LATEST NEWS: IPTC metadata is now shown in Google Images results

Learn more about it here

Previously, we shared​ that Google was making image credits and usage rights information more visible on Google Images. Google now displays information about image copyright and ownership details, alongside creator and credit info, when websites and photo-owners make that information available for Google to crawl. Since the announcement there has been steady growth in the amount images containing these embedded metadata fields, which in turn has helped drive greater user awareness of copyright for images on the internet.

Up to now, users have seen the IPTC metadata information when they click on the “Image Credits” link in the “Google Images viewer” – the panel that appears when a user selects an image. Starting from today, users will begin to see this information directly in the viewer, making this rights-related information even more visible.

You can see an example of what this looks like below:

The Google Images team has said in a statement: “We are committed to helping people understand the nature of the content they’re looking at on Google Images. This effort to make IPTC-related information more visible is one more step in that direction.”

For more information on how you can embed rights and credits metadata in your photos, please see our Quick Guide to IPTC Photo Metadata and Google Images.

If you create photo editing or manipulation software and are looking for more information, please consult the Quick Guide or contact us for more information and advice.

We are very happy to continue working with Google and our partner organisation CEPIC on this and other developments in this area. We look forward to making an announcement about the launch of the related “Licensable Images” feature over the summer.

Ed Boyling of Thomson Reuters demonstrating LYNX Insights, TR’s “robot journalism” tool – see Day Two below

Last week IPTC did something we had never tried before: we ran a complete three-day member meeting virtually, using videoconferencing, which worked very well! Thanks to all our participants and presenters.

Spread over three days, over 50 attendees from the majority of IPTC member organisations across 16 countries heard over 20 presentations from IPTC Working Groups, IPTC member organisations and invited speakers on topics from AI-generated stock photography to tracking entities in news stories. The culmination of the event was the approval of new versions of ninjs, NewsML-G2 and Video Metadata Hub, and the (re-)election of Robert Schmidt-Nia as Chair of IPTC.

Monday: Photo Metadata, Sport and Web Publications

Monday set the tone with an introduction from IPTC Managing Director Brendan Quinn, and introductions from all attendees. Michael Steidl gave the first Working Group update as Lead of the Photo Metadata Working Group, covering the group’s wide-ranging work over the past six months including releasing the Photo Metadata Standard 2019.1 including Image Regions, plus partnership projects with Google on exposing embedded IPTC Photo Metadata fields in search results, and emerging work with camera industry association CIPA and schema.org.

Some of the attendees on Day 1 of the IPTC Spring Meeting 2020.

Laurent Le Meur, previous IPTC board member and currently CTO at EDRLab, gave a thought-provoking presentation on W3C Web Publications spec and how it might apply to the news publishing industry. Paul Kelly, lead of the Sports Content Working Group presented his group’s investigations into semantic modelling for sports content, looking at existing sports models and current projects investigating schema.org and semantic / linked-data modelling of sports information, which will feed in to an upcoming version of SportsML.

Tuesday: NewsML-G2, ninjs, Robojournalism, AI, Blockchain, Trust and Video

Tuesday was a busy day: we started with Dave Compton from Refinitiv, lead of the NewsML-G2 Working Group, presenting the group’s latest work including their proposal for NewsML-G2 2.29. Johan Lindgren of TT and lead of the News in JSON Working Group presented a proposal for ninjs 1.3, including many updates suggested by users and the community.

Ed Boyling of Thomson Reuters demonstrated a tool called Lynx Insights that is used by TR to generate news stories based on a rich set of rules defined by journalists. After a rule is created, an incoming news event (such as a company publishing a set of financial results) can automatically be converted to a readable story published on the wire within seconds.

Tao Chen of 500px (part of IPTC member Visual China Group) and lead of the AI Expert Group presented their latest work on AI for images, including automatic quality detection, face anonymisation, subjective feature detection (photos about “happiness” or “romance”), moving from simple face detection to age, gender and celebrity detection, automatic cutouts and more.

Angelo Marrara of ANSA and some project colleagues from EY presented their work on ANSACheck, a way of ensuring that content matches what the agency originally published using blockchain technology. The project has launched and you can see the tool embedded on ANSA’s pages.

Brendan Quinn presented IPTC’s latest work on trust and credibility in the news, including the IPTC Trust and Credibility Guidelines document draft that was published recently.

