UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

What Can schema.org Offer the Web Manager?

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 1 June 2012

I’m pleased to say that we will be running an additional parallel session at the IWMW 2012 event in Edinburgh in just over two weeks’ time. Phil Barker will be facilitating a session which will seek answers to the question What Can schema.org Offer the Web Manager? The session, which will take place on Monday 18 June from 14.00-15.30, will explore ideas Phil described in a recent post which asked Will using schema.org metadata improve my Google rank?

As described in the abstract for the session:

Schema.org is a major new initiative supported by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Bing and Yandex with the aim of “making it easier for people to find the right web pages”. It is a simplified profile of microdata, a means of embedding metadata in web pages that is aligned with HTML5. It differs significantly from previous attempts at providing resource descriptions for web pages to aid discovery, such as various metadata schema, microformats and RDFa in that it has support from the major search engines plus W3C, making it both standards-based and with vendor support.

As can be seen from his guest post on the Creative Commons blog on the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative Phil has a particular interest is in the potential which schema.org may have in enhancing the discovery of educational resources. However when we discussed his proposal we realised that the issues he would be covering in the session would be of general interest: How can one provide structured metadata in Web pages to facilitate discovery? What is different to use of schema.org to previous metadata proposals such as simply embedding Dublin Core in HTML resources? A common example of use of schema.org is for recipes (as illustrated) – how might one develop a vocabulary relevant to the needs of the higher education sector and, equally important, ensure that search engine vendors understand and process such vocabularies?

Phil’s session on a metadata standard for resource discovery complements the session which Alex Bilbie will be facilitating on the following day (Tuesday 19 June) on Linking You (session C5). As described in the abstract for that session:

This workshop will provide an introduction to the JISC-funded Linking You toolkit. We’ll reflect on the project’s recommendations, dig into the sector-wide review of HEI’s use of identifiers and discuss the resulting draft data model for institutions and possible ways forward for implementation.

At the end of this session, participants should have a better understanding of how identifiers are being used across UK university websites, had a chance to respond to the proposed data model and influence future work in this area.

These two sessions would seem to provide an ideal opportunity for those who have an interest in exploring approaches to enhancing the discovery of a range of resources hosted on the Web.

If you have already booked a place at the IWMW 2012 event and this session is of interest you can change your selected parallel sessions using the username and password you were given when you registered (note that the session has code B7). If you haven’t booked a place for the event which takes place at the University of Edinburgh on 18-20 June, the bookings are still open. And note that although bookings were originally due to close later today, in light of the extended Bank Holiday weekend, which means that the event organisers will not be in the office until later next week, we have decided to keep the online booking system open until Friday 8 June.

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