Thanks to the NSA, metadata is no longer a nebulous term. Metadata, or data about data, is a necessary component to provide contextual information about an item– it’s the “aboutness” of something. It’s so important to have. When you don’t have metadata, you just don’t have much.
The thing with metadata is that you can never really have enough. The more, the merrier. A more detailed description of an event helps contextualize those photos and demystify them to viewers. It’s not good enough to assume that photos of a Chinese ping pong team is of the 1984 Olympic Games when it’s really the thawing of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. in the 1970s.
That’s where Eddie Wong, (VC founder and current archives advisory board member) comes in. After leaving VC and moving to the San Francisco Bay area, Eddie became the Executive Director at the Center for Asian American Media and later at the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. This week, we had the pleasure of having Eddie at the VC office to assist us with some missing metadata for select photo collections. Thanks so much, Eddie! You’ve demystified some mysteries for us. Until next time!