An extract of IPTC Media Topics vocabulary tree browser showing the new "show retired" button.

As is now traditional, the IPTC NewsCodes Working Group has released our regular update at the end of the calendar quarter.

This release includes updates to the Media Topic and Item Relation CVs.

Changes to the Media Topic vocabulary

Label and/or definition changes:

Retired terms:

Hierarchy moves:

New terms:

The release also includes no-NN (New Norwegian) translations for the updates released in Q2 2022. Other languages were already updated over previous months.

Changes to other Controlled Vocabularies

The itemrelation CV is used in NewsML-G2 to show types of links between news items. The vocabulary now has two new terms:

  • irel:translatedFromRoot: “The related resource contains the content from which this item was translated, either directly or indirectly via one or more other translations”
  • irel:wasPackagedIn: “Indicates that this Item was included in the target package”

Thanks to everyone from IPTC members and users of the NewsCodes CV for suggesting terms, and to the NewsCodes and Sports Content Working Groups who helped to put this release together.

Alamy, a stock photo agency offering a collection of over 300 million images along with millions of videos, has recently launched a new Partnerships API, and has chosen IPTC’s ninjs 2.0 standard as the main format behind the API.

Alamy is an IPTC member via its parent company PA Media, and Alamy staff have contributed to the development of ninjs in recent years, leading to the introduction of ninjs 2.0 in 2021.

“When looking at a response format, we sought to adopt an industry standard which would aid in the communication of the structure of the responses but also ease integration with partners who may already be familiar with the standard,” said Ian Young, Solutions Architect at Alamy.

Example item on the Alamy Partnerships API in ninjs 2.0 format

An example item on the Alamy Partnerships API in ninjs 2.0 format.

“With this in mind, we chose IPTCs news in JSON format, ninjs,” he said. “We selected version 2 specifically due to its structural improvements over version 1 as well as its support for rights expressions.”

Young continued: “ninjs allows us to convey the metadata for our content, links to the media itself and the various supporting renditions as well as conveying machine readable rights in a concise payload.”

“We’ve integrated with customers who are both familiar with IPTC standards and those who are not, and each have found the API equally easy to work with.”

Learn more about ninjs via IPTC’s ninjs overview pages, consult the ninjs User Guide, or try it out yourself using the ninjs generator tool.

Family Tree magazine has published a guide on using embedded metadata for photographs in genealogy – the study of family history.Screenshot of the beginning of the article on FamilyTree.com describing how to use IPTC photo metadata for genealogy

Rick Crume, a genealogy consultant and the article’s author, says IPTC metadata “can be extremely useful for savvy archivists […] IPTC standards can help future-proof your metadata. That data becomes part of the digital photo, contained inside the file and preserved for future software programs.”

Crume quotes Ken Watson from All About Digital Photos saying “[IPTC] is an internationally recognized standard, so your IPTC/XMP data will be viewable by someone 50 or 100 years from now. The same cannot be said for programs that use some proprietary labelling schemes.”

Crume then adds: “To put it another way: If you use photo software that abides by the IPTC/XMP standard, your labels and descriptive tags (keywords) should be readable by other programs that also follow the standard. For a list of photo software that supports IPTC Photo Metadata, visit the IPTC’s website.

“[IPTC] is an internationally recognized standard, so your IPTC/XMP data will be viewable by someone 50 or 100 years from now”

The article goes on to recommend particular software choices based on IPTC’s list of photo software that supports IPTC Photo Metadata. In particular, Crume recommends that users don’t switch from Picasa to Google Photos, because Google Photos does not support IPTC Photo Metadata in the same way. Instead, he recommends that users stick with Picasa for as long as possible, and then choose another photo management tool from the supported software list.

Similarly, Crume recommends that users should not move from Windows Photo Gallery to the Windows 10 Photos app, because the Photos app does not support IPTC embedded metadata.

Crume then goes on to investigate popular genealogy sites to examine their support for embedded metadata, something that we do not cover in our photo metadata support surveys.

