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Re: Community outreach with a cheat sheet!

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 13:18:55 -0400
Message-ID: <47E933FF.10907@digitalbazaar.com>
To: W3C RDFa task force <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>


A couple of clarifications as there is an important subtlety in what you

Mark Birbeck wrote:
> So hCard came from vCard...and we disappear up our own semantic
> worm-holes if we now define a namespace for hCard as a vocabulary, to
> be used in RDFa!


> We have to be a little careful here, though. Microformats were
> supposed to be about creating small sets of rules that could be
> applied by authors to their documents, to add semantics. The *actual*
> semantics were invariably gained by looking elsewhere, the so-called
> 'paving the cow-path' approach.

Hmm, that's not quite accurate. "Paving the cow paths" refers to
examining existing publishing behavior by analyzing loads of websites
and standardizing a markup mechanism for that publishing behavior. While
it is true that the uF community attempts to not re-invent the wheel as
much as we can (such as in the case of hCard, and hCalendar), there are
certain cases where a new vocabulary was created.

For example, XFN, hAudio, hReview, VoteLinks and hResume are examples of
Microformats that did not have an "upstream vocabulary", but rather,
heavily re-used concepts from other vocabularies.

The bulk of the Microformats Process[1] deals with how you go about
creating new vocabularies, so I don't think it's quite accurate to say
that the "semantics are invariably gained by looking elsewhere" in

> It was not intended as a way to create vocabularies, but rather a 
> way to easily document compact formats that authors could easily grok.

This is the subtlety I wanted to address. While Microformats may have
started there, it's become much more than that.

IMHO, the community-based process for creating vocabularies is the
fundamental contribution the Microformats community is making to the
semantic web.

-- manu

[1] http://microformats.org/wiki/process

Manu Sporny
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: RDFa Basics in 8 minutes (video)
Received on Tuesday, 25 March 2008 17:19:43 UTC

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