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We have made it to the end of 2020. And what a year it has been!

A reminder of happier times when we could meet in person – Managing Director Brendan Quinn and IPTC member representatives enjoying dinner at the 2019 Autumn Meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia. 

The news and media industry has perhaps been affected less than the travel or hospitality industry, but 2020 was still a hugely eventful year for us all professionally and personally. Congratulations on getting through it, and our thoughts go out to those who have suffered in any way this year.

IPTC Events

Of course our member meetings, planned for Tallinn Estonia and New York USA this year, quickly became virtual events held via Zoom. It worked surprisingly well, and even allowed us to bring on some speakers and guests who wouldn’t have been able to attend or present if we had held the events physically.

You can look back at our Spring Meeting blog posts (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3) and the summary of our Autumn Meeting.

The IPTC Photo Metadata Conference was very interesting this year: from our usual small room hosted as part of the CEPIC Congress, we went to a virtual event with over 200 attendees. If you missed it, or want to re-visit, videos of the sessions are available on YouTube.

Standards work

The News in JSON Working Group submitted ninjs 1.3 for approval at the Spring Meeting, which added fields for trust indicators and genres, support for different types of headlines and alternative IDs. The ninjs generator, showing how easy it is to create a ninjs document by filling in a web form, was very popular and was the inspiration for some related tools in other working groups. Since then, the working group has been looking at more features to be included in future versions of ninjs. If you handle news in JSON in any way and you haven’t completed our News in JSON survey, please do it now!

The NewsML-G2 Working Group released NewsML-G2 2.29 in July which added some fields required for the trust and credibility project, and a new NewsML-G2 Generator tool based on the ninjs one. The group also participated in the trust and credibility projects described below. The NewsML-G2 specifications and guidelines documents have now been updated to version 2.29.

The Video Metadata Working Group released Video Metadata Hub 1.3 during the summer, which added fields to track the editing of metadata (as opposed to editing the actual video), parent video identifier, and updated the mappings to EBUCore and EIDR. The group is hard at work on promoting Video Metadata Hub and creating more introductory materials to help new users understand VMHub and why it is useful.

The NewsCodes Working Group published three updates this year, in March, June and August, and a new update will be published very soon. The NewsCodes Guidelines document was released this year, and is already proving useful both for those wishing to learn how to use NewsCodes better and for the Working Group to establish clear guidelines about when and how to add new terms. MediaTopics is now available in 11 languages and we have more translations coming!

The Photo Metadata Working Group has been very busy, with the biggest news of the year being that Google now supports IPTC Photo Metadata to display licensor information in search results, including a link back to the image owner’s “licence this image” page. The feature was launched in beta in February and launched fully in August. We have had great take-up so far, and the interest in the Photo Metadata Conference (with over 200 people registered) showed that the industry was very keen to hear about it. We also launched updates to the GetPMD tool to support new schema.org mappings, and browser plugins for Chrome and Firefox to enable easy viewing of embedded IPTC Photo Metadata in photographs on the web.

The Sports Content Working Group has had its collective head down in 2020, re-thinking the data model for sports results, statistics and performances. We have been taking a semantic view, looking at using RDF as the main data model for sports data which can then be serialised into JSON, XML and other formats. The intention is that this will also bring the model closer to schema.org in the future. We have some RDF and semantic web experts on the group who are helping with the modelling, and are taking a use-case based approach to make sure that we’re designing something that’s both useful and usable.

A discussion group “spun out” from the NewsCodes Working Group to consider Named Entities for News. So far we have had a couple of meetings to discuss our thoughts on maintaining vocabularies for named entities such as people, companies and places, and to study different approaches used by IPTC member organisations and non-members.

An ongoing project that spans several working groups is the work on Trust and Credibility. After publishing a draft guidelines document in April and a webinar that we ran in September, we plan to publish a 1.0 version in the new year.

All of our Working Groups are always looking for new participants, so if you’re interested in any of these areas, please consider joining IPTC and taking part in a working group!

IPTC appearances at conferences and in the media

There weren’t many conferences in the first part of the year as everyone adjusted to working remotely, but in the second half of the year IPTC people made quite a few appearances at other conferences and webinars.

In July, Brendan Quinn and Robert Schmidt-Nia spoke about NewsML-G2 at an Arab States Broadcasting Union metadata workshop. In September, Michael Steidl spoke on a panel with Google and Alamy at the Perpignan photojournalism conference about Google’s “Licensable Images” feature, and Brendan Quinn hosted a webinar about our work in trust and credibility.

In October,  Pam Fisher and Mark Milstein spoke about Video Metadata Hub at the DMLA conference. In November, Brendan Quinn was invited to give a keynote at the  FIBEP World Media Intelligence Congress, speaking to the media monitoring / media intelligence industry who also use quite a few IPTC standards.

Also in November, Bill Kasdorf published a column in Publisher’s Weekly about Media Topics and IPTC Photo Metadata which raised a lot of interest in the publishing industry. In December, Michael Steidl was invited to present a webinar to IPTC member BVPA about IPTC Photo Metadata.

Membership updates

  • We announced the IPTC Startup Membership category in September, and our first Startup Member to join is IMATAG.
  • DATAGROUP Consulting Services joined as a Voting Member.
  • New Associate Members are CBC / Radio Canada, iMatrics, and DeFodi Images.
  • New Individual Members are Margaret Warren and Alison Sullivan.

We’re very happy to have them all on board and joining in the IPTC community!

Some sad news

It was with great shock that we learned in early November that longstanding member Andy Read of BBC had passed away. He was a key contributor in many areas and his friendliness and enthusiasm will be hugely missed. Rest in peace, friend.

Looking forward

It seems that we have come through the worst 2020 could throw at us and things are looking up for 2021. We are already thinking about 2021’s events and how we can learn from 2020 to improve things for members and friends in 2021.

Best wishes for the holiday season from all of us at IPTC.

PS: If you have any questions or thoughts about how IPTC could help you, or if you are interested in talking about joining IPTC, please contact Managing Director, Brendan Quinn at mdirector@iptc.org.