The article element represents a section of content that forms an independent part of a document or site. It represents a section of self-contained content.
Can the content be syndicated as an rss feed? If yes it’s probably an article. The article tags covers the same use case as the hAtom microformat.
Potential sources for the article tag include:
- Blog post
- News story
- Forum post
If the time element is used inside an article it can include the boolean pubdate attribute, however only one pubdate can be used inside each article.
While not intuitive the article tag can be used for things like self-contained widgets such as stock tickers, calculators, and clocks. An article doesn’t specifically have to be textual content. It’s the self-contained part that’s most important.
One point about all the tags above is they aren’t meant to replace every div in your document. The tags should be used where semantically appropriate. Some of your divs will get replaced with these new tags, though not all will. It comes down to the content being enclosed and choosing the most semantically meaningful tag.