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Last modified: December 09, 2003
News Industry Text Format (NITF)

"The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) was established in 1965 to safeguard the telecommunications interests of the World's Press. Since the late 1970's its activities have primarily focussed on developing and publishing Industry Standards for the interchange of news data. At present the IPTC membership is drawn mainly from the major news agencies around the globe but also it has a strong representation from Newspaper publishers as well as some vendors. At present the major IPTC standards are generally subject to a three-year review cycle. Recent work has been jointly undertaken with the Newspaper Association of America."

[September 03, 2003]   IPTC Releases Version 3.2 Preview for News Industry Text Format (NITF).    A preview version of the NITF 3.2 DTD and documentation has been released by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC). The Version 3.2 DTD has support for Ruby, adds the xml:lang attribute to the "common" class, and implements other enhancements. The IPTC membership will vote on the NITF v3.2 changes at the Leipzig Autumn Meeting (October 8-10, 2003). The News Industry Text Format (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 provides a structural framework for the representation of news, supporting the identification and description of many news story characteristics. Features which can be encoded include: (1) What subjects, organizations, and events the news item covers; (2) When the story was reported, issued, and revised; (3) Why the news item is newsworthy, based on the editor's analysis of the metadata; (4) Where the story was written, where the action took place, and where it may be released; (5) Who owns the copyright to the item and who may republish it." NITF is one of several news-related specifications developed by participating members of the news industry within working parties of the IPTC. A companion enveloping and multimedia standard is NewsML. IPTC is also working on SportsML, ProgramGuideML, and EventsML as specialized vocabularies which may be used with NITF and NewsML core. IPTC membership is drawn from major news agencies, newspaper publishers, news distributors, and vendors worldwide.

[November 08, 2001] News Industry Text Format (NITF) "uses the Extensible Markup Language to define the content and structure of news articles. Because metadata is applied throughout the news content, NITF documents are far more searchable and useful than HTML pages. By using NITF, publishers can adapt the look, feel, and interactivity of their documents to the bandwidth, devices, and personalized needs of their subscribers. These documents can be translated into HTML, WML (for wireless devices), RTF (for printing), or any other format the publisher wishes. Many common layout and editing tools either support or preserve NITF tags. NITF can be sent to the latest web browsers, then formatted using XSL stylesheets or rendered by mainstream proprietary display applications. NITF was developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council, an independent international association of the world's leading news agencies and publishers. It is a standard that is open, public, proven, well-used, well-documented, and well-supported." [from the web site]

[September 21, 2000] A recent announcement from the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) describes the availability of the Version 2.5 release of the NITF XML DTD. "NITF is an XML-based DTD 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 consortium of news providers, and the Newspaper Association of America, Reston, Va. The standards groups first released NITF in spring 1999, and an NITF Maintenance Committee has made a number of improvements since then. Both the NITF and the NewsML wrapper can be stand alone but may also be used in a complimentary manner as NITF objects can be moved within and managed by NewsML in a multimedia environment. NewsML Version final is expected to be released next month. 'This Version 2.5 of NITF incorporates several changes sought by news organizations that have been putting the standard to work,' said Tony Rentschler, senior software engineer at Associated Press in New York, and chairman of the Maintenance Committee. 'It's a cleaner, more workable DTD both for news providers and their customers.' Among the changes in version 2.5: (1) Clarification of language and time elements (2)Deprecation or removal of several unneeded HTML elements (3) Addition of an alternate code element (<alt-code>), for reference to an internal or external controlled vocabulary as a way of identifying a company, organization or person, among other things. Alan Karben, vice president of product development at ScreamingMedia Inc. in New York, is editor of the DTD and maintains a list of suggested changes from those who are implementing NITF. The new NITF website contains extensive material on the revised DTD, including a tutorial, dynamic documentation, links to discussion forums and of course the DTD itself (with or without documentation). Also posted is a link to the IPTC Subject Reference System for identifying the content of news material in any media."

