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Re: plain text has its points

From: Jamal Mazrui <empower@smart.net>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 20:45:54 -0500 (EST)
To: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.981207203530.32055D-100000@smarty.smart.net>
It suggests a current flaw in HTML that a single page cannot serve both
the people who want highly structured navigation and those who want the
whole text.  Perhaps it needs to be enhanced or supplimented with other
XML to achieve these dual purposes.  

Let me be clear that I have not been advocating plain text instead of
HTML.  I just think, at this time, a complete plain text file (with a
line length less than 80) provides a valuable accessible format for
many, especially if the HTML is presented as a series of linked and
nested pages.  An analogy might be that whenever a Post Script or PDF
alternative is provided for maximum visual, hard copy access, a complete 
plain text version should also be provided for maximum nonvisual, online 


On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, Chris Kreussling wrote:

> Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 17:52:34 -0500
> From: Chris Kreussling <CHRIS.KREUSSLING@ny.frb.org>
> To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: plain text has its points
> Resent-Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 18:04:06 -0500 (EST)
> Resent-From: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> >>> <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org> 12/07 4:54 PM >>>
> ...
> On the other hand, there is something to be said for the option of getting
> large documents as a single html file vice a directory/folder of many
> (linked) smaller html files.  Is this any kind of convention standard?
> ...
> <<<
> I've found that larger sites increasingly include a "printable" version of complex documents. This is often closer to plaintext than the Web version, the full-text of a multi-part document, or both. This is another "both/and" instead of an "either/or" situation. I want *both* the multi-part, segmented, layered and hyperlinked versoin, and the single, simple downloadable version.
> When large, complex documents are available only as a single document they become unusuable for many purposes such as browsing, reference, and so on. Nesting and layering hide complexity until it's needed, and requested, by the reader. When I want to look up a specific datum residing within one huge document, I don't want the overhead of downloading, scrolling through and searching, and printing 100% of the information when I only need .1%.
> On the other hand, I will often download and/or print documents that I intend to refer to later, or throw in my backpack and read on the subway. For this purpose - offline reference, browsing and reading - the single, simple page is often the better choice. I want the text, and only the text. And since I don't have the advantages of hyperlinks in print, I need all the text.
> <author>Chris Kreussling</author> 
> <disclaimer>The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System.</disclaimer>
Received on Monday, 7 December 1998 20:45:59 UTC

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