The <meta> element in XHTML

Original Author(s): Markus Gylling

The XHTML <meta> element is empty.

Attribute definitions

name
Identifies a property name. Legal values are not listed.
content
Specifies a property's value. Legal values are not listed..
scheme
Names a scheme to be used to interpret the property's value.
http-equiv
May be used in place of the name attribute. HTTP servers use this attribute to gather information for HTTP response message headers.

Each <meta> element specifies a property/value pair.

The name attribute identifies the property and the content attribute specifies the property's value.


  <meta
    name="author"
    content="Ernest Hemingway"
  />

The lang attribute can be used to specify the language used in the content attribute.


  <title>Les Fleurs Du Mal</title>
  <meta
    name="author"
    lang="fr"
    content="Charles Baudelaire"
  />

Note in the example above that the document title does not use the <meta> element, but instead the head element specifically created for title provision

The <meta> element can be used to describe page contents, to facilitate for search engines.

By specifying language, the precision can be hightened even further.


  <meta name="keywords" lang="en-us"
    content="job ads, Bangkok">
  <meta name="keywords" lang="en-GB"
    content="work opportunities, Bangkok">
  <meta name="keywords" lang="es"
    content="oportunidades del trabajo , Bangkok">

HTTP servers may use the property name specified by the http-equiv attribute to create a header in the HTTP response.

One significant internationalization use of this is to specify the encoding via http-equiv:


  <meta
    http-equiv="Content-Type"
    content="text/html;
    charset=ISO-8859-1"
   />

See further the Internationalization tutorial

User agents are not required to support meta data mechanisms.

For those that choose to support meta data, this specification does not define how meta data should be interpreted.

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is an open forum engaged in the development of interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes and business models.

The Initiative publishes recommendations on metadata usage. The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1, contains the following terms:

Element Name: Title
  Label: Title:
  Definition: A name given to the resource.
  Comment: Typically, Title will be a name by which the resource is formally known.
Element Name: Creator
  Label: Creator
  Definition: An entity primarily responsible for making the content of the resource.
  Comment: Examples of Creator include a person, an organization, or a service. Typically, the name of a Creator should be used to indicate the entity.
Element Name: Subject
  Label: Subject and Keywords
  Definition: A topic of the content of the resource.
  Comment: Typically, Subject will be expressed as keywords, key phrases or classification codes that describe a topic of the resource. Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary or formal classification scheme.
Element Name: Description
  Label: Description
  Definition: An account of the content of the resource.
  Comment: Examples of Description include, but is not limited to: an abstract, table of contents, reference to a graphical representation of content or a free-text account of the content.
Element Name: Publisher
  Label: Publisher
  Definition: An entity responsible for making the resource available
  Comment: Examples of Publisher include a person, an organization, or a service. Typically, the name of a Publisher should be used to indicate the entity.
Element Name: Contributor
  Label: Contributor
  Definition: An entity responsible for making contributions to the content of the resource.
  Comment: Examples of Contributor include a person, an organization, or a service. Typically, the name of a Contributor should be used to indicate the entity.
Element Name: Date
  Label: Date
  Definition: A date of an event in the lifecycle of the resource.
  Comment: Typically, Date will be associated with the creation or availability of the resource. Recommended best practice for encoding the date value is defined in a profile of ISO 8601 and includes (among others) dates of the form YYYY-MM-DD.
Element Name: Type
  Label: Resource Type
  Definition: The nature or genre of the content of the resource.
  Comment: Type includes terms describing general categories, functions, genres, or aggregation levels for content. Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary (for example, the DCMI Type Vocabulary [ DCT1 ]). To describe the physical or digital manifestation of the resource, use the FORMAT element.
Element Name: Format
  Label: Format
  Definition: The physical or digital manifestation of the resource.
  Comment: Typically, Format may include the media-type or dimensions of the resource. Format may be used to identify the software, hardware, or other equipment needed to display or operate the resource. Examples of dimensions include size and duration. Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary (for example, the list of Internet Media Types [ MIME ] defining computer media formats).
Element Name: Identifier
  Label: Resource Identifier
  Definition: An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.
  Comment: Recommended best practice is to identify the resource by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system. Formal identification systems include but are not limited to the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) (including the Uniform Resource Locator (URL)), the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and the International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
Element Name: Source
  Label: Source
  Definition: A Reference to a resource from which the present resource is derived.
  Comment: The present resource may be derived from the Source resource in whole or in part. Recommended best practice is to identify the referenced resource by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system.
Element Name: Language
  Label: Language
  Definition: A language of the intellectual content of the resource.
  Comment: Recommended best practice is to use RFC 3066 [ RFC3066 ] which, in conjunction with ISO639 [ ISO639 ]), defines two- and three-letter primary language tags with optional subtags. Examples include "en" or "eng" for English, "akk" for Akkadian", and "en-GB" for English used in the United Kingdom.
Element Name: Relation
  Label: Relation
  Definition: A reference to a related resource.
  Comment: Recommended best practice is to identify the referenced resource by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system.
Element Name: Coverage
  Label: Coverage
  Definition: The extent or scope of the content of the resource.
  Comment: Typically, Coverage will include spatial location (a place name or geographic coordinates), temporal period (a period label, date, or date range) or jurisdiction (such as a named administrative entity). Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary (for example, the Thesaurus of Geographic Names [TGN]) and to use, where appropriate, named places or time periods in preference to numeric identifiers such as sets of coordinates or date ranges.
Element Name: Rights
  Label: Rights Management
  Definition: Information about rights held in and over the resource.
  Comment: Typically, Rights will contain a rights management statement for the resource, or reference a service providing such information. Rights information often encompasses Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Copyright, and various Property Rights. If the Rights element is absent, no assumptions may be made about any rights held in or over the resource.

The W3C Resource Description Framework became a W3C Recommendation in February 1999. RDF allows authors to specify machine-readable metadata about HTML documents and other network-accessible resources.

See further Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax Specification

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This page was last edited by PVerma on Friday, August 6, 2010 23:26
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