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Last modified: June 22, 2004
Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP)

[June 23, 2004]   IPTC Collaborates with Adobe to Integrate XMP into Image Metadata Specifications.    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: NewsML, SportsML, ProgramGuideML, and EventsML. 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." 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."

[September 27, 2001] "The Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) provides Adobe applications and workflow partners with a common XML framework that standardizes the creation, processing, and interchange of document metadata across publishing workflows. XMP encompasses the following: framework, schema, XMP packet technology, and the XMP Software Development Kit, which is available as an open-source license. XMP is based on the W3C's open standard for metadata, known as the Resource Description Framework (RDF). XMP embeds metadata inside application files. Because the metadata is enclosed within the file, documents retain their context when they exit their original system or environment. The embedded metadata can include any XML schema, provided it is described in RDF syntax. Extensible, embedded metadata in application files provides significant potential for repurposing, archiving, and automation in publishing workflows." [from the product description 2001-09]

[September 24, 2001] "Adobe Systems Incorporated, a leader in network publishing, today unveiled new technology behind the Adobe family of products that streamlines workflows saving time and money for publishers. Called XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform), this framework enhances workflows so that content can be applied seamlessly between print, Web, eBooks and other media. XMP provides Adobe applications and partners with a common metadata framework that standardizes the creation, processing and interchange of document metadata across publishing workflows. XMP will be incorporated into all Adobe products eventually and is available for developers via a software development kit (SDK). Users will benefit from XMP's ability to contain metadata within application files. Adobe has won support for XMP from leading companies including Artesia Technologies, Documentum, Getty Images, IBM, Interwoven, Kodak, KPMG Consulting, Inc., one of the world's largest consulting companies, MediaBin, Inc., North Plains Systems, WebWare and Xerox Corporation. XMP incorporates many World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards. W3C produces the technologies that serve as the foundations for Web architecture, including XML itself and Resource Description Framework (RDF), the foundation for Metadata on the Web, and Semantic Web developments. W3C's Semantic Web Activity Lead, Eric Miller, cites XMP as a 'significant contribution to supporting the effective discovery and management of resources based on open metadata standards. It's an important piece that brings the Semantic Web closer to realization'... Metadata is becoming integral in the production, management and publication of digital content. Based on W3C's standards, XMP facilitates metadata exchange and packages metadata inside application files creating opportunities for digital rights management, job processing, workflow automation and many other areas of production where metadata is critical. Adobe has taken the 'heavy lifting' out of metadata integration, freeing integrators and publishers to spend more time defining a workflow, and less time integrating it. The SDK is available as a guide for integration to non-Adobe applications and contains sample source code for extracting and parsing the XMP packets..." [Announcement 2001-09-24; source]

[September 20, 2001] XMP Developer Knowledgebase. Summary.

  • XMP Schema Definition -- Is XMP just Adobe's metadata schema? "A schema defines the structure of information records. Typically it is expressed as a set of properties with an associated type. For example an informational schema description of the schema of a customer database would be something on the order of: (1) Name: string of up to 80 characters (2) Customer ID: number of up to 10 digits (3) Orders: a list of Order records. [So,] XMP is not Adobe's metadata schema. Rather, XMP is an extensible framework built onto RDF. That can be used to represent any number of schemas, some of which are standards such as Dublin Core , others which Adobe recommends such as schemas for asset management and some that can be defined and used by customers or specific industry segments for their own specific needs.
  • What file formats does XMP support? XMP is designed to work with any file format. Using the XMP toolkit it is possible to extract XML packets containing XMP metadata from any file, even if the file format is unknown. Further, it might be possible to modify in place existing XML packets if the file format allows it. Adobe will be providing guidelines on how to add XML packets to existing publicly documented file formats that support extensibility such as JPEF, GIF, TIFF, PNG, HTML, XML, and SVG.
  • What is a Schema Description Language (SDL)? What is a Schema Description Language (SDL)? A Schema Description Language commonly referred to as SDL is a machine readable description of a schema. XMLSchema, RDFSchema and DTD's are schema description languages. XMP doesn't support a specific SDL at the moment. As the technology matures, we will support XMLSchemas or RDFSchemas as a way to describe in a machine readable way the schema used.
  • Why not use a simple DTD or XMLSchema description? Why not use a simple DTD or XMLSchema description? The simple answer is because they are not sufficient frameworks. For example, lets say that two different schemas need to be used. One to represent basic information about a document, such as keywords and another a list of people who have approved the document. The basic data structures of RDF, in this case a bag, can be used in both cases. Without RDF, the data structure and how to represent it in XML would have to be described in each schema, potentially in a different way making the metadata more difficult to process.
  • Can files containing XML packets be used by applications that are not XMP aware? Can files containing XML packets be used by applications that are not XMP aware? Yes, For example a JPEG file containing an XML packet can be displayed on a standard web browser.
  • Does XMP require RDF to be supported in it's entirety? Does XMP require RDF to be supported in it's entirety? No. XMP only requires a subset of RDF that is appropriate to represent metadata. For example, reification, the possibility to express statements about statements such as "John Q. Public believes that Jane Doe is the author of this document" is not required.
  • What is an XML packet? What is an XML packet? An XML packet is a way to embed arbitrary XML fragments into another file, whether that file is a binary format such as JPEG or TIFF, or a text format such as HTML or SVG.

