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cite, titel, citation, author

From: Bertilo Wennergren <bertilow@gmx.net>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 01:01:35 +0200
Message-ID: <3D92404F.3000108@gmx.net>
To: www-html-editor@w3.org

(I sent this to "www-html" first. I probably belongs here. Sorry!)

For the "cite" element the draft text for XHTML 2 now has this:

  The cite element contains a citation or a reference to other
  sources.

  [...]

  In the following example, the cite element is used to delineate the
  speaker:

  As <cite
  cite="http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ht33.html">Harry
  S. Truman</cite> said, <quote lang="en-us">The buck stops
  here.</quote>

  More information can be found in <cite
  cite="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml">[XML]</cite>.

That is more or less in line with the definition in HTML 4.01 (and
thus also in XHTML 1.0 and XHTML 1.1). The use of "cite" to delineate
the speker is however not in accordance with common practice. Normally
"cite" is used _only for the title_ of a source.

The recommendation for HTML 2.0 had no example with "cite" marking a
speaker:

  The <CITE> element is used to indicate the title of a book or
  other citation. It is typically rendered as italics. For example:

  He just couldn't get enough of <cite>The Grapes of Wrath</cite>.

I propose that "cite" in XHTML 2 be defined clearer and stricter, and
according to the common practice of using it only for actual titles of
sources (and for various abbrieviations of a title etc.), not for the
name of an author, and not for quotations from such a source.

The XHTML 2 draft also includes a "cite" attribute of the "cite"
element. That will probably be confusing for many users. I propose
that one of them receive a different and unique name. Since there has
been some confusion about the true use of the element "cite", perhaps
that is the one that could fare better with a new and different name.
"title" would be logical, but "title" is already used for the title of
the current document (in the structure module).

Perhaps a richer element repertoire would be better, e.g. "citation"
for a whole citation, possibly including both the name of a source and
it's author, and a "cite" attribute. I borrow the example from a
similar proposal in this list (Toby Inkster, Mon, Aug 12 2002), but
changing slightly the element names:

  <p>
    According to <citation><author>Bill Bryson</author>'s book
    <title cite="http://whatever">A Walk in the Woods</title></citation>
    there has been a huge fire burning in Centralia, Pennsylvania
    since 1962. No-one has put it out because <quote>'no-one was
    empowered to spend that kind of money.'</quote>
  </p>

Toby Inkster proposed that "Title" be used instead of "title" to
distinguish it from the "title" of the structure module. I don't think
it is a good idea to start using upper case in XHTML element names. Many
people have learned that everything is lower case in XHTML, and it is
probably better to let it stay that way. I hope someone will come up
with a better name than "title". Perhaps "ref" could do.

The "citation" group could be enriched with "publisher", "year" etc.,
but that would probably be a bit to rich for XHTML that should stay a
reasonably simple mark-up language. Otherwise we could simply adopt
TEI or DocBook, add XLink, and be more or less done with it.

-- 
Bertilo Wennergren <bertilow@gmx.net> <http://www.bertilow.com>
Received on Wednesday, 25 September 2002 19:01:00 GMT

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