Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beyond News Items: the need for news industry standards in Plone

News articles in Plone are instances of the News Item content type: they can contain a title, a description, a body text, an image and some basic metadata. If you publish a couple of items from time to time, this is fine.

But suppose you have to publish dozens of items everyday... How do you tell your readers who they are about? What do they cover? Where do they took place? And, more important, how do you classify them? How do you organize them? How do you tell your readers which ones are newsworthy?

To solve these, and other issues, the IPTC developed XML standards to define the content and structure of news articles. NITF, NewsML and NewsCodes are among these standards and they support the classification, identification and description of a huge number of news articles characteristics.

NITF and NewsML have different uses: NITF is intended to structure independent news articles; NewsML is for the structuring of multimedia news packages. Inside a NewsML object we can have things like alternative representations of the same article to be used on different media, or different translations. NewsML can also be used to encapsulate many NITF objects to form an edition.

NewsCodes are about consistent coding of news metadata (taxonomies). NewsCodes define sets of topics to be assigned as metadata values to any object inside a news article (text, photos, graphs, audios and videos).

As you can imagine this is quite powerful. Typical uses of these standards are: in and between editorial systems, between news agencies and their customers, between publishers and news aggregators, and between news service providers and end users. Many content providers and system vendors currently support them worldwide.

If Plone could understand NITF and NewsML, it would be easy to interoperate with editorial systems and feed a whole edition of a newspaper or magazine into a website, even in different languages and formats, and including all sort of multimedia content. You could also use Plone to distribute your content to different aggregators or sell it to your customers.

If Plone could handle NewsCodes it would be easier to describe, manage, transmit and exchange news articles.

That's a lot of work, and that's what we had in mind when we started the Julius project in early 2006.

No comments:

Post a Comment