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Re: Where does the EARL go?

From: Nick Kew <nick@webthing.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 01:00:47 +0100 (BST)
To: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
cc: <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20011019002442.C1028-100000@fenris.webthing.com>

On Thu, 18 Oct 2001, Wendy A Chisholm wrote:

> In today's WCAG WG telecon [1] I took the following action item:

It's the wee hours here, big storm outside, and I'm tired: I may take any
or all of this back in the morning.  But you caught me working on EARL ...

> Action WC: take discussion to ERT WG. How make statement for whole site vs.
> Here are some scenarios and questions:
> 1. There is one bit of EARL that is associated with an entire Web site.  If
> it is only stored in one place, what is the most likely thing to happen.  a
> search engine finds a page in that site that matches a user's query.  to
> prioritize it, it:

<link rel="earl-report" ...>
  - or [shudder] <meta name="earl-report" ...> ?
Who is going to generate such a beastie?

Or do you have in mind a predefined URL (a la robots.txt),
or a third-party EARL database server?

> a. also looks throughout the site for a .earl file to give the conformance
> claim to wcag 2.0.

How is this going to apply to a large multi-author site, that take care
with new content but has a legacy, and perhaps some departments using
dicey publishing software?

> b. each page on the site has a link to the .earl file. it acts like an
> external css or script file that all pages on a site can point to.  then,
> the claim is only has to be updated once to effect the whole site.

If we just take the author's word for it, aren't we defeating the
purpose of EARL?  I was under the impression that we were looking
to collate comments from different sources, from the automated
such as Site Valet to the human "I can't read that".

An author or QA manager can generate an EARL report on a page.
A webmaster can define an overall site policy and (try to) insist
everything conforms.  But this is merely like collecting Bobby stamps.
If Granny Arthritic can't follow the feedback link for reasons the
author has overlooked, the EARL may never be corrected.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I came out of the f2f
with thoughts of this leading to something reminiscent of GroupLens,
but that doesn't seem to fit with what you're describing.
This would imply some mechanism for collecting third-party EARL
input for any site in a centralised database - a project that could
be somewhere on the event horizon.

> I guess, I see this working more like CSS than anything else.  Thoughts?

Yes, but...

> In HTML, it seems the best method is the link element [2] to be used much
> like stylesheets are used.  None of the attributes are required, yet it is
> common to use rel and type.  there is no "type/earl" - should there be?

I am planning to use text/x-earl in the absence of anything better.

Nick Kew

Site Valet - the essential service for anyone with a website.
Received on Thursday, 18 October 2001 20:01:21 UTC

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