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W3C, IPTC, Dublin Core, and Adobe

Page history last edited by GregReser 12 years, 8 months ago


Background on the development of the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) Photo Metadata Standard


Steve Tatum

Visual Resources Curator

Virginia Tech



This chronology shows how embedded metadata evolved through the interweaving of developments in W3C, the International Press Telecommunications Council, the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and Adobe.


1989: Tim Berners-Lee proposed developing a system for linking data on the web. The proposal resulted in the Resource Description Framework (RDF).


1991: International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) developed its Information Interchange Model (IIM), a schema for all content, but which is most widely used for photographs.


c. 1995: Adobe added metadata capability to Photoshop and included IPTC’s IIM schema in its File Info panels. The metadata could be embedded in the headers of images.


1995: An OCLC workshop in Dublin, Ohio, created the Dublin Core schema, a set of fifteen generic elements.


1999: W3C published its Resource Description Framework proposal for RDF. The first draft was 1997. A major function of RDF is to link different schemas expressed in XML (RDF/XML)


2000: The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative promoted “application profiles,” which combine elements of different schemas for specific applications. Dublin Core is commonly used in application profiles for the sake of interoperability among applications.


2004: The IPTC worked with Adobe to update IPTC’s schema, using RDF and XML. Adobe’s version of RDF/XML is called XMP. The updated version of the schema is called IPTC Core.


The IPTC schema was not directly written to XML. Instead, it was mapped to elements of Adobe’s own Photoshop schema and Dublin Core. It was the type of application profile that the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative advocated.


Five IPTC fields map to Dublin Core:


IPTC Description = Dublin Core Description (dc:description)

IPTC Keywords = Dublin Core Subject (dc:subject)

IPTC Title = Dublin Core Title (dc:title)

IPTC Copyright Notice = Dublin Core Rights (dc:rights)

IPTC Creator = Dublin Core Creator (dc:creator)


2008: Dublin Core published an enhanced version expressed in RDF/XML and IPTC published the first version of the extension to IPTC Core.




Berners-Lee’s 1989 proposal


RDF History (a little):



1999 W3C recommendation for RDF



History of XMP and recommendations for programmers



Dublin Core history



Dublin Core and application profiles



Article explaining application profiles, published in 2000:

Application profiles: mixing and matching metadata schemas.

Rachel Heery and Manjula Patel introduce the 'application profile' as a type of metadata schema.



History of IIM and IPTC schemas



IPTC Core plus extension standard, published in 2009 – most recent




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