Which taxonomy should you use to classify news content, IAB-QAG or IPTC Subject Codes?
With the vast quantities of news content available online about every topic, it can be a challenge to source content about what you are interested in without getting a lot of noise as well.
To help people find the topics they are interested in, publishers organize content into taxonomies. For example, you can see in the navigation bar above that the taxonomy of this blog, which consists of the categories “General,” “Product,” “Data Science,” and “Research”.
But if you’re building a solution that searches for news content from more than one source, you quickly run into a big problem: every publisher categorizes their content according to their own taxonomy. For instance, stories about the same event might be categorized as “Business” in the New York Times but about “Stocks & Shares” on another website.
This is where the AYLIEN News API’s classification feature helps you. Every month, it gathers millions of stories and categorizes every one of them by two taxonomies – IAB-QAG and IPTC Subject Codes. These taxonomies consist of hundreds of categories, so whatever topic you’re interested in, broad or niche, you can easily source all of the content you need, and none of what you don’t.
Here’s an important point about the taxonomies that most people don’t realise: each of them is designed for a different industry, so each has advantages for different use cases. But when we’re talking with our users on our support channels, we notice that people often don’t use the taxonomy that is best for their use case.
So we thought we’d put a couple of tips into a short blog to help you decide which taxonomy you should use to maximize the value of whatever you’re building.
We’re going to outline:
- The difference between IAB-QAG and IPTC Subject Codes.
- How IAB-QAG organizes content
- How IPTC Subject Codes organizes content.
What’s the difference between IAB-QAG and IPTC Subject Codes?
If you’re trying to decide which of these categories will allow you to access the content that’s valuable to you, here is a good thing to remember: IAB-QAG was designed for online advertising, whereas IPTC Subject Codes was designed to standardize all news content classification.
As a result of this, you’ll see that IAB-QAG focuses on products and services, whereas IPTC focuses on a broader range of topics, making it more useful for business intelligence.
For example, take a topic that our News API gathers tens of thousands of new stories about every month – health. Subcategories of the advertising-focused IAB-QAG health category are made up of subcategories where advertisers can place ads for in-demand products or services (Herbs for Health, Senior Health, Dermatology).
On the other hand, the IPTC Health category is less than half the size and organizes content into categories more useful to a researcher (Healthcare Policy, Medical Research, Health Organisations).
|07000000 Health||IAB7 Health & Fitness|
|07001000 Disease||IAB7-1 Exercise|
|07001003 Aids||IAB7-2 A.D.D.|
|07001004 Cancer||IAB7-3 AIDS or HIV|
|07001006 Alzheimers Disease||IAB7-4 Allergies|
|07002000 Epidemic And Plague||IAB7-5 Alternative Medicine|
|07003000 Health Treatment||IAB7-6 Arthritis|
|07003003 Diet||IAB7-7 Asthma|
|07003004 Medical Procecdure or Test||IAB7-8 Autism or PDD|
|07004000 Health Organisations||IAB7-9 Bipolar Disorder|
|07005000 Medical Research||IAB7-10 Brain Tumor|
|07006000 Medical Staff||IAB7-11 Cancer|
|07007000 Medicine||IAB7-12 Cholesterol|
|07008000 Preventative Medicine||IAB7-13 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome|
|07010000 Hospital And Clinic||IAB7-14 Chronic Pain|
|07013000 Healthcare Policy||IAB7-15 Cold and Flu|
|07016000 Physical Fitness||IAB7-16 Deafness|
|07017000 Illness||IAB7-17 Dental Care|
|07017001 Mental Illness||IAB7-18 Depression|
|07017003 Obesity||IAB7-19 Dermatology|
|07019000 Patient||IAB7-20 Diabetes|
|IAB7-22 GERD/Acid Reflux|
|IAB7-24 Heart Disease|
|IAB7-25 Herbs for Health|
|IAB7-26 Holistic Healing|
|IAB7-28 Incest/Abuse Support|
|IAB7-34 Panic or Anxiety Disorders|
|IAB7-36 Physical Therapy|
|IAB7-37 Psychology or Psychiatry|
|IAB7-38 Senior Health|
|IAB7-40 Sleep Disorders|
|IAB7-41 Smoking Cessation|
|IAB7-42 Substance Abuse|
|IAB7-43 Thyroid Disease|
|IAB7-44 Weight Loss|
Use IAB-QAG to categorize content in a commercially-oriented way
So IAB-QAG is designed to classify content to maximize the value of online ads by categorizing content in a way that allows relevant products or services to be advertised.
We just saw that in the health categories of each taxonomy, this affects the type of details that each taxonomy recognizes, but it also affects how much coverage some subjects receive. For an extreme picture of how different the focus of each is, let’s look at how each taxonomy covers content about cars.
Content about cars is arguably product-driven by its nature, so you can see how IAB-QAG categorizes this content with far more attention to detail, whereas IPTC has one automotive category.
