Based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), NewsML is a standard way to describe news information content so that it can distributed and reused widely on Web sites and other media. The use of NewsML could, for example, allow a news editor to search for, find, and download various forms of content (photographic images, text, video) from different Web sites and then easily combine them for presentation on the news site. NewsML and similar XML-based standards, such as Extensible Public Relations Language (XPRL) and Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), are designed to make it easier to format and present information related to their specific business sectors.
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Because NewsML, XBRL, and XPRL are all based on XML and support other XML standards, such as XML Schema Definition (XSD), they enable interexchange of data. News content, for example, may often overlap with business or public relations content. Because each of the languages complies with W3C's established XML-related specifications, it will be possible for publishers of any of the three types of content to access the other two types as well.
The idea for NewsML was conceived at Reuters, the global news organization, in 1999. Reuters collaborated with WAVO, a developer of news-related software programs, to create a NewsML Toolkit. The toolkit is an interface that allows developers who may not have XML expertise to use Java-based processing for NewsML content.