Finally, Pam Fisher of the Video Metadata Working Group presented the group’s proposal for Video Metadata Hub version 1.3, an update to clarify and simplify some points and take on some suggestions from the community.

Wednesday: NewsCodes translations, Entities, Standards Committee and IPTC Election

Wednesday started off with Jennifer Parrucci of New York Times, lead of IPTC’s NewsCodes Working Group, presenting the group’s work since the last meeting, announcing translations of the core Media Topics controlled vocabulary into Danish, Simplified Chinese and Norwegian. We now publish Media Topics in 11 languages!

Jennifer Parrucci introducing the NewsCodes Working Group update with the obligatory picture of her cat

Christoffer Nilsson of new IPTC member iMatrics and Joacim Ståhl of Elysium AI (part of TT) both gave presentations on their work on extracting entities (people, places, organisations and objects) from news content, and we discussed the possibility of working as a group on an industry-wide “news entities” database.

The Spring 2020 IPTC Standards Committee Meeting was led by Stéphane Guérrilot of AFP, Chair of the Standards Committee. The first part of the meeting was a wide-ranging discussion on “how to make IPTC standards easier to use”, which will lead to some interesting projects in the next few months on documentation, marketing materials, and open source software. The second part of the meeting was the formal IPTC member vote on the proposed new standard versions: we are pleased to say that ninjs 1.3, NewsML-G2 2.29 and Video Metadata Hub 1.3 were all approved!

Finally we held a General Meeting of IPTC voting Members, during which Robert Schmidt-Nia of DATAGROUP Consulting Services was elected as IPTC Chair. We also voted through a change to IPTC’s official Articles of Association, introducing a new membership category. More on this in coming weeks!

Thanks again to everyone who made our first fully virtual member meeting such a a great success!

We are excited to announce that the result of our latest collaboration with Google has been launched in a beta phase: Licensable Images.

This feature, that Google is exploring with this beta, will enable image owners not only to receive credit for their work but also to find ways to raise people’s awareness of licensing requirements for content found via Google Images.

Mockup of how licensable images might look on google.com when it launches to users later this year.

Mockup of how licensable images might look on google.com when it launches to users later this year.

By embedding IPTC Photo Metadata fields into their images (or using schema.org markup), Google will place a badge on licensable images in search results pages.

Under the image preview, Google will show embedded rights metadata (creator, copyright and credit fields). These have been displayed since IPTC’s collaboration with Google in 2018, but will now be given more prominence.

Along with the rights metadata, Google will now show links to the image’s usage licence and also a link to “Get this image”.

See the image for a mockup of how it might look.

By embedding IPTC Photo Metadata into your images, these links will be shown for images on your own website and also when your customers publish images on their sites.

Along with the photo industry organisation CEPIC, IPTC has been working with Google on this project since the IPTC Photo Metadata Conference at CEPIC Congress in June 2019.

The user-facing side of the feature is planned to launch in the next few months. Google has released some developer documentation to encourage image owners to get ready for the launch.

Learn how to make licensable images work for your image collections

For IPTC members, we will be running a webinar today, Thursday 20 February at 15:00 GMT.

The webinar will  explain how the licensable images feature works and what image owners can do to get ready for the launch.

The speakers will be Michael Steidl, Lead of the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group, and Brendan Quinn, Managing Director of IPTC.

Please check your email for the announcement and information on how to join.

For non-members, we will be publishing a page on this site on Friday 21 February that will explain how to take advantage of the feature.

UPDATE: We have now updated our Quick Guide to IPTC Photo Metadata and Google Images to include information on how to embed rights and licensing metadata in your images.

We’re very pleased to see this launch. We look forward to seeing how our members will use this feature to draw more attention to the importance of image rights and licensing.

To support the work of IPTC in this and other areas, please consider joining IPTC.

IPTC is pleased to release a new version of its widely used Photo Metadata Standard, version 2019.1. This version introduces the exciting new feature to mark regions within an image using embedded metadata, directly in the image file.

Any existing or future IPTC Photo Metadata field can now be attached either to the image as a whole, or to an IPTC Image Region defined within the image.

“IPTC has received many requests from photographers and photo businesses for enabling them to set a region inside an image and to apply specific metadata to it, with the new version of the standard this can be done,” said Michael Steidl, Lead of the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group. “We hope IPTC Image Regions will be supported by imaging software soon.”

