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Scanned photographs - How do I treat/add Dates in Metadata workflow
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Author Topic: Scanned photographs - How do I treat/add Dates in Metadata workflow  (Read 18574 times)
Doug Willis
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« on: April 21, 2006, 08:28:13 PM »

I am looking for ideas, shared experience or advice from forum users surrounding workflow for adding/integrating scanned photographs to a DAM system.

I have been scanning my old photos, including old family photos, some dating back over 60 years.

Digital camera files hold date & time in the exif data, however how do I embed date and time data into scanned files (when sometimes I will only know (guess) an approx year or even decade that the shot was taken.

I want to able to use a consistent field for time sorting of files, for renaming, searching, etc. I realise that I could simply use keywords
as a proxy for dates, but this would produce inconsistent searching and sorting where some files have exif and some have keyword metadata.

I am sure that users of this forum must have faced this same issue, or know of others who have. Unfortunately, Peter's excellent DAM book did not cover this material in any depth.

Look forward to hearing others experience.



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Michael_S
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2006, 05:57:03 PM »

Doug,
Welcome to this great little forum.  You have a fine question and I wuold love to get some experienced answers.  Early this summer I wil be tasked with scanning all the prints and film of my parent's combined photo collection.  It has been in storage boxes for about 15 years since they divorced.

So I need some of the same advice as you need about metadata tagging scanned images well after they were originally shot.

--Michael
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2006, 03:49:44 AM »

Doug,
I think the proper place for it would be the IPTC Date Created field.  That said, the correctness of the answer also depends on what software will be doing the organizing.

There are at least 5 different places that a program might look in to see what the "date" of the picture is.  You will have to do some experiments to see if the software you are using will give you access to this information in some kind of useful way.  I think that most current software will be more inclined to look at EXIF date, rather than the IPTC date.

iView does allow you to change the EXIF date, but I don't know what the allowable range of dates is, or if a strange date would give you any unexpected problems sometime in the future.

Let us know what you find out.

BTW, you should consider making Camera Scans of these images (particularly B&W Prints and Negs).  This will greatly speed up the process of scanning.
Peter
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Doug Willis
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2006, 03:24:11 PM »

Peter,

Thanks for response.

I tried putting dates into "Date Created" within annotations of IVMP, if I put in a month and a year, say August 1974, it will convert to 8/1/1974, which is not ideal as it assigns a specific date without alerting viewers that it may not be correct, I might know, but others will not.

If just a year is entered, then it rejects the entry and reverts to blank date.

Some of the genealogy programs accept and manage partial dates such a c. 1932 for Circa and b.1986 for before, some also use a.<date> to indicate about.

So far I have been entering what is known about a date into the file name, e.g. "Dad, circa 1934 at Turner St" but this is messy and not ideal in the long run.

There may not be a ready answer to this question yet, as I ultimately want the software to recognize dates (partial and approx.) from one or several fields within standard data.

I would have thought the ITPC must have considered this fuzzy date issue when dealing with Press photos where the exact dates were unknown.

Hopefully, more people will read this thread and contribute with knowledge.


 

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billseymour
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2006, 03:27:14 PM »

Hello-
I am also planning to scan several albums of 1920s-1940s family photos. I have been thinking about naming/finding information along these lines:

-Give filename the date these scans are entered into the database. So 100 photos from the 1920s scanned today would be 060423_001_scan.jpg, etc. This would be easiest to track, as an album of photos gets processed into the database.

-I think keywords and virtual folders would be place to establish date information. This, in part, because I don't think a precise date (down to the day) is usually of use in family photos. Rather, a year '1925', and even a decade '1920s', will generally have more value for me. Or 'wedding anniversary', 'family reunion'- again, not necessarily precise month and day driven.

-This seems to play into the DAM book idea of (paraphrasing) 'organize, but don't overdo it'. And if a specific date is really required, keyword it in.  Anyhow, just some thoughts on this.

Very valuable forum. Bill
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BobSmith
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2006, 06:00:37 PM »

I include a date in all of my files names now.  I use the yymmdd format.  I insert x's if the month or day are not known.  In fields like date created where a proper date is required, I reserve certain dates for images where a date is not certain.  For instance the 15th of any month means it MIGHT be an estimated day.  A look at the filename will tell me if its exact or not.  Not a perfect system by any means.  I'm open to better ideas.

Bob Smith
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Doug Willis
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2006, 05:52:27 AM »

For Bill and Michael,

I went about scanning the photos by using a flatbed scanner @ 600 dpi and scanning up to 4 photos at once. (depends on size).

Once I had the images digitized, I simply cropped out the individual photos and saved as a seperate file. Whilst it may not have been quickest method, I found when cropping in PS, I could apply a dust & scratch filter and use a healing brush to fix imperfections, remove dust spots, threads or other marks on the photos.

Once scanned, I used IVMP/Bridge to add keywords etc. At least this is a start although have not yet solved the date labeling issue. As I said in a previous post, some of the genealogy software will allow fuzzy dates, maybe someone will write  a plugin for IVMP to do similar in DAM software.

Regards

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peterkrogh
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2006, 06:51:59 AM »

Doug,
I suggest you investigate using a digital camera to do the "scanning".  This will GREATLY improve your productivity.
Peter
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DAM_neophyte
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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2006, 07:28:58 PM »

I'd like to hear some more about using a camera to do the scanning?  How is this accomplished exactly?
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arcterex
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2006, 02:53:57 PM »

I'd like to hear some more about using a camera to do the scanning?  How is this accomplished exactly?

Basically you take a picture of the photo/negative/slide.  The more sophisticated setups have adapters that sit in front of your DSLR that allow you to take a precise image of the slide/negative.  The bigger ones even have a lightbox behind them.

Theory is that a good DSLR image of 6 or 10 megapixels of a slide is just as good as a scan.  Probably not for really high end stuff, but for transfering images to digital, it should be fine if your setup allows you a good quality image.
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