Monday, December 12, 2011

We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto

The embedded Metadata Manifesto picks up where the Stock Artists Alliance Metadata Manifesto left off. This new initiative takes a broader approach and encourages the direct embedding of descriptive and rights information not just into digital images, but all manner of digital media.

“A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but permanently attached descriptions are worth a lot more as photos travel through the digital world. A campaign has been launched now to embed descriptive and rights information in digital media and to retain it during the whole life cycle.

The initiative has been launched by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's), and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), with the support of trade organisations representing visual arts and photo agencies. It aims to establish the practice of applying descriptions and the copyright status of the content as metadata, and to embed it permanently during the electronic exchange of digital photo, text, audio or video files.

This practice is based on the principles defined by the Embedded Metadata Manifesto on the web site which invites organisations and individuals to support the campaign.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Pro's and Con's of Metadata Removal

The SuperUtils company takes an approach towards photo metadata that makes good sense. Rather than spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) about specific information in a digital image that some users might wish to keep private, they spell out both pro and con arguments for the removal of embedded photo metadata. It would be great to see more developers taking a similar approach.

In our SAA Metadata Manifesto, all the metadata in an image should be preserved by default. If information is to be removed from a file, "the only exception would be changes done with the explicit consent of the copyright owner."
"Automated systems for creating and managing digital files need to honor and assist implementation of this principle. Most critically, these systems need to preserve ownership metadata by default and discourage removal of other metadata by warning users about the legal implications of removal."
In fact, if metadata is to be removed, the responsible party should take care as the intentional removal of "Copyright Management Information" (fields containing information such as the Creators name, Copyright notice and other contact information) is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and could result in substantial penalties.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

IPTC-PLUS Toolkit boosts easy use of photo metadata with Adobe products

The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) and the Picture Licensing Univeral System (PLUS) have jointly developed a plug-in metadata panel for use in Adobe Bridge (CS3 or higher) which allow users to read/write the full set of fields included in the IPTC Core, IPTC Extension and the PLUS metadata schemas.

Metadata are considered as being critical to the photo business as they are used for searching pictures and to indicate the rights and terms of their use. The tools are, as all IPTC and PLUS applications, free of charge.

This jointly developed metadata plug-in panel and toolkit will help photographers, image libraries and photo agencies to store in the images detailed descriptions of their content and data relevant for managing image copyrights.

"IPTC was instrumental in the development of the PLUS Standards, and our active collaboration continues today with the release of the IPTC-PLUS Metadata Panels, allowing image creators, distributors and users to benefit from the full scope of image metadata, all from within a single tool," said Jeff Sedlik, President and CEO of the PLUS Coalition.

The release of this free IPTC-PLUS Toolkit means that anyone with compatible versions of Adobe Bridge will now have the means to easily embed the full set of IPTC fields as well PLUS metadata to digital images. Power users will love the fact that with this IPTC-PLUS Metadata panel you can now export out a full set of metadata fields into a Tab Separated Value (TSV) plain text file. In addition, you can modify that data and then import the resulting information through the same Metadata panel so that it is embedded directly into the file.

Also included in the download are comprehensive user guidelines, mapping charts and example images. The user guidelines define each of the fields available in the Adobe CS5 File Info dialogue, as well as those in the IPTC-PLUS Metadata Panels (IPTC Core, IPTC Extension and PLUS Schemas are covered). The field mapping charts will help those that are used to working with other image metadata tools, and the provided images are preloaded with embedded photo metatadata so you can test if the value of a field is shown in the expected field in the user interface.

Read more and download the IPTC-PLUS Toolkit -- the download file is in the olivey-green side bar at the right (a 9.1 mb download).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Are Social Media Websites Preserving Your Photo Metadata?

The members of the Controlled Vocabulary forum are attempting to answer the question above (do social media websites or other image sharing services you use preserve your embedded photo metadata after upload?) by conducting a survey of the various services.

When Social Media websites or other online services intentionally or accidentally remove metadata embedded in the images you upload, they are violating the first two principles put forward in the Metadata Manifesto namely; 1) Metadata is essential to identify and track digital images; and 2) Ownership metadata must never be removed.

Any automated system for managing or displaying digital files should honor these principles. At minimum, these systems need to preserve ownership metadata by default and discourage removal of other metadata by warning users about the legal implications of removal.

It seems hard to imagine that simply by uploading an image to one of these websites that all the metadata within a file would disappear. Especially since there is no warning or notification given. However, the preliminary results of this Controlled Vocabulary Survey regarding the Preservation of Photo Metadata by Social Media Websites make it look like the people behind these services have little awareness of the importance of preserving embedded photo metadata.

If you don't find your favorite service in the list of preliminary results, there are instructions on the social media photo metadata preservation survey web page about how to participate. Simply download the testbed file seen above, and upload it to the service you want to survey. Instructions on how to use a simple online tool to view the metadata are given on the page above. You should see sections outlining all of the IPTC, XMP, and Exif metadata fields contained in the image.

However it appears that even the Blogger platform suffers from the same issue this survey hopes to point out. If you investigate you will find that even the image that was resized to 276 pixels wide (and then uploaded to accompany this post) has had all of it's XMP metadata removed!

It looks like you have to upload the image to your own website and then reference that image in your blog post if you are serious about preserving all of your embedded photo metadata.

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.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

MWG updates "Guidelines For Handling Image Metadata" to version 1.01

The Metadata Working Group recently updated their specifications guidance pdf ("Guidelines For Handling Image Metadata") to version 1.01. The original version was release last October.

Go to the Metadata Working Groups specification page to download the latest version.

Monday, February 02, 2009

New Bridge Scripts restore GPS metadata in TIFFs

It was reported on the Controlled Vocabulary forum last fall, that there were issues with GPS data being lost when saving files in the TIFF format using any version of Photoshop. Fortunately, this issue is only with the TIFF file format, and does not affect files being saved in the PSD or JPEG formats (saving TIFF files from Lightroom does not suffer from this same issue.

Just recently, David Franzen posted some scripts that can be used with Adobe Bridge to automate the copying of GPS data from PSD files so that it does appear properly in TIFF files. See the the full blog post titled, "Copy GPS Metadata Back into Photoshop TIFFs with Bridge Scripting" on the Adobe site for details.

This should be something that is corrected by the time that Photoshop CS5 ships. However, these scripting options are needed for all of those still using CS4 or earlier versions of Photoshop.