There have been several efforts to define data formats for news content. Almost all have focused on the interchange of news content between systems and organizations, and so contain dozens (if not hundreds) of fields that are targeted at "news management"--a mix of content management, metadata management, versioning and other operations undertaken by news organizations.
- Jonathan Malek
- Stuart Myles
- Martin Moore
- Mark Ng
- Todd Martin
While there are dozens of formats used on thousands of news sites, there is no single standardized format for presentation of news on the web. Having a standardized news format for web publishing would significantly benefit readers, aggregators, search engines and researchers alike. With no standard format for news, search engines are forced to parse unstructured data, and errors can be costly (see Wired.com, 2008).
Thoughts on a Microformat for News
We found significant overlap with hAtom, and simplified an initial effort at a data format for news away from describing any fields already in hAtom, or the superset Atom, with the expectation that future versions of that draft specification would approach feature parity. Instead, we focused on those news fields not in hAtom.
The fields we've selected are a combination of the common fields from many of the news formats currently in use, and the introduction of one new field, principles.
Common News Fields
- hAtom fields: first and foremost, a news story is an hentry. If the news story cannot be parsed by an hAtom parser, it is not a valid news format.
- source-org: the source organization for this particular news story--should be considered different from the atom:source element because it does not represent the source feed, but rather the source organization (and so should use hCard). We're using source-org to avoid name conflict with hAtom should the draft decide to include the atom:source element.
- dateline: using text or hCard, not to be confused with date (see dateline for more information).
- geo: using geo, a simple way of providing the information necessary for services for readers around local news content. This field should be inherited from hAtom, but since it is not part of the format yet, we're including it here. See the hAtom and Geo discussion.
- item-license: to express licensing around the item
- principles: using the draft format rel-principles
Please see hNews issues.
Here are candidate names for a news microformat:
See the hnews draft.