Metadata Capture Introduction

Africa Media Online has developed what we call the MEMAT Metadata App. This system allows an administrator to hand out work to metadata capturers in an orderly manner. These instructions for adding metadata to images assumes that you are using that system.

In order to use the MEMAT Metadata App, you need to have a login. Only the System Administrator can create you a login. So if you do not have one, or do not recall your login details, you need to be in touch with that person.

Step 1: Login

The ANC Archives project is the first project to be utilizing the metadata app. It can be accessed online here: You will obviously be working on this Metadata App in a web browser. Please do not use Microsoft Explorer. Use Firefox [1], Google Chrome [2] or Safari (if you are on a Mac). In your web browser, go to that domain and you will be presented with a login screen that looks like this:


Step 2: Selection and Metadata Mode

Then click on a single file. When it is selected the outside border of the file will turn green. If you have a number of files that need the same metadata added to them, you can select them all.


This is where you can start to enter metadata against your selected item. You can enlarge the image once opened from the Metadata Mode by using Ctrl + or by clicking on the image.

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 09.20.24

Step 3: Capture Metadata

The ANC Archives Metadata Project operates with two metadata teams. This is particularly relating to metadata for images. Metadata can be captured against manuscripts remotely because one can read the manuscript. That is not the case with images. For this reason, we need a Local Metadata Team that is based at the physical archive at the NAHECS Unit of the University of Fort Hare. Their role is to capture information from the physical archive into the caption/description metadata field. This information is then made available to the more experienced Remote Metadata Team who will interpret that information to capture metadata in a more comprehensive manner. Instructions for each team can be found here:

Metadata for Images: Local Team

Metadata for Images: Remote Team

There are also instructions for remote metadata capturers who are working on manuscripts:

Transcription of Handwritten Manuscripts

Before you get going with capturing metadata, there are a number of principles to bear in mind:

Principles of Metadata Capture

a. What you capture is likely to be associated with this file for decades and perhaps centuries to come. Generations of researchers will be trying to find this image and the accuracy and the quality with which you capture information associated with this file will determine whether they successfully find it or not.

b. Metadata needs to be captured using the correct spelling, grammar, and the correct sentence case. That means that the start of sentences and proper nouns, such as the name of a person, need to have the first letter of the word in capitals. For example, Alfred Nzo. In 10 or 20 years time you don’t want people upset when reading your caption because you were sloppy in your work. Check your work fully before committing it and going on to the next image. Before you start, install Grammarly on the browser you are using. You can download it here for free: [3] Please make sure it is set to British English and not American English.

c. Never capture metadata without having the image in front of you. You will need to have the digital image in front of you (click on the image in the top right-hand corner to see an enlarged version). If you are part of the Local Team, however, you also need to have the physical image in front of you.

Now proceed to the instructions for each team:

Metadata for Images: Local Team

Metadata for Images: Remote Team