news-brainstorming

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News Brainstorming

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.

This page serves to document the brainstorming and ideas resulting from analysis of news examples from real world sites and systems for the design of a simple news microformat. - Jonathan Malek

Contributors

  • Jonathan Malek
  • Stuart Myles
  • Martin Moore
  • Mark Ng
  • Todd Martin

See Also

The Problem

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 0.1, and simplified an initial effort at a data format for news away from describing any fields already in hAtom 0.1, 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 0.1.

In much the same way that one extends Atom, we are looking to extend hAtom 0.1 with the most vital news-specific fields.

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 0.1 fields
  • 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 1.0). We're using source-org to avoid name conflict with hAtom 0.1 should the draft decide to include the atom:source element.
  • dateline: using text or hCard 1.0, 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
  • item-license: to express licensing around the item
  • principles: using the draft format rel-principles

Issues

Please add new issues to the bottom of the Open Issues section by copy and pasting the Template. Please follow-up to resolved/rejected issues with new information rather than resubmitting such issues. Duplicate issue additions will be reverted.

Issues Template

Consider using this format (copy and paste this to the end of the list to add your issues; replace ~~~ with an external link if preferred) to report issues or feedback, so that issues can show up in hAtom subscriptions of this issues page. If open issues lack this markup, please add it.

Please post one issue per entry, to make them easier to manage. Avoid combining multiple issues into single reports, as this can confuse or muddle feedback, and puts a burden of separating the discrete issues onto someone else who 1. may not have the time, and 2. may not understand the issue in the same way as the original reporter.

<div class="hentry">
{{OpenIssue}} 
<span class="entry-summary author vcard">
 <span class="published">2011-MM-DD</span> 
 raised by <span class="fn">~~~</span>
</span>
<div class="entry-content discussion issues">
* <strong class="entry-title">«Short title of issue»</strong>. «Description of Issue»
** Follow-up comment #1
** Follow-up comment #2
</div>
</div>

Open Issues

open issue! 18:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC) raised by Kevin Marks

  • hCalendar instead of dateline? Would an hCalendar 1.0 event (which can contain an hCard location) make sense for a dateline, or is the 'date' part more often omitted?
    • Confusingly, the journalistic term "dateline" isn't anything to do with a date or time. It is the location from which a report is filed and is generally the main location associated with a story. Generally, a dateline consists of a city (e.g. "Rome") but could be the name of a ship at sea or even a space station. Stuart Myles 21:12, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

open issue! 18:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC) raised by Kevin Marks

  • hCard instead of geo? Is geo really in use here, or would using an hCard (that can contain geo) be a better way of representing locations referred to in the story, as more human readable?
    • The reason for geo being highlighted (as an optional field) is to promote at least one location identifier in the story--preferably the most appropriate single location on a map for that particular story. Geo does not have to be related to dateline, but in some examples we've worked on, we show the two collapsed into a single field. --JonathanMalek 23:53, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
    • For locations referred to in the story, I agree--publishers should be using hCard 1.0 with the contained geo to markup the locations themselves. One of the concepts I've struggled with is drawing an admittedly arbitrary line between the metadata about a story from the metadata within a story. For the former, we've focused on simplicity and minimalism, primarily as a means to encourage adoption. That has meant preferring rel="tag" over in-line entity extraction and markup using compound microformats. For the latter, we feel that the field is open: use whatever microformat fits your purpose, however you can--the more, the better. This lets publishers with minimal technology capabilities at least get started by tweaking a few templates in their CMS, while those more technically inclined aren't limited by the simplicity of the format to a paucity of data. --JonathanMalek 23:53, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

open issue! 18:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC) raised by Kevin Marks

  • What is item-license? Using rel="license" presumably?
    • We're working off the Licensing Brainstorming discussions for this. Our concern with rel="license" was its definition as applying to an entire page, rather than an item within a page. The current discussions around licensing definitely address that. --JonathanMalek 00:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Closed Issues

Naming

Here are candidate names for a news microformat:

  • hNews