Content Labels are files that contain powerful metadata that enable search engines and browsers to provide more trust in search results. They’re based on the W3C Semantic Web method called Resource Description Framework (RDF).
Using W3C standards such as RDF makes mass adoption for Content Labels more seamless in our opinion.
Purpose of contentlabel.org
The purpose of contentlabel.org is to encourage industry to create, discuss, formalise and promote new codes of conduct. New codes that are upcoming include:
- W3C Web accessibility guidelines (complete, awaiting wiki)
- W3C Mobile Web Initiative best practices
- Creative Commons
- PEGI (Games rating) (complete, awaiting wiki)
The Resource Description Framework, or RDF, is a W3C technology that we’re using in Mozilla to integrate and aggregate Internet resources.
Mozilla RDF was originally used to support the Aurora/Sidebar user interface and SmartBrowsing metadata services. It’s main use in Mozilla now is as a common data model and API for use in XUL-based applications.
Why Content Labels are useful
Visual badges provided by organisations such as Segala, VeriSign, GeoTrust and TRUSTe have limitied benefit. This is mainly because you only know when a Web site has a visual trustmark when you’ve already landed on it. Content Labels on the other hand are detectable by search engines and browsers which means users can find out which sites have Trustmarks without having to visit them. Furthermore, users can filter out anything that doesn’t contain a Content Label.
Content Labels act in a similar fashion to SSL Certificates. However, SSL Certificates are restricted to making claims about an entire Web site and they’re only used for security and identification purposes. Content Labels can be used to make assertions about an entire domain, or specific URIs. Furthermore, they can be used to make conformance claims to any standard or code of conduct.
This allows end users to specify “only show me Web sites that claim conformance to accessibility standards”.
Turning Content Labels into a standard
Segala was instrumental in the creation of the W3C’s first ever incubator activity to help create Content Labelling standards for the Web. We helped to create the original charter and we are co-author of the final report with ICRA.
Content Labels are now moving onto a full recommendation track within the W3C. They will be proposed as a repalcement for PICS. PICS is the outdated W3C recommendation that is still in use by Internet Explorer today for filtering content.
Conformance to the W3C Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) Best Pracitces (mobileOK) will be in the form of a Content Label. It won’t be possible for a Web site to be mobileOK unless it is proactive in making such a claim using a Content Label.
There is a new top level domain name called XXX which is expected to be given the green light by ICANN soon. Every Web site which registers a triple-x domain will be mandated to use a Content Label to describe their content. This will help ensure minors aren’t subjected to inappropriate content.