What can IPTC Image Regions be used for?

IPTC Image Regions can be used for many purposes:

  • An IPTC Image Region can be used to recommending an area of particular interest in an image to be retained after cropping.
  • A photographer or picture editor can use IPTC Image Regions to specify the area to be used if a crop of a different shape is required, such as a square cropping in a landscape shot.
  • An IPTC Image Region can frame people in an image, using associated metadata from other fields in the standard attached to only that region, such as Person Shown. This opens up the possibility of news stories avoiding tired “from left to right: Jo Smith, Bill Jones, Susan Bloggs…” image captions. Now we have the ability to embed the names and details of people directly on the region relating to that person, so tools could display people’s names when a user’s pointer hovers over their faces.
  • IPTC Image Regions can be used to highlight products, artworks, or locations depicted within an image.
  • Another attractive feature of image regions is to identify the copyright owners of multiple photos integrated into a single composite image.
  • AI systems identifying objects, text, products and people in images no longer have to include the region information in sidecar files distributed with images. Using IPTC Image Regions, the information can be embedded within the image file itself.

There are many more possible use cases. We are looking forward to seeing applications of IPTC Image Regions that we haven’t even thought of!

What shapes are supported?

According to the Specification, an IPTC Image Region can take the shape of a rectangle, a circle or for more complicated shapes, a polygon with any number of vertices may be used.

Dimensions of image regions can be specified in absolute (pixels) or relative (percentage) formats, and the Specification describes how software should retain IPTC Image Region information so that it is still meaningful after the image is cropped or transformed.

Image types and roles

To help with depicting different types of information using IPTC Image Regions, we have created two fields: Image Region Type and Image Region Role.

  • Image Region Type asserts the type of content of the region, denoting whether the image region shows a person, animal, bar code, product etc.
  • Image Region Role asserts what the region is used for. Examples might be to specify a recommended cropping area, a sub-image inside a composite image, the main subject to be used for cropping and focus purposes, or a region with special copyright information.

We have created controlled vocabularies that can optionally be used to populate both of these fields and we maintain them as part of the IPTC NewsCodes: Image Region Type and Image Region Role. The IPTC NewsCodes Working Group and Photo Metadata Working Groups may add terms to these vocabularies over time.

What metadata can be added to an IPTC Image Region?

In addition to Image Region Type and Role, any of the existing IPTC Photo Metadata fields can be used to describe an IPTC Image Region. Examples of fields that may be useful to attach to a region are:

This well organised structure of information about a region in an image can also help software makers to show the boundary of regions and associated metadata at the click of a button.

Help for users and for implementers

Users interested in exploring how IPTC Image Regions can be used can find more in a section about it in the IPTC Photo Metadata User Guide. Some examples are already available showing how an image with regions looks and how they can depict different types of information.

For implementers wanting to support IPTC Image Regions in their software tools, all definitions of the Image Region can be found in the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard specification document. The Specification includes detailed information show to express an image boundary correctly and how to include deliberately used metadata fields describing the content of a region.

Software support

Thanks to Phil Harvey, exiftool has supported IPTC Image Regions since version 11.74. The full source plus Windows and Mac OS packages can be downloaded from https://exiftool.org/.The CPAN version of exiftool does not yet support IPTC Image Regions.

We will link to other software supporting IPTC Image Regions as they become available.

Interested in more information?

Questions, comments, ideas?

We welcome your ideas, thoughts and especially implementations!

Please get in touch via the contact form on this site.

We are now back after a stimulating and entertaining IPTC Autumn Meeting in beautiful Ljubljana, Slovenia last week!

Thanks very much to Aljoša Rehar from IPTC member Slovenska tiskovna agencija (STA) for inviting us and helping out so much with the organisation, along with his colleague Marjana Polajnar and with support from Marko Grobelnik from another IPTC member organisation in Slovenia, the Josef Stefan Institute.

Over three days, we heard presentations from all IPTC Working Groups, the new AI Expert Group and the 2019 IPTC Annual General Meeting. We also heard presentations from invited startups and research projects such as the Content Personalisation Network from Digital Catapult UK and Slovenian projects EventRegistry, NewsMapper, Embeddia, Finspektor and more. Look out for our detailed post about Wednesday afternoon’s session for more about our invited speakers.

