MID-1800s: SAY ‘CHEESE’
Modern metadata use dates to the advent of photography. Photographers would scratch names, dates and locations on daguerreotype (the first widely adopted photographic process, 1839) frames describing the content of pictures.
1876: BOOK IT
The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system used by libraries for the classification of materials is an example of early metadata usage. The DDC was created in 1876 by Melville Dewey.
1960s: GOING DIGITAL
MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) standards are a set of digital formats for the description of items catalogued by libraries. It was developed by Henriette Avram at the US Library of Congress for records that can be used by computers and shared among libraries.
1968: HELLO, MY NAME IS …
The term “metadata” is coined by Philip Bagley in his book, “Extension of Programming Language Concepts.”
1979: MEET THE PRESS
The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) is established to safeguard the telecommunications interests of the press, and develop standards for the interchange of news. IPTC creates first set of metadata attributes applied to images.
1980s: (HARD) SOFTWARE
The 1980s saw a number of vendors begin to develop software systems to manage paper-based documents. These systems dealt with paper documents, which included not only printed and published content, but also photographs, prints, etc. Early document management solutions were complicated and did not include many metadata management capabilities.
1991: BINARY BASIS
A new standard, the “Information Interchange Model” (IIM), is created by the IPTC to handle digital image resources with metadata encoded as binary data within the file.
1993: A NEW ENGINE
Martiijn Koster develops ALIWEB, the first metadata-driven search engine.
1995: LEARNING TO CRAWL
MetaCrawler, a metasearch engine, debuts commercially. This new breed of search engine blends the top web search results from Google, Yahoo!, Live Search, Ask, About.com, MIVA, LookSmart and other popular systems.
2000: ON THE RECORD
With the widespread use of computerized information systems, a need for the conceptualization of metadata arises. Developed metadata sets for recordkeeping and archival needs pave the way for today’s electronic document management/enterprise content management systems.
2001: MUSIC TO OUR EARS
The Music Genome Project idea hatches as an effort to “capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level,” using almost 400 metadata attributes to describe songs and a complex algorithm to organize them.
2009: BIG BROTHER
U.S. Department of Justice officials acknowledge that the National Security Agency (NSA) had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court’s authority. It is revealed that metadata records of millions of US citizens were collected indiscriminately.
2013: A HOUSE OF CARDS
Netflix funds the hit television show House of Cards based on a meticulous analysis of the viewing habits of its 44 million subscribers worldwide.
SOURCES: Library Philosophy and Practice, Library of Congress, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, SAA Photo Metadata Project, Project Gutenberg, University City Science Center Technical Report, International Press Telecommunications Council, Wikipedia, Venture Voice, The Guardian, Reuters, Archives & Social Studies: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Research domestic phone calls.