October 1, 2003

How To Make Photos More Searchable (Part I)
Scripting News had two items of particular interest to me yesterday. One was a link to Pheed.Com where they describe RSS photo feeds. The other was a link to WorldKit, a flexible mapping application that I’m going to load on my server later tonight.

I’ve been taking a lot of photographs on this journey, and will continue to do so where ever we live in Europe. I’ve been wanting to share the photographs in new and interesting ways (as opposed to just decoration on a weblog entry). For example, I’m thinking about walking a portion of the coastal walk, and would like to show the photographs on a map, without having to do a lot of extra work beyond specifying where the photos were taken. The WorldKit application may just let me do that – I’ll report back later.

I’d also like to make my photos more searchable. Unfortunately there’s no standard way to describe photo information such as title, caption, location, exposure, equipment, etc., in either the <img> tag, or in the RSS feed described by pheed.com, and so there’s no easy way for search engines such as Google to know where and when my photographs were taken, or what they’re about.

I’ve been playing around with search, photos and RSS for a couple of years now. About two years ago, I added RSS support to Lycos News search (search for Howard Dean to see an example). This RSS feed returns photos as well as news stories, but as it was built with RSS 0.91, there was no way to specify what was a photo and what was a news story.

But enough of the introduction, what I’d really like to do is propose two things. First, that the <img> tag be enhanced to support photographic parameters. Second, that the Pheed.Com photo RSS not use the Dublin Core, but rather specify a new “Photo Core” that is specific to photographs.

In my dreams the Photo Core would have GeoURL information describing the photo’s location information, as well as exposure and camera information such as is captured on Photo.Net.

If you peek at the source of the image on this entry you can see what an enhanced <img> tag might look like. The RSS feed is left as an excercise to the reader.

Posted by: Frank @ 4:02 pm — Filed under:

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