[microformats-discuss] hReview should include a way to specify Author

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Mon Sep 19 14:20:18 PDT 2005

Hi Chris,

On 9/19/05 1:22 PM, "Chris Hibbert" <chris at commerce.net> wrote:

> I added this question to the FAQ, but no one has responded there, so
> I'll ask the mailing list.


> I've been formatting my book reviews (http://pancrit.org) using the
> hReview microformat, but there hasn't been any obvious way to tag the
> authors of the works.

Right, there is no explicit way in hReview to describe details about an item
except where the item maps directly to something described by an existing
microformat, e.g. people/companies -> hCard, events -> hCalendar, and
details which were found to be common across 80+% of reviews, e.g. name,
url(s), photo(s) of the item.

This is deliberate.

One of the key principles of microformats is modularity.

Hence, hReview MUST NOT define little specific sub-formats (or properties)
for each type of item that could possibly be reviewed.

Instead, hReview will refer to, where they are available, make sense, and
sufficiently "mature", other microformats that provide details about the
item, for reviews that wish to describe details about the item.

> I understand that hReview was trying to be more
> general, and therefore to cover product reviews, movies, restaurants,
> and so on, where there isn't an obvious author.  But I would have
> thought that book reviews were an important enough subset that allowing
> people to specify the author in a searchable way would be important.

It is this precisely, that is, judging what is "important enough" which is
often very challenging.

Do you have URLs to sites that publish book reviews above and beyond other
types of reviews in general?

> How hard would it be to add an optional "author" tag?
> What are the 
> arguments against adding this useful marker?

Adding such a "tag" to hReview would not be difficult.  But where do you

E.g. adding such a "tag" would violate several microformat principles.
 * Solve a specific problem (reviews), rather than many problems.
 * Keep it simple.  Specifying authors of the items being reviewed is not
necessary (nor widely in use) for reviews.
 * Modular.  See above.

This really gets at the core of microformats design principles.

If you believe there is a need to structure information about books (which
is really what you are saying when you want to discuss authors about the
books which are you reviewing), then by all I means, I encourage you to
start researching how people talk about books on the web (whether in reviews
or elsewhere), and what information about books they publish, and
documenting your results in a "book-examples" page on the wiki:


Then the next step would be to do some research in what formats are
currently used to describe information about books, and document that
research on a book-info-formats page:


If there is enough utility/interest, then perhaps you can help develop a new
microformat for book-info, which hReview could then suggest reviewers use
when reviewing books.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!



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