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Re: Minutes from 16 November 2000 WCAG WG telecon

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000 14:46:41 -0800
Message-Id: <a0501040eb63f5870ae52@[10.0.1.3]>
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 4:10 PM -0800 11/20/00, Anne Pemberton wrote:
>Thanks, Kynn,
>      Sigh of relief!!! I don't anticipate hanging any databases on the web
>anytime soon ... And, once I learned to use mark-up in word processors for
>print, I began to use it on web pages, too ...

Well, you might want to learn about database/web integration in the
future -- it's actually quite interesting and can help make the web
more useful _and_ more accessible.  I don't fault you for not knowing
it yet, though!  The learning curve is still high.

>	It took me several months of quietly watching the term User 
>Agent, and UA
>tossed about on the list before I realized they were talking about
>browsers.

Yeah, that's a problem.  It's part of the whole "use our language so we
can feel superior and more pure" syndrome which is so hard to avoid even
when people mean well.  Jargon is too natural a threat and once it sneaks
in, it becomes too easy to look down our noses on other people.

>I'm also a bit amused by your explanation of "meta-data", since I
>thought that was the keywords you put into the page header to help search
>engines find you. Or is it both?

It's both, really.  "Meta-data" means data about data.  It's information
that describes other information; one step up the conceptual ladder,
so to speak.  In a way, tags themselves are a type of meta-data!  They
convey semantics and meaning which isn't itself apparent in just the
raw text.

For example:

      <statement>Oh, I love this TV show.</statement>

vs.

      <sarcasm>Oh, I love this TV show.</sarcasm>

In XML terms, those two bits of markup are really the same; two bits
of text with an element's opening and closing tags around them.  However,
the _names_ of the elements are a form of meta-data; they enable you
and I (even if we don't understand XML) to understand something about
the information.  In this case, the names of the tags _reverse_ the
very meaning of the two statements!

You are right in asking about the keywords -- that is one type of
meta-data which can be used in HTML.  There is an element called
<meta> in HTML (and XHTML) which is used for conveying meta-data about
the entire document ("page") itself.  The meta tag says "here's info
which you shouldn't necessarily display to the user, but which you
can use if you are the type of person or machine to use this kind of
info."  One kind of info you can supply is a list of keywords.
This is what meta tags are most commonly used for in web design.

You can also include a summary, which is something you might want to
look into in your work with CD; the use of summaries on a page-by-page
basis may be very helpful in ensuring that people who can't read
text easily might be able to understand what a page is about.

>	I develop web pages and sites, but I don't always catch onto 
>the jargon as
>fast as I'd like to. I spend more time making web pages than talking about
>them except on this list .. And my daily conversation is more likely to be
>"tie your shoelaces", than "let me see your data model" ...

That last one sounds dirty to me.  I think I would get arrested if I
walked up to someone and asked to see his or her data model.

--Kynn
-- 
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
http://www.kynn.com/
Received on Monday, 20 November 2000 17:53:43 GMT

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