In addition to the excellent suggestions of Kari and Shaun, may I also point you to a special interest group of photometadata/cultural heritage experts who are working on very similar issues:
One of the problems they are tabling is an extended schema for embedding rich descriptions in file headers.
I think they would love to hear your use case. To join the group you need to "apply" to the moderators; that would be Sarah Saunders ([log in to unmask]) and David Riecks ([log in to unmask]).
I'm also open to discussing this on or off list as I put together a comprehensive mapping of photo data (IPTC/XMP) to the heritage schema LIDO (www.lido-schema.org) recently and made some recommendations around VRA: http://www.linkedheritage.org/getFile.php?id=394
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kyle Banerjee
Sent: 20 November 2012 19:55
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Easiest way to tag thousands of images
I am in the process of examining how photo collections maintained by campus units can be incorporated into the library's repository. In all cases that I've had to deal with so far, they're just using the file system -- i.e.
traversing folders that arrange images thematically to file names that indicate the content.
Each of these collections contains many thousands of images. This means that it's a hassle for them to find images, but also that there's no way library staff alone will be able to handle all the metadata creation.
I'd like to use something slick like picasa to help them out (facial recognition is an especially big deal for us). But I'm finding the metadata to be both minimalist and clunky to work with so I wanted a reality check to see if I'm not doing this the dumb way. Things I've noticed:
1. Picasa appears to store info in xmp rather than exif which is great
given the limitations of exif. However, I haven't yet found a way to use
more than a couple fields. The caption shows up in a description field, and
they tag show up in subjects. But aside from that, I'm at a loss of how to
populate other DC fields through the interface.
2. Facial recognition metadata doesn't show up in xmp at all. However, I
can get that by parsing .picasa.ini and contacts.xml (clunky, but doable).
I'm kind of tempted to tell people to go into albums and batch tag the
people albums since it's going to be fun explaining how to locate these
My real question is whether anyone has come up with a really good way to assign metadata to thousands of photos, preferably in batch fashion? Thanks,