At the recent IPTC Standards Committee Meeting, NewsML-G2 version 2.30 was approved.

The IPTC NewsML-G2 Generator has also been updated to produce NewsML-G2 2.30-compliant content.

The full NewsML-G2 XML Schema, NewsML-G2 Guidelines document and NewsML-G2 specification document have all now been updated.

The biggest change (Change Request CR00211) is that <catalogRef/> and <catalog/> elements are now optional. This is so that users who choose to use full URIs instead of QCodes do not need to include an unnecessary element.

The other user-facing change is CR00212 which adds residrefformat and residrefformaturi attributes to the targetResourceAttributes attribute group, used in <link>, <icon> and <remoteContent>.

Other changes CR00213 and CR00214 aren’t visible to end users and don’t change any functionality, but make the XML Schema easier to read and maintain.

XML Schema documentation of version 2.30 version is available on GitHub and at http://iptc.org/std/NewsML-G2/2.30/specification/XML-Schema-Doc-Power/.

NewsML-G2 Generator updated

The NewsML-G2 Generator has been updated to use version 2.30. This means that catalogRef is only included if QCode mode is chosen. The Generator also uses the new layout which means that the target document is updated in real time as the form is completed.

To follow our work on GitHub, please see the IPTC NewsML-G2 GitHub repository.

The full NewsML-G2 change log showing the Change Requests included in each new version is available at the dev.iptc.org site.

Photograph depicts a visually disabled person operating a computer using a Braille screenreader.
A visually disabled person using a Braille screenreader. Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

The latest version of the International Press Telecommunications Council IPTC’s Photo Metadata Standard includes two new properties: Alt Text (Accessibility) and Extended Description (Accessibility). These will make it easier for software companies, publishers, and website developers to make websites and electronic publications more accessible.

These new properties will be introduced to the public and discussed in detail at the IPTC Photo Metadata Conference, held online next Thursday, 4th November. Registration to the IPTC Photo Metadata Conference is free and open to all.

“A major milestone in accessibility is realised through the inclusion of embedded alt text and extended descriptions as IPTC metadata for digital images,” said Beth Ziebarth, Director of Access Smithsonian. “All publicly available images can now be made accessible. As with any good inclusive practice, this benefits a range of digital image users and producers. The foresight of the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group is commendable.”

Web accessibility is mission-critical in our digitally inclusive age. As the number of images added to the web increases every day, the visual gap widens for people using assistive technologies, especially if they are blind. Embedding image descriptions for accessibility into photo metadata promises to be a game-changer, making it possible for software and systems to routinely provide alt text with images, thus giving screen reader software the ability to help readers visualise and listen to image descriptions as they are read out loud. Without accessible descriptions, images are silent for the millions who rely on screen readers to fully access the web.

As Richard Orme, CEO of the DAISY Consortium, has pointed out, “Up to 250 million people with blindness or moderate to severe vision impairment can benefit from image descriptions, plus countless more people with diverse information processing differences such as dyslexia who use text-to-speech technology for reading.”

The year 2020 was pivotal for web accessibility. Many disabled people were at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 but struggled to access the essentials online — everything from healthcare and education to groceries and supplies. Inaccessible websites and applications have always been a barrier; during COVID, they became a threat to the health and safety of a vulnerable population.

Image descriptions are essential for people with visual impairments using assistive technologies and a fundamental requirement of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the most widely-used guidelines for web accessibility in the world (W3C Web Accessibility Laws and Policies).

IPTC’s new accessibility properties will make it easier for platforms and software to comply with WCAG requirements and deliver images that are inclusive for everyone. Embedding accessible image descriptions into the photo metadata will make it possible for alt text and extended descriptions to travel wherever the image goes on the web or in books or other documents provided as EPUBs.

