Metadata isn’t just for TV shows and movies. It can also be used to save the world. Like it was during the recent Boston Marathon bombings.
Just as no one person can be expected to remember every tiny detail of a TV show—production locations, original air date, every member of the cast and crew—no one person can be expected to recall every single detail or interaction of a real-life event. But, thankfully, saving the day in both situations is metadata.
Metadata is the answer when having to notate huge amounts of footage with various attributes. As thousands of seconds of video footage is turned in to the FBI, someone must catalog it so it can be retrieved later. And that’s where the metadata comes in.
The video footage received by the FBI is combed over by trained specialists. They note and tag how many times people walk past the camera. What they are carrying—and all the same information for when that person passes by the camera again.
No longer does one person have to sort these facts and details in their head or on a chart. The metadata input can now be searched, cross-referenced, or analyzed across all the other metadata collected in the countless other hours of observation.
So when an FBI investigator wants to know something about a specific incident or time, it’s already cross-related to all other incidents happening at that time. Or, an investigator can pinpoint a certain article of clothing and do a search for it throughout the entire video database.
Much in the same way, a viewer looks for programming via metadata. Finding the scraps of information they’re looking for, then interrelating them to find the program they seek.
And nobody takes metadata—even the entertaining kind—more seriously than FYI.