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proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym

From: <Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 14:30:40 -0400
To: "WCAG " <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF4FAAF830.4844EC9E-ON8525707D.006442FA-8525707D.0065FB97@notesdev.ibm.com>

Team B has been reviewing GL 3.1 [1].  In reviewing GL 3.1 L3 SC3, A 
mechanism for finding the expanded form of acronyms and abbreviations is 
available, [2] and some of the associated HTML techniques, we have 
uncovered the need for updated  definitions of abbreviation and acronym. 
The current and proposed definitions as well as some rationale are below:

<current definitions>
Acronym -A word made from the initial letters of a name that contains 
several words. For example, NOAA is a word made from the initial letters 
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United 
States. SNCF is a French acronym that contains the initial letters of the 
Societe National des Chemins de Fer, the French national railroad.
Abbreviation -The shortened form of a word. For example, "Dr." is the 
abbreviation for the English word "doctor." "M." is the abbreviation for 
the French word "Monsieur."
</current definitions>

<proposed definitions>
abbreviation -The shortened form of a word.  For example, "est." may be 
the abbreviation for the English words "established" or "estimate."  "Cie" 

is the abbreviation for the French word "compagnie" (company). 

acronym - A word made from the initial letters of a name that contains 
several words.  For example, NOAA is a word made from the initial letters 
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United 
States. SNCF is a French acronym that contains the initial letters of the 
Societe National des Chemins de Fer, the French national railroad.   All 
acronyms are abbreviations. 

Note: Some English language  sources require that acronyms form a word 
that is spoken as syllables while others accept any grouping of the 
initial letters of words as an acronym.  WCAG 2.0 uses the latter, less 
restrictive definition. 
</proposed definitions>

<rationale>

Updated the examples for abbreviation since Dr. and M. seemed too common 
in the respective languages to require expansion. 

Updated the acronym definition to state that acronyms are abbreviations. 
This allows the use of the HTML technique for <abbr> to be used for both 
acronyms and abbreviations.  XHTML2 is removing the acronym element in 
favor of just abbr [3]. 

Since the English sources have different definitions of acronym, added 
note to clearly state which definition WCAG 2.0 is following. Selected the 
less restrictive definition since XHTML 2.0 is moving towards the removal 
of the acronym element and just using abbr. 
</rationale>

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#meaning
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#meaning-located
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml2/mod-text.html#sec_9.1 

Becky Gibson
Web Accessibility Architect
                                                       
IBM Emerging Internet Technologies
5 Technology Park Drive
Westford, MA 01886
Voice: 978 399-6101; t/l 333-6101
Email: gibsonb@us.ibm.com
Received on Thursday, 15 September 2005 18:35:07 GMT

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