The Museum Use Case

A Museum tracks its images from photography through to picture library and distribution.

A museum Photography department makes images of works of art and objects held by the museum. Using Photoshop and Bridge, or Lightroom, the photographers enter information about who photographed the artwork (Creator), their job title, and the date the work was photographed. This data is entered in IPTC Core fields. 

They also enter the accession number of the artwork in the field under IPTC Extension field 'Source Inventory'. This is the  number uniquely identifying the artwork or object in its source location, which in this case is the museum. 

Content Management System
The images are ingested into the museum's content management system (CMS) , which is where the cataloguing is done. The CMS feeds the images and data to the general museum web site and to the commercial image library run by the museum. The embedded information is read by the CMS and is viewable by the cataloguers. Many museums are working with CMS systems that don't yet read any or all  IPTC fields. This is not a problem as the data can be exported from the images by the photographers using the IPTC-PLUS metadata panels for Bridge,  then imported into the CMS or other database in a standard data format such as Tab Delimited or Comma Separated (CSV) data. 

Exporting data using IPTC-PLUS Panels in Bridge
The script is easy to install in Bridge - there is a mini installer which makes it easy, and instructions are given in the package, which is  free to download from the IPTC Photo Metadata web site.  

In the Extras section of the IPTC-PLUS panels, you can export data for a selection of images to a tab delimited format which can be imported into a spreadsheet or a database system. Most systems will read tab delimited or CSV data and can import the data that way. The systems of the future should  have the capability of reading and exporting to the entire range of XMP IPTC fields. 

Cataloguing in the Museum CMS
The cataloguers enter descriptive information about the artworks in the images. This data can be mapped and exported back into the images and placed in the IPTC Core and Extension fields at this stage if required. Again, if the CMS doesn't currently export to IPTC fields, selected data can be exported to a CSV or tab delimited file. It can then be imported into the high res image files using the IPTC-PLUS Panels for Bridge, and into the picture library database from a spreadsheet. 

The date of creation of the artwork, and the creator or artist name are entered into the Artwork/Objects fields, distinct from  fields in IPTC Core, which relate to the  digital image, not the underlying artwork. 

The Image Library 
The image library ingests the image and data from the CMS, and exports selected data to the customer, embedded in the image file. This data should be present in both high res and preview versions of the images file downloaded by the customer. The important thing is that critical copyright and identification data will be embedded in the file, so the image is less likely to become an 'orphan'. The rights of the original artist, the museum, and other rights holders, are carried in the image file. 

Author: Sarah Saunders, Electric Lane