Types of Metadata

Metadata, the data that describes your content, helps you and others find specific files. The efficiency with which you or others can find an image increases your Library's market value and can save your staff time and money. A good metadata workflow is crucial to a successful media library. 

Classes of Metadata

Different types of metadata serve different functions, and different users within an image's custody chain should be responsible for ensuring the appropriate metadata is affixed.


Digital cameras and smartphones automatically tag an image with large amounts of metadata, including:

  • exposure information
  • date
  • GPS information (in some cases).

This data cannot be edited.

Bulk entry data

User-supplied metadata is often added in bulk. Some cameras, for example, allow a photographer to automatically include copyright and "author" information. A photographer might subsequently add bulk data to an entire set of images, including location, general keywords, broad classifications, etc. The most widely supported metadata standard for user-generated information is the IPTC standard, which can be read and edited by programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, iPhoto, and much more.

Higher metadata

Higher metadata describes information related to a specific or small set of image(s). A caption, for example, is usually only relevant to an individual image, but can be crucial in identifying the context.

Ownership and licensing metadata

Most corporate media libraries contain images that were not created by its full-time employees, and therefore not wholly owned. In other words, the organization has licensed this content from other copyright holders, and every license has restrictions. Tracking ownership and licensing information is a crucial part of minimizing legal exposure and ensuring compliance.

Learn more about managing licenses and rights.

Custom metadata

Libris also offers the ability to create custom metadata fields and tags, which can be used to supplement IPTC metadata to make searches easier by offering a preset list of search categories and terms in your Library (and Portal, if you wish). Images can be tagged with custom metadata in bulk in your Library.

Custom metadata resides only in Libris; it is not embedded in your images if you export them from Libris.

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