Message-Id: <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 08 May 1996 14:52:04 -0800 From: Charles Peyton Taylor <CTaylor@wposmtp.nps.navy.mil> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: META Hey, look: a Message that *isn't* about Wilbur :) Recently I installed a search engine and told people they could put keywords in their documents using the <meta> tag. They told me they needed documentation for this. So I began to write up documentation for <meta> and <link> as well. I did some research to make sure my doc's were correct. After reading the specs, documentation for Harvest, and guidelines at Alta Vista's web site, I discovered that instead of HTTP-equiv, the search engines were using NAME to designate keywords. I'm not sure what to write in the documentation now. I'm thinking about dropping any mention of "http-equiv" in favor of "name", but I want to jive with the specs. Are any http servers reading (and presumeably, displaying in HEAD requests) the HTTP-equiv sections of HTML files? This is what I've written so far: <META> The meta element identifies a web page's "meta-information." Meta-information is information about information, for example, who wrote the information, when it expires, how it should be indexed, etc. Meta elements have attributes that come in indentifier/value pairs. The indentifier is a "name" and/or an "HTTP-equiv" attribute; the value is given using the "contents" attribute. According to the specs, servers may also display http-equiv values as part of the HTTP 1.0 header. (HTTP is the network protocol used on the web.) For example, the most common use of the meta attribute is specifying keywords by which the document may be indexed using the "keywords" identifier. For example: <META http-equiv="keywords" CONTENT="orange, soccer, spam"> Having this in the <head> of your document allows search engines to index your document using the keywords "orange," "soccer," and "spam." If someone uses those words as search terms, then they should get linked to your document. Unfortunately, most servers in use today do not display http-equiv attributes in the head. So although the spec shows "http-equiv" as being the attribute used to identify the meta element as "keywords", many search engines use the "name" attribute instead. Example: <META name="keywords" content="orange, soccer, spam" > HTML authors can enter other information in this way: <META name="author" content="Mark Twain" > Other values for http-equiv include "expires" and "reply-to".