Meta tags are used to provide structured data about data, similar in many ways to the information provided in traditional library catalogue records.
Subject access to information is enhanced by the provision of an informative title, description (summary of the text) and subject keywords. Keywords are often taken from a controlled vocabulary such as a thesaurus, which ensures that words are added consistently. In addition, the thesaurus lists synonyms so that a number of alternative search terms are provided. For example, if the keyword 'fishing' is assigned to a page the near-synonym 'angling' should also be added.
Words which are often misspelt are often added as keywords. For example, accommodation and millennium are misspelt almost as often as they are spelt correctly. Adding these misspellings as keywords is therefore of potential value.
An alternative to meta tags for enhanced subject access within a website is the use of a back-of-book-style index for the website. See examples at the websites of the Australian Society of Indexers (www.aussi.org) and the American Society of Indexers (www.asindexing.org).
See also metadata