If you are interested, there are a few things you can do now:

  • Attend the IPTC Photo Metadata Conference on November 4th to understand more about the new properties and how you can use them.
  • Contact your software providers to tell them about these new properties and emphasise that these features are very important to you. Ask them when they will make the new properties available in their user interface.
  • Contact your web content management software provider to make that case as well.
  • For larger enterprises, think about how you could implement these properties into your organisation’s workflow.

The online IPTC Photo Metadata Standard specification will be updated to the new version on 4 November 2021.

Next Tuesday, IPTC will be part of a panel of guests speaking at a webinar hosted by CEPIC (the Coordination of European Picture Agencies – Stock, Press and Heritage) and EANA (the European Alliance of News Agencies).

Brendan Quinn, Managing Director of IPTC will be joining the webinar to talk about IPTC’s involvement in C2PA, the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity, in particular the draft technical specification which was released this month. Brendan will be talking about how C2PA aims to solve part of the problem around news provenance, informing users when news comes from a reputable source.

The other speakers are Mathieu Desoubeaux from IMATAG, Stefan Voss, Verification Officer at dpa, and Yacine Le Forestier, Head of Europe fact checking at AFP.

The other speakers are all from IPTC member organisations, and IPTC shares many members with both CEPIC and EANA, so we are very happy to take part in this event.

Registration for the event is still available. The webinar will take place on Tuesday 21 September from 1700 to 1800 CET, but is open before and after for attendee networking and discussion.

The IPTC is very happy to announce that Paul Harman of Bloomberg has accepted the Board’s nomination to be Chair of the IPTC Standards Committee.

Paul Harman headshot
Paul Harman, IPTC’s new Standards Committee Chair.

The IPTC Standards Committee is the core of the technical standardisation work of the news industry. It is the parent of all of the IPTC’s Working Groups. The Committee comprises all Voting Members and is the forum where specifications and recommendations created by the Working Groups are formally approved for publication.

Paul has been an active member of the IPTC for more than two decades. He has worked as a senior software engineer in the industry for over twenty years, first at the Press Association (now PA Media) and more recently at Bloomberg, representing both firms as an IPTC delegate. Paul works primarily on editorial content management systems, syndication platforms, web sites and services, and was active in the development of IPTC’s NewsML v1 and NewsML-G2 standards. He was voted onto the IPTC Board of Directors in October 2019.

Robert Schmidt-Nia, Chair of the IPTC’s Board of Directors, said: “I am honoured to welcome Paul who has volunteered to serve as the new chair of our standards committee. His guidance will support IPTC’s mission to develop relevant standards which will help us solve the dramatic changes our industry faces. My gratitude also goes out to Paul’s employer, Bloomberg, in supporting this advancement.”

Paul said: “We live in an interconnected world. As such, it is vital we have a common understanding of the structure of news and media data to facilitate interoperability, while also avoiding misunderstandings and unnecessary duplication of effort. IPTC standards play a key role in supporting this collaborative ecosystem. I am proud to have been asked to chair the IPTC Standards Committee to help continue the important work this organisation performs on behalf of the news technology industry.”

Screenshot of the c2pa.org home page.
The c2pa.org home page.

Recently IPTC has been working with many organisations who are creating solutions for the ongoing problem of misinformation and disinformation in news. We are happy to announce that this work continues through IPTC’s liaison relationship with C2PA, the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity.

C2PA was created to unify the efforts of the Adobe-led Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) which focuses on systems to provide context and history for digital media, and Project Origin, a Microsoft- and BBC-led initiative that tackles disinformation in the digital news ecosystem. C2PA creates technical standards for certifying the source and history (or provenance) of media content.

The IPTC has been working with both the Content Authenticity Initiative and Project Origin in recent years. Andy Parsons from CAI presented at the IPTC Photo Metadata Conference in 2020. IPTC members who are also members of CAI and/or Project Origin include Adobe, BBC, CBC/Radio Canada and The New York Times.

IPTC and C2PA have agreed to share information and allow each organisation to attend the other’s meetings in the areas of technical specifications of file formats, particularly around image and video files; to share knowledge and expertise around newsroom practices and workflows; and to collaborate in the areas of content syndication and distribution.

