Blog Technology #TTMTech Series: Making the lives of photojournalists and publishers a little easier, full IPTC data support on the Transterra Media web and mobile platforms.


From film to digital, breaking news to portrait, process has always been a key part of photography.

Because we believe that simplifying process is essential to building a successful media platform, when developing the Transterra Media web platform,
we’ve worked hard to prioritize features that help journalists upload media with the right information in the right places for our editorial staff and media publishers.  

One of the key features we’ve incorporated into the platform is full support for extracting and embedding IPTC metadata for all images uploaded
and exported from the platform. This support means that photojournalists can set caption, location and author attributes in their favourite software tools,
for example,
Photomechanic, and these attributes will be incorporated into the media item created after uploading to Transterra Media.

Additionally, modifications to titles, location, and date on the website will be reflected in the embedded IPTC data when media is sent to publishers.

Deep dive: what is IPTC data?
IPTC data is a structured set of metadata attributes originally developed in the early 1990s by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) as a way to expedite the international exchange of news among newspapers and news agencies. The metadata keys embedded in images is often referred to as "IPTC headers.”
These headers and the information associated can be easily encoded and decoded by most popular photo editing software.

The adoption of IPTC data as an international standard advanced in 1994 when Adobe Systems defined a specification for embedding these metadata headers and values into digital image files. Some of the information captured includes the creator name, captions, location information, keywords, and additional technical characteristics of the image asset. Today, the IPTC format is broadly accepted by photographers, news organizations, and publishers around the world.

Why is IPTC data important?
A story may be worth a thousand words, but a little information about an image goes a long way especially for publishers that need to optimizse workflow and verify image authenticity.

One of the most important qualities of structured information about image resources is that it helps make photo collections searchable. IPTC metadata is essential to properly describing photo content by natural or formal language, and in this way make it possible to easily search for photographs. No photo archive could function without support for photo metadata indexing.  

Property rights are another important consideration.  By attributing an author and in many cases making the value read-only, photo rights are protected and intellectual property attribution strengthened. Embedded IPTC data even makes it possible to track an image’s usage giving photojournalists yet another way to protect image rights.

We’ve worked hard to bring full IPTC data support to the Transterra Media web and mobile platforms.  While this support internally helps us process uploaded media, support for IPTC data extraction and embedding also improves the lives of our partner contributors and buyers. Whether you're a journalist that wants to protect attribution and submit media as quickly as possible or a publisher interested in optimizing workflow, we hope that our work will help make your lives easier.

Joseph Francis Marsico

Photo Metadata White Paper

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