[January 05, 1999] The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) has made an XML version of the NITF (News Industry Text Format) DTD available from its Web site: "This XML DTD is designed to allow news information to be transferred with markup and be easily transformed into an electronically publishable format. This new version uses the XML syntax but otherwise meets the design aims of the original NITF . . ."

A press release of April 29, 1999 announced "The IPTC now offer an Extensible Markup Language version of the NITF."


  • NITF Web site

  • NITF DTD Downloads

  • NITF News

  • nitf. The nitf discussion list was started in February 2000; it serves as a forum for feedback and requests for changes to NITF, based on operational use. See other IPTC discussion lists supporting NewsML, ProgramGuideML, EventsML, ControlledVocabulary, etc.

  • IPTC Home Page

  • News Industry Text Format [Preview] Version 3.2

  • NITF Version 3.0

  • NITF Version 2.5 DTD; [cache]

  • NITF Tutorial

  • News Industry Text Format (NITF) DTD in XML; [local archive copy, 1999-01-05]

  • [December 09, 2003] "IPTC Joins in XML News Standards Summit. IPTC Roadmap 2005 for NewsML, NITF and SportsML." - "XML-based formats for sharing news are rapidly gaining acceptance and may soon revolutionise the way news is shared between agencies and is presented to the public, a software developer's group was told today. But traditional newspaper publishers are still moving cautiously. 'Customers prefer extremely simple solutions,' said Geoff Haynes, manager of product development for The Associated Press. More than 100 news organisations, news system vendors and XML developers gathered here for The News Standards Summit, an all-day session where progress reports were delivered by developers and users who share XML as their lingua franca. As a major force in news standards for nearly 40 years, IPTC presented its latest versions of NewsML, NITF and SportsML -- standards that are already in use by major news agencies around the world. 'The wide interest and participation in the News Summit proves that there is an industry-wide need to develop the business cases for the required for management support and implement the existing standards for news,' said John Iobst, chairman of the IPTC. With several text-based systems for tagging news content and important data about the news, IPTC is provides a framework for moving news stories from creation through editing and onward to publishing. For magazines and web discussion 'blogs', several XML standards group presented plans for publishing and syndication. The IPTC described its own plans -- called IPTC Roadmap 2005 -- to update NewsML and revamp the method for proposing, designing and maintaining its XML standards. 'The IPTC Roadmap 2005 has as its primary goals to make standards easier to implement and to improve documentation and education on standards. This is driven by requirements from our users, and shows that IPTC is already aligning with wide user demand,' said Michael Steidl, IPTC's Managing director. 'This makes us work harder on these aims.' The News Standards Summit was held in partnership with the XML 2003 Conference of IDEAlliance and OASIS. The IPTC's next regular meeting will be in Athens in March 2004. The IPTC, based in Windsor, England, is a consortium of the world's major news agencies, news publishers and news industry vendors. It develops and maintains technical standards that are used by virtually every major news organisation in the world..." See "XML 2003 News Standards Summit Seeks Interoperability and Convergence."

  • [October 15, 2003] "IPTC Approves New Versions of its NITF and NewsML Standards." - "Maintenance releases of two popular standards for sharing news have been unanimously approved at the autumn meeting of the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) here. News industry representatives also approved further work on a next-generation version of NewsML that will further streamline the sharing of multimedia news files among agencies and news consumers. Upgrades to the world's most widely used XML news markup formats -- News Industry Text Format 3.2 and NewsML version 1.2 -- are part of an ongoing maintenance programme that is designed to keep both standards near the state of the art in XML. Broader development of the proposed NewsML version 2 continued, with members hearing that NewsML 2 will be compatible with previous versions. Preliminary NewsML 2 specifications are expected to be released next year. Meanwhile, NewsML users in China, Hong Kong and Macau announced plans for a regional meeting; details will be posted on the IPTC's web site. ProgramGuideML 1.0, an initiative by Japanese members for sharing television and radio programming information, gained preliminary approval. A final vote is scheduled for March 2003. The new standard will allow channel, program and time details to be sent from broadcasters to news outlets, cable system operators and web sites in a common computer-readable format. A uniform method of describing the content of photographs was also passed. The list of terms, which is expandable, can be used alone or in conjunction with any of the IPTC's XML formats. The descriptive terms are expressed as numbers, making multilingual applications easy to design. Work continues toward the News Standards Summit prior to XML Conference 2003 in Philadelphia on 8 December, 2003. The IPTC and other XML interest groups will join software designers, news system managers and system vendors in a comprehensive review of XML in the news industry. The day-long News Standards Summit will be held in conjunction with XML Conference 2003, a major trade show and education forum for the XML industry..." See also: XML 2003 News Standards Summit Seeks Interoperability and Convergence."

