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Re: HTML5 Citations, References, Equation References and Footnotes

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2012 01:31:58 +0000
Message-ID: <CAEhSh3frUxEstPseGEARJFspUcWVr36kvgy-FsEKVo3i4j5gVw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Adam Sobieski <adamsobieski@hotmail.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
On 2012/1/21 Adam Sobieski <adamsobieski@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I have some ideas for HTML5 with regard to citing, referencing,
> equation references, and footnotes.

Please note:

     http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/FAQ#Is_there_a_process_for_adding_new_features_to_a_specification.3F

Your email mostly skips defining the use cases to support and the
problem to be solved and jumps straight into recommending changing
semantics of an existing element and adding new features.

> With a <reference id=”ref1″ … /> element in a document,
> other elements such as <q cite=”#ref1″>text</q> and <cite
> cite=”#ref1”>text</cite> could render as “text” (Smith 2012)
> and text (Smith 2012). A reimagined semantics of the <cite/> element
> is that the contained hypertext content is the author’s while
> specifically indicating one or more references and/or footnotes.

HTML5 defines the <cite> element to represent a title of work:

    http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/the-cite-element.html#the-cite-element

In the past, it has sometimes being understood to represent the source
of some information and used to mark up, for example, a person or even
a date reference, although it appears this may not have been the
intent of the spec writers. Some people have proposed this should be
conforming usage. See discussion:

   http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/Cite_element

I've seen <cite> used to represent a quotation, based on a
misunderstanding of earlier specifications or learning resources.
Nobody is proposing that this should be conforming usage.

In theory, <cite> could be misused to create italic text, but <i> and
<em> are more likely. Again, nobody is proposing that this should be
conforming usage.

 <cite> has never been defined or widely used to represent, as in your
examples, some rephrased content that has an external source.

Interpreting <cite> that way would be incompatible with interpreting
existing documents in the web corpus that use <cite>. So on web
compatibility grounds, I would object to making this change to
long-standing HTML semantics:

    http://www.w3.org/TR/html-design-principles/#support-existing-content

--
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Sunday, 22 January 2012 01:32:35 UTC

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