Adobe touts images

New tools for digital asset management and image creation will light up the publishing industry this week at Seybold San Francisco 2001, as vendors such as Adobe Systems Inc., Quark Inc., and Canto Software AG unveil offerings and technology.

Adobe Systems plans to unveil new metadata technology designed to ease the process of applying content to multiple types of media. The XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) provides a framework for standardizing the creation and processing of document metadata across publishing workflows, according to Adobe officials in San Jose, Calif. XMP eventually will be incorporated into all Adobe products, officials said.

Document metadata is important to digital publishing because it provides contextual information about digital assets necessary for customization of content, according to analysts.

According to Mark Walter, senior analyst at Seybold Publications in Media, Pa., XMP answers an industry need for a common method of exchanging metadata between applications.

"Right now there is no common, consistent way to add metadata within desktop applications," Walter said. "It [XMP] is a positive development within the industry recognizing the lack of standards for metadata input. XMP helps simplify the integrator's task and points out the opportunity for cross-vendor standards for metadata transport."

Adobe will also roll out AlterCast, image server software designed to automate the production process of digital images. Features of the product include batch-processing scripts that can modify multiple versions of image libraries, image management, and automatic image resizing.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Canto Software plans to partner with Idee to integrate visual search technology into Canto's digital asset management program. Canto's Cumulus product line is designed to manage and archive digital assets used in production and publishing. As part of the deal, Espion Visual Search from Toronto-based Idee will be integrated into Canto's Cumulus 5 asset-management platform, allowing users to execute visual searches within a Cumulus catalog. Espion Visual Search uses image-comparison algorithms to look for images that are similar to one another.

Also at the show, Atomz Corp., of San Bruno, Calif., will introduce Web Site Solution, a Web content management system that includes site-search applications and custom Web-site hosting.

Denver-based Quark will show its forthcoming release of QuarkXpress 5.0, currently in beta. Version 5.0 applies QuarkXpress print design tools to Web-based publishing.

In the spotlight at Seybold

Adobe announced a slew of new products at Seybold.

-- AlertCast: Image server software that automates production of digital images-- Extensible Metadata Platform: A framework to standardize the creation of document metadata across publishing workflows-- Adobe Illustrator 10: Graphics software with expanded Web workflows and dynamic data-driven graphics-- InDesign 2.0: Layout software with new table-building tools and printing controls