  • Syndication::NewsML. See Version 05 or later of Syndication::NewsML, "an object-oriented Perl interface to NewsML documents, allowing you to manage (and one day create) NewsML documents without any specialised NewsML or XML knowledge..." See the README document. Brendan Quinn also announced the first public release of Syndication::NITF version 0.2. Syndication::NITF is "an object-oriented Perl interface to NITF documents, allowing you to manage (and one day create) NITF documents without any specialised NITF or XML knowledge. NITF is a standard format for the markup of textual news content (e.g., newspaper and magazine articles), ratified by the International Press Telecommunications Council. This module supports the version 3.0 DTD of NITF..." See CPAN. [cache]

  • [October 11, 2001] "IPTC Issues NITF 3.0. Improves Metadata Capabilities of Leading XML Structure for News Articles." - "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... 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." [source]

  • [July 05, 1999] "NAA Approves Archiving Standards. The News Industry Text Format Is Designed To Standardize Archives." By [Staff reports]. In Editor & Publisher Interactive (July 02, 1999). "The Newspaper Association of America Wire Service Committee approved this week the News Industry Text Format (NITF), which is a single standard for news markup designed to provide a commercially supportable, straightforward method to code, exchange, and archive news stories. The same NITF-coded files can be used for print, the Web, broadcast, and archives. . . NITF uses XML tags."

  • [May 04, 1999] NITF documentation updated for the XML version. XML Version 1.1, March 1999. PDF version, 204 pages. "This document describes a device-independent format for textual and tabular information within the global news industry. The goal is to mark up text once for a variety of uses, including traditional print publications, broadcast news, and electronic services such as Web sites and archival databases. The markup provides both structural and content information about the text. The design includes reference capability to related external material such as photographs, charts, audio, and video clips, as well as related text files. This format is called the News Industry Text Format, or NITF. It is presented in the form of a Document Type Definition (or DTD) a formal application of Standard Generalized Markup Language, or SGML (ISO 8879). The current DTD is XML, extensible markup language, compliant. The NITF DTD is the result of several years of development effort by two leading standards organizations: the Newspaper Association of America, based in Vienna, Virginia, and the International Press Telecommunications Council, based in Windsor, England. Work sessions on the project over the years have included no fewer than 30 major news services, newspapers, and news-related organizations in North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as a number of technology firms serving the news industry. The U.S.-based Radio-Television News Directors Association also has participated." The NITF XML Document Type Definition is presented in section 10, pages 154-172. [local archive copy]

  • "Making News Understandable to Computers." By Erik T. Mueller (Signiform Washington, DC). "Computers and devices are largely unaware of events taking place in the world. This could be changed if news were made available in a computer-understandable form. In this paper we present XML documents called NewsForms that represent the key points of 17 types of news events. We discuss the benefits of computer-understandable news and present the NewsExtract program for converting text news stories into NewsForms." How is a computer to know that a quake is the same as an earthquake? What if the event is a trial? How is a computer to know whether this refers to a legal proceeding or the act of testing something? Natural language is highly ambiguous, so marking up text news stories with tags such as event is not sufficient. Rather, it is important to represent concepts in a standard, unambiguous format. At this point, one might be tempted to use an AI knowledge representation language such as CycL or the web-based SHOE to represent the meaning of every sentence in a news story. Our solution is simpler and more practical, along the lines of the templates defined in the United States government sponsored Message Understanding Conferences (MUCs). We propose an XML document type, called NewsForm, for representing the key points of common news events. Though not all events fall into predefined classes, many do. NewsForm documents, which we call NewsForms, describe 17 types of news events: competitions, deals, earnings reports, economic releases, Fed watching, IPOs, injuries and fatalities, joint ventures, legal events, medical findings, negotiations, new products, management successions, trips and visits, votes, war, and weather reports..." [cache]

