What Does 'XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform)' Mean?

What is XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform)?
Photo by David Bruno Silva on Unsplash

XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) is a standard for storing and organizing metadata (data about data) in a digital file. It was developed by Adobe Systems in the late 1990s as a way to embed metadata in image files and has since been adopted by many software applications and media formats.

Metadata is information that describes the characteristics and context of a digital file. It can include details about the file’s content, for example, the title, author, and keywords, as well as technical information, such as the file size, resolution, and color depth.

Metadata can be used for a variety of purposes, like organizing and searching for files, preserving information about the file’s history, and providing context for the file’s content.

XMP was designed to be an open standard that gives the metadata the capacity to be embedded in a wide range of file formats, including image, audio, and video files, as well as documents and other types of digital media.

It is based on the W3C’s Resource Description Framework (RDF), which is a standardized way of representing metadata as a set of triples (subject-predicate-object). XMP uses RDF to encode metadata as a series of name-value pairs, with the name representing the predicate and the value representing the object.

One of the main benefits of XMP is that it allows metadata to be stored directly within the file rather than in a separate file or database. This makes it easier to preserve and manage metadata over the lifetime of a file, as the metadata is not dependent on external systems or processes.

Since XMP is based on an open standard that is widely used, it also makes it easy to share metadata between different software applications and systems.

XMP is often used in conjunction with other metadata standards, among them IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) and EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format).

These standards provide specific sets of metadata fields that are commonly used in particular types of media, such as images or videos.

For example, EXIF is a metadata standard specifically designed for image files and includes fields for storing information about the camera and settings used to capture the image. XMP can be used to store EXIF metadata as well as other metadata that is not covered by EXIF or other standards.

XMP has many practical applications in a variety of fields. It is commonly used in the media and entertainment industries to store metadata about media assets, like images, videos, and audio files.

XMP is also used in the publishing industry to store metadata about documents, such as books and articles. In the business world, XMP is utilized to keep metadata about documents and other digital assets, including contracts, presentations, and marketing materials.

XMP is supported by a diverse array of software applications, including image editing and management software, like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, and media players, such as VLC and QuickTime. It is also supported by many operating systems and file formats, for example, Windows, Mac OS, and various image, audio, and video file formats.

To sum up, XMP is a widely used standard for storing and organizing metadata in a digital file. It is based on the W3C’s Resource Description Framework and enables metadata to be stored directly within the file, making it easier to preserve and manage over time. Many software programs and media formats support XMP, and it has a wide range of useful applications in various industries.

More information

XMP uses standard XML and RDF syntax to define metadata properties and attributes. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a widely used standard for storing and exchanging structured data. It uses a set of tags to define the structure and content of a document, making it easy to read and parse by both humans and machines.

RDF (Resource Description Framework) is a standard for representing metadata as a set of triples (subject-predicate-object). It is a key component of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Semantic Web initiative, which aims to make the web more machine-readable and semantically linked. RDF makes it possible for the metadata to be represented in a standardized way that can be understood by different systems and applications.

XMP combines these two standards to create a flexible and extensible platform for storing metadata. It uses XML to define the structure and organization of the metadata and RDF to represent the metadata as a set of name-value pairs. This allows XMP to store a plethora of metadata in a standardized and interoperable format.

XMP example

Here is an example of an XMP text file that contains metadata about an image:

<?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?>
<x:xmpmeta xmlns:x="adobe:ns:meta/" x:xmptk="Adobe XMP Core 5.6-c142 79.160924, 2018/07/30-01:06:39">
   <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#">
      <rdf:Description rdf:about=""
               <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">Sunset over the ocean</rdf:li>
               <rdf:li>John Smith</rdf:li>
               <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">A beautiful sunset over the ocean, captured on a summer evening</rdf:li>
<?xpacket end="w"?>

This XMP text file contains metadata about an image, including the title, creator, description, and subject. The metadata is organized using XML tags, and the name-value pairs are represented using RDF syntax.

For example, the title of the image is stored as an “Alt” element within a “title” element, and the creator is stored as a “Seq” element within a “creator” element.