[October 02, 2002] "WebWare Deals with Interwoven, Shows Fruits of WebDAV Support." By Patricia Evans. In The Seybold Report Volume 2, Number 12 (September 30, 2002). ISSN: 1533-9211. ['Interwoven will integrate WebWare's Mambo into its TeamSite package. Meanwhile, WebWare's WebDAV support is starting to pay off.'] "This month, WebWare announced an integration deal with content-management vendor Interwoven. It also debuted enhancements to its Mambo asset management system... According to WebWare, the integration will enable Interwoven clients to take advantage of features such as automatic asset versioning, tracking and routing of assets and will offer better support for video and audio assets... WebDAV support: it was at Seybold San Francisco last year that WebWare first declared support for WebDAV and for Adobe's newly announced XMP metadata-sharing platform. But Adobe applications (to say nothing of third-party products) that produced XMP proved to be a little farther down the development road. Not until early this year did Adobe release XMP- and WebDAV-capable versions of Illustrator, GoLive, InDesign and Photoshop. WebDAV-enabled software allows users to access the Mambo repository directly from the application. For example, a Photoshop user could retrieve an asset, edit it and return the updated version to the Mambo repository without leaving Photoshop. WebWare says it currently supports eight WebDAV-enabled applications." See: (1) "WEBDAV (Extensions for Distributed Authoring and Versioning on the World Wide Web"; (2) "Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP)."

[April 08, 2002]   Adobe Announces Enhanced XML Authoring Support in FrameMaker Version 7.0.    Adobe Systems has released FrameMaker Version 7.0 with enhanced collaboration and XML authoring features. Version 7.0 now provides the "ability to import, validate, and export XML files and DTDs for 'XML roundtripping'. It supports XML namespaces as a prefix to XML element names when combining content from multiple sources. FrameMaker Version 7.0 supports import and export of XML files containing Unicode (UTF-8/UTF-16) characters, with automatic character mapping for Asian-language printing. V7.0 provides for automatic generation of CSS style definitions for XML files. DocBook 4.1, xDocBook 4.1.2, and XHTML sample applications are now included for structured authoring. Documentation includes a new 'XML Cookbook' manual for learning to work in structured authoring environments. Enhanced collaboration features include support for Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP), WebDAV, and workgroup facilities (shared documents, servers, and folders)." [Full context]

Principal References

  • Main product overview

  • 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."

  • XMP Overview

  • XMP in Depth. Detailed information about the features and capabilities of XMP.

  • Announcement 2001-09-24: "Adobe Streamlines Workflows for Publishers with New Metadata Technology. Adobe Commits to Open W3C Standards. IBM, Kodak and KPMG Consulting Among Industry Giants that Support XMP."