The full article can be found on FamilyTree.com.

 

 

An extract of IPTC Media Topics vocabulary tree browser showing the new "show retired" button.

An extract of the IPTC Media Topics vocabulary tree browser showing the new “show retired” button.

Following on with our quarterly update cycle, the IPTC NewsCodes Working Group has released the Q2 2022 update of IPTC NewsCodes, including updates to the Media Topic, Subject Code, and Digital Source Type vocabularies.

Media Topic updates

In a related tool update announcement, we have now added a handy “show retired terms” checkbox to the Media Topics interactive tree browser tool, and we default to only showing the active (non-retired) terms. The new option can be seen in the picture at the top of this article.

Digital Source Type vocabulary updates

After asking for feedback on a draft of the work a few months ago, we have updated the Digital Source Type vocabulary to support the emerging area of “Synthetic Media.”

The single term “softwareImage” has been retired, which means that while it is acceptable in legacy content, we no longer recommend its use. The term is now replaced with 9 new terms covering the spectrum from purely human creation through to purely machine image creation:

To see more detail including the definition of each term, click the links above or view the entire IPTC Digital Source Type vocabulary.

Thanks to those both inside and outside of the IPTC community who gave feedback on our original proposal, your comments were very much appreciated.

Subject Code vocabulary updates – indicating its deprecated status

The IPTC Subject Code vocabulary was created over twenty years ago, in the year 2000. It was maintained through to 2010, but at that point the Media Topic vocabulary took over as IPTC’s preferred subject classification taxonomy. We will keep it on our vocabulary server, but we no longer recommend its use in projects due to some terms being out of date.

So we have put warnings on the pages of the Subject Code vocabulary that indicate its deprecated nature, and encourage users to look at Media Topic instead.

 

As always, the Media Topics vocabularies can be viewed in the following ways:

For more information on IPTC NewsCodes in general, please see the IPTC NewsCodes Guidelines.

Example of IPTC's ninjs format for syndicating news in JSON formatAt the IPTC Spring Meeting in May 2022, IPTC’s Standards Committee voted to approve ninjs 1.4, the latest version in the 1.x track of IPTC’s standard for news content in the JSON format.

Johan Lindgren of TT Nyhetsbyrån, Lead of the IPTC News in JSON Working Group, said:

“After the launch of ninjs 2.0 in the autumn of 2021, we received requests to add some of the new 2.0 features to the first generation of ninjs, so that those who are using the 1.x branch of ninjs can use the new features without making breaking changes. So we are excited to publish version 1.4 of ninjs, where these features are included.”

Those changes include:

  • New property contentcreated, denoting the date and time when the content of this ninjs object was originally created (as opposed to the date and time when the ninjs object itself was created). For example, an old photo that is now handled as a ninjs object may have a firstcreated and versioncreated of “2022-06-02T12:00:00+00:00”, but a contentcreated value of “1933-04-03T00:00:00+00:00”. The contents must be a valid JSON Schema date-time object.
  • New property expires, showing “the date and time after which the Item is no longer considered editorially relevant by its provider.” Note that this is not the same as a rights-related expiration, it simply conveys the desire of the content creator to highlight the content until a certain time. A good example might be a football match preview, which would no longer be editorially relevant after the game commences. The contents must be a valid JSON Schema date-time object.
  • New property rightsinfo, which holds an expression of rights to be applied to the content. It contains sub-properties langid (a URI which specifies the language used to specify rights such as RightsML or ODRL), and one of either linkedrights (containing a link to a remotely-hosted declaration of the rights associated with the content) or encodedrights (which includes an embedded encoding of the rights statements within the ninjs object).

Which version of ninjs should I choose for my project?

There might be some confusion since we have released ninjs 1.4 after the release of ninjs 2.0. Please note that this is simply an update to the 1.x branch of ninjs to make it easier for users who cannot upgrade to 2.x branch due to breaking changes.

