Month: August 2005

EconoMeta on microformats

EconoMeta attended Bar Camp and wrote some thoughts about microformats:

Beyond their technical usefulness and practicality, microformats are interesting to me because so many of them seem to be centered around de-coupling personal data from application that might use that data.

Absolutely. This kind of modularity is core to microformats.

My focus here is on the economic value of stuff about stuff, and one example of that is that as a user on the internet, a lot of value is resident in the data about you, or the data that you create. If microformats help to separate this data from applications, it becomes easier to put it and its value under the control of the user, where I think it belongs.

This echoes a value many of us developing microformats have been promoting: users should own their data.

Microformats can do more than simply allow users to transfer their data from app to app, though. For public data, microformats enable a new model of application, where user data is crawled, aggregated, and made searchable in the same way that the raw text of web pages are now.

The plug-n-play application, assembled with small pieces loosely joined.

I hope that as things evolve, users who may not be interested in having a blog might nevertheless have an easy way to create and store data on the Internet, and control how it is used by these kinds of applications.

This is exactly correct. Microformats work very well not only for structured blogging, but what Brian Dear of EVDB called “structured webbing” this past weekend at . All of this makes sense, as microformats are designed to enable and encourage decentralized development, content, and services.

It seems to me that this is a big part of the potential of microformats — a standardized way for users to allow access to their data and thus participate in a distributed application.

Introducing distributed applications. Powered by .

Jon Udell on search, the blogosphere, and microformats

recently wrote about IBM’s new search framework and the blogosphere which concludes with some interesting statements about microformats (hyperlinks added):

The more machine analysis we can do, the better. But we should also keep looking for ways to extract the that people carry around in their heads. As blogging begins to play a greater role in enterprise knowledge management, two strategies will present themselves.

First, there’s . It’s true that the Web dwarfs the enterprise, but people who use form small communities around specific tags. Maybe such communities can flourish at enterprise scale.

The second strategy is . The idea here is that your blogging tool should make it easy to post items that contain nuggets of structure. Examples on the public Web include and . In the enterprise, the nuggets would be things like meetings and status reports. People won’t know that these nuggets are embedded as fragments within their blog postings. They’ll just appreciate having an easy way to create styled elements, and an easy way to find them later.