Home > Media Center > Vista photo tags to use XMP

Vista photo tags to use XMP

Matt Goyer points out that Windows Vista photo tags will use XMP as the metadata layer.  The topic of tagging was recently discussed in the Pix Blog, with the following statements:

There are a number of competing standards for imaging metadata. That is, different ways of reading and writing metadata for photos. One of the biggest standards, EXIF, is commonly written to photos by most cameras, but has many limitations. It’s somewhat antiquated, fragile, not very flexible, and doesn’t support international languages like Japanese very well. IPTC is a standard that is used pretty widely in journalism applications, but is undergoing a transformation towards an XMP-based system.

XMP is an extensible framework for embedding metadata in files that was developed by Adobe, and is the foundation for our “truth is in the file” goal. All metadata written to photos by Windows Vista will be written to XMP (always directly to the file itself, never to a ‘sidecar’ file). When reading metadata from photos on Windows Vista, we will first look for XMP metadata, but if we don’t find any, we’ll also look for legacy EXIF and IPTC metadata as well. If we find legacy metadata, we’ll write future changes back to both XMP and the legacy metadata blocks (to improve compatibility with legacy applications).

I just tried to test this on my vista box, and surprisingly can’t get any metadata to stick at all so I’ll assume that either my version is buggy or this is a to-be-released feature.  I did do quite a bit of testing early on and the metadata was definintely not in any standard format (at least that’s what my sometimes foggy memory is telling me).  I also came across an older discussion at Scoble’s blog that would seem to prove my memory correct.
I’m thrilled to see this change in direction, it’s something I’ve been pounding my chest about quite a bit over the last year.  My only other thoughts/concerns that hopefully I’ll get to test soon:

  • Will there be a way for me to force the compatibility mode?  Until the world changes a bit more, I may still need to write out IPTC tags.  I plan to dump my current tagging tools if the Microsoft Gallery serves my needs, so legacy data won’t be in my new files to trigger the writing of IPTC tags.  I will however still want IPTC information in there at least until the rest of the world completes its move to XMP (for sharing my files).
  • Is this only in the gallery application, or will tags I add via explorer also get this treatment?  I’m hoping that this extends to all of Windows and not just the gallery app.

Thank you to Microsoft, very much, for listening to the community on this one.  I sincerely appreciate this functionality.

Categories: Media Center
  1. September 20, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Not so fast. The XMP header in RC1’s Photo Gallery is not fully up-to-date with the current XMP specs. It also contains its own proprietory namespace (…which no other app can read at this time).
    In an effort to keep everything nice and simple, you will not know which ITPC or EXIF fields you actually edit, this information is not shown in the UI. So, hang von to your tagging tools. And give the Vista Photo Manager to your grandma – she will appreciate the ease of use.


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