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Standards for News

From:      Jo Rabin <>
Subject:   Standards for News

From:   Jo Rabin (

Standards for News

Most people would agree that a single industry-wide initiative for news standardization is desirable. A lot of people would agree that this is best achieved through a single forum.

News standards are a product of their time and as time moves on so must the standards. The IPTC ( has been the industry focus for news standards for many years. A lot of the world's news is moved using IPTC standards - IPTC7901, the IIM and more recently NITF in both SGML and XML versions (see

At the recent IPTC meeting in Amsterdam, Tony Allday and I from Reuters presented a view on where we think the IPTC should go next - including building on earlier IPTC work and moving forward to the next generation of XML standards for news, which we called NewsML. A synopsis of the features that we see NewsML including can be found at We also made a number of points about the IPTC operating more swiftly, working to include as wide a range of industry participants as possible and publicizing its efforts more clearly.

The most recent edition of the IPTC Mirror ( has a full report of the Amsterdam meeting including Reuters and other presentations and the resulting IPTC resolutions. In summary, the IPTC decided to start an initiative called IPTC 2000 to develop NewsML. This decision is discussed in the press release issued by the IPTC following the Amsterdam meeting (

Following the Amsterdam meeting the IPTC 2000 initiative has got underway. Various mailing lists have been established and a plenary session of the working groups was held Nov 22-24 in London. At the plenary session good progress was made to establish a firm engineering foundation for the work on NewsML. As a result we expect to be in a position to present a formal statement of requirements for NewsML to the IPTC membership early in the new year. We expect also to have a statement of functionality in a similar timeframe.

Also at the London meeting a start was made in discussing NewsML's DTD. This work will continue on mailing lists over the New Year period and there will be a further plenary meeting of the IPTC 2000 working groups in Washington in early February. The target for ratification of the first iteration of NewsML is the IPTC members meeting at the end of March.

Reuters supports the idea of open standards. Open standards are not owned or controlled by a single vendor. Open standards evolve by consensus in a forum in which industry partners - providers, customers and technology suppliers - can work together. We believe that while there may be differences of emphasis or opinion on any number of issues it is important to contribute to the resolution of those differences in such a forum. We believe that the IPTC is the appropriate industry forum for News.

XMLNews [the elaboration of NITF by David Megginson] has some interesting features and these should be brought forward into the next generation of news standards. Equally, I expect there are many people who find that no existing standard meets their requirements fully. If you have views about the future of news standards and want to participate in formulating what that future is, we hope that you will join us in the IPTC's IPTC 2000 initiative.

The IPTC 2000 working group mailing lists are open to members of the IPTC. The present membership list and how to join the IPTC is attached below.

The newly-established NewsML mailing list is open to non-members of the IPTC (subject to moderator approval). To join it, send mail to The list archive (at is open to the public. Those who have joined the list may contribute and can view list membership.

Jo Rabin
Vice President Development
Reuters Limited
(IPTC News Structure and Management WG Chair)

Membership of IPTC is open to organisations and companies concerned with news collection, distribution and publishing.

The following are members of the IPTC:- A S Norsk Telegrambyrå, AFX News Ltd, Agence France-Presse, Agence Télégraphique Belge de Presse S.A., Agence Télégraphique Suisse S.A, Agencia EFE, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau, Alliance Européenne des Agences de Presse, Associated Newspapers Limited, Associated Press, Australian Associated Press, Austria Presse-Agentur, Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger E.V., Canadian Press, CCI Europe, Cybergraphic Systems Limited, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Digital Collections Verlagsgesellschaft MbH, Dow Jones & Company Inc, FingerPost Ltd, HINA The Croatian News Agency, ICL in Media, IFRA, ITAR-TASS News Agency, Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association, Keystone Press AG, Kyodo News Services, Magyar Tavirati Iroda (MTI), Middle East News Agency (MENA), NewsEDGE Inc, New York Times Company, Newspaper Association of America, Oy Suomen Tietotoimisto-Finska Notisbyråm AB, PR Newswire Europe Limited, ProSieben Digital Media GmbH, Reuters Limited, Ritzaus Bureau I'S, SAXoTECH A/S, Slovenska Tiskovna Agencija, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå, United Press International, World Association of Newspapers

Companies interested in participating should email David Allen at

The IPTC is based at Royal Albert House, Sheet Street, Windsor, SL4 1BE . Telephone number +441753705051 or FAX number +441753831541.

Visit our Internet site at

Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of Reuters Ltd.

Prepared by Robin Cover for the The SGML/XML Web Page archive.

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