Page Summary Formats
This page describes existing formats that enable an author to publish a summary description for a page. Whether or not this is worthy of doing research (e.g. page-summary-examples, page-summary-brainstorming) for a microformat is open to debate. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to at least have a place to document existing formats.
HTML4.01 provides meta description as an example in Appendix B: Performance, Implementation, and Design Notes of the HTML 4.01 spec. E.g.
<META name="description" content="Idyllic European vacations">
Google search results display the value of the meta description element for a page when that page is listed in Google search results.
- Invisible. meta description is invisible metadata on the page and therefore violates microformats principles.
- Depends on
headelement. This summary format depends on the author having access to the head element which in many (most?) web authoring/ publishing scenarios the content author has no access.
Mozilla has introduced a proprietary format called "microsummary", which is used in Firefox 2.0's support for bookmarks. Note that microsummaries are not intended simply to deliver a summary of a page; they may be sued, for example, for a "deal of the day", "last updated" date or time, a new headline, or other timely and dynamic information.
Examples of discussion
- Invisible. Though different from meta description in that the
linktag is used to relate to a summary at another URL - this doesn't actually markup the summary content itself. Since the content is not necessarily visible on the page itself, an author could easily change the page content without noticing or even knowing to bother to change the referenced "summary" page/ resource (except, of course, where the microsummary is automatically generated, such as by extracting the first "H2", or the content of a div or span with a specific ID, or the last-updated date). Thus this method has all the same potential flaws of typical invisible metadata publishing, which is that overtime it may rot, become out of date, unreliable and untrustworthy in general.
- Depends on
headelement. This summary format may depend on the author having access to the head element which in many (most?) web authoring/ publishing scenarios the content author has no access.