[uf-new] Microformats for hidden data

Fiann O'Hagan fianno at jshub.org
Fri Nov 27 06:12:50 PST 2009

Brian, thank you for the very detailed response. I do understand this
better now.

I completely agree about the issue of out of sight, out of mind. It's
exactly the problem that applies to web analytics data now. What I
want to do is to bring the data a little more out into the visible

What typically happens on big enterprise sites is that they have an
analytics product which requires certain per-page metadata, such as a
page name and category. This is different from typical installations
of the free tools like Google Analytics, partly because these are
larger, more complex sites with deeper analytics needs, and partly
because they often have horrible legacy URL structures which makes it
impossible to just record visits to URLs.

There is a lot of existing deployment of these tags, see for example
data at http://www.jgc.org/blog/2009/10/some-real-data-about-javascript-tagging.html

Our overriding interest is in making the data available to more than
one tag on the page, so that the data doesn't have be declared
multiple times in different formats.

It's certainly possible to do this purely in JavaScript, where the
data is currently declared. But the secondary goal is make the
information a bit more accessible for the people who are responsible
for the content. Many of them are editors who are reasonably
comfortable reading html, but won't touch JavaScript because it is
Hence the interest in potentially using microformats.

Right now, the editors who are responsible for populating the data,
and the analysts who are the audience, commonly have no access at all
to check whether it's correct or correct any issues.

> Would you trust a
> "smaller" set of data that has a higher probability of being accurate,
> or loads of hidden data that has a higher probability of being
> inaccurate?

I agree completely completely with this sentiment. But my question is,
given that there is data which is already hidden, crufty and
out-of-sync, can we do something to shed a little more light on it?

I hope this helps explain where we're coming from.


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