April 5, 2000




News Industry Advances XML Initiative



NICE, France – The news industry’s technical standards body has approved two major working papers for its latest XML initiative, NewsML, and authorized retention of a consultant to produce a working draft by this summer.


At its spring meeting here, the International Press Telecommunications Council also ratified improvements to the News Industry Text Format, the XML-based text markup standard, and expansions to its subject code list to provide for better coverage of the Summer Olympic Games.


“These actions are part of IPTC’s continuing effort to give XML a greater role in the interchange of news information,” said Anthony Allday, director of Development and Product Management, Media Group, at Reuterspace in London.  Allday also is chairman of the organization’s Press Relations Committee.  


The two NewsML papers are part of the IPTC 2000 initiative launched last fall to develop an XML-based framework for structuring and managing news objects in a multimedia environment.  They are:


n                               Requirements Specification (http://www.iptc.org/xn-2.htm.)

n                               Encoding Decisions, a guideline on how XML is to be used to construct NewsML (http://www.iptc.org/xn-8.htm)


The consultant, Daniel Rivers-Moore of Rivcom, is expected to begin work in April on writing the NewsML DTD and related documentation.  The goal is to have a draft ready for review for the IPTC Annual General Meeting in early July in Geneva.


Two NewsML working parties have scheduled meetings in London next month to continue their work.  The News Structure and Management group will meet May 15-17, followed by the News Text group May 17-19.


In other action at the spring meeting:


n                               The NITF Maintenance Working Party won approval to streamline the text standard in two ways:  (1) structural changes, to refine the organization of NITF documents, and improve definitions of container elements so their use is consistent; and (2) tag clarification, to eliminate redundant and unnecessary tags.  The NITF Maintenance group was formed in January to manage changes to the standard and prepared these proposals at a meeting in February.  Additional changes are pending and another meeting is expected before the July AGM.  (The updated DTD is available at www.iptc.org or www.nitf.org )

n                               The Category Codes Working Party presented a proposal from Jean-Francois Richard of Agence France-Presse in Paris to add qualifiers such as age, sex and division to the IPTC Subject Code scheme.  This is particularly important for identifying specific Olympic events, but has application in other sports reporting as well.  The full Standards Committee approved the changes.  Version 4 of the scheme in XML is available at www.nitf.org/SubjectView.zip

n                               The IPTC agreed to pursue contacts with groups developing other media standards as it develops NewsML and maintains the NITF.  These include MPEG-7, a metadata standard for audio and video objects; PRISM, an XML initiative for magazine publishing; and SMPTE/EBU, an advanced authoring format for the broadcasting industry.


For more information, contact David Allen, managing director of the IPTC, at ho73@dial.pipex.com .



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