On Monday, Brendan Quinn, Managing Director of IPTC gave an introduction to the event and all attendees introduced themselves. We had a great turnout with members coming from all over Europe, Asia and both coats of the US. Brendan also gave an update on recent work of the IPTC Board and some decisions that are coming soon.

Michael Steidl, lead of the Photo Metadata Working Group, presenting the results of the latest Photo Metadata survey

Monday’s focus was on both Photo Metadata and JSON standards. We heard from Michael Steidl, Lead of the Photo Metadata Working Group who gave an update on the recent work of the group, including the Photo Metadata Conference 2019 in Paris, recent work with Google, our latest Photo Metadata Survey, and exciting new work on introducing an Image Region capability to the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard, which will let photographers and image creators annotate specific areas of an image with any metadata fields, such as naming each person in an image exactly; identifying products, brands, logos, barcodes or other objects in an image, identifying composite images correctly, and allowing AI annotations to be embedded in the image file rather than distributed in a separate file alongside the image.

Johan Lindgren, who has recently moved from leading the Sports Content Working Group to now leading the News in JSON working group, spoke about the recent work on reviving the group. We are now meeting every two weeks like the other working groups, and plan to make many changes to our main JSON standard ninjs in the coming months. Johan presented an overview of how IPTC members are currently using JSON in their news distribution work, either based on ninjs or using their own formats. Based on change requests received in out GitHub project, the working group identified some “quick wins” that we could easily add to ninjs, and so Johan proposed ninjs 1.2 to the Standards Committee. Johan also showed recent work on a new ninjs User Guide to replace the pages at dev.iptc.org, and on a test suite so we know changes we make to the ninjs schema will be compatible with previous work and not introduce any errors.

Luca from Digital Catapult presenting the Content Personalisation Network.

Day 1 ended with a presentation of the Content Personalisation Network project from Luca and Anthony from Digital Catapult in the UK. The work on tailoring content for users based on metadata is very relevant to our members and we hope to be able to work a lot more with the Digital Catapult team in the future.

Day 1 ended with a great meal at Ljubljana Castle

Day 1 ended with a group dinner in a restaurant at Ljubljana Castle, overlooking the beautiful Old Town. After a day sitting inside it was great to have some good exercise walking up the steep hill to get there, and we were rewarded with some great local food.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Ljubljana meeting. If you couldn’t make it to Ljubljana, why not attend our next event in Tallinn, Estonia in May 2020?

A clear majority of professional photo businesses in Europe and North America find IPTC photo metadata highly relevant to their business. That is the message received by IPTC from its 2019 photo industry supplier survey.

According to survey results, eight out of ten photo supplier companies say that data describing images and supporting searches by users is most relevant. Eight out of ten photographers say that metadata to express ownership and usage rights is most important.

These trends are shown by a survey among photo professionals conducted by IPTC, the maker of the industry standard for embedding descriptive, rights information and administrative metadata into images. The 2019 IPTC Photo Metadata Survey results were made public on 14 August 2019 and can be downloaded from the iptc.org website.

“We know that taking the time to apply photo metadata is an investment by photo businesses, so it’s good to see that they get a return,” said Michael Steidl, lead of IPTC’s Photo Metadata Working Group. “Still, we are pleasantly surprised by the importance that photo businesses give to metadata.”

The survey investigated how and why IPTC photo metadata are used in 2019, and more than 100 supplier companies and photographers from many European countries and the USA participated. Most respondents to the supplier survey are companies active in the stock images business, but IPTC also received responses from companies dealing with news photos, cultural heritage images and video footage. The primary business areas of photographers are stock images and public relations photos.

The main reason for applying descriptions of what is depicted in an image are for supplier companies business needs, primarily to help users or customers to find an image they are looking for. Businesses apply rights and licensing data primarily because of legal requirements, but also to protect their companies revenue streams. Administrative data are added to satisfy customer needs.

For photographers, rights are of critical importance

The use of rights data by photographers is more driven by their own business needs than by legal requirements. As photographers are the first party in the supply chain of images they have a high interest to claim who is the creator and the first copyright owner of each creative work. Applying descriptions of the image is driven by customer needs and business needs of photographers. Why administrative data is applied comes also from their business needs and much less from customer needs compared to supplier companies.

