Last blog I wrote about EXIF and IPTC tags and how they were handled in ACDSee and Adobe Photoshop (Photo Management and Keyword Tags part 1). This time I’ll cover Windows (MCE) and Apple iPhoto.
Windows and Microsoft Media Center will recognize tags that are written to the IPTC Keywords section and uses those tags to create a “Tag” organization of files when browsing your images with MCE. There’s no method for searching the data (in MCE) but it is sorted by keyword. IPTC tags also show up in the Windows Explorer as shown in the right column below. The folder template has to be set to “Pictures and Video” for the tag field to be a default.
Apple iPhoto supports embedded tags but it calls them keywords. You can view the keywords associated with individual files, and you can view of list of all your keywords so you can easily click which to assign to a selected file or group of files. There’s even a keyword editor where you can assign shortcuts to individual keywords. It’s a very straightforward UI. The keywords end up being quite easy to use and assign. You can also sort photos within Events by keyword. To search by keyword there’s a search field at the bottom of the events screen where you can select to search by keyword and the list of keywords pops up where you then select the keyword you are looking for.
Given the ability iPhoto has in supporting Geo-tags and facial recognition (I’ll talk about that in a future blog) the focus isn’t really on tags because there are other ways that make searching and sorting by names and locations very simple, even so tags are well supported. One example that shows how well iPhoto works; I wanted to search for the Utah tag when testing the feature. I searched using the text field entering “Utah” and was shown all images that had a geo-tag location that was within the state of Utah, wow, I was impressed! I then selected search by tag, entered Utah and it returned only those where I had actually tagged them with the keyword of Utah. It looks like I have my cake and get to eat it too ;-)
My overview of several diverse implementations of tagging shows is that the usage isn’t consistent enough between applications to be a real standard yet. I would really like to see some convergence so that users like me who value multiple applications could add tags in one app and know they will be found and properly understood when browsing the same image database in another application.
Thoughts, comments and additional insight are appreciated.