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Re: UA techniques for abbr and acronym

From: Harvey Bingham <hbingham@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 13:03:15 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Jim has picked up a significant sloppiness in my discussion
of abbr and acronym: mixing up tag and element. Repairs below,
as usual, using XdeleteX and _insert_. Also here is the
precipitating discussion.

At 1999-09-19 07:23 PM-0500, Jim Thatcher wrote:

>But you said "content." Doesn't "content" mean the stuff inside the begin and
>end tags. I thought it did.

You are right. I should have been careful to distinguish
element content from the start-tag and end-tag that bound

A tag is bracketed by "<" and ">". A start-tag names the
element it starts, and may contain attributename="value"
pairs describing that instance of the named element. The
element content is that between its start-tag and end-tag.
The end-tag commences with "</" followed by the elementname
then ">". For example a target anchor:

     <A name="ibmref">International Business Machines</A>

An element type declared EMPTY in the DTD has the special
combined end-tag form, such as

     <HR title="table definition"/>.

The explanation for an abbr or acronym may either be text
found at and generally before the first occurrence, effectively the 
definition, or possibly the definition is
elsewhere. For example,

     <a name="ibmdef">International Business Machines</a>
     abbreviated (<abbr><a href="#ibmdef">IBM</a></abbr>).

Each subsequent occurrence of the abbreviation IBM can be:
     <abbr title="International Business Machines">IBM</abbr>
with its expansion in the localized value for the title.

If the expansion is more extensive, the author could
enclose each of the abbreviations in a reference:
     <abbr><a href="#ibmdef">IBM</a></abbr>

The first one for consistency can also include that href.

>Is there a different/more general meaning for
>"content" used in w3c/wai? Please believe me, that is a question!

No, I need to be consistent with HTML and XML terminology,
less sloppy than I used it. Below, I clean up that source
of confusion. I mark my original with XdeleteX _insert_

>Jim Thatcher
>IBM Special Needs Systems
>HPR Documentation page: http://www.austin.ibm.com/sns/hprdoc.html
>Harvey Bingham <hbingham@acm.org> on 09/19/99 05:00:24 PM
>To:   James Thatcher/Austin/IBM@IBMUS
>Subject:  Re: UA techniques for abbr and acronym
>At 1999-09-19 09:57 AM-0500, thatch@us.ibm.com wrote:
> >Harvey,
> >Question about terminology.
> >you said:
> >quote An abbr or acronym tag encloses "content" that represents its
> >"expansion". The enclosed content should not include surrounding
> >parentheses, as often appears at the first occurrence.
> >endquote.
> >I thought content was that with in the tag and end tag. So
> ><ACRONYM title="international business machines">IBM</ACRONYM>
> >"IBM"  is the content and title is expansion.
Right. I misread your thought: "with in the tag and end tag".
Your example is correct. Content is between the start-tag and
its corresponding end-tag. What is within a (start-)tag is
element name and possibly attributename="value" pairs.

