VMW Toolshop: Exporting Metadata


VMW Toolshop: Exporting Metadata

During the Visual Media Workshop’s tool shop on organizing images for research and teaching, some questions arose regarding the process of exporting metadata from content management systems, specifically Adobe Bridge and Picasa, to spreadsheets. Exporting this information allows you not only to back up image metadata in an easily-readable format, it also allows you to move the metadata between systems both now and in the future. We have compiled a few simple tools for extracting metadata from these programs, and invite students to visit the VMW on Friday, October 2 between 10am and noon to learn more (even if you were not able to attend our initial session on image organization). We'll go through some of the specifics of Bridge and Picasa...and are very interested to hear what successes and not-successes you all have had with these systems. And, as always, there'll be carbs and coffee.

For those interested but unable to attend, or those who would like to test these out prior to our session in order to come equipped with questions, links and brief introductions to of each of these tools are included below.


ExifTool is an open-source command-line application for reading, writing, and editing image, audio, and video metadata. This can be used to export metadata from Bridge or Picasa, and is also used to manage metadata within Flickr.

Extract Metadata Bridge Script

To access this Javascript plugin, select Bridge Tools from the left-hand menu, then select Extract Metadata from the submenu. The script file and installation instructions can be found there. (This won’t work for versions earlier than CS3.)

VRA Panel Export

This is another Javascript plugin, but designed to import and export VRA Core metadata. Metadata can be exported to a tab-delimited file, which you can then open in any spreadsheet program. Script files and installation instructions for both Mac and PC platforms are included on the site.


It’s worth noting that over time, Javascript plugins may cease to be supported, or may be incompatible with future versions of Bridge or Picasa. For this reason, although the integration of the plugins may be more immediately user-friendly, it is worth becoming acquainted with the functionality of ExifTool as well.


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