Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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NITF, News Industry Text Format

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name News Industry Text Format

An XML-based format, developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council. NITF represents the content and structure of news articles and accompanying metadata. The intent of NITF is as a base format, from which publishers can adapt the look, feel, and interactivity of their documents to the bandwidth, devices, and personalized needs of their subscribers. NITF documents can be translated into HTML, WML (for wireless devices), RTF (for printing), or any other format the publisher wishes.

This format description does not attempt to distinguish between versions, but covers NITF in general.

Production phase A middle-state format (intended for use by publishers and newswire services).
Relationship to other formats
    Defined via XML_DTD, XML Document Type Definition (DTD). Originally, only a DTD was used.
    Defined via XML_SCHEMA, W3X XML Schema . As of version 3.4, released in May 2007, an XML Schema for NITF has been made available.
    Used by NewsML_1, NewsML (News Markup Language, version 1
    Has subtype Versions not separately described.

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings None.
LC preference See the Recommended Formats Statement for the Library of Congress format preferences for Textual Works.

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Open standard. NITF was developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council, an independent international association of news agencies and publishers.
    Documentation NITF specifications can be found at
Adoption Substantial adoption by newswire services. See
    Licensing and patents None
Transparency Human-readable XML. Well-documented DTD.
Self-documentation The DTD includes descriptive elements relevant to news articles, such as title, byline, dateline, headline. Also in the DTD are elements for topical subjects, publication details, and revision history.
External dependencies None
Technical protection considerations None

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Normal rendering Good support.
Integrity of document structure The NITF DTDs and XML Schemas represent the structure of an individual news article.
Integrity of layout and display Not intended to define precise rendering, but to support rendering using stylesheets for different disseminations, via PDAs, RSS, web browsers, etc.  Includes HTML-compatible support for tables and lists.
Support for mathematics, formulae, etc. Not supported.
Functionality beyond normal rendering Supports links to external media objects, such as images, audio, or video. Also supports embedding of media objects (in binary format).

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension xml
Common practice for XML document instances is to use the .xml extension. The particular XML Schema or DTD should be declared within the document.
Internet Media Type text/vnd.IPTC.NITF
See Registration form for NITF Media Type.
Pronom PUID See note.  No relevant match as of April 2017
Wikidata Title ID See note.  No relevant match as of April 2017

Notes Explanation of format description terms


Version 3.2 of NITF was released in October 2003. Version 3.4 was released in May 2007. Version 3.5 was released in September 2009. Version 3.6 was released in January 2012. For version 3.6, only an XML Schema is specified.

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 04/26/2023