IPTC photo metadata – used since 1995

The IPTC photo metadata standard originated in 1995 when Adobe and other makers of image software adopted the IPTC Information Interchange Model (IIM) standard for the panels with fields describing what an image shows, providing the name of the photographer, stating copyright and usage terms, and sharing instructions and more administrative information. In 2005 IPTC published its first Photo Metadata Standard covering fields used by photo professionals and expressed by the IIM format and the then-new XMP format. The IPTC fields were substantially extended in 2008 and since then the standard has been continuously maintained by IPTC, the global standards body of the news media.

For more information, download the full analysis of supplier survey results as a PDF.

Recently conversations on Twitter and various blogs and news sites have reported on Facebook’s use of IPTC embedded photo metadata fields to “track users”. (Reddit.com: “Facebook is embedding tracking data inside the photos you download”, The Australian: “Facebook pics tracking you”, Forbes: “Facebook Embeds ‘Hidden Codes’ To Track Who Sees And Shares Your Photos”, Financial Express: “Beware! Facebook embeds tracking data inside photos you download”).

As the creators and maintainers of the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard, we want to clarify a few points and share our own analysis of the situation.

In Spring 2019, IPTC’s Photo Metadata Working Group conducted our latest round of tests regarding how various social media platforms deal with metadata embedded in uploaded and shared images. The 2019 test results show how Facebook treats image metadata: in IIM and EXIF formats, a few fields are retained related to claiming rights while all others are removed, and in the XMP format all fields are removed.

While this was a small improvement compared to the previous IPTC test in 2016 when all Exif fields were removed, we did not rate Facebook with a “green dot” showing compliance with IPTC standards, as removing metadata embedded by the owner of an image contradicts IPTC’s strong support for keeping metadata persistent.

In addition, in both the 2016 and 2019 tests the Working Group found that two fields in the IIM format do indeed appear to be given values populated by Facebook.

IPTC looks at the facts

IPTC provides a reference image for each version of its Photo Metadata Standard which contains a test value for every specified metadata field. This makes it easy to test which fields are removed or modified.

The reference image of the 2017.1 version of the standard was uploaded to Facebook by the Working Group member David Riecks and it can still be seen here. Next the group used the IPTC’s  Get IPTC Photo Metadata website tool for retrieving embedded metadata of most of the images shown on the web. Anyone can use this tool: simply fill the URL of the image into the site’s form and click to see all the metadata embedded in the image.

This test was performed using the URL of the IPTC reference image uploaded to Facebook and the result was shown instantly:

  • Embedded metadata fields in the IIM format related to rights were retained: Creator, Creator Job Title, Copyright Notice, Credit Line, Source and Description Writer.
  • All embedded metadata using the XMP format were removed by Facebook.
  • The Creator and the Copyright Notice in the Exif format were also retained.
  • The Instructions field and the Job Id field in IIM show values significantly different from what had been uploaded. The IPTC Working Group assumes these values were inserted by Facebook:
    • The value of the Instructions field starts with FBMD. The IPTC Working Group retrieved this image using “Save As…” and another Facebook user uploaded it to his account. Result: the value was not changed during the second upload to Facebook. These results were shown for the re-uploaded image.
    • The value of the Job Id fields looks like a unique identifier. If an uploaded image is downloaded using the Save As function and then uploaded by another Facebook user this field contains a different value.
    • The IPTC Working Group searched for any documentation of these inserted values but found no specification or statement from Facebook. There have been, however, many guesses and assumptions by users and developers.
Screenshot of IPTC GetPhotoMetadata Tool showing metadata on image uploaded to Facebook

Screenshot of IPTC’s Get Photo Metadata Tool showing metadata on image uploaded to Facebook

Using the Get IPTC Photo Metadata site anybody can check what Facebook values were applied to her or his photo. As a user, you can find Facebook image URLs by clicking on the image on the Facebook site and using the “Copy image address” or the “Inspect” or “Inspect Element” function of your web browser, you should then see the URL.

IPTC’s summary

IPTC tests showed when a Facebook member uploads an image to the Facebook system it removes a lot of fields, keeps only a few related to rights and replaces or adds values to the Job Id and the Instructions fields. The role of these values is not publicly documented by Facebook, so they are currently the subject of significant speculation.

IPTC makes no assumptions about what the metadata values are used for, but Facebook appears to keep the value of the Instructions field constant even when the image is re-uploaded by another user. The Job ID field on the other hand changes with each separate upload.

Our recommendations are that all embedded metadata values should be retained by platforms and that no platform should be overwriting user metadata.

