Commons:WikiProject Microformats

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For quick access to examples, see: Category:Templates generating microformats

[hCards] with geo information are yummy hack fodder … marking up data in a predictable manner is a great way to allow developers to play with your information. (Chris Heilmann, Yahoo Developer Network[1])

Project aims[edit]

  • To encourage the deployment of microformats in Commons
    • by marking-up templates
  • To share the resulting experience with other Wikimedia projects
    • by harmonizing metadata template formats across projects
    • by facilitating interwiki transfer of metadata between projects
  • To document microformats in the file space, to the best possible standards
  • To give feedback to the microformat community, so that microformats can be developed to best serve both Wikimedia and the wider on-line community
  • To encourage the deployment of microformats in the Wikimedia application
    • including (but not only) hCard in user profiles
  • To advocate for the use of microformats by partner projects, metadata consumers, etc.
    • by ensuring that templates are parsable in the wiki source code

What are microformats?[edit]

A Microformat (sometimes abbreviated μF or uF) is a way of adding simple semantic meaning to human-readable content which is otherwise, from a machine's point of view, just plain text. They allow data items such as events, contact details or locations, on HTML (or XHTML) web pages, to be meaningfully detected and the information in them to be extracted by software, and indexed, searched for, saved or cross-referenced, so that it can be reused or combined.

More technically, they are items of semantic mark up, using just standard (X)HTML with a set of common class-names and rel-attributes (though the latter are not used on MediaWiki). They are open and available, freely, for anyone to use.

For example, 52.48,-1.89 is a pair of numbers which may refer to anything; but in some contexts could be understood to be a set of geographic coordinates. By wrapping them in spans (or other HTML elements) with specific class names (in this case part of the geo microformat specification):

<span class="geo"><span class="latitude">52.48</span>, <span class="longitude">-1.89</span></span>

...machines can be told exactly what each value represents, and can then index it, look it up on a map, export it to a GPS device, or whatever.

Other microformats allow the encoding and extraction of events, contact information, social relationships, and so on. More are being developed.

Version 3 of the Firefox browser [2][3] includes, and version 8 of Internet Explorer may include[4], native support for microformats.

How can we use Microformats on Commons?[edit]

(and, more generally, in MediaWiki)?

It is easier to apply them to templates rather than individual pages. That also means that individual authors need not know the intricacies of microformat mark-up, only how to use the relevant template. Many of the templates on Wikipedia require minimal changes, to use microformats to present their existing content with added meaning. While the functionality may already exist in the Wikipedia template, adding microformat mark-up will make that functionality available to people using the same tools they use when visiting other sites.

Templates emitting Microformats[edit]

Project members[edit]



To do[edit]

Currently available[edit]


Geo is for WGS84 coordinates (latitude;longitude).

Geo allows waypoints to be indexed ("find me all places within 2 km of X"), looked up on other websites, or uploaded to devices, such as GPS units.


There are three active proposals, none mutually-exclusive, and all backwards-compatible, to extend the geo microformat:

  • geo-extension - for representing coordinates on other planets, moons etc., and with non-WSG84 schema
  • geo-elevation - for representing altitude
  • geo-waypoint - for representing routes and boundaries, using waypoints

Export to KML[edit]

Pages marked with geo microformats can be exported as KML (for use in Google Earth, for example) via an external site, in this format:

The same URL can be pasted into Google Maps as a search, and will show the locations, as push-pins on a map


w:hCard is for contact details of people (both article subjects and user profiles), organisations and venues.

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Microformats/hcard for more.


The adr microformat for postal addresses and their individual components is a sub-set of hCard. See the above page for more information.


hCalendar is for events - so that they can be added directly to calendar or diary programmes or websites.


hAtom is for marking feeds.

It will not be possible to use hAtom in Wikimedia until it is possible to have an address element on pages. See w:Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#address_element.


hReview is for marking up reviews.



Though not formally microformats (because they have not been developed using the "microformats process", and/ or involve hidden metadata), the following are related:

  • COinS (metadata about books and journals; and abstracts from them

Under development[edit]


The Species microformat is for the vernacular and scientific names of living things. It is already being used on Wikipedia.



The proposed citation microformat will obviously be very relevant.

Citation microformats would allow the look-up of cited articles or books in libraries or shops, and the extraction of citation data for the page being voted, if it is to be cited elsewhere.


The proposed currency microformat may be useful, especially if the suggestion to include a date field for historical amounts is included., for example, on 1922 in Germany

  • "Despite the ending of cash payments for the rest of 1922, the main cause of Germany's inability to pay, the steady depreciation of the mark, was ongoing. Towards the end of the year it assumed a disastrous rapidity. On August 1, the US Dollar still stood at 643 Marks to the Dollar and the British Pound at 2,850 Marks to the Pound. But on September 5 the dollar had already risen to 1,440 Marks and the pound to 6,525 Marks, and in December the pound was worth between 30,000 and 40,000 marks and the dollar between 7,000 and 9,000."

Currency would allow automatic conversion of amounts into other currencies ("how much is that in dollars?") or time ("how much would that be today?")

Other MediaWiki uses[edit]


Wikivoyage is using microformats, not least in Wikivoyage listings

MediaWiki issues[edit]

  • We need to be able to add classes and rel attributes to internal and external links, to generate, for example:
<a href="" class="xxx">


<a href="" rel="yyy">

or a combination of both, where "xxx" is a valid microformat attribute such as "url" and "yyy" is a valid rel attribute such as "directory", "tag" or "colleague" (the latter from XFN).

For other issues encountered when adding microformats to Wikipedia and other pages, using Media Wiki mark-up, see [1]

Yahoo! Query Language[edit]

"Yahoo! Query Language" can be used to extract microformats from web pages, as demonstrated at Retrieving and displaying data from Wikipedia with YQL


  1. Heilman, Chris (2009-01-19). Retrieving and displaying data from Wikipedia with YQL. Yahoo Developer Network. Yahoo. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  2. Resig, John (2007-02-01). Microformats in Firefox 3. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  3. Kaply, Mike (2007-05-09). Microformats and Firefox 3 (for Developers). Retrieved on 2007-05-23.
  4. Bounds, Darren (2007-05-02). Microsoft drops hints about Internet Explorer 8. Retrieved on 2007-05-02.