Metadata in HTML

Metadata is data inserted into the head of the HTML document to identify the author, editor, version, date of the docment, and its relationships with other documents on the web.

Metadata is normally regarded as an optional or advanced topic in HTML. This is a great pity since when used properly it adds functionality to a web page as well as ensuring that the page is indexed correctly in the major search engines. GLOSS has an important metadata module for HTML to make definitions of metadata easy. The menu bars at the top and bottom of standard GLOSSed HTML pages are produced automatically from the metadata.

To define metadata just use the syntax




in the head section of your document, where KEY is one of the standard keys available. This could be author, date, title, license etc, to define the document; or home, next, previous, first, last, contents, index, to define other documents on the web with this relationship to the current one. The menu bar is derived from some of these latter tags. The key "description" is useful as most search engines use what you type here to display next to your link to indicate what is in your page.

As well as defining the title in the header, the "title" metadata is used as the main document title in a h1 element at the top of the body section, so you don't have to type it twice. If you do want a different title, just put it in a h1 at the top of the body section and this will over-rule gloss's automatic title.

More information is available at mv/html/meta.html.

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