  • XMP white paper [cache]

  • XMP Developer Knowledgebase

  • Adobe XMP. Adobe Extensible Metadata Platform Integration Technology Built on W3C Standards. XMP datasheet. [cache]

  • [August 19, 2003] "Acrobat Challenges InfoPath. Adobe Takes a Giant Step Forward Into Direct Competition with Microsoft." By Jon Udell. In InfoWorld (August 15, 2003). "I've always regarded Adobe's PDF as an odd creature, neither fish nor fowl. I'm intensely annoyed when I have to view a multicolumn PDF document onscreen. Some monitors rotate into a portrait orientation, but mine -- and probably yours - are landscape devices. Every time I scroll from the bottom of column No. 1 to the top of column No. 2, I taste the worm at the PDF apple's core... So I was delighted to learn, in a recent conversation with Adobe senior product manager Chuck Myers, that the ongoing integration of XML into PDF is about to shift into high gear... The backstory includes initiatives such as XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform), which embeds XML metadata in PDF files; and Tagged PDF, which enables PDF documents to carry the structural information that can be used, for example, to reflow a three-column portrait layout for landscape mode. So far, though, XML data hasn't been a first-class citizen of the PDF file --especially those PDF files that represent business forms. Acrobat 5 does support interactive forms. It also has a data interchange format called FDF (Forms Data Format), for which an XML mapping exists. But as Myers wryly observes, 'There's one schema, from Adobe, we hope you like it.' Acrobat 6 blasts that limitation out of the water. It supports arbitrary customer-defined schemas, Myers told me. That's a huge step forward, and brings Acrobat into direct competition with Microsoft's forthcoming InfoPath. Look at Adobe's interactive income tax form. That document is licensed, by the Document Server for Reader Extensions, to unlock the form fill-in and digital signature capabilities of the reader. Filling in a form and then signing it digitally is an eye-opening experience. It's more interesting now that the form's data is schema-controlled and, Myers adds, can flow in and out by way of WSDL-defined SOAP transactions. The only missing InfoPath ingredient is a forms designer that nonprogrammers can use to map between schema elements and form fields. That's just what the recently announced Adobe Forms Designer intends to be. I like where Adobe is going. The familiarity of paper forms matters to lots of people..."

  • [June 25, 2002] XMP -- Extensible Metadata Platform. From Adobe Systems Incorporated. Version 1.6. June 25, 2002. 84 pages. "XMP standardizes the definition and creation of metadata, and defines an extensible representation that allows applications and tools to access and understand metadata about documents that they manipulate. XMP defines a core set of metadata properties that are relevant for a wide range of applications including all of Adobe's editing and publishing products, as well as for applications from a wide variety of vendors. XMP also provides a file embedding mechanism, called a XML Packet, that allows applications to easily locate metadata in files by simple scanning, rather than needing to parse a specific application's file format. This feature makes the metadata more easily accessible, and aids document interchange and asset management... Chapter 2 explains XMP metadata and the model for how it is used, and provides a conceptual model of how metadata is created and managed. It explains the background and scope of the XMP model, and defines basic terms and concepts. It also describes how new schema may be defined to meet needs beyond what is supported by the existing model. A number of code samples are shown to illustrate how XMP metadata is represented. Chapter 3 describes how XMP uses the RDF format for data representation and how to embed metadata using XML Packets to make it easy for applications to locate metadata in application files. Chapter 4 'XMP Schemas' specifies standard schema for XMP metadata. This includes the value types used for properties, and contains the XMP Vocabularies, which specify the set of allowed values for each property. The schema tables specify the category of each property, and list aliases to properties in other schema. The nature and expected use of each property is briefly discussed. More detailed usage information is found in Chapter 7, 'Application Integration Guidelines'. Chapter 5, 'XMP Extensibility' explains the extensibility features of XMP, including how to extend schemas, add new schemas, and add private data. Chapter 6, 'Media Management and Compound Documents' describes how to use XMP with media management systems and for compound documents. Chapter 7, 'Application Integration Guidelines' describes what applications must do to implement support for metadata, and what actions they have to perform for common application operations. Appendix A, 'PDF and Dublin Core Schema' specifies the PDF and Dublin Core schemas, and specifies which properties are aliased to properties in the core XMP schemas..."

