The Metadata Working Group is a coalition between Adobe, Apple, Canon, Microsoft, Nokia and Sony, which was formed to help standardize the various methods and formats metadata is created and used among consumer electronics manufacturers.
The Metadata Working Group has porduced a set of Guidelines for Handling Metadata, which is a 42 page document describing how best to use existing standards such as Exif, IPTC, and XMP to address the key organizational metadata questions that most consumers have.
The intent of the MWG is to publish technical specifications that describe how to effectively store metadata into digital media files. These royalty-free specifications will be made available to manufacturers and service providers so that they may create products that store metadata in a consistent way, and that allow consumers to maintain control over their valuable information. Where possible, these specifications will rely on existing standards, and will aim to create a unified and cohesive approach to applying these standards.
For additional information, see the press release below.
COLOGNE, Germany – Sept. 24, 2008 – At Photokina 2008, industry-leading companies announced the Metadata Working Group, an organization formed in 2007 dedicated to solving key interoperability issues that make finding, organizing and searching for digital photos a challenge. Today, the Metadata Working Group has also introduced its first specification, which provides guidelines designed to increase interoperability and preservation of metadata in digital photographs. “Lack of metadata interoperability has led to significant frustration for both consumer and pro photographers, and our companies have spent considerable resources trying to deal with the problem,” said Josh Weisberg, chairman and founder of the Metadata Working Group and director of Microsoft’s Rich Media Group. “Getting these industry leaders together to rally around metadata interoperability is a real turning point, one that we believe will result in technology that’s easier for photographers to use. We’ve been working very hard to produce guidelines that are compatible across all applications, devices and services and that provide best practices for how, when and where metadata should be changed in popular file formats.”
Metadata, sometimes referred to as “data about data,” is important to digital photography because it allows photographers to tag their digital photos with information such as where and when they were taken. For both professional photographers and consumers, this enables basic activities such as being able to find and share photos. Although the digital photography industry has several metadata standards, these existing standards often overlap in purpose and lack interoperability guidance. The result is that many interoperability scenarios between devices, applications and services are not possible because no clearly defined rules and standards exist to ensure consistent use. The Metadata Working Group’s initial guidelines target still photo metadata, with a focus on common consumer uses. The guidelines also identify overlapping content between existing standards and schemas. “We’ve chosen to address the most common issues photographers face as we feel this will make the biggest impact for the average photographer,” Weisberg said. “Down the road, we will expand our work to include other metadata issues relevant to photographers.”
About Metadata Working Group
Based on a 2006 proposal by Microsoft, the Metadata Working Group (MWG) organization was created in 2007 by five founding members: Adobe Systems, Inc., Apple Inc., Canon Inc., Microsoft and Nokia. Sony Corp. joined the organization as a board member in 2008. The group is dedicated to the preservation and seamless interoperability of digital media metadata and to interoperability and availability to all applications, devices and services. For more information, please visit the Metadata Working Group Web site at http://www.metadataworkinggroup.org.