Adobe Systems and the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) have announced a collaborative effort to extend the capabilities of IPTC metadata through use of Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP).
The Adobe XMP specification "standardizes the definition, creation, and processing of metadata by providing a data model, storage model (serialization of the metadata as a stream of XML), and formal schema definitions (predefined sets of metadata property definitions that are relevant for a wide range of applications). XMP makes use of the W3C XML-based Resource Description Framework (RDF) standard in order to represent the metadata properties associated with a document.
The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) Consortium includes the world's major news agencies and news industry vendors. IPTC develops and maintains technical standards for improved news exchange, including XML-based standards for news content and metadata: NITF, NewsML, SportsML, ProgramGuideML, EventsML, and WeatherML.
The IPTC also develops and maintains controlled vocabularies of terms of significance to publishers, "the most significant of which are part of the Subject Reference System (SRS). This metadata system includes a taxonomy of subject codes, listings of roles and genres of news components, and ratings for relevance, priority, urgency, and other characteristics. These sets of terms can be assigned as metadata to news objects such as text, photographs, graphics, audio- and video files, and streams."
According to the joint announcement, incorporating Adobe XMP into IPTC metadata specifications "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 extensibility in IPTC specifiations constitutes "an important step towards a seamless workflow in the news industry. 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."
Current IPTC users also welcome the incorporation of XMP's rights management schema which defines properties relating to legal ownership and usage terms applicable to digital news items. XMP's capabilities extend the current IPTC structure to support "advanced metadata capabilities, including rights management, for the current customer base, which includes the largest circulation newspapers in the United States."
Adobe and IPTC have also announced their intent 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. As part of its collaboration, Adobe and IPTC plan to establish a working group that will identify a strategy for users to transition to IPTC implementations that take advantage of XMP extensibility."
About IPTC News Metadata
IPTC's news metadata objects are organized into sets ("Topic Sets") expressed in the NewsML standard. Topic sets with names and explanations in several languages are available. The taxonomy term in IPTC TopicSets, "which one can consider also as a key value, is never translated. Every Topic has an info set comprising this term, a name and an explanation, both in human language, and finally some management metadata (version). Therefore name and explanation are usually only used at the presentation level, and the internal key value (in some Topic Sets a string of digits) could be hidden from the user. The metadata sets are updated regularly based upon recommendations from IPTC members but non-IPTC organizations. Individual Topic Sets may be downloaded as NewsML-XML instances."
Example Topic Sets: audiocode (types of software based audio-en/decoders currently in use); characteristicsproperty (physical characteristics of content); colorspace (ways to define colour space like RGB, YUV or CMY); confidence (describes the degree of certainty that data assigned are correct); encoding (encoding schemes used to transform data, such as base64, macbin, zip); format (technical format of a content like JPG for a picture, MP3 for audio or NITF or PDF for text); genre; howpresent; importance; labeltype; location; mediatype; mimetype; newsitemtype; notation; ofinterestto; priority; property; provider; relevance; role; scene; status; subjectcode; subjectqualifier; topictype; urgency; videocoder.
The most basic sets of terms make up the Subject Reference System (SRS). The Subject Codes are implemented as "a three level system for describing content by a well defined set of terms. Topics of level Subject provide a description of the editorial content of a News at a high level, a SubjectMatter provides a description at a more precise level and finally a SubjectDetail at a specific level. Currently about 1200 terms are available and several could be assigned to a single news object enabling a very narrow description of the content. Subject Qualifiers provide a narrower attribute-like context for a sports-related subject code, like sex of acting people, indoor/outdoor sports etc."
Subject Reference identifies the general content of a News Object. This is taken from a three-level hierarchy where the top level is Subject, the second level is Subject Matter, and the third level is Subject Detail. There are seventeen (17) top-level Subjects, and IPTC has developed secondary Subject Matter lists for each of these. To date, there are third-level Subject Detail lists for three Subjects: Economy, Business and Finance; Politics; and Sport. All references are controlled by a fixed eight-digit reference number..."