  • [November 25, 2002] "XMP: The Path to Metadata Salvation? [Content Management.]" By Bill Rosenblatt. In The Seybold Report Volume 2, Number 16 (November 25, 2002). ISSN: 1533-9211. ['Everyone admits that metadata is central to managing digital publishing workflows and distribution processes. XML and the related RDF gave us a common syntax for representing metadata, but they can't solve the whole problem, which includes communicating metadata between systems and standardizing the schemas. That's where Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform comes in, allowing applications to capture metadata as digital assets are being created and allowing files to carry their own metadata wherever they go. What XMP can't provide is widespread user agreement on consistent sets of values for metadata elements.'] "Now that XMP [Extensible Metadata Platform] has celebrated its one-year anniversary, it's a good time to re-evaluate it... The current version of the XMP spec is 1.6, dated June 2002. Adobe has incorporated XMP support into the following applications: Acrobat 5, Illustrator 10, InDesign 2, InCopy 2, GoLive 6, LiveMotion 2, FrameMaker 7, Photoshop 7, Adobe Graphics Server (née AlterCast), and Adobe Document Server. For all of these applications, Adobe has built in a standard XMP dialog box that allows users to enter and edit the metadata for each file. In addition to the native file formats used by the above applications, Adobe has tools for embedding and extracting XMP packets in generic JPEG, GIF, EPS and TIFF file formats... Adobe needs to continue to walk the fine line between too little and too much detail in its metadata schemas. Right now, XMP is an exemplar of a lean, tightly conceived standard with very little excess baggage. Adobe will need to fend off the inevitable pressure to bloat XMP's out-of-the-box schemas with extra elements just to satisfy one constituency or another. At the same time, Adobe will need to ensure that XMP is maximally compatible with existing segment-level metadata standards, especially those like NewsML and ONIX that are not based on Dublin Core. Adobe could accomplish this by working with the groups in charge of those standards and developing mappings (aliases, in XMP parlance) to those other standards. Will XMP finally solve the metadata problem? Well, not entirely. At the heart of the metadata problem [...] is the need to create values of metadata. As mentioned before, some of these are easy to create automatically, while others involve manual labor. Many publishers find it hard to get people in the habit of creating metadata, and even when they do, they may not do it consistently; for example, they may define the same terms with different keywords. General solutions to this problem are unknown, yet tools like taxonomies, controlled vocabularies and categorization technologies can help minimize the problem. The latter have reached the point where they can really help automate metadata-creation processes and make metadata more consistent. As more and more publishing processes go digital, there's a greater understanding of the nature of metadata as the key to process efficiencies and product value-add; and along with that understanding have come a growing number of vendors who continue to chip away at the metadata problem. The problem will likely never be entirely solved, but with XMP, Adobe is poised to take the biggest chunk out of it since the invention of XML..."

  • XMP technical details. SDK 2001 version. See the SDK download and associated documents; XMP materials are available royalty-free under a license agreement.

