Metadata and mobile: a fight for the right to tell stories (Part II)
Last week we published a post about media on mobile devices and the issues of mobile around metadata and file management. This time we will be looking at how we engaged with those same problems while developing Mukurtu Mobile, a content authoring app for Mukurtu CMS.
- Media overflow, or: So. Many. Pictures.
- Losing track of your digital originals
- Ending up with lower quality copies of your images
- Where do all the metadata go?
- Why can’t I just type in a caption for my images?
- Photographs, video.. but what about audio?
For Mukurtu Mobile we set out to build a relatively simple function: allow users to upload media to an existing Mukurtu CMS archive together with a piece of narrative web content called Digital Heritage item.
We also call this a story, because it allows you to add things like a description, category and tags to a collection of media, and tell a rich story by doing so.
We wanted to empower users to make the most out of their mobile devices.
As for media, we wanted users to gain better awareness of the behind-the-scenes such as compression rate and resizing settings, to be able to retrieve the original media, and to embed as many of the original metadata as possible into the media; finally, we wanted newly generated metadata to follow digital preservation best practices.
We also wanted audio to be one of the available formats (e.g. for interviews or samples of spoken language).
Here’s a few expedients we’ve adopted:
1) Consistent file naming convention. We chose to use filename as a relevant metadata field, to tell the story of that particular media. Filenames of media processed through Mukurtu start with the story title and media type, followed by the filename, which usually includes a timestamp of the file creation date and time:
2) Original files stored in the phone. The original file is always stored on the device with the highest available quality (digital original) and EXIF data completed with geo-location, when supported and active on device. The derivative filename structure for files uploaded to the web makes it easy to track back to the original file. Originals can be retrieved from your device whether or not upload was successful.
3) Provide clear settings and information about compression and resizing options. Preferences include settings for compression and resizing options of images and videos. Resized images also carry their story in the filename, for example:
are all derivatives of the same digital original file (2014-07-31_000813.jpg) resized respectively to 75%, 50%, 25%, and Web (1024 as biggest dimension).
4) In-app audio recorder. We developed an intuitive in-app audio recorder. Audio are saved on device just like images and videos, and can be retrieved locally whether or not they have been
5) Full EXIF support for images. All available EXIF data are maintained (more correct to say: re-embedded) into the image that Mukurtu uploads. Some of them are displayed in app and on the destination site (See example), others can be viewed downloading the original file. On top of image specific metadata, Mukurtu’s stories provide the user with narrative and contextual fields such as keywords, description, category, and a title to be associated to a media collection or digital heritage item.
Mukurtu Mobile was developed by CoDA in partnership with Washington State University and the mobile developers at Map2app. The project is supported in part by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Are you working with media from mobile? Do you know of some interesting tool, app, or trick for media management and making the most out of your mobile device? Share the love in comments below!
Author: Elena Toffalori
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