Support “undated” for “Save Metadata to File”

When a photo is set to “undated”, and I “Save Metadata”, the “date taken” in the JPG remains unchanged. To make matters worse, Mylio reports that everything worked successfully although it obviously did not.

For all other dates and fuzzy dates, Mylio performs correctly and as expected.

Also, the reverse should hold as well, i.e., when importing an undated photo it should show in Mylio as undated, not the date created/modified.

A tech purist may say “undated” is a Mylio feature, not supported by JPG, etc., etc.

But sometimes a “technically pure” solution is painful for the user. In my case, I have many old, undated, scanned photos. Working around this by setting these to a dummy date (e.g. 1/1/1800) would be painful.

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The question is, how would you represent ‘undated’ in a date field in a way that isn’t going to prevent other apps from opening the file? Just missing it out is going to cause most apps to show the file modification date recorded by the operating system.

Not sure about Mac, Linux, etc. but Windows supports date taken of “no date”. For example, when a photo is scanned the date created and modified are set, but date taken is set to “no date”.

Bottom line: in the real world some photos are undated and the industry (not just Mylio) should fully support that.

I wonder how that shows up in exiftool - is the creation date just missing?

I don’t know the exiftool. I am referring to the date TAKEN not created.

JPGs have (at least) 3 dates: created, modified, and date taken.

My concern is to support date taken as undated, perhaps encoded as null, blank, missing, etc.

Date created and date modified have no meaning (to me) as I can’t control them at all…Windows sets them (using arcane rules).

If you select the Info pane for a photo in Mylio, and scroll all the way to the very bottom, you should see ‘Metadata’ appear - click on that and Mylio will show you all the different dates in an image, and lots of other stuff too.

I agree that the absence of an original date should be shown as such, and not guessed - but it would need an industry agreement to do that.

This really depends on your scanning software - not the operating system. I’d guess you used the default Windows 10 “Scan” app. This app seems to set no EXIF image properties whatsoever (including Date Taken).

I prefer to use VueScan software for scanning family photos. This lets me set the Date Taken in advance for a given batch of photos to be scanned. If I’m unsure of the exact date - I’ll set this to Jan 1st of the year I believe the pictures are from.

Technically, there is no such value as “undated” for the Date Taken EXIF field. “Undated” simply means that field is MISSING. Once that field exists, it must contain an actual valid date/time.

I guess you could make a case that if this field is missing, Mylio should not create it. But every other photo app on the planet is still going to create it & populate it with a date anyway.

@jimre

I appreciate your response.

I completely understand the concepts / impact of industry-standards vs Mylio-proprietary features. Certainly any user or system using a standard field in a non-standard way is taking risks. But lack of a standard does not mean “do nothing” or “support the feature halfway”.

Some things fully in Mylio’s control that can help the cause:

  1. Provide an option / setting to erase date taken in the JPG when date taken in the tool is set to “Undated”. User takes the risk regarding how other tools deal with this.

  2. Provide an option / setting to set a dummy date of the user’s choosing (e.g., 1/1/1800) to signify “undated”. Whenever the user clicks “Undated” that date is actually populated, rather than having to navigate the date picker.

  3. Provide an option / setting for how to handle missing “date taken” when importing files, such as “Set to undated”, or “Use date modified”, or “Use date created”. Currently it is locked in on “Use date modified”.

  4. Mylio already demonstrates some leadership by supporting “undated” within the tool. It could petition the governing bodies to address this at an industry level. Instead of viewing this as another support ticket, view it as an industry opportunity.

Mylio must first decide whether to make improvements in this regard, or continue as is (to only support “undated” within the tool) and communicate the decision. So far, the response has been along the lines of “that’s the way it is”, though I otherwise find the support extremely helpful.

If continuing as is, Mylio should at least provide a error message to the user as it does not truly “Save metadata to file” for undated photos.

For cataloging / archiving, the Mylio concept is the best I have found. Just like to see the execution match the concept. I hope that the needs those like me focused purely on cataloging / archiving, don’t get lost amongst the needs of professional photographers and others with “heavy duty” needs.

Thanks,

Joe

Sorry that was a bit long. BTW, responses to some of your comments/questions:

I’d guess you used the default Windows 10 “Scan” app.

I used Epson scan not a Windows tool.

“If I’m unsure of the exact date - I’ll set this to Jan 1st of the year I believe the pictures are from.”

I could probably do a workaround like this. Sometimes I have no idea of even the decade (was it the 1870s or 1880s?).

“Technically, There is no such value as “undated” for the Date Taken EXIF field. “Undated” simply means that field is MISSING”.

Works for me if MISSING is interpreted by Mylio as “Undated”. :grinning: As it stands, when Mylio imports a photo with a missing date taken, it maps the “date modified” (file) to “date taken” (Mylio).

“I guess you could make a case that if this field is missing, Mylio should not create it. But every other photo app on the planet is still going to create it & populate it with a date anyway.”

Other apps with use the JPG fields as they see fit, regardless of how it is handled by Mylio. In my case anyway, I use no tools for editing, etc. This is why perhaps Mylio can offer options for how “Save Metadata” is handled.