[Gllug] Describing pictures in XML

Richard Lewis richardlewis at fastmail.co.uk
Fri Jun 18 09:53:23 UTC 2010

At Thu, 17 Jun 2010 21:58:14 +0100,
James Courtier-Dutton wrote:
> Hi,
> Does anyone know if there is a standard XML format to describe pictures.
> I am thinking of something like facebook, where one can highlight
> areas and put names to them.
> I want to have a picture.jpg file, and keep a picture.jpg.xml file next to it.
> In the .xml file I wish to store peoples names, highlighted area etc.
> that describe the picture.
> In this way, I can archive the pictures, and know that they will be
> readable, including the meta data in many years time.
> Most picture applications I know of seem to store this information in
> databases that make it difficult to extract the meta data for just one
> of the photos.
> I could then add search tools, that could show me all pictures of person A.
> With face recognition software, I could also have it scan all my
> pictures and find any other pictures where person A appears and update
> the .XML files appropriately.

The Text Encoding Initiative <http://www.tei-c.org/> specify in their
guidelines a way of encoding information about images. Princiaplly,
the <surface> element is used:


TEI is quite a large specification and learning it is quite, erm,
tedious. (Can be very worthwhile if you're interested in applications
of computers in the humanities.) Fortunately, there's a tool for
generating TEI image markup in a pointy-clicky way:


Unfortunately, it's Windows only. But the documentation suggests that
it may run under Wine.
Richard Lewis
ISMS, Computing
Goldsmiths, University of London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7078 5134
Skype: richardjlewis
JID: ironchicken at jabber.earth.li
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