When you launch Album and import files — photos, video clips and audio clips — a catalog is automatically and invisibly created. You don't have to lift a finger.
A catalog is a database of information that keeps track of everything about your files — file formats, locations of files, dates and times, edits, tags, captions, and so forth. This vital data is linked to your files (the important word being linked).
When data about a file is linked to a catalog, that means that although the catalog contains this information about your files, it doesn't contain the actual photos, video, or audio clips themselves. Instead, the catalog references the files on your computer (or external media like CDs and DVDs) and displays a thumbnail in the Photo Well. Adobe uses the analogy of a catalog being like a phone book. The catalog contains important information about people and businesses, but not the actual people and businesses themselves.
Here is a laundry list of the info that the catalog stores about your files:
^ The path and filename of the photo, video clip, or audio clip.
^ The path and filename of any audio file attached to a photo (such as an audio caption) or creation (such as background music).
^ If the original file is being stored offline (on a CD, DVD, or external media such as a Zip disk), the catalog stores the path, filename, and volume name of the original, full-resolution file.
^ If a file has been edited, the catalog stores the path and filename of the original, unedited file.
^ If you imported a batch of files from a digital camera or scanner, the catalog stores the name of the camera or scanner.
^ Any captions, notes, or tags that you've added to a photo.
^ The media type of the file and whether it's a photo, video clip, audio clip, or creation.
^ The date and time the photo was taken.
^ The file's history, such as if it was e-mailed, shared online, printed, exported, sent to an online service provider, used in a creation, or Web or Atmosphere gallery.
^ Edits, such as contrast and color adjustments, that have been applied to the image.
^ The pixel dimensions of photos and video clips.
^ Details on creation settings, such as the type of creation, selected style, whether you've included captions and page numbers, transitions, and so on.
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