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Metadata

Metadata is familiar on the Web in the shape of HTML <meta> tags, as used to provide a description and keywords for a page. Metadata isn't new in the computer graphics world either; for instance, within JPEG (JFIF) files, marker segments describe the data that in turn describes the visual representation. Work has been done on embedding metadata in the PNG format at a higher level—for example, describing the subject of the image. SVG, however, can take the notion of a self-describing image a few stages further. Not only does an SVG file automatically describe itself in a common text-based format (XML), but it also allows information in other languages to be included. Description and title elements within an SVG document are really metadata, and a bonus here is that they can contain marked-up information from other namespaces. For example, using a hypothetical architectural markup language, we could use the following:

<g> 
     <title>Front Bedroom Window</title>
     <desc xmlns:arch="http://example.org/windows">
          <arch:material>aluminum</arch:material>
          <arch:dimensions height="1" width="1"/>
     </desc>
     <use xlink:href="#window" transform="translate(110, 160)"/>
</g>


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