Archive for the ‘newscredit’ tag

News [metadata] from Porto

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‘The solution to the overabundance of information’ David Weinberger writes in Everything is Miscellaneous, ‘is more information’. Long live metadata!

In Porto, I’ve spent the last couple of days at an official IPTC conference (the International Press Telecommunications Council). The folk at the IPTC have been thinking about information and metadata for over 40 years. These are the high priests of news metadata.

For a long while this was, as you’d figure, rather a minority pursuit (though mighty profitable for those that went to the trouble to do it).

Now, in our age of ‘infobesity’, it suddenly has significant new relevance and urgency.

Why? Because describing your content in a consistent, machine-readable way (through metadata) makes searching for it an awful lot easier. It also means you can label it so people know where it’s come from. It also frees up the information so it can be used in creative, unanticipated ways (like journalisted, or dipity). 

Problem is, almost all the rich IPTC metadata is stripped out before it gets to the end user. Once it has served its purpose – i.e. as a means of fast data transfer between different content businesses – the metadata is lost. By the time you and I see an article on a website we’ll be lucky if it even has a date stamp (e.g. see United Airlines story from last August).

Should you care? Well, if you want to know when and where a story was first published, yes. If you want to be able to search for stories by a specific journalist, or news organisation, then yes. If you’re interested in knowing where the news you’re reading has come from, then yes.

Which is why the Transparency Initiative – the MacArthur and Knight funded news project – and IPTC metadata standards, are so complementary. While the IPTC worry about labelling data at source, we’re concerned with how to make sure those labels (or at least those ones that are relevant to the public) don’t get lost along the way. Which is why we’re hoping to work with the IPTC to see how we can retain just a little of this rich metadata and carry it all the way to you and I, the end user.

This will be in addition to the main aim of the initiative which is looking to create simple conventions for highlighting the basic provenance of a news article in a clear and consistent way – i.e. who wrote it, who first published it, when it was first written, when it was updates, where it was written from (for more see www.newscredit.org).

By learning from the IPTC’s 40 odd years of experience and working with them make sure news’ basic provenance doesn’t disappear, we hope we can help people find news and assess it more easily – before we all get swamped by the information tsunami.

Written by Martin Moore

March 4th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

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Movie credits for news reports

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Movie credits are strange things. Most of us don’t bother to watch them (unless there are goofs and gaffs along the side, or we know there’s a twist after the credits finish). Many of them are written in a font too small to be legible or roll at such a clip that you have to be a speed reader to keep up. And virtually no-one knows what a ‘key grip’ does.


But it would be weird if they weren’t there. We like to know who directed a film, who produced it, who did the cinematography. If not necessarily when we watch the movie, but subsequently, and for posterity. Similarly, those involved in making a film want to be credited for their work in it.

So why aren’t there credits for other media content? Or if there are, why are they so paltry? Why shouldn’t there be, at the end of a news article about Afghanistan: written by, edited by, produced by, etc.? Instead of just a byline (and even this is often absent). All the information wouldn’t necessarily have to be visible, just available if you wanted it.

Not only would it give people more information about the piece/photo/video (i.e. how much work was put into it, whether it was produced by an organisation with a good track record etc.), but it would mean that those who worked on it were properly and accurately credited for their work.

This is one of the things 
newscredit does. It works a little like movie credits except for news. It enables the journalist to be properly credited for their work and, if they want, to credit other people involved in its production and credit the organisation that published it (it can provide a whole bunch of other helpful information too, like publication date and time, location etc…).

Here’s an example of how a really really simple one might look (go to the bottom of the article and roll over the news credit logo. It could look a lot slicker, and a lot longer, but this ought to give an impression of how it could work).

This is just one of the potential benefits of making news transparent. I’ll talk about some of the others in future blog posts.

Written by Martin Moore

February 2nd, 2009 at 3:34 pm

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