IPTC Information Interchange Model

The Information Interchange Model (IIM) is a file structure and set of metadata attributes that can be applied to text, images and other media types. It was developed in the early 1990s by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) to expedite the international exchange of news among newspapers and news agencies.

The full IIM specification includes a complex data structure and a set of metadata definitions.

Although IIM was intended for use with all types of news items — including simple text articles — a subset found broad worldwide acceptance as the standard embedded metadata used by news and commercial photographers. Information such as the name of the photographer, copyright information and the caption or other description can be embedded either manually or automatically.

IIM metadata embedded in images are often referred to as "IPTC headers", and can be easily encoded and decoded by most popular photo editing software.

The Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) has largely superseded IIM's file structure, but the IIM image attributes are defined in the IPTC Core schema for XMP and most image manipulation programs keep the XMP and non-XMP IPTC attributes synchronized.

Because of its nearly universal acceptance among photographers — even amateurs — this is by far IPTC's most widely used standard. On the other hand, the use of IIM structure and metadata for text and graphics is mainly limited to European news agencies.


IIM attributes are widely used and supported by many image creation and manipulation programs. Almost all the IIM attributes are supported by the Exchangeable image file format (Exif), a specification for the image file format used by digital cameras.

IIM metadata can be embedded into JPEG/Exif, TIFF, JPEG2000 or Portable Network Graphics formatted image files. Other file formats such as GIF or PCX do not support IIM.

IIM's file structure technology has largely been overtaken by the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP), but the IIM attribute definitions are the basis for the IPTC Core schema for XMP.


Since the late 1970s the IPTC’s activities have primarily focused on developing and publishing industry standards for the interchange of news. The first standard, IPTC 7901, bridged the eras of teleprinters and computers.

In the late 1980s development began on a standard (the Information Interchange Model) that would be designed to best work with computerized news editing systems.

In particular, the IPTC defined a set of IIM metadata attributes that can be applied to images. These were defined originally in 1979, and revised significantly in 1991 to be part of the IIM, but the concept really advanced in 1994 when Adobe Systems defined a specification for actually embedding the metadata into digital image files — yielding "IPTC headers."

(Adobe adopted the IPTC IIM metadata definitions, but not the overall IIM data structure. Photos that contain IPTC Headers appear in all other respects to be normal JPEG or TIFF images; software that does not recognize IPTC Headers will simply ignore the metadata.)

In 2001, Adobe introduced "Extensible Metadata Platform" (XMP), which is an XML schema for the same types of metadata as IPTC, but is based on XML/RDF, and is therefore inherently extensible. The effort spawned a collaboration with the IPTC, eventually producing the "IPTC Core Schema for XMP", which merges the two approaches to embedded metadata. The XMP specification describes techniques for embedding metadata in JPEG, TIFF, JPEG2000, GIF, PNG, HTML, PostScript, PDF, SVG, Adobe Illustrator, and DNG files. Recent versions of all the main Adobe software products, (Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Framemaker, etc.) support XMP, as do an increasing number of third-party tools.

In June 2007, IPTC in cooperation with IFRA held the First International Photo Metadata conference, titled "Working towards a seamless photo workflow" to a standing room only crowd (over 130 attendees), prior to the CEPIC Congress, in Florence, Italy. A similar conference was held in Malta in June 2008.

The IPTC Photo Metadata working group released a white paper,[1] which figured prominently at this event. The conference keynote was given by Andreas Trampe, head of the photo desk of Stern. Other speakers included photographers such as David Riecks and Peter Krogh, photo and news agencies such as Reuters; representatives of standards bodies such as PLUS, IPTC, and IFRA; as well as spokespersons from the photo metadata implementers side, such as Adobe Systems, Apple Inc., Canon Inc., FotoWare AS, Hasselblad, and Microsoft.

The electronic presentations given by most of the speakers are available online from the Photo Metadata Conference website including a link to a report on each of the speakers' talks

See also


  1. ^ Löffler, Harald (2007), Baranger, Walt; Steidl, Michael, eds., Photo Metadata White Paper 2007, IPTC. The white paper discusses upcoming changes to the IPTC Photo Metadata Standards

External links


ANPA-1312 is a 7-bit news agency text markup specification published by the Newspaper Association of America, designed to standardize the content and structure of text news articles.

It was last modified in 1989 and is still the most common method of transmitting news to newspapers, web sites and broadcasters from news agencies in North and South America. Although the specification provides for 1200 bit-per-second transmission speeds, modern transmission technology removes any speed limitations.

Using fixed metadata fields and a series of control and other special characters, ANPA 1312 was designed to feed text stories to both teleprinters and computer-based news editing systems.

Although the specification was based upon the 7-bit ASCII character set, some characters were declared to be replaced by traditional newspaper characters, e.g. small fractions and typesetting code. As such, it was a bridge between older typesetting methods, newspaper traditions and newer technology.

Perhaps the best known part of ANPA-1312 was the category code system, which allowed articles to be categorized by a single letter. For example, sports articles were assigned category S, and articles about politics were assigned P. Many newspapers found the system convenient and sorted both incoming news agency and staff articles by ANPA-1312 categories.