About the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) Standards
IPTC is responsible for the development and maintenance of several standards used in the news industry:
NewsML provides "a method for packaging, relating, and managing diverse pieces of media. It offers a universal metadata approach to all sorts of specialised content formats... At the heart of NewsML is the concept of the news item which can contain various different media — text, photos, graphics, video — together with all the meta-information that enables the recipient to understand the relationship between components and understand the roles of each component. Typical use includes exchange of news data in and between editorial systems, between news agencies and their customers, between publishers and news aggregators, and between news service providers and end users. The scope of the NewsML standard is limited to the definition of a media independent structural framework for the representation of news. The development of version 2 of NewsML is part of the 'IPTC Roadmap 2005', an initiative aimed at widening the use of IPTC standards, making implementation easier and simpler, ensuring that the latest technologies are used when appropriate, and making the IPTC standards a consistent family." Draft version 12 of the Business Requirements for NewsML 2 was released in June 2004.
News Industry Text Format (NITF) is "a specialised format for marking up news stories. It helps a publisher differentiate a headline from a byline or paragraph, and also helps a publisher mark up inline text entities, such as organisations and people. By using NITF, publishers can adapt the look, feel, and interactivity of their documents to the bandwidth, devices, and personalized needs of their subscribers. These documents can be translated into HTML, WML (for wireless devices), RTF (for printing), or any other format the publisher wishes."
SportsML "aims to be the global XML standard for the interchange of sports data. Designed to be as easy to understand and implement as possible, SportsML allows for the exchange of sports scores, schedules, standings, and statistics for a wide variety of competitions. Its extensibility allows for the easy accommodation of many sports from around the globe. SportsML cooperates with current IPTC standards NewsML and NITF to enable publishers to package sports statistics alongside edited coverage of sports. "
ProgramGuideML is "a specialised format for listings for program guides on television and radio developed by the world's leading news publishers. ProgramGuideML aims to be the global XML standard for the interchange of Radio/TV Program Information based on NewsML. Designed to be as easy to understand and implement as possible, ProgramGuideML allows all for the exchange of Radio/TV information for news publishers and broadcast stations — program tables(listings), pictures, commentaries, broadcast news, and normative program information. The IPTC has approved release of the latest draft of ProgramGuideML as a 'Release Candadate' and invites implementers to extensive testing and reporting back their experience."
EventsML is "a new XML based standard the IPTC has started to develop. This standard is intended for exchanging information about the following subjects: (1) Event publishing communicating information about events, including associated media; (2) Event planning — managing the coverage of breaking or upcoming newsworthy events, including support for gathering associated media; (3) Event coverage — communicating information about coverage of events by news organizations (often referred to as a 'Daybook') . This should include linkage between resulting news packages and event coverage information." EventsML has a public discussion list and is described in an initial Business Requirements Specification Document [April 2004, cache PDF].
WeatherML for weather data is a new project, "approved as the first IPTC standard to be developed under the project management process. A first meeting of the IPTC Project Review Board has been held to consider the proposal to start work on a Weather Data Definition (WDD), which is intended to provide a standard method of describing current, historical, and predicted weather information. This includes ground, water, atmospheric, and astronomic information that directly or indirectly influence, or are traditionally reported as part of, a weather package. The WDD would support data collection, archiving, and dissemination. The Review Board agreed that work should be started, using in-house IPTC resources. The first stage is production of the Business Requirements..." [IPTC Mirror April/May 2004]
About Adobe Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP)
"Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is an labeling technology that allows you to embed data about a file, known as metadata, into the file itself. XMP metadata is encoded as XML-formatted text, using the W3C standard Resource Description Framework (RDF). With XMP, desktop applications and back-end publishing systems gain a common method for capturing, sharing, and leveraging this valuable metadata — opening the door for more efficient job processing, workflow automation, and rights management, among many other possibilities. With XMP, Adobe has taken the heavy lifting out of metadata integration, offering content creators an easy way to embed meaningful information about their projects and providing industry partners with standards-based building blocks to develop optimized workflow solutions..."
