Metadata is data about data. For example, if you save an audio file to a
database, what might you want to know about that file - possibly, its
duration, format, creator, owner, subject, among other information.
approaches to creating instruction with repurposeable learning objects suggest
the use of Extensible Markup Language (XML) or a similar language that
facilitates the ready use of metadata and retrieval based on that metadata.
Although the creation of XML objects is beyond the scope of this module, it
might still serve the developer of HTML objects to include useful metadata.
Metadata tags are invisible to the page viewer, but are used by search
engines and database routines. To add or edit metadata, the HTML code could be
modified directly, or
|Example 1. This Page's Header
The HTML code behind this Web page, which you might
be looking at as one panel in a frames page, includes a head and a
body section. The metadata is listed in the head as follows, with
extra spaces added for ease of reading:
HTML Metadata Code:
<meta name="Author" content="Jim Flowers">
<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0">
<meta name="Description" content="HTML pages objects can be
enriched by adding metadata.">
<meta name="Keywords" content="metadata, HTML, learning object, rlo,
<title>Adding Metadata to HTML Pages</title>
Using Web Page Creation Software to
Web page creation software typically has a means to
enter metadata, as FrontPage does through its Page Properties dialog
box, under the Custom tab:
In addition to an "Author" tag, you may wish to
create other meta tags to identify the date of creation or revision,
or other specifics about creation.
The "Description" tag allows a description to appear
under selected search engines.
The "Keywords" content identifies important keywords
used for searches, and the use of this is recommended if you would
like the objects you create to be found using these searches.
Too often, Web page authors even leave the page
title blank. This typically appears in the top of the browser, as the
name of the page found by a search, and often can appear in printouts
of the page, so it is important to name each page. When one page is
used as a template, copied to create other pages, the names are often
overlooked, especially since they do not appear on the previewed page.
The final base target tag is not metadata, but an
instruction for this particular page that unless otherwise specified,
hyperlinks are to open in a new (blank) browser window.
Benefiting from Metadata
One benefit of using metadata is the association of each object with data
in a series of fields that are relevant to your situation. You can keep track
of creation date, revision date, the name of the person revising the object,
and other data of relevance.
Another benefit is that metadata facilitates search and retrieval.
The keywords you specify may help those using some Web search engines to find
With the advent of XHTML, FrontPage 2003 and its support for XML, and
greater acceptance of the SCORM requirements, serious developers may find it
best to leave behind HTML for the extensible languages that offer more
support for database retrieval and greater reliance on metadata. But for now, if you create HTML learning objects, try adding some
metadata to improve the ability of others to find your objects.