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representative hCard

This page is for keeping track of the representative hCard effort, which is part of hCard Brainstorming, specifically to figure out how to both explicitly specify and discover the representative hCard for a page.

problem statement

Short version: Given a URL, how do you determine which hCard is the representative hCard for that page?

Longer: Given a URL to a page that represents a person, how do you determine which hCard on that page is the hCard for that person? Variants:

use cases

Applications for auto-discovery of the representative hCard for the page

  • representative vCard auto extraction from the page
  • profile icon discovery (e.g. what people use gravatar for and have proposed pavatar for).
  • social-network-portability


  • should leverage current hCard information publishing patterns
  • should not require any additional user interface elements (i.e. links) on any hCard supporting user profiles.


Methodology for a solution: The preferred option is to use only visible semantic HTML (posh).



The representative hCard is merely the hCard that provides information about the person that the page represents.

It is NOT:

  • contact for the page. similarly, 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.
  • author hCard. typically the person that a page represents is also the author of the page. possible (theoretical until someone finds/cites real world) examples: biographies, e.g. a page that represents person A is authored by person B.
  • owner hCard. more often than not, the person that a page represents is also the person that owns (meaning has primary control over, in the property sense) the page.

"representative hCard", "contact hCard", "author hCard", and "owner hCard" are all different semantics and can be different people for any given page, even if for many pages some or all of them might be the same person.

see also