Superseded in the early 1990s by IPTC Information Interchange Model and later by the XML-based News Industry Text Format, ANPA-1312's popularity in North America remains strong due, in part, to its widespread support by The Associated Press and the reluctance of newspapers to invest in new computers or software modifications.

A modified version — but with the same name — was implemented by several news agencies after the vendor of some early computer systems modified the specification for its own purposes.

An international standard, IPTC 7901, is widely used in Europe and is closely related to ANPA-1312.

Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge is a free digital asset management app made by Adobe Systems and first released with Adobe Creative Suite 2. It is a mandatory component of Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe eLearning Suite, Adobe Technical Communication Suite and Adobe Photoshop CS2 through CS6. Starting with Creative Cloud, however, it has become an optional component downloaded via Creative Cloud subscription.

Comparison of digital image metadata editors

This article presents a comparison of digital image metadata viewers and metadata editors.

A metadata editor is a computer program that allows users to view and edit metadata tags interactively on the computer screen and save them in the graphics file. Usually a metadata viewer is preferred over a metadata editor for viewing tags.

A number of metadata editors for various platforms exist. Users choose among them based on factors such as the availability for the user's platform, the feature set and usability of the user interface (UI).

The Metadata Working Group (MWG) is a consortium of leading companies in the digital media industry.

The MWG publishes technical specifications that describe how to effectively store metadata into digital media files. These royalty-free specifications are made available to software developers, manufacturers and service providers so that they may create products that use metadata in a consistent way, and that allow consumers to better describe, organize and find their media. Where possible, these specifications rely on existing standards, and aim to create a unified and cohesive approach to applying these standards.


Exchangeable image file format (officially Exif, according to JEIDA/JEITA/CIPA specifications) is a standard that specifies the formats for images, sound, and ancillary tags used by digital cameras (including smartphones), scanners and other systems handling image and sound files recorded by digital cameras. The specification uses the following existing file formats with the addition of specific metadata tags: JPEG discrete cosine transform (DCT) for compressed image files, TIFF Rev. 6.0 (RGB or YCbCr) for uncompressed image files, and RIFF WAV for audio files (Linear PCM or ITU-T G.711 μ-Law PCM for uncompressed audio data, and IMA-ADPCM for compressed audio data). It is not used in JPEG 2000 or GIF.

This standard consists of the Exif image file specification and the Exif audio file specification.

Extensible Metadata Platform

The Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is an ISO standard, originally created by Adobe Systems Inc., for the creation, processing and interchange of standardized and custom metadata for digital documents and data sets.

XMP standardizes a data model, a serialization format and core properties for the definition and processing of extensible metadata. It also provides guidelines for embedding XMP information into popular image, video and document file formats, such as JPEG and PDF, without breaking their readability by applications that do not support XMP. Therefore, the non-XMP metadata have to be reconciled with the XMP properties. Although metadata can alternatively be stored in a sidecar file, embedding metadata avoids problems that occur when metadata is stored separately.

The XMP data model, serialization format and core properties is published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 16684-1:2012 standard.


IIM may refer to:

Indian Institutes of Management, a group of 20 schools of management in India

Alternative name for Mexican pop group Flans for 2002 revival, from initials of names Ivonne, Ilse and Mimí

IPTC Information Interchange Model, a standard for embedding metadata in images

IC Identification Module, a unit in some NXP (formerly Freescale) microprocessors

Indian Institute of Metals, Indian professional body

Institute of Interim Management, UK professional body

Instituto de Investigaciones en Materiales, Institute of Investigation in Materials, Mexican professional body

Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy

IPTC 7901

IPTC 7901 is a news service text markup specification published by the International Press Telecommunications Council that was designed to standardize the content and structure of text news articles. It was formally approved in 1979, and is still the world’s most common way of transmitting news articles to newspapers, web sites and broadcasters from news services.

Using fixed metadata fields and a series of control and other special characters, IPTC 7901 was designed to feed text stories to both teleprinters and computer-based news editing systems. Stories can be assigned to broad categories (such as sports or culture) and be given a higher or lower priority based upon importance.

Although superseded in the early 1990s by IPTC Information Interchange Model and later by the XML-based News Industry Text Format, 7901's huge existing user base has persisted.

IPTC 7901 is closely related to ANPA-1312 (also known as ANPA 84-2 and later 89-3) of the Newspaper Association of America.

Image viewer

An image viewer or image browser is a computer program that can display stored graphical images; it can often handle various graphics file formats. Such software usually renders the image according to properties of the display such as color depth, display resolution, and color profile.

Although one may use a full-featured raster graphics editor (such as Photoshop or the GIMP or the StylePix) as an image viewer, these have many editing functionalities which are not needed for just viewing images, and therefore usually start rather slowly. Also, most viewers have functionalities that editors usually lack, such as stepping through all the images in a directory (possibly as a slideshow).

