How to Use Common Tag Format: Tagging Content

Common Tag is an open tagging format developed to make content more connected, discoverable and engaging. Unlike free-text tags, Common Tags are references to unique, well-defined concepts, complete with metadata and their own URLs. With Common Tag, site owners can more easily create topic hubs, cross-promote their content, and enrich their pages with free data, images and widgets.

Belgrade, Edmonton, Galway, London, New York, and San Francisco (PRWEB) — A group of Web companies announced today the development of a new tagging format for Web pages called Common Tag. The companies–AdaptiveBlue, DERI (NUI Galway), Faviki, Freebase, Yahoo!, Zemanta, and Zigtag–offer services that help publishers use semantic tagging to make their content more discoverable, connected, and engaging.

People have long used tags to organize, share and discover content on the Web. However, in the absence of a common tagging format for Web content, the benefits of tagging have been limited. Individual things like New York City are often represented by multiple tags (e.g., “nyc”, “new_york_city”, and “newyork”), making it difficult to organize related content; and it isn’t always clear what a particular tag represents – does the tag “jaguar” represent the animal, the car company, or the operating system?

Semantic tagging is an important next step in the evolution of the Web. When we add semantic meaning to tags, the content that is tagged becomes significantly easier for machines to understand. That in turn allows for the development of more intelligent applications for aggregating, searching, and browsing the Web. The Common Tag format was developed to address these shortcomings and help everyone–including end users, publishers, and developers–get more out of Web content. With Common Tag, content is tagged with unique, well-defined concepts – everything about New York City is tagged with one concept for New York City and everything about jaguar the animal is tagged with one concept for jaguar the animal. The Common Tag format also provides access to useful metadata that defines each concept and describes how the concepts relate to one another. For example, metadata for the Barack Obama concept indicates that he’s the President of the United States and that he’s married to Michelle Obama.

Peter Mika from Yahoo! Research emphasized, “Semantic tagging is an important next step in the evolution of the Web. When we add semantic meaning to tags, the content that is tagged becomes significantly easier for machines to understand. That in turn allows for the development of more intelligent applications for aggregating, searching, and browsing the Web.”

Using the Common Tag format
The organizations that developed the Common Tag format offer a range of services that help publishers and bloggers take advantage of semantic tagging: a standard and extensible set of tags, simple tools to relate those tags to web page content, and services that help users discover tagged content from other sites and popular search engines.

To tag their content using Common Tag, publishers can use automated tagging tools like those offered by Zemanta or tag their content themselves. Social tagging services like Faviki and Zigtag also allow end users to tag content using the Common Tag format.

As more publishers, developers and end users join in supporting the Common Tag format, publishers’ content will benefit by becoming:

More discoverable: Over time, more and more content related to a specific concept will be discoverable through a single tag. As application developers begin to recognize or deploy offerings using Common Tag formatting, they’ll deliver more related content to their users and in turn drive more traffic to publishers that use the Common Tag format. Services like DERI’s provide developers with tools to find and incorporate related content into their applications using Common Tag. In addition, search engines like Yahoo and Google have begun reading RDFa–the markup standard used by the Common Tag format–to acquire richer information about sites that use it. Yahoo! Search’s SearchMonkey uses this information to improve the presentation (and in the future, the relevance) of publishers’ search results in Yahoo! Search, helping drive more traffic to their sites; and Google’s new Rich Snippets feature uses the information to apply similar enhancements to Google search results.

More connected: With Common Tag, all content related to a particular concept can be connected to and organized by a single tag, both within individual sites and across the Web. What’s more, Common Tag metadata connects concepts to one another, allowing publishers and developers to present end users with even more related content. For example, AdaptiveBlue’s Glue service plans to use the Common Tag format to help connect end users to other people with similar interests and to other related content across the Web.

More engaging: Common Tag is a format that’s understandable by machines, which allows publishers and developers to build more engaging features and applications around content tagged using Common Tag. For example, a developer might use Freebase’s development tools–which understand the Common Tag format–to create a simple application that takes an article about the new Star Trek movie and allows users to purchase tickets to the movie directly within the article. Since both the publisher and ticket service use the Common Tag format, the application can use Freebase to easily make the connection without having to guess at what the content of the two services is about.

As publishers and bloggers extend the use of Common Tag, the ecosystem of consumer applications and services will continue to grow; and anyone interested in the Common Tag format can help identify and create solutions for those services that would benefit from widespread use of well-understood semantic tags.

More information on the Common Tag format
To learn more about the Common Tag format and get involved in its development, visit Publishers, developers, and others interested in Common Tag are also encouraged to join the Common Tag mailing list at

For further information, please use the following contacts:

For AdaptiveBlue, alex.iskold(at)
For DERI (NUI Galway), alexandre.passant(at)
For Faviki , vukmilicic(at)
For Freebase, press(at)
For Yahoo! Search, tsheila(at)
For Zemanta, andraz(at)
For Zigtag, scott(at)

June 11, 2009

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