[html5] Microdata and Meta

Sean B. Palmer sean at miscoranda.com
Mon May 25 09:14:39 PDT 2009

I know the Microdata stuff isn't stable yet, but I was just wondering
if the following is a valid and sensible thing to do:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<head item>
<title>Microdata Example</title>
<link itemprop="about" href="">
<meta itemprop="example" content="value">

The idea is that meta/@itemprop is somewhat like a user space version
of meta/@name, but to enable the former to work exactly like the
latter you have to make it clear that the item being referred to is
the current document. Hence the <link> element in the recipe above.

If that's valid, I wonder if it'd be worth making the following equivalent:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Microdata Example</title>
<meta itemprop="example" content="value">

Mainly because when you use <meta> in head, you already expect it to
be giving metadata about the present document. The item Microdata
construct is basically extending the semantics of <meta>, and when you
use it in its old capacity I wonder if people will get confused. Maybe
not, and they should read the specifications and tutorials properly
anyway; but this is the kind of common sense way I'd expect it to

Also, I must admit that I am prone to making up my own <meta> names
and values. Most of this stuff is half way between being private and
public data, and definitely aligns to the traditional semantics of
<meta> enough to make an @data-* attribute seem like the wrong thing
to do. But I don't know how universal these use cases are.

Sean B. Palmer, http://inamidst.com/sbp/

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