So if you’re classifying content about topics that are product-oriented (such as automotive topics) you may want to consider using IAB-QAG, even if your aim is not to drive revenue with semantic advertising.
|04011002 Automotive equipment||IAB2 Automotive|
|IAB2-1 Auto Parts|
|IAB2-2 Auto Repair|
|IAB2-3 Buying/Selling Cars|
|IAB2-4 Car Culture|
|IAB2-5 Certified Pre-Owned|
|IAB2-10 Electric Vehicle|
|IAB2-16 Off-Road Vehicles|
|IAB2-17 Performance Vehicles|
|IAB2-19 Road-Side Assistance|
|IAB2-21 Trucks & Accessories|
|IAB2-22 Vintage Cars|
Use IPTC to categorize content for media monitoring and market intelligence
So we just saw that IAB-QAG is designed with online advertising in mind and organizes content into a taxonomy that focuses on products and services. In both of these examples IAB-QAG covered the subject matter with either a wider range of possible categories, or a more product-focused list of categories.
But the IPTC taxonomy is extremely useful too. It covers subjects that are important to the business world in far greater detail. For example, you can use our searchable taxonomies in our docs to take a look through the monster 132-subcategory long economy, business and finance category, and compare it to the 12-subcategory long IAB-QAG Business category.
|04000000 economy, business, and finance||04008034 business enterprises|
|04001000 agriculture||04008036 trade balance|
|04001001 arable farming||04009000 market and exchange|
|04001003 forestry and timber||04010000 media|
|04002000 chemicals||04010002 book|
|04002001 biotechnology||04010003 cinema industry|
|04002002 fertiliser||04010004 news agency|
|04002006 pharmaceutical||04010005 newspaper and magazine|
|04003000 computing and information technology||04010006 online|
|04003001 hardware||04010008 radio industry|
|04003003 satellite technology||04010009 satellite and cable service|
|04003005 software||04010010 television industry|
|04003007 telecommunication service||04010011 music industry|
|04003008 security||04011000 manufacturing and engineering|
|04004000 construction and property||04011001 aerospace|
|04004002 house building||04011002 automotive equipment|
|04004006 renovation||04011004 electrical appliance|
|04005000 energy and resource||04011005 heavy engineering|
|04005001 alternative energy||04011007 instrument engineering|
|04005002 coal||04011008 shipbuilding|
|04005003 oil and gas – downstream activities||04012000 metal and mineral|
|04005004 oil and gas – upstream activities||04012001 building material|
|04005005 nuclear power||04012002 gold and precious material|
|04005006 electricity production and distribution||04012005 mining|
|04013000 process industry||04013000 process industry|
|04005009 natural resources (general)||04013008 tobacco|
|04005010 energy (general)||04014000 tourism and leisure|
|04005012 petrol||04014002 hotel and accommodation|
|04005013 diesel fuel||04015000 transport|
|04005014 kerosene/paraffin||04015001 air transport|
|04006000 financial and business service||04015002 railway|
|04006002 banking||04015004 waterway and maritime transport|
|04006005 healthcare provider||04016000 company information|
|04006006 insurance||04016001 accounting and audit|
|04006007 legal service||04016004 antitrust issue|
|04006013 personal service||04016005 merger, acquisition and takeover|
|04006016 rental service||04016007 bankruptcy|
|04006017 wedding service||04016009 buyback|
|04006018 personal finance||04016011 corporate officer|
|04006019 personal income||04016013 contract|
|04006020 auction service||04016016 earnings forecast|
|04007000 consumer goods||04016017 financially distressed company|
|04007003 food||04016018 earnings|
|04007009 electronic commerce||04016019 financing and stock offering|
|04007012 toy||04016021 global expansion|
|04008000 macro economics||04016022 insider trading|
|04008001 central bank||04016023 joint venture|
|04008003 debt market||04016027 litigation and regulation|
|04008004 economic indicator||04016029 marketing|
|04008008 government debt||04016030 new product|
|04008010 international economic institution||04016031 patent, copyright and trademark|
|04008013 economic organization||04016033 plant opening|
|04008014 consumer confidence||04016036 rating|
|04008015 trade dispute||04016037 research and development|
|04008016 inflation and deflation||04016038 quarterly or semiannual financial statement|
|04008017 prices||04016041 stock activity|
|04008019 budgets and budgeting||04016044 inventories|
|04008020 credit and debt||04016045 sales|
|04008022 mortgages||04016046 corporations|
|04008023 financial markets||04016048 corporate performance|
|04008026 stocks||04016050 credit ratings|
|04008028 mutual funds||04016053 recalls (products)|
|04008030 imports||04016054 globalization|
|04008031 exports||04016055 consumers|
|04008034 business enterprises||04017000 economy (general)|
|04018000 business (general)|
|04019000 finance (general)|
|04019001 money and monetary policy|
This detailed focus on business content allows IPTC users to dig into quite granular topics that matter to business intelligence. Some of the categories that the News API classifies about this topic are so granular it’s fascinating. You can take a look at through each of these taxonomies in detail in our docs.
So that’s a brief overview to help you decide which taxonomy is useful to you. With a combined 900+ potential categories recognized by the News API across both taxonomies, you will definitely find some categories that you can use to source news or analyze trends that matter to you.
Check out the full list of categories for IPTC or IAB-QAG, and if you want to retrieve some stories, click on the image below to grab your API key and make your first News API query within a couple of minutes!