[uf-discuss] Re: xfn and biographies

Jim O'Donnell jim at eatyourgreens.org.uk
Sat Jan 26 14:33:12 PST 2008

On 26 Jan 2008, at 19:07, Andy Mabbett wrote:

> In message <0F667B0C-8A0D-4345-AF3B- 
> D6D191BA3F38 at eatyourgreens.org.uk>, Jim O'Donnell  
> <jim at eatyourgreens.org.uk> writes
>> letter-to-author is the relationship I'm really interested in
> That sounds like a situation where you would use the putative  
> "citation" microformat which will hopefully include an "author" or  
> "creator" property, utilising hCard.
I'm thinking, at the moment, of avoiding hCard completely in the  
letters themselves, basically to avoid all the horrible issues of  
ambiguity and irregularity of names. For example, where Flinders  
signs this letter 'Matt'w Flinders'
I'll just mark that link up using rel="tag", where the tag URL points  
to the biography currently at
then use hCard to mark up Flinders as a person on that page. I think  
what I'm saying is have one hCard per person on the site, which is  
the biography page, then link to those hCards as tags within the  
letters. That seems a lot easier than faffing around with citations  
and different types of hCard.

> In turn, such hCards could then use the proposed "definitive  
> hCard", "more-detailed hCard" or "parent hCard" property (perhaps  
> rel="expansion") to indicate the page 0or page-fragment, using an  
> ID) on which your definitive biography of the author resides.
Thinking out loud here - I'm not hugely concerned about a definitive  
biography, as long as the relationships between documents at  
different URLs are clearly defined. For instance, suppose I have a  
biography, and hCard, for Flinders at /tags/people/Matthew_Flinders.  
I could have a link from that page to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ 
Matthew_Flinders and mark it rel="me" to indicate that the two URLs  
describe the same person.

If my biography links to a letter, and that link says rel="creator",  
then I think it's reasonable for a parser to infer, from the rel="me"  
link,  that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Flinders also  
describes the creator of the letter. I don't think I need to state  
that my hCard is definitive, only that it's equivalent to the one at  

I suppose it would be interesting to have a mechanism to mark up  
equivalence in general, not just for people. For example, to link the  
description of Boston
to the wikipedia page for Boston
using whatever the equivalent of rel="me" would be for places. Ditto  
for pages describing vessels, if the vessel has a wikipedia page.  
Then, a letter tagged with a link to the short description of Boston  
would, indirectly, also be tagged with the wikipedia description, as  
well as being linked back to all references to that place in the  



Jim O'Donnell
jim at eatyourgreens.org.uk

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