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Created: March 31, 2005.
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Adobe Systems Announces Release of IPTC Core Schema for XMP.


Release of a new IPTC Core Schema for XMP has been announced by Adobe Systems Incorporated. The metadata specification was developed jointly by Adobe, the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), and IDEAlliance.

Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is "a labeling technology that allows one to embed data about a file (encoded metadata) into the file itself. XMP makes use of the W3C XML-based Resource Description Framework (RDF) standard in order to represent the metadata properties associated with a document. Using XMP, desktop applications and back-end publishing systems share a common method for capturing, sharing, and leveraging metadata usage for efficient job processing, workflow automation, and rights management, among many other possibilities."

The IPTC Core Schema for XMP specifies a standardised set of metadata properties to be used within the scope of the XMP specification. New 'custom panels' are exposed through Adobe Creative Suite (Adobe Photoshop CS) software, "giving photographers and news services immediate access and compliance with a standard that aims to streamline data capture for images used in news outlets."

The IPTC Core updates the IPTC's earlier standard for metadata, based upon the Information Interchange Model (IIM), which "defined a large set of metadata properties. In the early nineties a subset of this IIM was adopted as the well known 'IPTC Headers' supported in JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files by Adobe Photoshop."

The IPTC Core thus represents the latest revision of the International Press Telecommunications Council IIM schema which was designed to use XMP. With XMP, legacy IPTC IIM metadata and new and customized metadata, or metadata from other standards such as EXIF camera data can now be recorded using the XML/RDF format. The encoded information can be stored inside JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files as well as other file types, including PDF.

The IPTC Core defines a set of XMP properties that make up an XMP Schema. For the XMP Schema as a whole, the names and identifiers are specified by the IPTC, including an XML namespace URI and a recommended XML namespace prefix. For each individual XMP property, the following information set is specified: a property name, a user interface label, a description for this XMP property, notes on this XMP property (primarily for implementers), an XMP Category, an XMP Value Type, an XMP path, a label used by the user interface of Photoshop CS, and a reference to the IPTC IIM dataset.

The IPTC Core distribution package includes an Implementation Guidelines document which provides support for implementing the standard either in an automated XMP agent or any piece of software providing a user interface to the XMP properties specified by the 'IPTC Core' standard.

The distribution also contains a Custom Panels User Guide for use with Adobe Photoshop CS. The new IPTC Core XMP schema "uses properties from the older IIM standard in addition to new metadata properties, and it specifies XMP to store metadata in files. The IPTC Core custom panels provide a view of metadata that's labeled and organized so it is easier for photographers to use the IPTC Core schema. The IPTC Core panels concentrate all key sets of properties needed by photographers into four sections or panels." These are: (1) an IPTC Contact panel for recording the photographer's contact information; (2) an IPTC Content panel, used to describe the visual content of the image; (3) an IPTC Image panel which supports formal descriptive information about the image itself; (4) an IPTC Status panel for recording workflow and copyright information.

According to Adobe's announcement, "media groups working with the IPTC Core Schema for XMP will benefit from improved metadata flexibility and accessibility by expanding the scope of information and streamlining data capture across their workflows. Photographers and news services around the world use IPTC metadata format schemas to embed identifying characteristics such as contact information, 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.

Bibliographic Information

  • 'IPTC Core' Schema for XMP: Version 1.0 Specification Document. Edited by Michael Steidl. Document Revision 8. Reference: 'Iptc4xmpCore_1.0-spec-XMPSchema_8.doc'. Copyright (c) 2005 International Press Telecommunications Council. Document URN: 'urn:iptc:std:Iptc4xmpCore:1.0:spec:XMPSchema:8'. Approved by the IPTC Standards Committee. 15 pages. "This document specifies an 'IPTC Core' metadata vocabulary expressed as an Adobe XMP Schema. This specification is based on Adobe's XMP Specification document, January 2004 release."

  • 'IPTC Core' Schema for XMP Version 1.0. Supplemental Documentation: Implementation Guidelines. Edited by Michael Steidl. Document Revision 3. Reference: 'Ipct4xmpCore_1.0-doc-ImplGuideLines_3.doc'. Copyright (c) 2005 International Press Telecommunications Council. Document URN: 'urn:iptc:std:Iptc4xmpCore:1.0:doc:ImplGuideLines:3'. Approved by the IPTC Standards Committee. 6 pages. "This guidelines document provides support for implementing this standard either in an automated XMP agent or any piece of software providing a user interface to the XMP properties specified by the 'IPTC Core' standard. The intended audience of this document are (1) software developers for XMP enabled software — software agents; and (2) user interface designers for XMP enabled software."

