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:

  1. The difference between IAB-QAG and IPTC Subject Codes.
  2. How IAB-QAG organizes content
  3. 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).

 

IPTC IAB-QAG
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
IAB7-21 Epilepsy
IAB7-22 GERD/Acid Reflux
IAB7-23 Headaches/Migraines
IAB7-24 Heart Disease
IAB7-25 Herbs for Health
IAB7-26 Holistic Healing
IAB7-28 Incest/Abuse Support
IAB7-29 Incontinence
IAB7-30 Infertility
IAB7-32 Nutrition
IAB7-33 Orthopedics
IAB7-34 Panic or Anxiety Disorders
IAB7-35 Pediatrics
IAB7-36 Physical Therapy
IAB7-37 Psychology or Psychiatry
IAB7-38 Senior Health
IAB7-39 Sexuality
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.

 

IPTC IAB-QAG
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
IAB2-6 Convertible
IAB2-7 Coupe
IAB2-8 Crossover
IAB2-9 Diesel
IAB2-10 Electric Vehicle
IAB2-11 Hatchback
IAB2-12 Hybrid
IAB2-13 Luxury
IAB2-14 MiniVan
IAB2-15 Motorcycles
IAB2-16 Off-Road Vehicles
IAB2-17 Performance Vehicles
IAB2-18 Pickup
IAB2-19 Road-Side Assistance
IAB2-20 Sedan
IAB2-21 Trucks & Accessories
IAB2-22 Vintage Cars
IAB2-23 Wagon

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.

IPTC
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.


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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!






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