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IPTC Issues NITF 3.0. Improves Metadata Capabilities of Leading XML Structure for News Articles

London. October 11, 2001.

An updated version of the News Industry Text Format is now posted on the NITF website, at

NITF is an XML-based vocabulary designed for the markup and delivery of news content in a variety of ways, including print, wireless devices and the Web. It was developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council, an international association of news providers.

NITF 3.0 includes several improvements over NITF 2.5 (released September, 2000). Support for "smarter tables" allows publishers of tabular data to tightly describe the values displayed in each column. Regularly-published tables can also be labelled by publishers so that the receivers of their news can improve how they process the data.

The improved metadata support of NITF 3.0 also gives publishers more freedom in how they describe what an article covers. Codes applied to people, locations, events, and titles can be used to enhance the searchability and interlinking of published content.

"NITF 3.0 incorporates several changes sought by news organizations that have been putting the standard to work," said Alan Karben, Vice President of Product Design at ScreamingMedia, Inc., a leading content syndicator, and chairman of the NITF Maintenance Committee. "It's a cleaner, more workable DTD both for news providers and for their customers."

Media consultant Kevin Roche noted that NITF has been gaining momentum this year as the preferred format for exchanging text news items. "Publishers large and small are waking up to the importance of XML to their news systems. XML saves them both editorial and development time, and no XML vocabulary shares as wide a following within the news industry as NITF."

The IPTC is also the creator of the NewsML standard, a multimedia packaging format that allows publishers to dynamically express the relationships among components that make up a complex multimedia news package. NewsML 1.0 was ratified in October, 2000.

This year the IPTC has begun an effort to recommend -- or create, if necessary -- XML content models for data of critical importance to the news industry. Analysis of work in the realms of weather, event listings, governmental, sports, and markets data have been undertaken. The first of these specialized models that the IPTC has chosen to develop itself has been Sports, and a preliminary 0.5 version of SportsML has been released for public comment.

Requests for more information on the IPTC may be directed to Managing Director David Allen at

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See "News Industry Text Format (NITF)."

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