  • 'IPTC Core' Schema for XMP Version 1.0. Supplemental Documentation: Custom Panels User Guide. Edited by David Riecks. Document Revision 13. Reference: 'Iptc4xmpCore_1.0-doc-CpanelsUserGuide_13.doc'. Copyright (c) 2005 International Press Telecommunications Council. Document URN: 'urn:iptc:std:Iptc4xmpCore:1.0:spec:CpanelsUserGuide:13'. Approved by the IPTC Standards Committee. 22 pages. "This document was provided by David Riecks (also as he participated in the IPTC Metadata for XMP working group which developed the IPTC Core Schema for XMP. The document is designed to introduce photographers to use of the IPTC Core metadata schema."

From the Announcement

Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced results of its collaboration with the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) and IDEAlliance with development of a new public specification, IPTC Core Schema for XMP. Exposed through Adobe Creative Suite software, "custom panels" are now available at , giving photographers and news services immediate access and compliance with a standard that aims to streamline data capture for images used in news outlets. Additionally, Adobe announced that it is working with the AdsML Consortium (Advertising Markup Language) and IDEAlliance to implement advertising standards using XMP within advertising workflows.

"This collaborative effort will be exciting for Adobe Creative Suite users working within advertising and photography workflows," said Mark Hilton, senior director of Creative Professional Products at Adobe. "Photographers can receive credit for their work by embedding their contact information directly in their Photoshop CS images and advertisers will be able to ensure proper ad placement, with embedded AdsML metadata, in advertisement files created with InDesign CS."

"The combination of AdsML and XMP addresses the business needs for more efficient handling of ad content, directly from the production environment of Adobe Creative Suite," said Allan Marshall, chief operations and technology director at Associated Newspapers Ltd. in London and a member of the AdsML Consortium steering committee. "The ability to view advertising metadata in this context is an invaluable advancement that will accelerate productivity and smooth production workflows."

AdsML is an international suite of standards governing e-commerce for the advertising industry. The collaboration with AdsML will strengthen electronic advertising workflows and processes throughout the industry by taking advantage of the extensibility of XMP to specify a set of custom panels to display and embed AdsML-compliant information, directly in advertisement files created within Adobe Creative Suite software.

AdsML develops standardized electronic processes for handling booking and insertion orders, delivering intellectual property, rendering invoices, managing materials, and verifying use and transmission of files. The AdsML Framework suite of standards covers the workflow, file formats, and related information required to exchange advertising business documents and advertising content among advertisers and media distributors.

Software developers and system integrators can build support for Adobe XMP into their products via the XMP software development kit, available, free-of-charge, under Open Source License from Adobe. The SDK and additional information about Adobe XMP are available online.

Approval of the 'IPTC Core' XMP Schema Work Project

An announcement of October 11, 2004 "IPTC Approves Standard to Describe Photos in Adobe's XMP Framework" describes the initial goals of the IPTC Core XMP Schema Work Project:

IPTC's well known digital photo header has gotten its first major revision in nearly a decade, as IPTC delegates approved expanded choices for describing and cataloging photographs.

Voting at its autumn meeting in Amsterdam, delegates from more than 40 of the world's leading news agencies and news industry vendors approved a plan that will easily allow IPTC's metadata to fit into such best-selling software packages as Adobe Photoshop CS. Named the "IPTC Core" XMP Schema, the standard is both a roadmap and a glossary of data that describes photographs.

The IPTC headers are a popular set of metadata for digital image files, and have been in common use for a decade. The IPTC data fields describe such diverse attributes as the name of the photographer, the date and place of the photo and the subject matter. By expanding the types of data and providing a structured list of possible values for some data fields, photographers, editors, resellers and consumers will be more likely to find the photo they want in ways that fit easily into their workflows.

The expanded photo metadata integrates IPTC's Subject-NewsCodes, part of the overall metadata syntax known as NewsCodes that can be applied to stories, graphics, photos, multimedia files -- anything of value to the news industry. NewsCodes can be used within IPTC's XML standards, such as NewsML, or with other XML schemas. They can also be used alone, completely outside XML.