The IPTC Photo Metadata Standard is widely used by photographers, photo agencies and other photo suppliers around the world. To help photo people use it properly, IPTC has a specification document with a lot of details in document form.

Now, we have released a machine-readable version of the spec that can be consumed directly by software tools.

We call it the IPTC Photo Metadata TechReference. (See below for direct links to the data files.)

The TechReference is a data object containing all the details of the IPTC Photo Metadata technical specifications in the easy-to-use JSON and YAML formats.

The file covers all IPTC properties and structures.

For each property, we specify:

  • the property’s formal name
  • corresponding identifiers in the ISO XMP and the IPTC IIM formats, if applicable;
  • the property’s datatype, such as string, number or a custom property structure like Location; and
  • the property identifier that can be used with ExifTool to read or write the metadata property (such as “XMP-dc:creator” for XMP or “IPTC:Creator” for IIM);
  • … and a few more details.

We have also published rich documentation about the TechReference data object on the IPTC website. The data objects themselves can be downloaded from the IPTC site by both IPTC members and other interested parties.

Screenshot of IPTC's Video Metadata Hub generator tool.

IPTC’s Video Metadata Working Group is happy to announce that the first version of the IPTC Video Metadata Hub Generator tool has been released. It can be used to create IPTC Video Metadata Hub records without any knowledge of the underlying technical metadata schema.

The Video Metadata Hub tool serves as a demonstrator to show how easy it could be to enter metadata for a video using the Video Metadata Hub common video metadata schema. It illustrates the power of Video Metadata Hub to video architects, digital asset managers and developers of video software and systems.

How do I use the Video Metadata Hub Generator?

To use the tool, simply start typing text into fields in the form on the left hand side of the screen. The right-hand side will automatically update showing a JSON version of the VMHub data according to the IPTC Video Metadata Hub JSON schema.

Because one of the features of IPTC Video Metadata Hub is its rich set of mappings to other well-known video formats, we will be adding other output formats such as XML (NewsML-G2), EBUCore, XMP and EIDR.

What can I do with the output?

The resulting JSON file can be used to supply data to IT systems. Alternatively, the generated JSON file can be saved alongside your video assets as a “sidecar”. This usage is explained in the section of the IPTC Video Metadata Hub User Guide called “Using Video Metadata Hub with your video content”.

In the future, we hope that Video Metadata Hub properties will be built into many video editing tools and digital asset management systems, along with a common way of storing the metadata properties embedded into video files. When this has happened, users will be able to fill out standardised metadata fields in one tool and then view the entered metadata when loading that video file into another tool.

The current version of the Video Metadata Hub Generator shows only a small subset of the 91 Video Metadata Hub fields. In the future, we aim to add a control that lets users specify their use case (for example “video archives” or “news agency”) and all of the relevant fields for that use case would be displayed.

For more information, see the IPTC Video Metadata Hub pages on iptc.org or the Video Metadata Hub User Guide.

We are very interested in feedback from users. Join the conversation about this tool on the public iptc-videometadata email discussion group.

Stéphane Guérillot. CEO of AFP Blue and Director of IPTC, retiring in June 2021.

It is with mixed feelings that we say farewell to Stéphane Guérillot, our friend and colleague and Agence France-Presse’s Delegate to IPTC for 40 years. On one hand, we are happy that it is time for him to start a well-deserved retirement. But we are sad that we will not see his big smile and hear his always thoughtful and relevant comments and ideas. Stéphane contributed greatly to our Working Groups and on the Standards Committee, which he chaired for many years.

Over this time, Stéphane has contributed to almost all of IPTC’s standards, including NewsML and NewsML-G2, IPTC Photo Metadata and its predecessor IIM, NewsCodes and more.

