REF&META discussion (-starter DRAFT)

REF&META  Associating HTML contents with external documents
          (and similar LINK and META extensions)


This is a utility area.  It is not associated with one particular
user problem but provides capabilities that are used in solving
various other problems.

The H in HTML is for Hypertext, text with embedded references to
other places in the hypertext that the user can select to go to.
Hypertext is full of references to other resources: inline images
and navigable links to other Web pages.  In addition there are
also needs for background links, informing the browser of
resources that may or may not be used depending on the user
interface media and preferences of the user.

These include links to stylesheets which define tasteful
presentation in one or more medium.  They include links to
acronym dictionaries which can be used to expand acronyms when
speaking text in an audio browse mode.  And they include links to
data dictionaries to document the data usage within tables.
Particularly in the case of data dictionaries that go with
tables, one wants to be clear that the cited resource applies to
part, not all, of the current document.

In the "logical reading order" and TABLE problem areas, there are
possible uses for markup that indicates a relationship from one
element (tag or tagged portion) in an HTML document to another
piece of the same document.


To allow user-defined attributes and relationships to be
annotated on pieces found in the HTML, extensions to the use and
content of the LINK and META elements are suggested.

This will allow external references and arbitrary metainformation
to be associated with specific marked parts of HTML documents,
and for arbitrary relationships between such parts to be


There are various questions worth discussing in this area.  For

I keep hearing that RDF is the answer for metadata needs.  Do we
want to worry about LINK and META or do we want to just use RDF
and not disrupt the HTML?

The META tag has been the door through which undesirable
practices such as the REFRESH tag have been put into practice.
Isn't this just a wide open invitation to abuse?

How would you use this, anyway?

The Web has had LINK statements and they haven't been used.
Isn't this just beating a dead horse?  Where will it get us?


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Received on Wednesday, 15 October 1997 13:46:36 UTC