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RE: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2005 12:03:25 -0500
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B01EA39E2@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Gez, thanks for responding and for providing the additional definition.

The next thing is to figure out what to do.

You wrote:
<blockquote>
I don't think it would be appropriate for WCAG to redefine a word that
has an accepted meaning just to cater for IE. If IE's that important,
maybe a further technique could be suggested to ignore the semantics of
acronym, and use it for all abbreviations regardless of whether of not
it actually is an acronym? I have less of a problem with people using
the incorrect element than I do for redefining words. The advantage of
moving it to a technique is that we don't end up with an "until user
agents" situation, as the technique could be updated should IE ever
support abbr. We are already doing that in our guide docs. By no stretch
of the imagination 
</blockquote>

Mike has already pointed out that IE 7 will apparently support <abbr>,
so there's no longer any reason to worry about redfining words just to
support IE, .  So that's one taken care of. (Also, <acronym> is
apprently deprecated in xhtml 2.0, so it's just as well.)

But I have a few questions:

1. What do you have in mind when you talk about "moving it to a
technique"? What's the "it" here? Wouldn't someone still have to know
what acronyms and abbreviations and initialisms are in order to apply
the correct technique? (There's no <initialism> element that I'm aware
of, so authors would presumably have to choose between <acronym> and
<abbr> for HTML 4.01 or anything prior to XHTML 2.0. Would you recommend
using <acronym> or <abbr>?)

2. In my post yesterday I raised the possibility of adding the word
"initialism" to the success criterion and/or the Glossary. Would that
work? We would then presumably add a technique about marking up
initialisms-- presumably this would be a general technique, since (as
noted above) there isn't a dedicated element, so we'd still have to
point authors to the appropriate element  In the markup language they've
chosen.
To put it more briefly, then:
1. Would you support adding the word "initialism" to the success
criterion concerning acronyms 
and abbreviations?
2. What technique do you suggest we recommend to authors for identifying
initialisms?

Thanks!
John

"Good design is accessible design."

Dr. John M. Slatin, Director 
Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin 
FAC 248C 
1 University Station G9600 
Austin, TX 78712 
ph 512-495-4288, fax 512-495-4524 
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu 
Web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility 



-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Gez Lemon
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 3:20 PM
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Re: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym



Hi John,

The important distinction between an initialism and an acronym is that
an acronym is a pronounceable word. I appreciate that the Oxford
definition (and American Heritage) only mentions a word, but by
definition, words are pronounceable. The only definition that differs
from the accepted meaning is Merriam-Webster's definition, which I
mentioned in my objection yesterday.

Like other definition's, the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
explicitly uses the word "pronounced":

<blockquote cite="http://www.freesearch.co.uk/dictionary/acronym">
an abbreviation consisting of the first letters of each word in the name
of something, pronounced as a word: - AIDS is an acronym for 'Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndrome'. </blockquote>

I don't think it would be appropriate for WCAG to redefine a word that
has an accepted meaning just to cater for IE. If IE's that important,
maybe a further technique could be suggested to ignore the semantics of
acronym, and use it for all abbreviations regardless of whether of not
it actually is an acronym? I have less of a problem with people using
the incorrect element than I do for redefining words. The advantage of
moving it to a technique is that we don't end up with an "until user
agents" situation, as the technique could be updated should IE ever
support abbr. We are already doing that in our guide docs. By no stretch
of the imagination could "L" be considered an acronym, yet it's marked
up as such to define "Level".

Best regards,

Gez

-- 
_____________________________
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http://juicystudio.com
Received on Saturday, 17 September 2005 17:03:33 GMT

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