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definition of acronyms (was Re: use of <acronym> in our documents)

From: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 12:15:44 +0200
Message-ID: <4A38C250.6020104@w3.org>
To: ERT WG <public-wai-ert@w3.org>

As far as I know, WCAG 2.0 does not differentiate between acronyms, 
abbreviations, initialism, or whatever. From a functional perspective 
they all share the same user need: they need to be clarified on their 
first occurrence. IMO, this is splitting hairs.

Can we live with leaving the use of <acronym> versus <abbr> to the 
editor of the respective document? The initial mail of this thread 
intended to provide guidance on how frequently to expand and markup 
these terms.


Christophe Strobbe wrote:
> Hi Johannes,
> At 11:35 17/06/2009, Johannes Koch wrote:
>> Shadi Abou-Zahra schrieb:
>>> Dear group,
>>> During the previous teleconference call we agreed on an approach for 
>>> using <acronym> elements in our documents.
>> BTW, which definition of acronym do we share? Some people insist on 
>> acronyms to be pronouncable words, like RADAR. With this definition, 
>> XML and RDF would not be acronyms, while EARL would be one. AIRC, the 
>> fuzzy "definition" of acronym in the HTML specs lead to dropping it 
>> for XHTML2 and HTML5.
> Based on the dictionaries and other reference works I consulted a few 
> years ago 
> (<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2005JulSep/att-0851/AbbreviationAcronym.html>) 
> I don't think there is a shared understanding of the term "acronym". 
> Some say they that acronyms can be pronounced as a word, some don't say 
> anything about pronunciation. If you say that acronyms need to be 
> pronounced as a word, you need to add another term, e.g. initialism, for 
> the ones that can't be pronounced as a word.
> Best regards,
> Christophe
>>> #3. Do not markup acronyms where it is already expanded. For example: 
>>> "Evaluation and Report Language (<acronym title="Evaluation and 
>>> Report Language">EARL</acronym>)..." is redundant and unnecessary.
>> Should we do not markup them, or should we not expand them? EARL is 
>> still an acronym and _could_ still be marked like this: 
>> <acronym>EARL</acronym>. However there may be no use for AT, while 
>> there may be other uses.
>> -- 
>> Johannes Koch
>> Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT
>> Web Compliance Center
>> Schloss Birlinghoven, D-53757 Sankt Augustin, Germany
>> Phone: +49-2241-142628    Fax: +49-2241-142065

Shadi Abou-Zahra - http://www.w3.org/People/shadi/ |
   WAI International Program Office Activity Lead   |
  W3C Evaluation & Repair Tools Working Group Chair |
Received on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 10:46:56 UTC

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