One of the less obvious changes between the beta and Lightroom 3 is the inclusion of the “IPTC Extensions“,the extra metadata fields agreed last year (specification here – PDF). Great to see Adobe’s keeping up with publicly-agreed standards rather than doing what the competitor does and pretending they don’t exist!

Some of the fields could prove immediately useful, so for instance the Person Shown (which is where Aperture should have written some of its Faces data) can be used right away. You won’t need to pollute your keywords with the names of your nearest and dearest. However, the new panel does highlight a problem of the standard creating duplicate fields – in this case the British newsreader Katie Derham is a well known person, so her name would also belong as a keyword. In the case of the location fields, these will often be the same as the traditional IPTC locations. Given that it’ll take years for search engines and other programs to start using the Extensions, you may decide that putting much effort into them is overkill.

It may help if some of this duplicate data entry can be automated, and I’m on the verge of making my Search Replace Transfer plug-in available for purchase. The licensing code is finally integrated and it should be just a matter of days. Initially, the plug-in will not write to the IPTC Extension fields, but that shouldn’t take long to add. It’s a firm plan.