Microformats, eh?

14 February 2007

I seem to be spending quite a bit of time ‘outside my comfort zone’ as Common Purpose would put it. Last night was a return to some geek heritage with the SkillSwap event on Microformats. Video should be online soon.

Thanks to Knowledge West (an innovation between the 6 Higher Education Institutes in the area) for the room and to ChinWag for the beer!

Tim Beadle from IoP was the expert explaining and navigating us through microformats and a live demo of how they could be used. In the event there was plenty of expertise within the audience and several times the demo became a joint editing and learning exercise.

Whenever there is a ‘standard’ or meta-code proposed (I remember some of the early work that was going on in the late 90’s on the Semantic Web) the experts rarely agree on the tags. This seems to have emerged from a defacto standard around iCards and iCal. There are a whole bunch of other microformats (including ones for social networks) which is good to see. This more pragmatic approach, plus obvious user benefits of easy(ish) capturing of contact and event info for your personal calendar etc looks like a winner. The inclusion of social networking demonstrates that the formats are being driven by the consumer and web2.0 agenda (which isn’t to say that’s a bad thing).

It will be interesting to watch and see if emerging formats develop for education2.0

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