If you are starting a new project that requires JSON-encoded news content, we recommend using ninjs 2.0. This version should be easiest for developers to work with.

If you are already using a 1.x version of ninjs, we recommend at least upgrading to version 1.4. This should be an easy change, because 1.4 is backwards-compatible with versions 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. We would also recommend upgrading to 2.0 if possible, but if not, 1.4 is the best version of the 1.x branch.

Supporting materials for ninjs 1.4 and ninjs 2.0 can be found at these locations:

Thanks to Johan and the IPTC News in JSON Working Group for working on this release.

Attendees at CEPIC Congress 2022 table area

Attendees at the table area of CEPIC Congress 2022, held in Mallorca, Spain.

The IPTC took part in a panel on Diversity and Inclusion at the CEPIC Congress 2022, the picture industry’s annual get-together, held this year in Mallorca Spain.

Google’s Anna Dickson hosted the panel, which also included Debbie Grossman of Adobe Stock, Christina Vaughan of ImageSource and Cultura, and photographer Ayo Banton.

Unfortunately Abhi Chaudhuri of Google couldn’t attend due to Covid, but Anna presented his material on Google’s new work surfacing skin tone in Google image search results.

Brendan Quinn, IPTC Managing Director participated on behalf of the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group, who put together the Photo Metadata Standard including the new properties covering accessibility for visually impaired people: Alt Text (Accessibility) and Extended Description (Accessibility).

Brendan also discussed IPTC’s other Photo Metadata properties concerning diversity, including the Additional Model Information which can include material on “ethnicity and other facets of the model(s) in a model-released image”, and the characteristics sub-property of the Person Shown in the Image with Details property which can be used to enter “a property or trait of the person by selecting a term from a Controlled Vocabulary.”

Some interesting conversations ensued around the difficulty of keeping diversity information up to date in an ever-changing world of diversity language, the pros and cons of using controlled vocabularies (pre-selected word lists) to cover diversity information, and the differences in covering identity and diversity information on a self-reported basis versus reporting by the photographer, photo agency or customer.

It’s a fascinating area and we hope to be able to support the photographic industry’s push forward with concrete work that can be implemented at all types of photographic organisations to make the benefits of photography accessible for as many people as possible, regardless of their cultural, racial, sexual or disability identity.

Side by side, a game-rendered and a realistic-looking "deepfake" version of Cristiano Ronaldo. Created by Chris Ume to demonstrate the capabilities of modern generative media models

Side by side: a game-rendered and a realistic-looking “deepfake” version of Cristiano Ronaldo. Created by Chris Ume to demonstrate the capabilities of modern generative media models. As shown by Henrik de Gyor in his session on synthetic media.

Where else can you hear about the difficulties of examining photo metadata in NFTs, see a lifelike image of a human being generated from pure data before your eyes, see how Wikidata can be used to take semantic fingerprints of news articles, and discover that an hour is nowhere near long enough to discuss simplifying machine-readable rights? Nowhere but the IPTC Meeting, of course! And this year’s Spring Meeting was the venue for all of this and much more.

We held the meeting virtually from Monday May 16 to Wednesday May 18th, and attending were over 70 people from at least 45 organisations across more than 20 countries.

Along with our usual Working Group updates and committee meetings, we invited speakers from several fascinating startups, services and projects at member companies. Here’s a quick summary of their sessions:

  • We heard from Kairntech who are working on a classification system based on extracting entities from news stories and building a “semantic fingerprint” which can be used for cross-language classification, search and content enhancement
  • The New York Times’ R&D Lab presented PaperTrail, a project to enhance the quality of the Times’ print archive through the use of machine learning to improve on basic OCR techniques (they’re looking for collaborators, more info coming soon!)
  • Bria.ai showed us how an API can be used to enhance and create images and videos through the use of a custom GAN model trained in a “responsible AI” method
  • Margaret Warren talked us through her efforts in creating and selling an NFT, looking at the process view the perspective of a photo metadata expert
  • Consultant and author Henrik de Gyor talked us through the latest in synthetic media, which will be helpful in helping us to finalise our Digital Source Type vocabulary for synthetic media
  • Laurent Le Meur from EDRLab presented his project’s recommendation on a Text and Data Mining Reservation Protocol, which can be used by publishers to restrict the rights of data miners in scraping any content for the purpose of analysis or building a model
  • We heard from Dominic Young of Axate on his approach to offer pay-as-you-go payment options on paywalled news sites based on a simple pre-paid wallet mechanism.

