Jennifer Zaino Contributor

Smart browsing vendor AdaptiveBlue is adding to the ranks of markup technologies, with the introduction this week of AB Meta, an open format for annotating objects in pages about things.

The format, developed in collaboration with a large web company that AdaptiveBlue cannot yet disclose, is distinguished by its simplicity and human readability, according to the vendor. AdaptiveBlue also notes that its unnamed partner will soon be announcing this format to be part of a broader set of semantic markup technologies. One clue to the type of company that partner may be is that, when asked about search engine support for the AB meta declaration, CEO Alex Iskold notes that people will want to keep an eye out for the upcoming announcement.

Some details about the new format: Using the standard meta tags inside of the head element of an HTML page, AB Meta lets site owners describe the primary object on the HTML page in a very simple way, AdaptiveBlue says.

“Meta with English-like attribute names is as simple as it can be,” says CEO Alex Iskold. “The limitation is that only object properties can be expressed but not relationships.”

A page featuring a book, for example, can specify within meta name tags the object type content as a book, the book title, the book author, the ISBN number, year of publication, and so on. The format is based on the eRDF standard, a syntax of RDF that can be embedded into XHTML or HTML by using common idioms and attributes, but adds more specificity around it. Because it can leverage existing formats and vocabularies, such as Dublin Core, according to AdaptiveBlue, many attributes can be described either using the AB Meta name or by using a name from an existing standard, it says. As long as the object.type meta header is present, they should be treated the same way by search engines.

What would the adoption of this format by the public at large mean to AdaptiveBlue?

“Wider adoption would mean that BlueOrganizer would recognize things on more pages,” says Iskold. “The current version of the product already contains support for AB Meta. This is also a big benefit to search engines, as they can return more precise results. So overall for publishers this means that the content is more discoverable.”

AdaptiveBlue recommends that publishers who use the WordPress software for their blogs can use the HeadMeta plug-in to specify meta headers.