The second international conference on photo metadata took place on Malta today during the annual Cepic congress. The first one was in Florence a year ago. This is a brief summary of this day. I will follow up with longer articles on each part later.
What really impresses me is the progress of work since last year’s conference. Several of the issues that were raised last year are now under serious progression. Normally standardization work is painfully slow, and when you come to implementation it is even worse. But here you see even competing parties cooperating to make progress.
Last conference was centered around the by that time just published white paper on photo metadata. This paper pointed out several areas where the IPTC standard needed to be extended or changed. People wanted special fields for model releases, better fields for localization, flexible fields for controlled vocabulary data (emotions, dominant color, art classification) and several more fields. IPTC has just published draft 4 of a proposed addendum, as well as some modifications to the current standard. This addresses most of those requests and IPTC will vote on this later this month.
David Riecks presented at survey conducted by SAA on embedded metadata in previews and thumbnails on the websites of major image agencies. The result is depressing. Most images carry none, or very limited, metadata. Of those images that contained metadata, very few uses the newer XMP encoding, the old IIM encoding is totally dominant. This is really sad to learn – especially if other parts of the industry put a lot of effort into improving standards. The common reason why previews lack data is that the image scaling and watermarking software’s used in content management systems strips all metadata.
One huge issue with images not carrying even basic metadata such as photographer and copyright is the upcoming orphan works legislation. It’s one thing that people outside the image industry doesn’t embed this. But when the major image agencies don’t even comply, it’s a disaster. Photographers might find that their images have been “free to use” due to bad handling at the image agency they trusted to sell their work.
The last speaker was Hiroshi Maeno from Canon. Last year Nikon, Canon and Hasselblad was asked if they could implement a globally unique image identifier (GUID) that is embedded in the image file by the camera. There were also request for embedding other metadata. CIPA has now formed “Image File Format Study Ad.Hoc Working Group” that involves several camera manufactures cooperating to improve the Exif standard. Earlier 2008 they sent a request to IPTC on what should be improved regarding metadata. Mr Maeno reported that both Canon and Nikon are already working on the GUID and showed us an example on such a code could be constructed. The ad hoc working group has just sent a report to the CIPA board regarding suggested improvements to the EXIF standard.
Here you’ll find articles from last years international photo metadata conference.