Personal data

Basic and simple

The most simple way to put at least the authors name into a web page is by using the html meta element in the html head:

meta name="author" content="Siegfried Gipp"

A more sophisticated version is to not simply put in the name of the author, but instead provide a link to a page where this (and other) information can be found. To implement this, use the link element instead of the meta element:

link rel="author" href="impressum.html" title="Impressum"

This now has an advantage and a disadvantage: On one hand this is an information which is standardized to at least that level that this is readable by machines. The disadvantage is that it is not easily useful for human readers. One possibility to make this information useful for human readers is the Firefox extension cmSiteNavigation of Christoph A. Müller. Lynx and Opera natively offer usage of these types of links. For all the poor users of other browsers (sorry for the sarcasm, could not resist) it is obviously necessary to double that information in a way to make it usable by human readers. This will probably be a normal link on the page with link text such as "about me" or soething like that. The disadvantage is, that the information has to be doubled. The disadvantage is not that serious, becuse the human readable link could be automatically created from the machine readable version. The information contained is exactly the same.

Sadly it is to be stated that rel="author" is not really standardized. The Web Consortium recommends some link types, unfortunately "author" not beeing in that list. But "author" is quite common "in the wild".


This link to personal data of course should be placed on the start page of a web site. The machine redable version of that link then can be used for autodiscovery That means it is possible for a machine (program) to automatically detect availability and location for this information.