>I mean that the value of the title attribute is the expansion:
>"international business machines".
> >Jim Thatcher
> >IBM Special Needs Systems
> >www.ibm.com/sns
> >thatch@us.ibm.com
> >(512)838-0432
> >
> >
> >Harvey Bingham <hbingham@ACM.org> on 09/18/99 11:08:42 PM
> >
> >To:   w3c-wai-ua@w3.org, w3c-wai-au@w3.org
> >cc:
> >Subject:  UA techniques for abbr and acronym
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >[Beginning with the definitions that better distinguish between these,
> >as developed by the Digital Talking Book 3.0 team, and replacing
> >the confusing ones in HTML documentation:]
> >
> >Explanation: abbr designates an abbreviation, a shortened form of a word.
> >
> >Explanation: acronym marks a word formed from key letters (usually
> >initials) of a group of words. For example: UNESCO, NATO, XML.
> >
> >An abbr or acronym XtagX_element_ encloses "content".
The title="expansion" attribute of the start-tag for that
element provides its expansion.
>  that represents its
> >"expansion". The enclosed content should not include surrounding
> >parentheses, as often appears at the first occurrence.
> >
> >A user agent should be prepared for the user to ask what the
> >abbr or acronym XtagX_element_ content means, and return to the user the
> >expansion [Priority 2].
> >
> >A user preference should allow expand/ignore expansion of the content
> >for all as encountered, or just the current abbr or acronym. [priority 2]
> >
> >-------------- References -----------
> >1. Authoring Tools PR
> >
> >Checkpoint 3.1: Prompt the author to provide alternative information (e.g.,
> >... expanded versions of acronyms, ...)
> >
> >2. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
> >Guideline 4
> >
> >... Content developers should also provide expansions of abbreviations and
> >acronyms.
> >
> >4.2 Specify the expansion of each abbreviation or acronym in a document
> >where it first occurs. [Priority 3] For example, in HTML, use the "title"
> >attribute of the ABBR and ACRONYM elements. Providing the expansion in the
> >main body of the document also helps document usability.
> >-------------
> >Web Content Accessibility Technique
> >
> >4.3.2 Abbreviations and Acronyms
> >
> >Checkpoints in this section: 4.2.
> >Mark up abbreviations and acronyms with ABBR and ACRONYM and use "title" to
> >indicate the expansion ...[example]
> >---------------
> >
> >Assume good authoring practice, as indicated above:
> >
> >At least on first occurrence of an abbr or acronym tag for a particular
> >content , the title attribute value in that tag includes the expansion,
> >title="expansion". That expansion is typically included in the text at
> >first use, as a courtesy to the traditional user, who was expected to
> >read linearly, and remember the expansion.
> >
> >However, the assumption of linear reading of an entire document
> >is often invalid for web reading. The first occurrence may well be
> >in a different URI.
> >
> >Technique 4.3.2 above indicates that every abbr or acronym _start-tag 
> should have
> >title="expansion". In this case, any such tag has its expansion locally.
> >
> >A user first encountering the content of an abbr or acronym _element_, 
> without
> >its expansion there, the abbr or acronym content and its expansion
> >could be located in an index, glossary, list of abbreviations or acronyms.
> >
> >Two authoring approaches might be used:
> >
> >1. Title attribute for expansion
> >
> >1a. Each occurrence of an abbr or acronym _start-_tag should have the 
> attribute
> >title="expansion" in its start-tag. This is the most straightforward,
> >as it allows the user agent to render that title value on user request.
> >
> >[Assume an authoring tool that requests the expansion corresponding to the
> >content of any new abbr or acronym, and then assigns it to the title
> >attribute of that tag. Thereafter, whenever such identical content
> >is included in such tag, the authoring tool can then add the known
> >title="expansion" to the tag.]
> >
> >A user wanting an expansion of an abbr or acronym then has it available
> >at the point of regard, and the user agent should respond to the user
> >query for expansion from the title="expansion".
> >
> >1b. Ideally a user agent, on encountering an abbr or acronym tag
> >without the title="expansion" should be able to find that expansion
> >from the first use of that XtagX_element_ content.
> >
> >A user agent might keep a list of all content and expansions of abbr
> >or acronym. Then occurrences of the tag with recognized content could
> >in the absence of title="expansion" use that prior expansion. This
> >fails when the title="expansion" location is from an unvisited URI.
> >In that case, the user agent can only indicate the expansion has not
> >yet been encountered.
> >
> >An authoring tool might maintain the convention of keeping a definition
> >list of each abbr or acronym content and its expansion, so it is prepared
> >to fill in the title="expansion" of those _start-_tags.
> >
> >2. Hyperlinking from abbr or acronym content to definition
> >
> >2a. Assume the first occurrence has a target anchor <a name="...">
> >surrounding the definition that often precedes the actual abbr or
> >acronym, and each such actual XtagX_element_ has an anchor <a href="#...">
> >pointing to that initial definition. An advantage of this approach
> >is that only one definition is required. A disadvantage is that this
> >definition may be in a different URI, and the disruption in reading
> >flow to go elsewhere, then back may be difficult.
> >
> >2b. If the expansion text for the abbr or acronym is in the glossary,
> >or list of abbreviations or acronyms, then that definition could be
> >enclosed in the target anchor. User request for expansion would get
> >that value from the remote location. The same disruption of reading
> >flow occurs, with the need to go back.
> >
> >Regards/Harvey Bingham
> >
> >
Received on Monday, 20 September 1999 13:02:27 UTC

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