Re: FOOTNOTE element

Murray Altheim (
Fri, 10 Mar 1995 10:21:43 -0400

From: "Murray Altheim" <>
Message-Id: <9503101021.ZM4390558@>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 10:21:43 -0400
In-Reply-To: "Dave Raggett" <>
Subject: Re: FOOTNOTE element

On Mar 9, 11:48am, Dave Raggett wrote:
> Subject: Re: FOOTNOTE element
> > I'd like to put in a bid to have the FN element restored. Here's
> > 1) The content model of the <P> element makes it impossible to embed
> >    footnote inside of a paragraph, so that something like this:
> This is a misunderstanding. The idea is that you use a hypertext link
> from the paragraph to the footnote. The link would be represented with
> the <A> element in the normal way. The draft proposal explains how,
> This is under "Admonishments and Footnotes" in the table of contents.
> > 2) I don't think that the content model of NOTE is restrictive
enough for a
> >    footnote element. Footnotes should be short, so things like
tables and
> >    embedded notes and lists don't belong there. It would not be
> >    to restrict the content model of NOTE however, so a different
element is
> >    needed for that purpose.
> The relaxed content model for NOTE doesn't seem sufficient
> to me for introducing another new tag. HTML in general provides a lax
> content model making it easy to convert other formats into HTML.
> -- Dave Raggett <> tel: +44 117 922 8046 fax: +44 117 922
>   Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Filton Road, Bristol BS12 6QZ, United
>-- End of excerpt from Dave Raggett

Joe and Michael make good points about footnotes, but I tend to agree
that keeping the language simple is paramount to continued success of
the web. If a browser doesn't understand the footnote tag, what would
happen? Just stuff the entire contents of the footnote inappropriately
into the document at the point of footnote?

I hope I haven't missed a prior part of this discussion, but rather than
create a new tag, why not add an attribute like "FOOTNOTE" to the
existing <A> tag that would allow a browser to either go to the HREF
link, or just use it to pop the text of the HREF into a floating window?
I think this might satisfy the requirement without creating any extra
complications or tags. Existing browsers would ignore the attribute and
use the HREF normally. This would still require footnotes to become
separate documents, but would at least allow authors to specify usage.

I've always managed footnote documents by naming them according to their
"mother" document, as in "foobar_foot1.html". I'd love to imbed them in
my documents, but I have to assume there are many folks whose browsers
wouldn't handle them properly.