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Re: Question on abbreviations (fwd)

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 08:04:08 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Al and Charlie,

	Expanding an abbreviation or acronym one time in a page/document is
insufficient for the user, no matter how onerous the task or expanding it.
I would prefer to see the rule state that every time an abbreviation or
acronym is used, it was exapandable by the user. Actually, I would prefer
that people use acronyms sparingly, if at all, to make it clear what they
mean. If, that is, they want to communicate with the user. If the purpose
of a site is just to dazzle the audience with one's store of acronyms, they
are OK unexplained. But is the purpose of the page is to convey
understanding then expanding only the first use of an acrunym is insufficient.

	Defining abbreviations and acronyms is in about the same category of
accommodating disabilities, as including definitions to specific terms in a
document. It is of benefit to people with or without disabilities, although
some categories of disabilities may find it more useful than others. 

	My vote would be to ask authors to use the "glossary" features of HTML to
expand all acroyns, abbreviations, and specific or unique terms right there
on the document. Among other advantages, the user can scroll down and learn
all at once, or click when needed. If the document is printed, the
definitions tag along automatically. 

	As to onerous, I don't think it is any more onerous than re-coding a
table, or preparing a script of an multi-media presentation. And it
probably benefits more people (including us aging folks whose memories
ain't what they used to be!)



At 10:22 PM 12/27/00 -0500, Al Gilman wrote:
>At 07:47 PM 2000-12-25 -0500, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>>Hmmm. I think we need to give a good answer to this one. It will probably
>>come back. (My ideal is to expand always, until user agents are smart enough
>>to look it up themselves...)
>Yes, that seems like option #1.
>But we need to hear (why) from the people who felt that expanding in all
>was onerous.  Seems like doing a search and replace to proliferate the
>expansion would not be that bad.
>Certainly, the guideline here expects intelligence from the UA that the
>specifications generally do not provide.  The format-defined semantic
model of
>HTML and XML does not particularly support the recognition of "another use of
>the same [element content] as was given an expansion above."
>A counter-example to that general statement is the define/use cycle in SVG  
>Here you can embed the expansion in the definition and use the symbol
>repeatedly with terse 'use' references.
>A dictionary would be a third-party way to supply the expansions.  This is
>likely to refer to the terms it defines not by location or node ID but by
>spelling.  This is why we need XML Schema and _pattern matching which is not
>predicated on reference by URI_ in order to build the infrastructure we
>But regular expressions and pattern matching are predicated on the character
>model at least, if not the infoset.
>This question has coordination written all over it.
>The issue about how burdensome it is to expand all instances means GL has a
>The issue about can the UA process the expansions (if only given once)
>a UA/PF dependency, so both those groups have a stake, here.
>ER is the lead group as far as experimenting with the application of patterns
>and rules.  So we don't want to fail to check with them.
>>Charles McCathieNevile    <mailto:charles@w3.org>mailto:charles@w3.org   
>phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
>>W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                     
>>Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
>>until 6 January 2001 at:
>>W3C INRIA, 2004 Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
>>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 15:54:48 -0500
>>From: Bill Kules <wmk@takoma-software.com>
>>To: WAI Mailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>>Subject: Question on abbreviations
>>Resent-Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 15:56:17 -0500 (EST)
>>Resent-From: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>>Re: checkpoint 4.2, "Specify the expansion of each
>>abbreviation or acronym in a document where it first
>>Since many HTML documents are not designed to be
>>read linearly, what is the definition of the first
>>occurence in that case?  Is there consensus on
>>this?  (Based on postings I've seen, it seems unlikely.)
>>Bill Kules, President            Takoma Software, Inc.
>>(301) 891-7271 voice             Takoma Park, MD
>>(301) 891-7273 fax              
>>(240) 460-7376 cellphone/pager   wmk@takoma-software.com
Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Thursday, 28 December 2000 08:08:27 UTC

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