Adobe, IPTC collaborate on implementation of metadata standards for news organizations
Open Source Adobe XMP improves metadata flexibility and accessibility for photographers and media groups

21 June 2004

Adobe Systems has announced it is collaborating with the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) to extend the capabilities of IPTC metadata through use of the open-standard, Adobe XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform). Based on World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards, XMP is a specification expressed in XML that provides a standardized framework to capture and manage metadata, the information that describes files.

Photographers and news services around the world use IPTC metadata schemas to embed identifying characteristics such as captions, credits, location and time and dates within digital photos and scans. This information can be read by content management systems, used by virtually every newspaper publisher, to review and identify photos they want to publish to accompany a story. Adobe and IPTC also announced plans to develop future implementations that will be accessible via the Adobe® Creative Suite, and related point products including Photoshop® CS, through a customizable metadata user interface. This is intended to streamline the data capture process and allow relevant IPTC metadata to be preserved as the file is utilized across news and derivative workflows.

"XMP extends the value of IPTC metadata and is an important step towards a seamless workflow in the news industry, which is still driven by IPTC's standards," said Michael Steidl, managing director of the IPTC. "Adobe's almost universal use among news photographers will allow important data to flow unimpeded to the world's newsrooms."

Incorporating Adobe XMP will expand the scope of information captured to describe the content of images and extend the reach of IPTC metadata beyond its traditional constituencies. For example, photographs can be tagged with richer detail including usage rights, limitations and assignment information, creating a direct link between editorial systems and photographer's work. XMP's publicly documented specification also extends to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and graphics file formats, simplifying the archiving and retrieval of digital assets. As part of its collaboration, Adobe and IPTC also plan to establish a working group that will identify a strategy for users to transition to IPTC implementations that take advantage of XMP extensibility. The results of the working group are planned to be discussed at the next IPTC meeting, taking place in Amsterdam, October 6-8, 2004.

"Metadata plays a vital role in production workflows, and Adobe's XMP provides an efficient way to tag and manage digital media metadata within Adobe's Creative Suite platform and its component applications," said Mark Hilton, senior director of Creative Professional product management for Adobe. "XMP will allow IPTC metadata to be preserved across diverse file formats and publishing systems to make it accessible to a wide variety of media resources."

"XMP's capabilities to extend the current IPTC structure will be an integral part of our rollout of advanced metadata capabilities, including rights management to our customer base which includes the largest circulation newspapers in the United States," said David Tenenbaum, president/chief executive officer, MerlinOne Inc. "The Adobe technology is the first real step forward in the last 10 years to use metadata to make visual objects more accessible to users."

The XMP software development kit, which allows software developers and system integrators to build support for XMP into their products free-of-charge, is available under Open Source license from Adobe. The SDK and additional information about XMP is available at


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