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Guidelines for Handling Image Metadata

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Consumer sharing of still images has exploded with the maturing of Internet services for the storage, manipulation, and sharing of pictures. However, the majority of standards related to still images are oriented toward the documentation of the creation of an image or towards professional (e.g. print media) usage and management of images. In addition, the content overlap between the most commonly used standards can result in some confusion. This document describes how best to use existing standards such as Exif, IPTC, and XMP to address the key organizational metadata questions that most consumers have. The updated guidance provides updates to some previously covered topics such as text encoding and location, however it also covers new topics including image regions, hierarchical metadata, and image collections. Download the specification (PDF: 1.7M).

Test Files for Verification

Download Test Files

In order to ensure consistent behavior with regards to the Guidelines for Handling Image Metadata specification, the Metadata Working Group provides a set of tools and test files that assist in the verification that the specification is implemented correctly by a product. Download the MWG Test Files (ZIP: 2.1M).

Older Specifications:

Guidelines for Handling Image Metadata v1.0.1 (PDF: 1.5M outdated)

Guidelines for Handling Image Metadata v1.0.0 (PDF: 1.7M outdated)