Using NITF


The IPTC launched the News Industry Text Format project in the early 1990s when members began looking for a successor to ANPA 1312 and IPTC 7901. These two formats were standardized in 1979 and provided a common platform for news services and newspapers to share content.

The establishment of SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language, as a growing favorite among publishers made it the foundation for our new format. SGML, like its simplified successor XML, allowed publishers to devise their own vocabulary for describing metadata and content.

When XML was introduced in 1998 as a subset of SGML, the NITF was modified to be compliant. As a result, NITF is the most commonly used XML vocabulary among news publishers worldwide.

What is in NITF

NITF supports the identification and description of a tremendous number of news characteristics. Highlights include:

  • Who owns the copyright to the item, who may republish it, and who it’s about.
  • What subjects, organizations, and events it covers.
  • When it was reported, issued, and revised.
  • Where it was written, where the action took place, and where it may be released.
  • Why it is newsworthy, based on the editor’s analysis of the metadata.


The sample NITF file below has been transformed by an XSLT style sheet into a sample HTML output.

Description Raw NITF Styled as HTML
Sample File from
Mixed bag of various NITF elements.
Raw XML Styled HTML

About the transformation

The following stylesheet has been created for NITF and is available for public use. We make no guarantees as to their perfection; it is simply for use to speed the development of applications using NITF.