Sunday, September 11, 2011

Deciding to Remember

In many countries, certainly in Europe, shared national memory has a reality in the naming of public squares and boulevards by dates. The equivalent for us would be if the Fourth of July were one term in a vocabulary of dates with civic emotional meaning, rather than unique. (There are not likely to be boulevards named for December 7 or November 22.)

In October 1999, American Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky reflected on

what makes the American people "a people" -- and what our poetry can teach us about the "fragile, heroic enterprise of remembering"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Six Ways You Can Help Us Get to rNews 1.0

The IPTC has been working on rNews since late 2010. We're now getting close to unveiling rNews 1.0 - and you can help get us there!

What is rNews?
rNews is a way to embed news-specific metadata into HTML pages. With a standard for representing that news-specific metadata, providers could consistently apply it to web pages in a way that makes it easier to use for tool makers (such as search engines). One key benefit of making it a standard is that it lets smaller players - both publishers and tool makers - participate on an equal footing with larger players. As I discussed in Seven Ideas for rNews you can think of rNews as being like a news-specific API for webpages to encourage open innovation (but with less technical and managerial overhead than typical APIs).

How has the IPTC been Crafting rNews?
Amongst other things, the IPTC's Semantic Web Working Group has been working steadily on the underlying model for rNews. We did lots of outreach to publishers and people interested in consuming news metadata on the web, including SemWeb meetups in New York, Berlin and London. Yesterday, the IPTC SemWeb group agreed to rNews 0.7, which you can see via this rNews spreadsheet.

What are the Specifics of rNews 0.7?
The spreadsheet includes the rNews classes, properties and definitions. It indicates the differences from the previous version of rNews. It also includes a potential alignment with, which has a similar model but is aimed at microdata specifically, whereas we see the rNews model as working with multiple different syntaxes, including both microdata and RDFa. The rNews site hasn't yet been updated to reflect all of the changes in version 0.7. Partly, that's because we only just agreed the details yesterday. But in part, that's also because we're about to move to rNews 1.0 - the first full Production Release of rNews!

How Can I Help Get to rNews 1.0?
The IPTC plans to vote on rNews 1.0 in the first week of October, at our next face-to-face meeting. You can help ensure that the rNews 1.0 launch is a success by doing any or all of the following:

1. Examine the rNews 0.7 spreadsheet and point out problems, omissions or contradictions via the rNews forum
2. A great way to get to grips with the details is to try marking up a news webpage using rNews 0.7 (you can see some examples linked from the rNews main page)
3. Try extracting rNews properties from an example page using an RDFa or microdata distiller
4. If you like your rNews example marked-up webpage, consider contributing it to the IPTC, so we can share it with others
5. Think about an innovative service or tool you can build using news markup applied consistently and at scale across the web
6. If you work for a publisher, start to talk to your colleagues about the potential to unlock innovation for news on the web via improved news metadata markup

Since the beginning, the rNews work has been a group effort, greeted with interest and enthusiasm from a variety of people. Now - with your help - we are within sight of reaching a very  significant milestone: the release of rNews 1.0.