[uf-discuss] microformats for groups and group memberships?

Jim Dalton jim at ere.net
Thu Aug 10 09:16:37 PDT 2006

Hi all,

I'm fairly new to this list, so forgive me if this topic has been discussed
before or if the information is available on the wiki (did my best to search
both and came up with a blank). I'm probably not as technically savvy as
many of you either, so my apologies in advance for inadvertently butchering
terms or concepts.

I'm interested in how microformats are being (or could be) used to define
both memberships of individuals to a group, organization, company, personal
network etc., as well as defining a member's "role" within that

The hcard format gives us the ability to define an entity as an
organization. The XFN specification defines relationships between
individuals. Nothing in these microformats (or currently proposed
microformats) seems, however, to allow one to describe a list of members in
an organization as well as the members' roles within it.

I'm curious if there is information or discussion that have already taken
place, or if this is an idea for the group to consider?

Thinking about it for a minute, I would see implications for:

* Groups in social networks - Defining a list of members in a group, as well
as each individual's role within the group (e.g. leader, administrator,
member, etc.).

* Personal networks in social networks? Defining a list of members in an
individual's personal network, along with each indivdual's "role" (i.e.
relationship via XFN?) in the network.

* Employees of an organization - An employee directory, for example,
indicating job title (i.e. function/role) in the organization.

* Membership in real world groups - e.g. churches, schools, community
organizations etc., along with roles (e.g.

* Other possible uses: groups of contacts in a contact database? client
lists? etc.?

There would seem to be many examples in the wild where groups and group
membership are presented.

My ability to think through actual hypothetical structures is probably more
limited than others on this list, though the first concept my mind fixes is
on is the "feed" structure, where a parent feed has child entries. The above
concepts seemingly fits such a parent/child concept.

That's about where I run out of steam, and am mostly curious about what
others think rather than continuing to babble. Thanks for any thoughts
and/or assistance from the group.

[FYI, the thinking I'm doing on this particular topic is in advance of some
reworking my company is doing on its existing niche social networking
service. I'm pushing for greater structure (and use of microformats) on our
content and entities. The above "groups/memberships" concept is the one area
that I have yet to find a place where an existing or proposed microformat is


Jim Dalton
jim at ere.net

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