Digital Asset Management – Part 4

Organizations have been established to standardize, promote, and protect the field of digital photography.  The Stock Artists Alliance (SAA) founded in 2001, is one such organization.  As the media and photo-journalists moved into the digital era, the need for standardization became obvious.  Photographers were now able to send images to their publishers almost instantly.  News now gets to the reader as quick as it can be posted on the Internet.  A system had to be put in place to manage this information and catalog and recall quickly.  Standards were developed as was a kind of numeric shorthand.  The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) helped set the standards which combined text information describing an image with the image data itself.  These standards contain only plain text, spaces, and line breaks.(17)  The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) also developed standards for exchanging images between sources.  In 1991 the Information Interchange Model (IIM) concept was launched, combining metadata around the previous plain text (binary) data.(18)  In 1994 Adobe gave us the ability to insert metadata into the image file.  This created a, “wrapper encapsulating a subject of the IPTC’s IIM metadata structure, which could be edited using a Photoshop form.”(19) Since then other software has come on the market to read this data.  A wide variety is available from identifying and removing duplicate images ( to accessing photojournalist codes (

At some point the decision needs to be made: “How do I archive and manage my image (database) library?”  A one gigabyte media card can hold approximately 400 images at a resolution of 5 mega pixels.(20)  At this rate, image data entry can quickly get out of control.  Photographer, Manuel Presti has what he calls the, “Two-Minute Technique.”  He clears images off of his camera every night.  Presti notes, “Hard drives are cheap, time is not cheap.”(21)  He further states editing needs to be just as rigorous.  Setting up criteria for your images that makes sense to you and your needs, as well as the end purpose is essential.  (Will you be selling your images (stock), using them on the Internet, as part of a graphic design, for educational purposes, sharing with friends and family…?)  What is your style?  Do you take images of landscapes, travel, and people, abstract, underground, etc.  Your categories should be tailored to your interests.  If you do not take images of wildlife its safe to say keywords describing every species of penguin is not necessary for your database.  I suggest beginning with a quick review of all of your current images.  Patterns will emerge.  Themes appear.  Write these down.  Do you have a lot of shots of babies? Animals? Architecture? Deviant behavior?  Where can you go from there?  Is that the direction you want this project to go?  Now start writing down common threads.  These words become your keywords and categories.  Software can be purchased to help you with this, or you can create this part on your own.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published) (required)



Current ye@r *

WP Flex by WP Queen
Wordpress theme developed by Simpler Computing and others - Wordpress and WPMU Plugins, custom code and more.