[uf-discuss] [Zen of Microformats] Two Fundamental Principles of Information Design

Ian Davis lists at iandavis.com
Thu Mar 8 11:16:00 PST 2007

On 08/03/2007 13:47, Costello, Roger L. wrote:
> That's where Microformats come into the picture.  Add the hCard
> "family-name" subproperty to each local expression:
> <li class="family-name">Costello</li>
> <div class="family-name">Novak<div>
> <informant class="family-name">Smith</informant>
> <pilot class="family-name">Johnson</pilot>
> <managingEditor class="family-name">Parker</managingEditor>
> Now the information is resolutely specific and local; simultaneously,
> it is globally and collectively useful.

What are the coordination costs of each author finding and agreeing to 
use the same class values? Those costs are cheapest when the 
specifications are centralized (e.g. microformats.org) but doesn't that 
centralization act as a bottleneck to development? To get this kind of 
coordination the authors have to wait until the appropriate 
specification has been agreed.

I think there are similarities here with the coordination costs of 
something like Xanadu (which required cooperation between parties to 
form links) and the WWW (which doesn't, I can link to Google without 
them linking to me). It was the elimination of coordination costs that 
allowed authors to work independently and allowed the exponential growth 
of the web.


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