Information Today
Volume 17, Issue 11 • December 2000
News Industry Group Endorses NewsML Standard

The news industry’s technical standards body has formally ratified version 1.0 of its NewsML standard for the management of multimedia news and announced that it’s ready for production use. At the fall meeting of the International Press Tele-communications Council (IPTC) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, there was unanimous approval that the NewsML version 1.0 DTD be formally released after having completed a period of beta testing. An updated document type definition (DTD), functional specification, and accompanying examples are now available, and a number of members—Agence France-Presse, BusinessWire, Press Association, Reuters, ScreamingMedia, UPI, and Dow Jones’—have already declared their intention to utilize the new standard. The IPTC will initiate new work programs to ensure that NewsML evolves as a standard and achieves widespread acceptance.

Klaus Sprick, senior vice president of technology at dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur and an IPTC director, said: “The goal of IPTC2000 is to deliver an XML-based standard to represent and manage news through its life cycle, including production, interchange, and consumer use. We feel that version 1.0 does this, and we are pleased to commend this exciting new publishing model to the wider news community.”

“NewsML is an extremely powerful and flexible standard, which supports the rich media and multilingual needs of our global client base,” said Alan Karben, ScreamingMedia’s vice president of product development. “[W]e’ll be shipping our content-publishing system with NewsML built in as a featured multimedia packaging system.”

Reuters has unveiled a showcase to demonstrate how its news delivery will be revolutionized by NewsML ( Since April, Reuters has been using a prototype of NewsML to deliver its growing range of Online Report Services via its Internet Delivery System (IDS).

NewsML is an XML-based standard for all aspects of multimedia news creation, storage, and delivery. At the heart of NewsML is the concept of the NewsItem, which can contain various media—text, photos, graphics, and video—together with all the meta-information that enables the recipient to understand the relationship between components and the roles of each component.

Everything the recipient might need to know about the content of the news provided can be included in NewsML’s structure, according to the announcement. For example, NewsML enables publishers to offer the same text in different languages, a video clip in different formats, or different resolutions of the same photograph.
NewsML’s rich metadata concept can help with things like revision levels that make it easy to track the evolution of a NewsItem over time; status details (publishable, embargoed, etc.); and administrative details, such as acknowledgments or copyright information. NewsML has default metadata vocabularies to ease implementations, but it doesn’t dictate which metadata vocabulary is used (IPTC subject codes, ISO country codes, etc.)—providers simply have to indicate which vocabulary they are using. Multiple vocabularies can be utilized within the same NewsItem. For text objects in a NewsItem, the IPTC’s News Industry Text Format (NITF) can be used.

NewsML is flexible and extensible and uses standard Internet naming conventions for identifying the news objects in a NewsItem. As such, content doesn’t have to actually be embedded within a NewsItem; pointers can be inserted to content held on a publisher’s Web site instead. This means subscribers retrieve the data only when they need to, and it makes NewsML bandwidth-efficient.

The DTD for NewsML version 1.0, together with a functional specification, supporting documents, and background papers, can be found on the IPTC Web site at The DTD is available as a rights-free standard, but it remains the intellectual property of the IPTC.

Source: IPTC, Windsor, U.K., 011-44-175-370-5051;

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