IPTC’s 2019 Social Media Platforms survey also looked at the metadata usage of other major social media platforms. Interested parties can find more information at Social Media Sites Photo Metadata Test Results 2019.

 

Technical notes

The example metadata values embedded into the 2017.1 reference image can be checked by going to https://getpmd.iptc.org and clicking on the green button in Option A labeled Get Photo Metadata of Web Image. No image URL is required, as by default the metadata of this reference image is retrieved and displayed.

For those interested in the technical details of embedded photo metadata, the technical formats IIM and XMP are introduced in the IPTC Photo Metadata User Guide, including a look under the hood of image files.

Lúí Smyth, Shutterstock at IPTC Photo Metadata Conference 2019

Last week’s 2019 IPTC Photo Metadata Conference was again hosted in association with the CEPIC Congress. This year’s conference was held in a slightly rainy Paris but at least that meant that we didn’t mind staying indoors in late May.

The event kicked off with an introduction from event chair Stéphane Guérillot from AFP, who is also on the Board of IPTC and Chair of the IPTC Standards Committee. The theme of the afternoon was “putting IPTC metadata to work for your image collections” and the emphasis on practical outcomes was a constant refrain.

Isabelle Wirth, AFP at IPTC Photo Metadata Conference 2019

The first panel was around the question of “do we still need IPTC Photo Metadata?” Michael Steidl, lead of the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group started off by presenting results from the IPTC Photo Metadata surveys that the Working Group has undertaken earlier this year. Lúí Smyth from Shutterstock  showed how metadata has helped them to organise millions of photos from thousands of sources. Isabelle Wirth, photo editor at AFP discussed how the agency uses IPTC Photo Metadata along with other IPTC standards such as News Codes and NewsML-G2 to make content searchable and shareable for their clients. And independent photographer and 3D photogrammetry expert with Deep3D, Simon Brown, explained how metadata was crucial for creating 3D views of sunken shipwrecks via tens of thousands of still photographs and some innovative software. In Simon’s words: “For more than one 3D project, projects with multiple contributors, or projects conducted over a longer period of time, IPTC entry becomes mandatory.”

Andrew Wiard, IPTC Photo Metadata Conference 2019

The next session examined how creating and editing IPTC Photo Metadata could be improved. Sarah Saunders representing CEPIC presented results from the IPTC Photo Metadata surveys of both image suppliers and software makers showing that metadata usage has grown in sophistication but still varies greatly between independent photographers and large companies.  Andrew Wiard, photographer and member of the British Press Photographers’ Association, spoke with passion about how we could improve the handling of photo metadata once it leaves the photographer’s desk, a constant goal of the Photo Metadata Working Group and which will form part of our work plan for the rest of 2019. Mayank Sagar from Image Data Systems showed some exciting tools with videos showing how their AI algorithms can detect objects from luggage and handbags for commuters to brands and logos on advertisements in sports footage, and talked about the current limits of AI classification and future issues such as how to handle artificially synthesised images. Andreas Gnutzmann of popular photo management software Fotoware showed how their system is moving to the cloud, putting metadata at its core even more than previously.

Anna Dickson, Google at IPTC Photo Metadata Conference 2019

The third session looked at the end-user side and how the industry can benefit from photo metadata. Brendan Quinn of IPTC presented the Photo Metadata Crawler project, examining how news publishers around the world are embedding photo metadata in the images used on their sites. Michael Steidl showed results of the Photo Metadata Working Group’s updated analysis of social media systems and sharing platforms, which will be shared through an IPTC news article in the coming months. And Anna Dickson of Google gave us an update on her history working with images as photo editor at Huffington Post and Dow Jones among others, and discussing how Google are working with metadata and the IPTC, including our shared challenges of encouraging more site owners to publish embedded metadata so that it can be picked up by Google Search and other services. At the event, Google also announced some very interesting features that are currently in the pipeline.

Michael Steidl and Stéphane Guérillot closed out the event talking about the work the the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group would be undertaking this year as a result of the discussions and of the survey results.

All slides from the day are available in PDF format from the event page, both to IPTC members and non-members. 

Key findings from the Photo Metadata surveys will be shared in future news posts, so please watch this space for updates.

More information about the Google presentation and their proposed new features around image metadata is available to all IPTC members who have joined the Photo Metadata Working Group.

Thanks to all the speakers, to CEPIC for their assistance in hosting the conference, and to everyone who attended for making the event such a success!