We also had many announcements and discussions around IPTC standards, many of which we will be revealing in the coming months. One notable update is that the Standards Committee approved ninjs version 1.4 which we will release soon.

Thanks to all the IPTC members, Working Group leads, committee members and guests who made this member meeting one to remember.

IPTC member delegates Phil Avner (AP), Pam Fisher (Individual Member / The Media Institute), Alison Sullivan (Individual Member / MGM Resorts) and Mark Milstein (Microstocksolutions / VAIsual) at NAB 2022 in Las Vegas.

IPTC member delegates Phil Avner (AP), Pam Fisher (Individual Member / The Media Institute), Alison Sullivan (Individual Member / MGM Resorts) and Mark Milstein (Microstocksolutions / VAIsual) at NAB 2022 in Las Vegas.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show wrapped up its first face-to-face event in three years last week in Las Vegas.  In spite of the name, this is an internationally attended trade conference and exhibition showcasing equipment, software and services for film and video production, management and distribution. There were 52,000 attendees, down from a typical 90-100k, with some reduction in booth density; overall the show was reminiscent of pre-COVID days.  A few members of IPTC met while there: Mark Milstein (vAIsual), Alison Sullivan (MGM Resorts), Phil Avner (Associated Press) and Pam Fisher (The Media Institute).  Kudos to Phil for working, showcasing ENPS on the AP stand, while others walked the exhibition stands.

NAB is a long-running event and several large vendors have large ‘anchor’ booths.  Some such as Panasonic and Adobe reduced their normal NAB booth size, while Blackmagic had their normal ‘city block’-sized presence, teeming with traffic.  In some ways the reduced booth density was ideal for visitors: plenty of tables and chairs populated the open areas making more meeting and refreshment space available.  The NAB exhibition is substantially more widely attended than the conference, and this year several theatres were provided on the show floor for sessions any ‘exhibits only’ attendee could watch.  Some content is now available here: https://nabshow.com/2022/videos-on-demand/

For the most part this was a show of ‘consolidation’ rather than ‘innovation’. For example, exhibitors were enjoying welcoming their partners and customers face-to-face rather than launching significant new products.  Codecs standardised during the past several years were finally reaching mainstream support, with AV1, VP9 and HEVC well-represented across vendors. SVT-AV1 (Scalable Vector Technology) was particularly prevalent, having been well optimised and made available to use license-free by the standard’s contributors. VVC (Versatile Video Coding), a more recent and more advanced standard, is still too computationally intensive for commercial use, though a small set made mention of it on their stands (e.g. Fraunhofer).

IP is now fairly ubiquitous within broadcast ecosystems.  To consolidate further, an IP Showcase booth illustrating support across standards bodies and professional organisations championed more sophisticated adoption. A pyramid graphic showing a cascade of ‘widely available’ to ‘rarely available’ sub-systems encouraged deeper adoption.

Super Resolution – raising the game for video upscaling

One of the show floor sessions – “Improving Video Quality with AI” – presented advances by iSIZE and Intel. The Intel technology may be particularly interesting to IPTC members, and concerns “Super Resolution.” Having followed the subject for over 20 years, for me this was a personal highlight of the show.

Super Resolution is a technique for creating higher resolution content from smaller originals.  For example, achieving a professional quality 1080p video from a 480p source, or scaling up a social media-sized image for feature use.

