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Documentation & User Guides | Fotoware

Metadata: The differences between XMP and IPTC

Fotoware uses the XMP format to store metadata. This article explains the following:

  • What's the difference between XMP and IPTC?
  • How does Fotoware handle assets that have legacy IPTC metadata?
  • How do I configure my Fotoware system to correctly read and convert IPTC metadata to XMP?

Note: XMP has been the established industry standard for reading and writing embedded metadata for over two decades and we will continue our efforts to remain the industry leader in XMP capabilities adoption. As most applications and devices now exclusively use XMP as the format for reading and writing embedded metadata, we see that the additional support for reading IPTC block metadata is causing unnecessary compatibility issues. Moving forward, Fotoware will not be parsing IPTC metadata from assets if XMP metadata is present in the asset.

Support for parsing EXIF information will not be affected by this change.

Fotoware is a still a member of the IPTC Committee and remains involved in the adoption of IPTC standards in our tools.


XMP and IPTC: What's the difference?

XMP is the new "Extensible Metadata Platform" that was developed by Adobe around 2001. It's based on XML and was designed to allow the exchange of standardized and custom metadata for digital documents and data sets. It is, therefore, a format that can be used to describe any kind of asset, not limited to pictures. However, while some file types do not support XMP data embedded in the file itself and rely on a sidecar file that travels with the master, several common image formats support Embedded XMP, which means that the metadata is stored within the image file itself. Therefore the metadata always travels with the image file and does not need to be stored separately.

IPTC - the International Press Telecommunications Council (homepage: is a consortium of major news agencies across the world that set out to facilitate the exchange of information between news organizations.

With the advent of the digital era, Photoshop introduced the File Info panel to allow photographers to add IPTC data easily to the digital pictures they had taken - after scanning them of course; digital cameras were few and far between. With Photoshop 7, Adobe introduced XMP support in the File Info panel.


Are IPTC and XMP compatible?

In 2004 the IPTC introduced the IPTC Core schema for XMP, which means that all IPTC metadata can be seamlessly transferred to the more modern and far more flexible XMP format. The current IPTC Core schema has five fields that are interoperable with the Dublin Core schema: Title, Subject/Keywords, Creator, Rights/Copyright Notice, and Description.

In practice, this means that when Fotoware software encounters legacy IPTC metadata, it will read and display it, and when users update metadata, the entire metadata block will be converted and rewritten in XMP format. To the user, the entire operation is entirely transparent.