This post is part of a series about the IPTC Spring Meeting 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. See day 1 writeup and the day 3 writeup.

Tuesday was our biggest day in terms of content and also in terms of people! We had 40 people in the meeting room which was a tight squeeze, thanks to everyone for your understanding!

Lúí Smyth from Shutterstock presenting at IPTC Spring Meeting, Lisbon, April 2019.

The topic focus for Day 2 was Photo and Video, so it was natural that the day was kicked off by Michael Steidl, lead of the IPTC Photo and Video Working Groups. As we had a lot of new members and new attendees in the audience, Michael gave an overview of how IPTC Photo Metadata has come to where it is today, used by almost all photography providers and even used in Google Image Search results (see our post from last year on that subject). The Photo Metadata Working Group is currently conducting a survey of Photo Metadata usage across publishers, photo suppliers (such as stock photo agencies and news wires), and software makers. Michael gave a quick preview of some of the results but we won’t spoil anything here, you will have to wait for the full results to be revealed at the 2019 IPTC Photo Metadata Conference in Paris this June. Brendan Quinn also presented a status report on the IPTC Photo Metadata Crawler which examines usage of IPTC Photo Metadata fields at news providers around the world. This will also be revealed at the Photo Metadata Conference.

Next, invited visitors Ilkka Järstä and Marina Ekroos from Frameright presented their solution to the problem of cropping images for different outlets, for example all of the different sizes required for various social media. They embed the crop regions using embedded metadata which is of great interest to the Photo Metadata Working Group, as we are looking at various options for allowing region-based metadata to cover not only an image as a whole but a region within an image, in a standardised way.

We had a workshop / discussion session on the recently ratified EU Copyright Directive which will impact all media companies in the next two years. Voted through by the European Parliament this month after intense lobbying from both sides, it could easily be bigger than GDPR, so it’s important for media outlets around the world. Discussion included how and whether IPTC standards could be used to help companies comply with the law. No doubt we will be hearing more about this in the future.

Michael then presented the Video Metadata Working Group‘s status report, including promotional activities at conferences and investigations to see what use cases we can gather from various users of video metadata amongst our members and in the wider media industry.

Then Abdul Hakim from DPP showed a practical use of video metadata in the DPP Metadata for News Exchange initiative which is based on NewsML-G2. An end-to-end demonstration of metadata being carried through from shot planning through the production process all the way to distribution via Reuters Connect. See our blog post about the Metadata for News Exchange project for more details.

Then Andy Read from BBC presented the BBC’s “Data flow for News” project, taking the principles of metadata being carried through the newsroom along with the content, looking at how to track the cost of production of each item of content and also its “audience value” across platforms to calculate a return on investment figure for all types of content. Iain Smith showed the other side of this project via a live demonstration of the BBC’s newsroom audience measurement system.

After lunch, Gan Lu and Kitty Lan from new IPTC member Yuanben presented their approach to rights protection using blockchain technology. Yuanben run a blockchain-based image registry plus a scanner that detects copyright infringements on the web. Using blockchain as proof of existence has been around for a while but it’s great to see it being used in such a practical context, very relevant for the media industry.

Lastly, another new member Shutterstock was represented by Lúí Smyth who gave us an overview of Shutterstock’s current projects relating to large-scale image management: they have over 260 million images, with over 1 million images added each week! Shutterstock are using the opportunity of refreshing their systems to re-align with IPTC standards and to learn what their suppliers, partners and distributors expect, and we look forward to helping them tackle shared challenges together.

 

 

 

 

By Stuart Myles

I chair the Board of Directors of IPTC, a consortium of news agencies, publishers and system vendors, which develops and maintains technical standards for news, including NewsML-G2, rNews and News-in-JSON. I work with the Board to broaden adoption of IPTC standards, to maximize information sharing between members and to organize successful face-to-face meetings.

We hold face-to-face meetings in several locations throughout the year, although, most of the detailed work of the IPTC is now conducted via teleconferences and email discussions. Our Annual General Meeting for 2016 was held in Berlin in October. As well as being the time for formal votes and elections, the AGM is a chance for the IPTC to look back over the last year and to look ahead about what is in store. What follows is my prepared Chairman’s Report at the AGM.

The Only Constant

It is clear that the news industry is experiencing a great degree of change. The business side of news continues to be under pressure. And, in no small part, this is because the technology involved in the creation and distribution of news continues to rapidly evolve.

