Making Metadata More Useful
I’ve always found metadata interesting for the possibilities it presents to retrieve and explore information based on attributes, so I’m glad Apple added the ability to display more file metadata in Mojave’s Finder. The problem is that you can’t do much with it aside from view it and select an individual label or value. Below are videos of prototypes I built in Kite for how it could evolve to be more useful.
Showing Photo Locations
Assuming an image has GPS coordinates embedded in its Exif metadata, it would be nice to be able to show the image on a map without having to add it to Photos to use the Places view within that app.
- Command-clicking the pin icon in the metadata list could launch the Maps app directly rather than having to first access the map pane, then click Show in Maps.
Creating Smart Folders from Displayed Metadata
It would be great to be able to create a Spotlight-powered Smart Folder based on metadata displayed in Finder’s Preview pane. Currently, the process of creating Smart Folders from image metadata (other than the basics like filename and type) involves opening the “Other…” menu in the Spotlight query builder, scrolling to or searching for the metadata type you want to use, then clicking OK. It’s pretty well tucked away and the list of available metadata is extensive.
For example, say I want to create a Smart Folder of all the images captured with my Olympus and exported to JPEG. As you can see below, it’s potentially a fairly easy process when you can start with metadata that’s already displayed.
At narrow pane widths, the Search Quick Action would collapse into the Other menu.
I first thought of this design for Capture One, but it can fit into most any app that displays metadata in a label-value list and lets you build collections based on metadata.
Further Metadata Notes
- I’d love it if a future version of Finder displays IPTC metadata (particularly keywords) in the Preview pane. IPTC metadata is already indexed by Spotlight and displayed in the Info window. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be too much work to add support to the Preview pane.
- It would be possible to do at least rough location mappings of photos based solely on IPTC location metadata such as Location, Municipality, etc.
- Embedded keywords are more useful than Finder Tags because they travel with the file, regardless of the filesystem.
- Referring to the pane that displays metadata as Preview doesn’t really make sense in Gallery View, where the metadata and content preview are separate. “Details” would make sense.