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hCards and pages

Web pages often represent people, are written by people, owned by people, and/or have a point of contact (for maintenance or other issues).

While these are often the same person, they can be (and sometimes are) different people, and thus it is useful to document these distinctions.

hCards for pages


hCard is very often used to markup user profile pages. See hcard-supporting-user-profiles for many example user profiles, often on social networking sites, marked up with hCard.

Such profile pages represent a person, and thus the use of hCard to markup that person is called a representative hCard. See the representative hCard page for more details on how to markup such hCards differently from other hCards on the page, and how to find and parse representative hCards.


The person a page represents is usually the person to contact for/about the page. As documented in the hCard FAQ, the contact for a page SHOULD be marked up with an <address> hCard.

There are numerous cases of pages that represent one person but have a different contact, or perhaps no explicit contact at all.

For example, Wikipedia has numerous biography pages which represent individuals, but obviously (given Wikipedia's editing/maintenance conventions) those individuals are not the contacts for their biography pages. The most obvious example of this are biographies of deceased individuals who clearly cannot be a contact for such pages, e.g. Carl Sagan.

In such cases, only the contact for the page should be marked up with the <address> element, and certainly not the representative hCard (if any).

If there is no contact for the page, then there should be no <address> element on the page (or perhaps an empty <address> element may be an acceptable way of explicitly indicating that there is no contact for the page).


Author means 'content author', not 'page author' (as those terms are often used in Web design work). For 'page author', see contact.

The person that a page represents may or may not also be the author of the page. Possible (theoretical until someone finds/cites real world) examples of not being the same include biographies, viz., the content representing person A is authored by person B.


Often the person that a page represents is also the person that owns (meaning has primary control over or decision-making authority about) the page.

Though clearly it is possible to have one person own a page (perhaps the manager of the website), and yet have another person be the contact for the page (perhaps a system administrator or webmaster).


Cognition is able to determine the representative and contact hCard(s) for a page, using algorithms similar to those described on this page. The author hCard can be specified by assigning an id attribute to the hCard root element and linking to that fragment identifier using rel="author" or rev="made".

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