What’s more, Stéphane contributed as a Board Member and Treasurer of IPTC for many years, was Chairman of IPTC from 2005 to 2011, and hosted several IPTC Meetings in France. As the main Member Delegate for Agence France-Presse and CEO of AFP’s technology subsidiary AFP Blue, Stéphane was key in driving AFP’s adoption of IPTC standards, which continues to this day.

We wish Stéphane and his family all the best.

At the recent IPTC Spring Meeting, we surprised Stéphane with a special session remembering his time with IPTC. Many previous members were invited to attend to pass along their congratulations.

Unfortunately, this time we could only say farewell over Zoom. But we are very happy to announce that in recognition for his work, the IPTC Board has granted lifetime Honorary Membership to Stéphane, which means that he is entitled to come to future meetings.

So hopefully we can say au revoir et félicitations in person some time soon!

We are happy to announce a new version of the popular NewsML-G2 generator tool.

This version is easier to use, and shows how NewsML-G2 files can be created using either QCodes or URIs for controlled values. It also allows the user to select the body text format – either NITF (IPTC’s News Industry Text Format) or XHTML. Both formats are used by large news agencies to distribute news content, so using the selector can help you to see the difference between the two formats and perhaps help you to make a decision about which format to use.

The new version of the NewsML-G2 Generator can be accessed at the same URL as the older version: https://iptc.org/std/NewsML-G2/generator/.

Using the NewsML-G2 Generator

To use the generator, simply start typing into the form on the left side of the screen. The grey box on the right hand side will immediately update with the relevant XML markup to represent your content in NewsML-G2 format.

The selectors above the output box on the right hand side allow you to change the output format:

  • QCodes vs URIs: Metadata values such as “itemClass” can be expressed either using IPTC’s QCodes format, or by URIs. So for example the “item type” can be expressed as a QCode (<itemClass qcode="ninat:graphic"/>) or a URI (<itemClass uri="http://cv.iptc.org/newscodes/ninat/graphic"/>). This radio button allows you to switch between the two formats for all controlled values in your NewsML-G2 file.
  • XHTML vs NITF: NewsML-G2 describes how the metadata around a news item should be delivered, but the actual content of a text news item must be expressed in another format. Two options expressed here are NITF, IPTC’s News Industry Text Format, and XHTML. This radio button changes the <contentSet/> section to include an embedded XML document in either XHTML or NITF format.

More enhancements to come

Currently, the generator tool handles simple text news stories. Ideas for future enhancements are to include support for images, audio and video, packages of multiple news items possibly in multiple formats, the partMeta framework to include metadata about part of a news item, and more. Suggestions are always welcome – please contact us if you have any further ideas.

We are excited to present to IPTC members the full agenda for the IPTC Spring Meeting 2021, taking place online from Monday May 10th to Wednesday May 12th.

We are honoured to have presentations from IPTC members Adobe, BBC, Agence France-Presse (AFP), The New York Times, Bloomberg, Austria Press Agentur (APA) and new member Scribely, along with guest presentations from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Data Language, TV2 Denmark, and YLE Finland.

Themes include

  • metadata for content accessibility;
  • knowledge graphs and semantic technologies in news and media; and
  • trust and credibility, including a presentation by Leonard Rosenthal of the new Coalition for Content Authenticity and Provenance

Plus we will have all our regular presentations from our Working Groups in NewsML-G2, Photo Metadata, Video Metadata, NewsCodes (including Media Topics), News in JSON and Sports. We will also have sessions for our Standards Committee and PR Committee.

There will also be some time allocated each day to member networking. While we can’t match the networking opportunities of an in-person meeting, we will be using some new tools to make networking more interesting and approachable for members.

We are also planning to hold a special webinar the week before the meeting Introducing knowledge graphs for the media, so we can get straight into the interesting content during the member meeting and not spend time introducing the concepts.

All IPTC member organisations are welcome to attend at no cost.

IPTC members can see more information on the Spring Meeting 2021 page in the IPTC Members-Only Zone.