However, in many ways, this is a golden age of journalism. The demand for news and information has never been higher. The immediate and widespread distribution of news has never been easier.

The IPTC has been around for 51 years. I’ve been a delegate to the IPTC since 2000 and Chairman of the Board since June 2014. I’d like to give my perspective on the changes going on within the news industry and how IPTC has and will respond.

We’re On a Mission

IPTC is rooted in – and foundational to – the news industry. Our open source standards for news technology enable the operations of hundreds of news and media organizations, large and small. IPTC standards are instrumental in the software used to create, edit, archive and distribute news and information around the world.

We are starting to evolve the scope of our work beyond standards – such as via the EXTRA project to build an open source rules-based classification engine. Much of what we do is relevant to not only news agencies and publishers, but also to photographers, videographers, academics and archivists. By bringing together these diverse groups, we can not only create powerful, efficient standards and technologies, but also learn from each other about what works and what does not.

Ch-ch-changes

We’ve introduced quite a bit of change within the IPTC since I’ve become Chairman and that has continued over the last year.

What’s Going On?

We’re working to improve our existing family of standards by

  • continuing to improve documentation – to make it easier to get going with a standard and simpler to grasp the nuances when you want to expand your implementation
  • making our standards more coherent and consistent – as many organizations need to use a combination
We’re extending the reach of the IPTC, both by working with other organizations (including PRISM, IIIF, WAN-IFRA and W3C). But also by engaging in new types of work such as EXTRA and the Video Metadata Hub, which are not traditional standards but are open source projects for the benefit of the community we serve.
 
Since I’ve become Chair, we’ve renewed our efforts to communicate the great work that we do. You can see a big uptick in our engagement via Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as by refreshing the design of our the IPTC website. Plus we’re doing a lot more work “out in the open” on Github.
 
We’re continuing to streamline the operations of the IPTC. We’ve simplified our processes to better reflect the ways we actually operate these days. For example we have dramatically reduced the number of formal votes we take. But we still have sufficient process in place to ensure that the interests of all members are protected. For 2017, we have decided to have two-plus-one face-to-face meetings, rather than our usual three-plus-one. We will hold two full face-to-face meetings (one in London, the other in Barcelona), plus our one day Photo Metadata conference in association with the CEPIC Conference in Berlin. This will allow us to intensify our work on the meetings, with more ambitious and compelling topics and speakers.

Do Better

As I said, we’ve been changing our processes, particularly for the face-to-face meetings. But what else could we do to simplify our processes whilst at the same time ensuring that there is a balance between the interests of all members? Are there ways for the IPTC to deliver more value to the membership? How do we continue to balance our policy of consensus-driven decision-making with the need to be more flexible and nimble?

IPTC is a membership-driven organization. Membership fees represent the vast majority of the revenue for our organization. As the news industry as a whole continues to feel pressure – including downsizing, mergers and, unfortunately some members going out of business – the IPTC is experiencing downward pressure on its own revenue. So, we are working on ways to reach new members, whilst at the same time ensuring that existing members continue to derive value. We’re also open to exploring new ways of generating revenue which fit with our mission – let us know your ideas!

What new areas should the IPTC focus on? Many journalists are experimenting with an array of technologies – Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 360 degree photos, drones and bots, to name but a few. And let’s not forget about the “Cambrian Explosion” of technologies related to news and metadata on the Web, including AMP, AppleNews, Instant Articles, rNews, Schema.org and OpenGraph. How can IPTC help – negotiating standards? Developing best practices? Navigating the ethics of these technologies?

Happy

If you’re happy with the IPTC, then please tell others.

If you’re not happy, then please tell me!

I Want to Thank You

Without you, the members of IPTC, literally none of this is possible. So, I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in the organization, particularly everyone involved in all of the detailed work of the IPTC. And I’d like to acknowledge and thank Andreas Gebhard, who is stepping down from the Board, and Johan Lindgren who has been voted on.

Finally, I’d like to extend a special thanks to Michael Steidl, Managing Director of the IPTC, who is personally involved in almost every aspect of what we do.

2017

No doubt, next year will bring us many new and, often, unexpected challenges. I look forward to tackling with all of you, the IPTC.
 

Contact Stuart Myles
Twitter: @Smyles @IPTC

LinkedIn: IPTC