A representative from Intel explaining the forthcoming SuperResolution library and FFmpeg plugin for video upscaling

A representative from Intel explaining their forthcoming Super Resolution library and FFmpeg plugin for video upscaling

A few years ago a novel and highly effective new Super Resolution method was innovated (“RAISR”, see https://arxiv.org/abs/1606.01299); this represented a major discontinuity in the field, albeit with the usual mountain of investment and work needed to take the ‘R’ (research) to ‘D’ (development).

This is exactly what Intel have done, and the resulting toolsets will be made available at no cost at the company’s Open Visual Cloud repository at the end of May.

Intel invested four years in improving the AI/ML algorithms (having created a massive ground truth library for learning), optimising to CPUs for performance and parallelisation, and then engineering the ‘applied’ tools developers need for integration (e.g. Docker containers, FFmpeg and GStreamer plug-ins). Performance will now be commercially robust.

The visual results are astonishing, and could have a major impact on the commercial potential of photographic and film/video collections needing to reach much higher resolutions or even to repair ‘blurriness’.

Next year’s event is the centennial of the first NAB Show and takes place from April 15th-19th in Las Vegas.

– Pam Fisher – Lead, IPTC Video Metadata Working Group

Lúí Smyth from Shutterstock presenting at IPTC Spring Meeting, Lisbon, April 2019, back when we had in-person meetings!

With less than two weeks to go, we are pleased to announce the full agenda for the IPTC Spring Meeting 2022.

The IPTC Spring Meeting 2022 will be held virtually from Monday May 16th to Wednesday May 18th, from 1300 – 1800 UTC each day.

IPTC member representatives can view the full agenda and register at https://iptc.org/moz/events/spring-meeting-2022/

Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Updates from all IPTC Working Groups, including Photo Metadata, Video Metadata, NewsCodes, Sports Content, NewsML-G2 and News in JSON
  • Updates from the IPTC PR Committee and the IPTC Standards Committee, including votes on proposed new versions of IPTC standards
  • Invited presentations from:
    • United Robots, presenting their “robot journalism” system built for media companies
    • Axate‘s micropayments system for publishers
    • Kairntech presenting their content classification system used by Agence France-Presse among others
    • Bria.ai‘s image generation and manipulation API backed with cutting-edge artificial intelligence
    • Consultant Henrik de Gyor speaking on the latest developments in synthetic media
    • Laurent Le Meur from EDRLab discussing the W3C Text and Data Mining Community Group’s recommendation for a Text and Data Mining Reservation Protocol
  • Member presentations:
    • Recently-joined IPTC members will have a chance to introduce themselves and their organisations to the IPTC membership
    • The New York Times presenting their “Papertrail” system used to target advertising based on content metadata
    • Margaret Warren from ImageSnippets discussing what she learned when creating NFTs from her artwork
  • Member discussions:
    • IPTC members will be discussing how we might be able to simplify rights management with a cut-down basic set of rights assertions, possibly creating a simpler alternative to RightsML
    • IPTC members will also be discussing the News Architecture and how we can better utilise the key data model that underlies both NewsML-G2 and ninjs
    • and more!

Attendance to the 2022 IPTC Spring Meeting is free for all delegates and member experts from IPTC member organisations.

Invited speakers are welcome to attend the day on which they are speaking.

IPTC members will be appearing at imaging.org’s Imaging Science and Technology DigiTIPS 2022 meeting series tomorrow, April 26.

The session description is as follows:

Unmuting Your ‘Silent Images’ with Photo Metadata
Caroline Desrosiers, founder and CEO, Scribely
David Riecks and Michael Steidl, IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group

Abstract: Learn how embedded photo metadata can aid in a data-driven workflow from capture to publish. Discover what details exist in your images; and learn how you can affix additional information so that you and others can manage your collection of images. See how you can embed info to automatically fill in “Alt Text” to images shown on your website. Explore how you can test your metadata workflow to maximize interoperability.”

Registration is still open. You can register at https://www.imaging.org/Site/IST/Conferences/DigiTIPS/DigiTIPS_Home.aspx?Entry_CCO=3#Entry_CCO