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Title vs Caption in Metadata

Gene_mtl

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Not fully understanding the difference between 'Title' and 'Caption' in the metadata tab. When would one use one over the other? Is one more important than the other?

Would appreciate others' thoughts on this.

TIA.
 
Last edited:

Mark Sirota

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The official definitions are very different. Title is kinda like a filename, Caption (aka Description) describes the contents of the photo. Also Headline, which is kinda like a short version of Caption/Description.
 

Gene_mtl

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Thanks guys. Problem is some programs display content of Title while others the content of Caption. Have taken to filling both field in LR with the same info.
 
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Hi Gene,

The world of photo metadata is fraught with rumor and innuendo. There is however. the IPTC who have a tireless sub-committee that worked out an published standards for such things. Unfortunately the photo software developers, photo sharing sites and camera manufacturers have tended be how shall I say "Relaxed" when implementing them.

So here are the definitions of each in the latest 2010 Photo Metadata specification on the IPTC Photo Metadata site.

Title:  A shorthand reference for the item (or digital image). Title provides a short human readable name which can be a text and/or numeric reference. It is not the same as Headline.

Headline:  A brief synopsis of the caption. Headline is not the same as Title.

Description (Caption): A textual description, including captions, of the item's content, particularly used where the object is not text.

This wording has been around since the 2007 document so Adobe has had plenty of time to adjust. So while Adobe claims to IPTC compliant they selective with which parts that they choose to support. Of particular note they support Title in the Filter Bar and Smart Collections but not Headline. They also make it rather difficult to use Headline, you can only find it in the IPTC Metadata preset all the rest use Title instead and they give you no method to make your own presets.

Out in the web different sites will use one or the other or both. Flickr for example will use either as the text displayed with your images. If both are present it will default to one but I don't remember which.

Right now I just use Headline because that to me that is where one should store the quick description of the image I want displayed and leave the Title field blank. To work around the built in limitations of Lightroom I use Jeffery Friedl's Metadata-Viewer Preset Editor to make my own metadata presets and the Parse and Audit function of John Beardsworth,s Search Replace Transfer plug-in that gives you direct access to these and other fields in the Filter Bar and in Smart collections.

I hope that this at least lays out the landscape and you can make an informed decision based you your needs.

-louie
 

Gene_mtl

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Thanks, Louie for that rather informative read. I suspect that Smugmug (my online photo site) does something similar to Flickr as far as using one or the other. My issue arises most often in how other software handle the info, some displaying only one of the two. Suspect it is simply poor implementation of standards.
 
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Hi Gene,

Yea it's a bit frustrating that the software developers are so inconsistent even now since the core parts Photo Metadata standards have been pretty clear since at least 2007. I am grateful that Adobe at least supplied the API and that there are a bunch of bright developers that have stepped up and are offering solutions. As for the rest of the world you just have to test. It is interesting that Google+ and Facebook seem to be the absolute worst when it comes to metadata support.

-louie
 
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