How portable is tagging info written into the picture files?
December 17, 2007 11:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently using Photoshop Elements to organize my pictures, and have spent some time going through and tagging them. There's the option to write the tag information to the individual files via XML, and I have some questions. I'm a newbie to Elements.

I'm wondering how much bigger the files might get if I selected the option to write the info via XML - it seems like in the abstract, it'd be a good way to preserve all the tagging I've done.

I'm also wondering if that tag information is accessible using other picture management software, such as Picasa - I'm thinking longterm, if ended up migrating to another photography software product, would all my effort be for naught?
posted by canine epigram to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
If we assume that Photoshop elements is writing your metadata to XMP like PhotoShop does, it should be ready by any software that claims to have anything to do with embedded metadata. I can't really think of a good reason to do it any other way. The files themselves won't get all that much bigger and the data would be readable to any number of programs.
posted by advicepig at 12:22 PM on December 17, 2007

The file size increase should be minimal considering that most pictures these days are measured in megabytes (or at the least hundreds of kilobytes).

I'm not familiar with Elements but what you are most likely talking about is XMP metadata. This is a newer metadata format that is backed by Adobe and has been adopted into some tools included with Vista. The older, more broadly adopted standard is called IPTC Headers. There also exists a proposed standard for mapping IPTC to XMP.

In the long run, as long as Adobe continues to supports it, XMP will be a good choice. Providing that no other big player tries to introduce a competing standard. What isn't so sure yet is how robust the small, independent software ecosystem will be in adopting XMP.

As for Picasa, they report that they can read XMP metadata. I don't have any XMP encoded files so I couldn't tell you what exactly that means.

The current major version of Picasa is getting pretty long in the tooth. The natives are getting restless and there is great hope that the new version will have a host of new features including this.
posted by mmascolino at 12:25 PM on December 17, 2007

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