Controlled Vocabulary

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Captions tell a Story
For most images in a collection it's a good practice to provide a caption as well as keywords for two reasons. The first is that it allows you to locate an image using those words or phrases in the caption or keyword. Secondly, it provides a good way for others to search your image archive and find the image(s) for which they are searching.

For buyers to find the perfect image in an image archive, whether it be on a desktop, network or the internet; it is critical to provide appropriate captions and keywords to locate that image. It may not matter whether these words are stored within the caption or keyword field, but without the proper corresponding words in one of them, that image will never be found.

While a good caption should cover the standard journalistic 5W's and H (Who, What, Why, When, Where and How), it needn't be a novel. The type of caption required is dictated in part by the audience and purpose of the image database. For example, captions for a collection of documentary images by a photojournalist will be quite different from those captions written for images being licensed by a stock agency.

Here are a few guidelines for writing captions for images.

Caption Guidelines
When writing captions:

The caption field in the older style IPTC standard specifies 2000 characters-- enough for a small novelette! Resist the temptation to exceed this value, especially if you want the image metadata to remain intact in legacy systems. You may also wish to verify the maximum length that your workflow supports for the Caption/Description field, as not all software will follow the IPTC specification to the letter.

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