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Re: [manual] Acronyms and initialisms

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001 21:01:35 -0500 (EST)
To: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
cc: <spec-prod@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0112292052480.30427-100000@tux.w3.org>
On the first occurrence I prefer to see it spelled out as per the Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF;) style above. I don't believe that in that case
it needs to be marked up further. with a title, although I would include the
abbr element itself:

 <p>Internet Engineering Task Force (<abbr>IETF</abbr>)...

After that I would simply mark it with the element and the title attribute:

 <abbr title="Extensible Markup Language">XML</abbr>

The difference between abbr and acronym, as near as I can discover, is that
an acronym is bronounced as a word, where as and abbreviation is pronounced
as an initialism or the full term is pronounced:

Which would make the following things abbr:

  IBM, IETF, W3C, etc, XML

and the following acronyms (some of these are now more generally thought of
as real words):

  NATO, laser, QANTAS, ANZUS, WCAG (pronounced normally as a word).

But this comes from Spanish linguists - the support for a difference in
english is less clear (maybe becuase there is an official version of Spanish,
but none of english), and in the specification of HTML it is non-existent.

Charles McCN

On Sat, 29 Dec 2001, Bjoern Hoehrmann wrote:


     Section 11.5 requires TRs to spell out acronyms and initialisms in
  their first occurrence. An example given is

    "Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)"

  WCAG wants the same thing, but wants authors to use the title attribute
  for the expansion, an example given is

    <P>Welcome to the <ACRONYM title="World Wide Web">WWW</ACRONYM>!

  Combining these two requirements, one would end up with something like

    <p><acronym title='North Atlantic Treaty Organisation'>NATO</acronym>
    (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)</p>

  or the other way round

    <p>North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (<acronym title='North Atlantic
    Treaty Organisation'>NATO</acronym>)</p>

  This seems to be a bit overambitious. Is "spell out" satisfied with a
  title attribute? In general, I prefer the style as in the IETF example,
  i.e. acronym follows expansion, do I still need to use the title
  attribute in this case? Further, given a document on XML, does the
  specification need to use the <acronym> [1] element each time the string
  'XML' occurs and should it always expand the initialism in the title

  [1] XML is an initialism, not an acronym...


Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
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Received on Saturday, 29 December 2001 21:01:37 UTC

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