[uf-discuss] Greetings microformatters

Ryan Cannon ryan at ryancannon.com
Tue Nov 29 08:20:25 PST 2005

My name is Ryan Cannon and I am a master's student at U of M studying  
human-computer interaction, semantic web design, and basically  
looking for ways to contribute to the field. I read about  
Microformats in the Digitial Web Magazine Primer  and more recently  
in Boss & Lie's article in A List Apart. I think the idea of µf is an  
incredible one—essentially codifying best practices for common  
applications. I believe this will go a long way to abstracting  
semantic XHTML development once the dev. tools support it well.

Anyway, I've rooted around in the archives, but perhaps I've missed  
something. Some in my field have uncovered that the way people  
attempt to search the internet is much different than what the  
technology allows. For instance, people want to search for categories  
of web sites, e.g. news sites, personal sites, informational sites,  
or stores. This does not convert well with the Title/Description/ 
Keyword and tags method currently in place. What we're missing, to  
use the library analog, is a "subject" field.

If it's already taking place, I'd like to join in the discussion  
about embedding self-reported genre or subject metadata in web pages.  
What this would allow, once properly implemented, is the ability for  
search engines to do something along the following:

Search for words: "Disney"
In websites about: "Tourism"
and not about: "Stores OR Merchandise"

Being new to this discussion, I'm not aware of the larger issues  
around an idea like this, but a large one comes to mind: there's no  
engine in place to take advantage of it. But that didn't stop XFN.

Please send me your comments. I've begun to read some of the wiki  
about proposing formats, but I'm nowhere near that stage. I'm more  
interested in if this discussion is taking place, and the things to  
keep in mind when talking about invisible metadata and search engines.

Ryan Cannon

Interactive Developer
MSI Student, School of Information
University of Michigan

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