  • [April 29, 1999] "The IPTC now offer an Extensible Markup Language version of the NITF." [local archive copy]

  • News Industry Text Format (NITF) documents

  • [January 11, 2000] "Nova Announces Connex XML Server For Connecting Front-End Systems to Web and Business Systems." - "Connex XML Server. Nova Publishing Products, Inc. has announced the first fully compliant, two-way transaction server for newspapers to provide consumer-to-business and business-to-business information exchange using newly published XML standards. The Connex XML Server enables publishers to seamlessly integrate business systems or Web servers with classified advertising or editorial front-end systems. The Connex XML Server has the ability to work with any database and also with any XML DTD (Document Type Definition). This ensures compatibility in the future as new XML standards are adopted for other online business uses. The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) is currently developing the new CREST (ADEX) standard for multi-media publishing of classified advertising, and along with the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), is helping to develop the NITF (News Industry Text Format) and NewsML standards for the interchange of news data."

  • [August 04, 2000] "Connex Brings XML to Legacy Newspaper Systems. Server Supports NAA Standards." By Luke Cavanagh. In The Seybold Report on Internet Publishing Volume 4, Number 9 (May 2000). "Global Digital Technologies, Inc., in conjunction with integrator and reseller Nova Publishing Products, Inc., has introduced a new line of XML conversion products for newspapers called Nova Connex. The product line is designed for non-XML compliant front-end newspaper systems that want to leverage XML in managing classifieds, news content, and commercial advertising. . . The system is a two-way XML conversion package that employs a central Connex XML Server interfaced to existing editorial, classified and business systems. The server's functionality extends, through various clients, to handle needs in several vertical areas, including ad management, news reporting and classifieds. Nova says the server is equipped to handle any XML DTD and contains support out of the box for the IPTC's NITF standard for digital news content and the NAA's ADEX standard for multimedia classifieds." See also the announcement.

  • Main database entry: News Industry Text Format (NITF), under development by IPTC and NAA

  • "Proposal to incorporate the NML tag initiative into the NITF DTD." By Glenn Cruickshank, Director, Tribune Solutions. Revised March 05, 1999. Provides an NML / NITF mapping. See "News Markup Language (NML).". [local archive copy, 1999-03-18]

  • [May 04, 1999] "News Industry Organizations Unite Behind a Single Standard Markup Language." - "Major news industry organizations have united behind a single standard language for news markup, opening a gateway for easily moving news articles to the Internet and beyond. For consumers, the benefits could include more news available more quickly in more formats, such as on cellular phones, personal digital assistants, and the World Wide Web. For producers, the immediate benefits of News Industry Text Format -- the NITF -- include lower editing and transmission costs while making it easy to repackage news for publication in multiple media. By settling upon a single markup language, news organizations can share news articles and graphics among print, broadcast, electronic, Internet and archive systems without the need for costly translations and manual editing. Using a language that embraces the latest internationally accepted standards assures newspapers and broadcasters that stories can flow unimpeded between their news systems and the Internet."

  • [May 04, 1999] A news story of 1999-05-04 ("New Format for News Story Coding") reported that NITF was endorsed at an April 23 [1999] meeting in Dallas of wire services, newspaper front-end system vendors and industry groups, including the Newspaper Association of America, International Press Telecommunications Council and the Media Center at the American Press Institute. The Radio-Television News Directors Association previously announced its support for NITF. . . News industry organizations have agreed to a new format for coding news stories to improve their usefulness on the Internet, in text archives and on devices such as pagers and personal digital assistants."