"This is the biggest single move toward a standardized method of describing photographs since newspapers began experimenting with digital photo archives in the early 1990's," said Walter Baranger of The New York Times, an IPTC member. "Previously, every news agency invented many of its own terms for describing a picture, but IPTC's new guidelines provide a way for important information to be described consistently even between languages, and then survive the editing process so that it can be archived along with the photo."

To allow this important subset of IPTC metadata to work within Adobe's XMP framework, the IPTC has approved version 1.0 of the "IPTC Core" XMP Schema. This new XMP schema reflects virtually all of the traditional IPTC headers fields and adds a few new ones. It redefines how values from the legacy IPTC header can be mapped to the new Adobe XMP structure, and it recognizes the important role of XML in the sharing and storing of photographs. This was developed by a joint working group of the IPTC, Adobe Systems Inc., and the IDEAlliance...

About IPTC

The IPTC, "based in Windsor, UK, is a consortium of the world's major news agencies and news industry vendors. It develops and maintains technical standards for improved news exchange that are used by virtually every major news organization in the world.

At present the IPTC membership is drawn mainly from the major news agencies around the globe but it also has a strong representation from newspaper publishers, system vendors and New Media organisations.

The IPTC was established in 1965 by a group of news organisations including the Alliance Européenne des Agences de Presse, ANPA [now NAA], FIEJ [now WAN] and the North American News Agencies — a joint committee of Associated Press, Canadian Press and United Press International. It was formed to safeguard the telecommunications interests of the World's Press. Since the late 1970's IPTC's activities have primarily focussed on developing and publishing Industry Standards for the interchange of news data.

IPTC Standards include NewsML, NITF, SportsML, ProgramGuideML, NewsCodes, IPTC Core, and several legacy standards:

  • NewsML is "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."

  • 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... NITF uses the Extensible Markup Language (XML) to define the content and structure of news articles. Because metadata is applied throughout the news content, NITF documents are far more searchable and useful than HTML pages. 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 is "a specialised format for sports scores, schedules, standings, and statistics [designed as] 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." XML DTDs are provided for Core, American Football, Baseball, Basketball, Golf, Ice Hockey, Soccer, and Tennis. "Within each XML DTD, and for each element, the following documentation is provided: (1) Short description for the element; (2) Longer description for the element; (3) Description for each attribute. Additionally, attributes values are often maintained in external controlled vocabularies.

  • ProgramGuideML is a "specialised format for listings for program guides on television and radio." ProgramGuideML is "a solution for delivering Radio/TV Program Information and is 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 launched the ProgramGuideML initiative first as RadioTV-NewsML project in February 2002, as part of a larger effort to track or create specialized vocabularies for data of interest to the news industry. The Specialized Content Working Party has reported on XML developments in financial services, weather, event listings, TV Listings, election results reporting, and governmental data as a service to its members, and has served as a vehicle for delivering feedback to other publishers and standards bodies regarding the evolution of formats for these subjects..."

  • NewsCodes, or 'metadata taxonomies' are "controlled vocabularies of terms of significance to publishers. NewsCodes include a taxonomy of subject codes, listings of roles and genres of news components, and ratings for relevance, priority, urgency, and other characteristics. The universe of NewsCodes are currently split into 28 individual sets for increased manageability as topics usually relate to a specific area and likely to be used exclusively in a specific metadata element of a news exchange format... For the distribution of NewsCodes sets, they take the technical format of 'Topicsets' as defined by the IPTC standard NewsML. The IPTC NewsCodes sets are regularly updated as needs require. Additional terms are proposed by IPTC members, but non-IPTC organisations can also submit an informal proposal and seek support by IPTC members."

    The primary intention for IPTC Controlled Vocabularies (CVs) is to assure only values from a well defined set of values are used for specific metadata elements. An example: news objects could have a metadata field telling the status of this object, whether it is usable, embargoed or cancelled. If a news consumer receives several feeds and the providers of these feeds would not agree on a common terminology for this status field the [status can] be quite confusing. To that end the IPTC recommends to use CV for several metadata fields either to convey news management information or terms to describe the content of the news object. Subject NewsCodes they are not intended to replace keyword but to be complementary: the Subject NewsCodes specifies the subject by a fixed taxonomy while free text keywords can be used to add refinements." See also the NewsCodes Viewer User Guide.

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