There is no standard in photography captioning and metadata. That lossless group of taxonomist geeks who have been mismanaging the IPTC organization  have made a mess of the whole thing and its getting worse. Someone should get fired for good.

Not only IPTC is not a standard, it is now being implemented properly by anyone. The whole thing is ridiculous.

Every single one photo application you open these days has a different header for the same fields . Depending on what software you are using, the fields have different names ? why is that ? where is the standard ? Should you ever want to educate someone on how to properly caption his/her pictures, it is impossible as you cannot even exchange proper field name’s with them.

At the time when there is more images exchanged and used  worldwide, it is impossible to write or read metadata in a standardized way. It is as if this was invented and managed by Microsoft employees : a mess with no logic and practicality whatsoever.

Someone with a brain should take this organization over  and really do some productive work instead of spending time in 8 hour long session explaining to people how a standard is not standardized. And it really doesn’t matter who does it, but lets stop the massacre.This is ruining everyone’s work .

Lets have a simple 6 fields entry that would be the exact same for all software application that would contained the minimum information necessary, like copyright, description, contact info, date, location and keywords.  Make them stick to the image regardless if it is cropped, resized, altered, spit on, whatever. The metadata should travel with the images like its pixels.

And that is it. After that, you can attached EXIF , XMP, Word, Side cars, Dublin beer  and your dog to it, should you want.  Who cares ?

look at that :

A special IPTC format to express the code of a concept which was introduced with the family of G2-Standards. Typical for the format is having a string, then a colon, and finally another string. As the G2-Standards require to have potentially long strings as globally unique identifiers the major goal of QCodes are to shorten them and to make the controlled vocabulary visible this code pertains to. The format of a QCode is in short: “short name for the controlled vocabulary”:”code of the concept” like e.g. subj:06011000 “

who has time for that crap ?

KIS : keep it simple, you geeks !! Simple, useful and agreeable to use . We do not need to know the shoe size of the the photographer. Complicated does not mean intelligent. It just means complicated. And software developers, if you do not stick to the standard than go play somewhere else, we will not use your products. Go mess with someone else’s mind.

As the CEPIC members are about to sit in their chairs for eight long hours to listen to a bunch of nerdy taxidermist talk about field #110 and how it took them 15 meetings to agree on what it should do, they should start a revolt and throw their chairs at them.

Field #110 ? who has the time to fill 110 fields for every images ?  What is wrong with these people ? do they ever caption images themselves ? Certainly doesn’t look like it.

Enough blabbering, IPTC people ! 6 fields, all named the same way and that is it !!

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3 Thoughts on “Where is the Standard ?

  1. I fully agree, we all like simple and singular things: one simple standard for everything. The IPTC would be happy to provide one – but there is this odd thing called reality.

    And that’s why reality spoils our big hope:

    – The IPTC defines the semantics of fields and their names and provides user guidelines for photographers, while …

    – … some Software implementers a) don’t tell the user about the semantics (and not having used a specific standard) and b) make a choice of field labels on their own.

    – The IPTC published a couple of standards but we don’t deploy “IPTC Marines” to enforce them, we may be taxonomy geeks but peaceful minds.

    – The world is complex: 150 years ago newspapers were text news and a few drawings only, today news websites deliver news in half a dozen different media-types. Standards must reflect this diversity.

    – The business is complex: there are photo business sectors with different requirements for metadata. What if one sector builds business on the shoe size of the photographer? Standardisation bodies are not here to judge “good business” and “bad business”, we have to standardise what a large group requests for its business.

    – There are other standardisation bodies for metadata beyond the IPTC: Exif (JEITA/CIPA), Adobe/TIFF & XMP, Dublin Core, PLUS, Prism, and some more. Do you want to deploy the “Melchers Marines” to merge them? We, the IPTC, successfully make them talking to each other, our Photo Metadata Conference ( is one visible action to this purpose.

    – The complexity of simplicity: Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler (Albert Einstein) – is one of IPTC’s mottos for making standards.

    – Highly inspired persons are at odds with facts: QCodes are damned here but no IPTC Photo Metadata Standard user has to use them, so what? Or what about the claim a photographer has to fill in 110 fields? Sorry, there is no proof for that, only imagination and rant.


    Michael Steidl
    IPTC Managing Director

  2. Oooo, aaah, the sweet condescending tone of the people that are “in the know”. Hadn’t heard that one for a long time.
    ‘Course, this one has his job to protect. If the IPTC was a standard, there would be nothing to manage, would they? but enough, lets review:
    the IPTC organization cannot offer a standard because of..reality: OK, so what does it do then, exactly ?
    Developers use their own term; mmm, we knew that. what does IPTC do ? nothing, it seems, besides remaining peaceful.
    IPTC seem to struggle with adapting 150 year old schemes to the current world..mmm. sounds like a corporate struggle to me.
    IPTC seem to adopt the volume approach to standardization. and shoe size.
    IPTC mingles with other “standards” and make them talk to each other. Now, that is a useful activity. if all the standards of the world…It even has a conference to talk about standardizing standards. How cool .
    The IPTC Org likes to quote Einstein, because Taxonomy is very close to Quantum Physics.
    Finally, IPTC likes facts. not experience, just facts.

    Dear Mr “I have a good handle on reality”,
    These days standards are accepted because they make sense to the users, not to a bunch of stuffy bureaucrats with lots of academic pedigree. The idea of creating a standard in a vacuum and hoping to enforce it is very 19th century of you.
    If developpers are not using your standard, it is probably because it lacks any usability in the real world.
    You can spend most of your time defending it as much as you want, it will still not become accepted. Lets face it. It’s ugly.
    Change it before it is dropped altogether. Because a standard without users is no longer a standard. And yours is heading that way.

  3. hahahah…. yes you are totally right. I also have wondered why they called it standard when it’s the contrary. You only have to walk through different organizing photo softwares to see the dimensions of this failure.

    I also would love those 6 standarized fields burned in the skin of the image with no option to remove it. It doesn’t look complicated but here we are with this complete mess.


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