May 18, 2022

IPTC Releases New Version of Organization’s Widely Used Photo Metadata Standard

The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) announced yesterday (November 26, 2014) that a new version of their Photo Metadata Standard has been released and is available online.

From the IPTC:

IPTC announced today a new version of its Photo Metadata Standard, the most widely used standard to describe photos. It allows users to add precise and reliable data about people, products, locations and artwork shown in an image, and provides an improved and flexible way to express rights associated with a picture. IPTC is the world’s leading standards body for the news media and aims to simplify the distribution of information.


A key feature of the added metadata is the extended use of globally unique identifiers for things shown by an image. For products GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) – the most widely used product identifiers in the world – can be used. With an identifier for each traded product, linking product data with corresponding images is highly efficient. For people and locations freely available identifiers provided by systems like WikiData, DBpedia, Freebase or Geonames can be used. For artworks in the image the records in a museum’s publicly available inventory could be referenced. And free-text keywords can be complemented by identified terms from a controlled vocabulary like the IPTC Media Topics or a Getty Foundation vocabulary.

Another new feature is support for different rights expression languages, offering the flexibility important in a multilingual global environment. Machine readable expressions, using e.g. IPTC’s RightsML, can be embedded into the metadata of an image or referenced by a link to a rights document on the web.

The 2014 version of the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard is the first major update since 2008. IPTC is aware that wide implementation of a standard into software is essential to its use, so communication with software vendors and users of this standard plays a key role in encouraging uptake.

Direct to IPTC Standard: Photo Metadata (74 pages; PDF)

Learn More About What’s New< in the New Standard/a>

See Also: IPTC-PLUS Photo Metadata Toolkit for Adobe CS (Available Free of Charge)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.