    • XMP Software Development Kit
    • XMP SDK Overview. Version 2.8. September 24, 2001
    • XMP Samples: Schemas and XML packets. XMP Core Schema Example [properties are common to all applications]; XMP Rights Management Schema Example [properties are all optional and deal with rights management.All alternations are for multiple languages]; XMP Basic Job Ticket Schema Example [properties describe very simple workflow or job information]; XMP Media Management Schema Example [properties are designed to specify information about documents included in other documents and their relationship to each other]; XMP Support Schema Example [properties describe a resource in a different file and should be set by a media management system, not an authoring application].
    • XMP - Extensible Metadata Platform. Metadata Framework. Version 1.5. September 14, 2001. 88 pages. "This document describes XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform), which provides a standardized method for the creation, processing and interchange of metadata... XMP standardizes the definition and creation of metadata,and defines an extensible representation that allows applications and tools to access and understand metadata about documents that they manipulate. XMP metadata defines a core set of metadata properties that are relevant for a wide range of applications including all of Adobe's authoring and publishing products, as well as for applications from a wide variety of vendors. XMP also provides a file embedding mechanism, called a XML Packet, that allows applications to easily locate metadata in files by simple scanning,rather than needing to parse a specific application's file format. This feature makes the metadata more easily accessible, and aids document interchange and asset management... Chapter 3 (XMP RDF Data Interchange Format) describes how XMP uses the RDF format for data representation and how to embed metadata using XML Packets to make it easy for applications to locate metadata in application files. Chapter 4 (XMP Schemas) specifies all currently supported schema for XMP core metadata. It also specifies the value types used for all properties, and contains the XMP Vocabularies, which specify the set of allowed values for each property. The schema tables also specify the category of each property, and list aliases to properties in other schema. Chapter 5 (XMP Property Commentary) discusses the XMP properties and describes their nature and expected use. Also,suggestions are provided for how certain properties should be handled when documents are embedded in other documents. Chapter 6 (XMP Extensibility) explains the extensibility features of XMP, including how to extend schemas,add new schemas,and add private data."
    • The XMP Metadata Toolkit. Version 2.8. September 14, 2001. 76 pages. "This document describes the XMP Toolkit which was designed to help applications with handling XMP operations such as the creation and manipulation of metadata. The availability of the Toolkit makes it easier for developers to support XMP metadata,and helps to standardize how the data is represented and interchanged. The XMP Toolkit can be licensed, royalty-free,from Adobe Systems."
    • Embedding XMP Metadata in Application Files. Draft Version, September 14, 2001. 16 pages. "This document describes how XMP metadata can be embedded in the following file formats: TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, HTML, PDF, SVG/XML, AI, and EPS. This information is intended to help application developers understand how to embed XMP metadata in a standardized form to help ensure better document interchange.

  • [October 16, 2001] "Adobe Unveils its Metadata Framework -- XMP. [Adobe's XMP: Is it an End To Metadata Madness? Standards.]" By Mark Walter. In Seybold Report: Analyzing Publishing Technology [ISSN: 1533-9211] Volume 1, Number 13 (October 1, 2001), pages 3-4. ['When a database is more overhead than you want, Adobe's eXtensible Metadata Platform will let you keep metadata within each content file and transport it across applications. It bids fair to become a standard--there is no competing technology -- but you'll have to upgrade to use it... Recognizing the need to carry metadata inside of content files, Adobe has created a common framework that all of its desktop applications will use to embed metadata into the files they create. Will the eXtensible Metadata Platform (XMP) become as popular as PDF?'] "Adobe introduced the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) and announced that all of its products would use the framework to embed metadata inside the files they create. The first products to support XMP are Adobe Acrobat 5 and the upcoming InDesign 2 and Illustrator 10, but Adobe pledged to add XMP support to Photoshop, GoLive and eventually all of Adobe's desktop products. Equally interesting, Adobe is publishing the XML spec and giving away a developer's kit under open-source licensing in an effort to win wider support for XMP as an industry standard. As a platform, XMP includes more than just a definition of how to write labels. The four components at the time of the launch included: (1) XMP Framework. The XMP description component is a subset of the Resource Description Format (RDF) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). (2) XMP Packets. For transporting the metadata from one program to another, Adobe's XMP packet technology also follows the W3C's lead. XMP packets are the means by which XML metadata are enclosed inside application files. (3) Schema. The actual categories and terms used in a label are defined in XML schemas. Adobe is proposing that XMP have 13 core schemas, including the Dublin Core, media asset management, digital rights, and others. XMP integrators can also include their own schemas for enclosure inside XMP packets. (4) Sample software. Reading this new binary format requires software. Adobe is seeding the market with a software development kit that's available free of charge under open-source licensing terms... XMP has a lot going for it as a potential standard. It has no competition yet and it also helps that Adobe has anticipated the need for user-definable schemas, and that it is following W3C conventions for the nitty-gritty details of how the bytes get written. On the downside, Adobe's basic metadata set will not be sufficient for many applications, so users -- in cooperation with their integrators -- will still have to define schemas and develop customizations, just as they do now. Another drawback is that XMP is not binary compatible with older applications -- all of your software in a workflow that touch an XMP file will have to be upgraded in order to read the file -- even if the application data inside would be recognized. For this reason, one of the first XMP utilities we'd like to see added to the SDK is a 'packet stripper' that removes the label. In short, it will take time for XMP's impact to be felt, but in the long run it should be a very positive step toward better metadata handling by Adobe's applications, and, if we're lucky, by others as well..."

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