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Digital Imaging Group to Enable Image Workflows Through Metadata Initiative

DIG35 Initiative Group recommends XML as interchange format

Liaison with MPEG-7 to drive common metadata architecture

Millbrae, CA. August 31, 1999.

The Digital Imaging Group (DIG), the digital imaging industry's premier consortium, disclosed its plans to enable a variety of image workflows through its metadata initiative, DIG35. The goal of the Initiative is to simplify the process of collecting and managing information about an image and in the process enable a broad range of applications from image management to digital photo finishing.

"Metadata truly lets us derive the benefits of digital imaging by allowing computers to do much of the work currently requiring human intervention," stated Kats Ishii, Canon Inc., and chair of the DIG35 Initiative. "Tasks such as finding the right picture in a large collection will be greatly simplified once we have a way of consistently storing image metadata. This will greatly increase the value of our existing image collections."

Such a standard will benefit the many different users of digital imaging, from personal imaging at the consumer level; commercial imaging for e-commerce of image-based content; and professional imaging for such industries as real estate, insurance, and scientific imaging.

The DIG35 Initiative is supported by a broad cross-section of DIG members: Agfa, Canon Inc., Digital Intelligence, Inc., Digitella Technology, Inc., Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Company, Eastman Kodak Company, Microsoft Corporation, NETIMAGE, PhotoChannel Networks Inc., Polaroid and Seattle FilmWorks, Inc., an illustration of the broad utility and need for this standard.

XML Key to the Power of DIG35

XML, a W3C standard, will be a key technology in the implementation of the standard. XML's powerful data representation capabilities and its wide spread adoption in the Internet will allow virtually limitless flexibility. For example, take the problem of describing the location a picture was taken. Depending on the application domain, location in a consumer photograph could be a place name or a GPS coordinate. For medical images, location would represent a part of the body; for astronomical images, location would carry yet a different meaning.

Liaison with MPEG-7

The DIG chose XML not only for its widely adopted use, but also for the opportunity to unify its work with a concurrent effort happening in the ISO MPEG Committee (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11), the MPEG-7 Group. The DIG35 Initiative recently formalized an official liaison with the MPEG Committee to collaborate with MPEG-7's effort in the area of still image metadata standardization. Through this partnership, the DIG will help define the metadata for still images within multimedia contents in order to help multimedia producers, owners and users manage their contents.

The MPEG liaison is the second major relationship the DIG has initiated with the ISO Working Group. The DIG2000 Initiative is currently working with the JPEG 2000 file format sub-group in conjunction with the ISO JPEG Committee (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC29/WG1). DIG2000 members include Agfa, Alinari Photo Archives, Canon Inc., Corbis, Digital Intelligence, Eastman Kodak Company, Hewlett-Packard, LuraTech and NETIMAGE. The DIG35 metadata specifications will also be proposed to the JPEG 2000 file format by the DIG2000 IG resulting in a common set of still image metadata in both MPEG and JPEG standards.

"The DIG values our relationships with other industry organizations. These partnerships put the DIG in a strong and unique position to advance our image standardization efforts," said Lisa Walker, president of the DIG. "Collaborating with industry stalwarts like the ISO JPEG and MPEG Committees allows us to more rapidly solve problems that immediately benefit technology users."


Launched in October 1997, the DIG is an open-industry consortium created to expand the use of digital images across consumer, business and professional imaging markets and applications. Membership gives companies the opportunity to help define the evolving technical platforms in digital imaging and to create solutions built on those foundations. Membership also gives participating companies the opportunity to collaborate in future marketing and promotional activities. Further information about the DIG and the DIG35 Initiative Group, including the DIG35 whitepaper, is available at or by contacting the DIG at or 650-697-8722.

For More Information Contact:

Barbara Lord
The Ardell Group


Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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