IPTC’s Photo Metadata Working Group has released the Cultural Heritage Panel plugin for Adobe Bridge, which focuses on fields relevant for images of artwork and other physical objects, such as artifacts, historical monuments, and books and manuscripts.

Sarah Saunders and Greg Reser, experts from the cultural heritage sector, conceived the IPTC Cultural Heritage Panel to address needs of the photo business and growing community of museums, art foundations, libraries, and archive organisations. Furthermore the panel fills a gap: Many imaging software products, including Bridge, do not support all metadata fields of the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard 2016 for artwork or objects.

The artwork or object fields – a special set of metadata fields developed by IPTC a few years ago – describe artworks and objects portrayed in the image (for example, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci). This means that descriptive and rights information about artworks or objects is recorded separately from information about the digital image in which they are shown. Multiple layers of rights and attribution can be expressed  – copyright in the photo may be owned by a photographer or museum, while the copyright in the painting is owned by an artist or estate.




The new plugin for Bridge (CC versions up to 2016 and CS6 were tested) allows people to view the image data, and write into these fields using a simple panel, which has been tailor-made for use in the heritage sector. The panel includes fields for artwork/object attributes and also relevant digital image rights.

“The Cultural Heritage Panel will be very useful for people working in the heritage sector in museums and archives,” Saunders, a consultant specialising in digital imaging and archiving. “It allows them to manage and monitor data about objects and artworks that is embedded in the IPTC XMP fields in the image.”

The panel is especially helpful for small organisations without digital asset management systems, and large organisations with many individual contributors – all of whom may enter metadata into the standard fields using Adobe Bridge, said Reser, a metadata analyst for the University of California, San Diego, who wrote the JavaScript code for the project.

“The metadata can then be transferred into an organisation’s digital asset management system; the panel helps ease the ingest process,” Reser said.

Reser also noted that the panel helps incorporate more people into workflows, such as freelance photographers, who otherwise may not have access to an organisation’s digital asset management system. The Cultural Heritage Panel allows them to be an efficient part of the process of viewing the metadata included with an image, and adding to it when appropriate.

“IPTC is the most popular schema in embedded metadata,” Reser said. “Over time I bet we’ll see a lot of the cultural heritage fields creep into off-the-shelf programs and software.”

The panel is free, includes an easy-to-use interface, and includes key image administration fields. Image caption and keywords can be automatically generated from existing Artwork or Object data.

Download the IPTC Cultural Heritage Panel and User Guide for Adobe Bridge.

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