to a flash drive or burning to a CD.

I am not certain as to the different operating systems - I will entail the help of one of my Mac friends.

JL said...

I have heard from people who use Windows File Properties for annotating photos that this does NOT carry through onto disk but I haven't tried it myself. I recommend IPTC for photo annotation.

Michelle Goodrum said...

This could be extremely helpful. Thanks Thomas! We all will be light years ahead due to your excellent teaching skills and willingness to share what you've learned.

Good questions by JL too.

CMPointer said...

Thanks, Thomas ~ Great Tip!


Carol said...

Once I figured this out, I tried an upload to Picasa, to see if the imbedding would remain for photos used on my blog. Sadly, as far as I could tell, the imbedded data did not upload. Course, it could be there and I don't know where to look for it, but a properties right click did not show any imbedded data.