[uf-new] RFC: Proposal for a (book) title microformat

Craig Shea craig.e.shea at gmail.com
Tue Jul 20 17:34:08 PDT 2010


I am a senior in college finishing up my Software Engineering degree.
As such, I have chosen a final project that involves creating a
web-based inventory system for multi-media. My definition of
multi-media includes the following items (this is not an exhaustive
list): Books (whether electronic or print), Magazines,
Newsletters/Journals, CDs, DVDs, LPs, LaserDiscs, digital media (MP3's
and videos), etc. I have searched the microformats.org website and all
available archives of this mailing list before submitting this e-mail
as a proposal. The microformat I'm proposing involves information
about titles.

Before going further, I must define the term "title" vs. "book(s)". A
title is something that an author writes. A book is a published
representation of a title. There may be more than one book for a given
title, e.g. a hardcover printing and a softcover printing, or even an
audio or ebook. Each format constitutes a separate item, even though
they are the same title. This microformat aims to codify the semantic
structured markup of titles. From here on out, I shall use the term
title instead of book, since a title serves to describe (possibly)
many books. This has one very important implication: a title which may
have many reviews (using the hReview microformat) may have them
aggregated in one place. This aggregation can then be used to display
these reviews for several book listings using the hProduct and/or
hListing microformats (or possibly even another microformat
specifically for book information); e.g. the same reviews would be
shown no matter if the book is a softcover, a hardcover, an e-book, an
audio book, etc. because they are all for the same title.

The title microformat I am proposing will reuse properties of existing
microformats in keeping with one of the core tenets of developing new
microformats. It will solve the problem that, though title information
is widely available on the Internet, there is not a semantic,
structured standard for displaying and extracting such information
(for humans first). I could see this type of microformat being a huge
benefit to the web community for such services as Amazon.com,
Google.com (and Google Books), as well as many of the other well-known
book services on the Internet to aggregate information about titles.
Then, when particular books are marked up using hProduct or hListing
(or another yet to be created microformat), for example, the title
microformat could be used as a property or pulled in via the
include-pattern to supply the common information and the reviews for
the associated hProduct or hListing (or other related microformat).

By the time you read this e-mail, I will have posted a complete
"proposed pre-draft" specification of this format on my blog as a
jumping-off point for brainstorming and discussion. This "proposed
pre-draft" is in no way "set in stone", but is meant to start the
discussions over what such a microformat might look like. In addition,
when I start my next semester and begin developing my media inventory
application, I will start using the draft specification I post on my
blog, as well as implementing any changes that may arise if there is
interest in discussing and developing this proposed microformat

If there is interest in this microformat proposal, then the
appropriate wiki pages at microformats.org/wiki will be created. I ask
that the community help guide me in making sure that I keep on the
proper development track to ensure the successful implementation of
this microformat, as I'm very excited about its potential.

To see the work that I have already done on this microformat, you can
visit the following:

-- the "proposed pre-draft" specification for brainstorming and
-- a sample of the proposed microfromat's use.

Or, if you prefer, you can get to my blog by visiting my wiki user
page at microformats.org:
http://www.microformats.org/wiki/user:codeguru413 and finding my
contact information there.


Craig E. Shea

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