Like Annie, I found the Jason Ronallo post a bit over my head (I’m currently taking LS 560, so not having that in my background may be part of why), so I did some poking around online to see if anyone had explained the concept for those of us with only a basic knowledge of HTML under our belts. I wanted to share with y’all a post by Marco Kuiper, called “HTML5 Microdata: What is it, and why should you care?” that I found very helpful in illuminating the high points of microdata in an accessible fashion.
Basically, he says, it’s all an effort to make HTML5 a semantic language, to allow the markup to reflect the meanings of the text instead of just how it’s meant to be displayed. This makes the markup a lot more readable to machines, including search engine crawlers. Pretty cool, and I appreciated the way he explained things for a dummy like me. Hopefully it will be a good supplement for some other folks too.