The U.S. Library of Congress has awarded the Stock Artists Alliance one of eight partnerships for preserving digital media. The partnerships are part of the $2.15 million "Preserving Creative America" initiative of the Library's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) www.digitalpreservation.gov.
These partnerships each address different aspects of preservation, to help insure the survival of digital media, whether images, movies, cartoons, or even video games.
Being recognized along with the likes of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Sony, and BMI, SAA's award comes as acknowledgment of SAA's ongoing work to promote the importance of using and preserving photo metadata. "With the Library's support, we will be able to expand the reach and depth of our efforts to promote metadata best practices among professional photographers and across the image licensing industry," says Betsy Reid, SAA's Executive Director.
With its award, SAA will develop online resources and professional seminars to promote the importance of metadata for the long-term usability of digital photographs.
Specifically, SAA will use the award to:
Survey and report on current metadata practices
Develop a suite of online resources including screencast tutorials
Create a traveling educational program targeting professional photographers along with other image professionals
Publish an edition of SAA's [KEY]WORDS ezine solely dedicated to metadata
These activities will help SAA achieve its continuing goal of getting photographers to embed metadata in their digital images. "Metadata helps photographers not only preserve their images, but protect their livelihoods," says SAA project leader David Riecks. "We want to create resources to guide them in making the leap to using metadata."
According to Reid, the use of metadata is key as it can help stem the loss of essential information about images as they are disseminated by distributors and repurposed by end users. Without this information, archiving, retrieving, and repurposing images becomes difficult. "This limits their usability both commercially and publicly," says Reid.
An active proponent of metadata use and best practices, SAA established itself as a leader with the publication of the widely recognized "Metadata Manifesto" in 2006. Downloadable copies are available from the SAA website at www.stockartistsalliance.org/info/news/news.htm#manifesto.
"The Manifesto was an initial step in building awareness of metadata and promoting its standardization and use," says Riecks. "The licensing community, as well as the public and private entities that use images on a daily basis benefit from metadata, in the form of greater efficiencies in image workflow and data retrieval," says Riecks. "Now we need the participation and coordinated effort of industry organizations, standards bodies, technology providers, and software developers to further metadata use."
Given the amount of work to do to achieve industry-wide commitment to using metadata, SAA welcomes partner support from image licensors and users alike, says Reid.
SAA is the only trade association dedicated to the business interests of stock photographers, supporting its members with information resources and ongoing advocacy initiatives. More information about SAA is available at www.stockartistsalliance.org.
SAA also works closely with a number of groups allied in its mission, including the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) and its working groups; Picture Licensing Universal System (PLUS); and the Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines (UPDIG).