  • See: XMLNews, which outlines a proposed "suite of specifications for exchanging news and information using open Web standards." The XMLNews-Story specification is said to be "fully-compatible subset of the 21-September-1998 XML version of the News Industry Text Format (NITF) developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council and the Newspaper Association of America as the new standard for exchanging news stories (replacing the old ANPA 1312 wire format)."

  • Newsletter 'IPTC Mirror [81]'. March 1999. NITF - The Vendors' View. "An overview of the benefits that the NITF offers to systems vendors was provided by Christian Ratenburg of CCI Europe, whose main customers are major newspapers. Use of the NITF by CCI started around two years ago, when it was seen as providing a solution to the handling of wire services. This work was carried out in association with Fingerpost, who specialise in creating systems for handling wire service content. [. . .] The solution to these problems was an object-orientated structure a bit like Lego bricks - the editorial content is in individual elements (or bricks) that can be combined, as appropriate, to give the required (editorial) structure. These elements are held in a neutral format database, with translations to and from the output and input formats. The database is SGML-like but not strict SGML as this would have involved a lot of work maintaining DTDs to meet rapidly-changing user needs. In practice it is very similar to XML, and the introduction of XML was a welcome confirmation of the approach. Flexibility is built-in so that tags can be applied to suit the application, even allowing variations between different editorial sections. However, the database both supports and enforces the chosen tags. The system is designed to try and prevent users from creating an illegal structure, and only a limited set of users are allowed to create new tags. Material from the front-end systems is filtered into a standard format - and the NITF is exactly the right sort of format."

  • [June, 1999] "New News Format Sets Elestronic Standard." Presstime, June, 1999. By Mark Toner, Presstime Staff Writer. "Two decades to the year in the making, a new electronic text-format standard for news appears close to acceptance. The News Industry Text Format, or NITF, replaces and extends 1979's ANPA 1312 wire-service standard. Along with updating and enhancing news-service transmissions, the common markup language will simplify sharing information via print and multimedia platforms. Along with content markup, NITF adds context to stories through metadata tags for subject information. Those tags, built using eXtensible Markup Language, or XML, automate searching, linking related items and archiving them. NAA endorses NITF, as does API, IPTC and Radio-Television News Directors Association in Washington, D.C. A.H. Belo Corp. in Dallas, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, The Salt Lake Tribune in Salt Lake City, and Star Tribune in Minneapolis were among the media represented at the ground-breaking late-April meeting in Dallas where the standard was approved."

  • [May 04, 1999] "International News Markup Language is Endorsed. AP, Reuters Among Groups Testing New Code." By Martha L. Stone. In Editor & Publisher Interactive (May 04, 1999). "An international standard for news markup has been endorsed by key news industry groups, and is being tested by The Associated Press, Reuters and other large news organizations. The goal is to make content available to many mediums without the need for reformatting. If widely adopted by individual media companies as hoped, the News Industry Text Format (NITF) will have a far-reaching impact on efficiency and workflow for media companies, will provide improvements in the way Web users retrieve information, and will enable sharing of content between mediums. NITF is a flexible set of tags based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language). Reporters, editors, and archivists will tag important components of articles, such as bylines and the names of newsmakers, so that search engines and databases can retrieve information quickly, type can be boldfaced, or so that links can be made or indexes can be built automatically."

  • "News Wire Services Heading for XML. Where Does News Come From?" By Tim Bray. In XML.Com article collection.

  • See also: SGML DTD harmonized with HTML (and SGML declaration). [local archive copy]

  • Contact: IPTC, Royal Albert House, Sheet Street, WINDSOR, Berkshire, SL4 1BE, UK; Email:; Tel: +44 1753 705051; FAX: +441753 831541

  • Contact: Dave Beck

  • Contact: Newspaper Association of America [Wire Service Committee]

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