XMP is an open technology based on standards that were created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)... Adobe developed XMP to establish an industry-wide standard for sharing metadata across applications, file formats, and devices. XMP is open source and it is freely available to developers and system integrators all over the world. This arrangement means that XMP can benefit from the innovations contributed by the developer community. XMP is extensible, which means that it can be customized to meet the specific needs of an organization or work within a particular content management system. It can also accommodate existing metadata specifications, so systems don't need to be rebuilt from scratch. XMP is universal, international, and has multilingual support. It is not limited to a particular file format or database..."
"Metadata allows users and applications to work more effectively with documents. Applications can do many useful things with metadata in files, even if they are not able to understand the native file format of the document. Metadata can greatly increase the utility of managed assets in collaborative production workflows. For example, an image file might contain metadata such as its working title, description, thumbnail image, and intellectual property rights data. Accessing the metadata makes it easier to perform such tasks as associating images with file names, locating image captions, or determining copyright clearance to use an image..."
"XMP enables creation of "smart assets" that retain context when passed across multiple file formats, software applications, devices, and databases. It enables flexible search and retrieval of rich media across diverse file formats and databases. XML extends the content lifecycle by being able to find and repurpose source files across multiple versions and renditions..." [adapted from Adobe descriptive and promotional text]
From the Adobe/IPTC Announcement 2004-06-21
Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced that 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.
- Announcement 2004-06-21: "Adobe and IPTC Collaborate on the Implementation of Metadata Standards for News Organizations. Open Source Adobe XMP Improves Metadata Flexibility and Accessibility for Photographers and Media Groups."
- Adobe Extensible Metadata Platform:
- XMP Specification. January 2004. 94 pages. "The XMP provides a standard format for the creation, processing, and interchange of metadata, for a wide variety of applications. This document is intended for developers of applications that will generate, process, or manage files containing XMP metadata."
- Adobe Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP)
- XMP Overview
- XMP in depth. Detailed information about the features and capabilities of XMP.
- XMP: Extensible Metadata Platform. Additional reference page.
- XMP Developer KnowledgeBase
- XMP Software Development Kit Download
- Creative Commons XMP Challenge. Goal: create open source application support for XMP and Creative Commons license information. XMP is an open, RDF-based format that can embed metadata in PDF files. Currently only Adobe applications support such embedding. Similar XMP and Creative Commons support should be added to Open Office and other open source document creation applications. Maarten Sneep has created a macro for embedding XMP in files created by pdflatex."
- W3C RDF Resources
- International Press Telecommunications Council:
- IPTC Metadata: Subject Reference System and NewsML Topicsets
- IPTC Standards page. From Controlled Vocabulary.com.
- IPTC Subject Reference System Guidelines. Version 3. November 2003. 20 pages. [cache]
- IPTC Topicset-Selector
- IPTC Standards
- IPTC Working Parties and Committees
- IPTC Newsletter
- IPTC Chairman's Report for the 2004 Annual General Meeting. By Dr John Iobst.
- IPTC Members
- International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC)
- Related specifications:
- "DIG35: Metadata Standard for Digital Images."
- "Common Picture Exchange Environment (CPXe)."
- Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images. NISO Draft Standard for Trial Use and Committee work; see the PDF.
- NISO MIX. NISO and AIIM International Release Digital Still Images Metadata Standard for Review.
- MultiPhoto/Video Initiative (MPV). "Normalized Metadata Format: RDF Meets XML Schema."
- Local news and reference documents:
- "Adobe InDesign 2.0 Supports Generalized XML Import/Export and the Extensible Metadata Platform."
- "Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP)"
- "IPTC Releases Version 3.2 Preview for News Industry Text Format (NITF)."
- "IPTC Develops RadioTV-NewsML Standard for Radio/TV Program Information."
- "International Press Telecommunications Council Approves NewsML Version 1.1 Specification."
- "News Industry Text Format (NITF)."