Embedding metadata in online news

rNews is an approved standard for using semantic markup to annotate news-specific metadata in HTML documents. rNews has been developed by the IPTC, a consortium of the world’s major news agencies, news publishers and news industry vendors.


Every web page is written in the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). HTML provides web authors with the ability to specify the exact layout and appearance of web documents. For example, a news publisher might use HTML to specify that, on an article page, the region containing the headline be displayed in a 16-point bold typeface. This styling information makes it easy for human readers to identify this region as an article’s headline.

Unfortunately, a machine looking for the headline in an HTML document has only display information to guide its search. As styling is inconsistent across publisher sites and since multiple regions on a page may use the same style, it is very difficult for a machine to reliably discover an article’s headline through style alone. News publishers can solve this problem through semantic markup. Semantic markup allows publishers to attach specific meanings to various regions of an article page. One such semantic markup standard is called RDFa. RDFa is a framework for embedding semantic markup into HTML documents, but to apply RDFa to a specific domain it is necessary to develop terminology and data models specific to that domain. Another markup standard is called HTML5 Microdata. Microdata is another framework for embedding semantic markup into HTML document, it is adopted by schema.org as the preferred syntax.

Specification and documentation

rNews specifies the terminology and data model required to embed news specific metadata into HTML documents – find the details in the rNews section of the IPTC Developer Site.


The IPTC Developer Site provides technical information about rNews.

The rNews Users Forum is  used to share experiences, raise questions and recommend and discuss changes to the rNews standard. It also connects publishers who use rNews and vendors who create tools to help creating and processing rNews mark-up.