Don't Have a Cow About Keywording Sidecars

XMP sidecar files present some curly problems for adding metadata, but with the right approach and the right software keywording can be straightforward.

Without going into too much techno-speak, the XMP sidecars hold all the information about an image such as keywords, caption and EXIF camera data, separately from the image they relate to.  The idea is to leave the raw image file totally unaltered or damaged by adding in or changing the file with metadata.  Adobe Lightroom uses this method of storing metadata for example.


The problem this presents to the keyworder is how to get a file which is easy to work with, showing both the image for reference purposes and any existing metadata that may be useful. Keyworders also need to be able to write back into that image so the metadata can be stored in IPTC and or copied to a spreadsheet.  The sidecars themselves can be viewed with a simple text editor, but this is impractical not the least because they are so full of code it is hard to find what you are looking for.

The solution is to save the raw file as a jpeg, then import the metadata from the XMP sidecar into it and use that with standard keywording software or send it to a keywording company.  There is an excellent free piece of software for importing XMP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExifTool