Saturday, October 17, 2009

Metadata Working Group Releases Verification Test Files

The Metadata Working Group (MWG) offers a new set of tools and Test Files for download to help developers verify whether their applications meet The Guidelines for Handling Image Metadata. Having these files available for testing purposes is critical for developers that provide applications or services which handle photo metadata, especially if they trying to make field values interoperable between IPTC-IIM, Exif, and XMP metadata.

The specification, tools and test files are the result of the past years collaboration among Adobe, Apple, Canon, Microsoft, Nokia, and Sony — the current members of the MWG.

Many current tools are lacking when it comes to writing metadata in ways which uphold the third guiding principle of the Metadata Manifesto, namely that "Metadata must be written in formats that are understood by all."

The need for interoperable metadata is growing just as quickly as the use and sharing of digital images. Being able to add captions or keywords in one application and have that information travel along with the digital image, as it moves from camera (or camera phone) to imaging application, to business or personal website, as well as social media / sharing services is essential today.

For those involved in the commercial distribution of images, it's important that the other two guiding principles of the Metadata Manifesto also be followed, which establish that "Metadata is essential to identify and track digital images" and that "Ownership metadata must never be removed."

From a business standpoint it is vital that copyright and rights usage information be preserved, as an image moves through a workflow, regardless of whether that information was originally stored in the Exif, IPTC, or XMP container of an image file. These test files make it possible for developers to follow the MWG specifications, which is a valuable service.


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