[uf-discuss] Species microformat process

Charles Roper charles.roper at gmail.com
Thu Feb 1 07:31:50 PST 2007

Scott and Colin, many thanks for your replies; your feedback is much

On 31/01/07, Scott Reynen <scott at randomchaos.com> wrote:
> So the important question is: what will it take to
> get publishers publishing the kind of species markup you'd like to see?

That's a great question. I guess it's harder for publishers to see the
benefit of species for their end users than it is for hCard, hReview,
hCalendar et al. I mean, it's fairly apparent what the benefit, or
application, of these may be, but with species it's not so obvious.

But there are also uFs that aren't so obvious: XOXO, rel-tag, XFN
spring to mind. The actual end uses for these seem (to me, at least)
rather less immediately clear, but they're valuable nonetheless.
Having said this, I'm intrigued as to why no one has answered Mike
Schinkel's question on the XOXO faq: http://snipurl.com/18yvu, as it
seems like a question worth answering; I'd certainly like to know the
answer to that one. :)

> The "cowpaths" here is the data.  Microformats, the
> "paving," is the standardized markup.  If the markup were already
> standardized, there would be no need for microformats.  But if the
> data isn't already commonly published, it doesn't matter how nice the
> markup is.

Ah-ha! That's the crucial point I was missing; thanks for clearing it
up in my mind. So with species, the cowpaths are simply the variety of
ways in which a species name is published on a page. The paving is the
standardised markup we create to wrap around those instances.

That being the case, and given the copious quantity of examples on the
examples page:


And examples regrouped:


What does the community feel should be the focus for species at
present? Now that I know that the analysis of existing practice is
about the existing *content* rather than existing *markup*, I'm less
inclined to say the existing proposal is *over*complex. Sure, it looks
complex to the untrained eye because the taxonomic hierarchy *is*
complex, but then so is the full hCard spec. My own view is that
because species is an extraction of the existing Linnaen taxonomic
hierarchy ...


... its complexity is justified, surely?

I'm still able to be persuaded either way on this one, though, should
a compelling argument arise.



Charles Roper

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