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August 05, 2008

DC-HTML profile becomes DCMI Recommendation

DCMI announced today that the document Expressing Dublin Core metadata using HTML/XHTML meta and link elements has become a DCMI Recommendation. This document is an HTML meta data profile, in the sense that term is used in the HTML specification.

The new document updates DCMI's previous Recommendation for encoding DC metadata in HTML to provide explicitly:

This latter component is particularly exciting as it means that metadata encoded in XHTML headers using the conventions of this profile is automatically mapped to an RDF graph and becomes available to GRDDL-aware RDF applications, without any additional effort on the part of the document creator.

It's taken rather longer than I'd hoped to get this piece of the jigsaw into place, and it's a small piece in the scheme of things; but I do think it is an important one in (finally!) making the longest-established (I think?) convention for representing Dublin Core metadata a mechanism for contributing data to the Semantic Web. Anyway, I'm very pleased that it is finally out there.

It's probably worth highlighting the critical role of the HTML meta data profile feature in providing this functionality. The profile URI is the "hook" on which it hangs, if you like: for the data provider, the use of the URI of the specific profile in the value of the head/@profile attribute discloses the conventions they have used (e.g. the "schema.ABC" convention for abbreviating URIs, which is a profile-specific convention, not part of X/HTML); and for the consumer, it is the presence of that URI which licenses them to process/interpret the document in the specific way described by the profile.

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