Image viewers give maximal flexibility to the user by providing a direct view of the directory structure available on a hard disk. Most image viewers do not provide any kind of automatic organization of pictures and therefore the burden remains on the user to create and maintain their folder structure (using tag- or folder-based methods). However, some image viewers also have features for organizing images, especially an image database, and hence can also be used as image organizers.

Some image viewers, such as Windows Photo Viewer that comes with Windows operating systems, change a JPEG image if it is rotated, resulting in loss of image quality; others offer lossless rotation.

International Press Telecommunications Council

The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), based in London, United Kingdom, is a consortium of the world's major news agencies, other news providers and news industry vendors and acts as the global standards body of the news media.

Currently more than 50 companies and organizations from the news industry are members of the IPTC, including global players like Associated Press (AP), Agence France-Presse (AFP), Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), BBC, Getty Images, Press Association (PA), Reuters and The New York Times.

IPTC aims at simplifying the distribution of information. To achieve this technical standards are developed to improve the management and exchange of information between content providers, intermediaries and consumers.

IPTC is committed to open standards and makes all standards freely available to its members and the wider community.

The IPTC was established in 1965 by a group of news organisations including the Alliance Européenne des Agences de Presse (EANA), American Newspaper Publishers Association (then ANPA, now NAA), Fédération Internationale des Editeurs de Journaux (now WAN-IFRA) and the North American News Agencies (a joint committee of Associated Press, Canadian Press and United Press International) to safeguard the telecommunications interests of the world's press.

JPEG File Interchange Format

The JPEG File Interchange Format (JFIF) is an image file format standard. It is a format for exchanging JPEG encoded files compliant with the JPEG Interchange Format (JIF) standard. It solves some of JIF's limitations in regard to simple JPEG encoded file interchange. As with all JIF compliant files, image data in JFIF files is compressed using the techniques in the JPEG standard, hence JFIF is sometimes referred to as "JPEG/JFIF".


MetaLith is a metadata editor. The main feature of the program is the ability to simultaneously edit any number of files. The program supports various metadata standards, as well as various file formats. Allows you to read, analyze, modify, delete, and create metadata. The program is popular in Eastern Europe.


Metadata is "data [information] that provides information about other data". Many distinct types of metadata exist, among these descriptive metadata, structural metadata, administrative metadata, reference metadata and statistical metadata.

Descriptive metadata describes a resource for purposes such as discovery and identification. It can include elements such as title, abstract, author, and keywords.

Structural metadata is metadata about containers of data and indicates how compound objects are put together, for example, how pages are ordered to form chapters. It describes the types, versions, relationships and other characteristics of digital materials.

Administrative metadata provides information to help manage a resource, such as when and how it was created, file type and other technical information, and who can access it.

Reference metadata describes the contents and quality of statistical data

Statistical metadata may also describe processes that collect, process, or produce statistical data; such metadata are also called process data.


Phatch (PHoto & bATCH) is a raster graphics editor used to batch process digital graphics and photographs. Phatch can be used on the desktop as a GUI program or on the server as a console program.


Picasa is a discontinued image organizer and image viewer for organizing and editing digital photos, plus an integrated photo-sharing website, originally created by a company named Lifescape (which at that time was incubated by Idealab) in 2002. In July 2004, Google acquired Picasa from Lifescape and began offering it as freeware. "Picasa" is a blend of the name of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, the phrase mi casa (Spanish for "my house") and "pic" for pictures.Native applications for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X (Intel only) were available from Google. For Linux, Google bundled Wine with the Windows version to create an installation package. For Mac OS X 10.4 and later, Google also released an iPhoto plugin and a standalone program for uploading photos.

On February 12, 2016, Google announced it was discontinuing support for Picasa Desktop and Web Albums, effective March 15, 2016, and focusing on the cloud-based Google Photos as its successor. Picasa Web Albums, a companion service, was closed on May 1, 2016.

Tag (metadata)

In information systems, a tag is a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information (such as an Internet bookmark, digital image, database record, or computer file). This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. Tags are generally chosen informally and personally by the item's creator or by its viewer, depending on the system, although they may also be chosen from a controlled vocabulary.Tagging was popularized by websites associated with Web 2.0 and is an important feature of many Web 2.0 services. It is now also part of other database systems, desktop applications, and operating systems.

Windows Imaging Component

Windows Imaging Component (WIC) is a Component Object Model based imaging codec framework introduced in Windows Vista (and later available in Windows XP Service Pack 3) for working with and processing digital images and image metadata. It allows applications supporting the framework to automatically get support of installed codecs for graphics file formats.

It is similar to DirectShow, or ACM/VCM, in that it can be extended using image codecs and can support third-party graphics formats on a system-wide basis. Additionally, Windows Presentation Foundation applications also automatically support the installed image codecs. Codecs for RAW image formats used by high-end professional digital cameras are also supported in this manner.

WIC enables application developers to perform image processing operations on any image format through a single set of common APIs, without requiring prior knowledge of specific image formats. By writing a codec once for WIC, developers can get system-wide support for that graphics file format in all applications that use WIC, .NET 3.x or WPF.

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