Re: A less-painful way of adding dictionaries to HTML...

Jukka Korpela (jkorpela@cc.hut.fi)
Wed, 1 Oct 1997 08:04:41 +0300 (EET DST)


Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 08:04:41 +0300 (EET DST)
From: Jukka Korpela <jkorpela@cc.hut.fi>
To: www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <199709301959.PAA24113@unix.asb.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.971001074844.11351C-100000@torvi.hut.fi>
Subject: Re: A less-painful way of adding dictionaries to HTML...

On Tue, 30 Sep 1997, Rob wrote:

> Maybe the simplest way to implement a dictionary of terms, acronyms and 
> abbreviations:
> 
>   <link rel=Dictionary href="dictionary.html">
> 
> Where "dictionary.html" contains plain old definition lists:
[ plus more about of the idea ]

This looks like very simple and useful. Perhaps I'm missing something,
but it really seems to be a _fine_ solution!

One note, however, about a restriction involved, or about some need for
enhancements at a later stage of development: The suggestion is
implicitly based on the idea of there being (at most) _one_ dictionary for
each document. It would often be very inconvenient to combine, say,
a general-purpose abbrev dictionary and a specialized dictionary of 
technical terms just to provide a single dictionary for some document.

Now the obvious solution to that would be to allow several link elements
with rel=Dictionary. But then you would have to define their preference
in order to deal with clashes. Again there is an obvious solution
(preference by the order of appearance), but it should be explicitly
defined. And perhaps someone says, from a theoretical point of view,
that the order of link elements should not be significant.

Anyway, a problem still remains. There might be cases where preferences
are not enough. One might wish to use an abbrev or a term in two
meanings (each defined in a dictionary) in the same document. That would
not be recommendable as a rule, but perhaps we should still be prepared
for it. That would imply that we would need a way (probably an attribute
to SPAN) to specify for any _occurrence_ of an abbrev or term or name or
whatever what dictionary should be consulted for the intended meaning
of that occurrence. While we are at this, we might as well try to
provide a way of referring to a particular alternative in a dictionary
entry. That is, for example, if using a general dictionary explaining
WWW both as World Wide Web and as World Weather Watch, we should be able
to specify which of the meanings is the intended one in a particular
document, or even in a particular occurrence of the abbrev "WWW".
(I see no obvious solution to _that_, unfortunately.)

Yucca, http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/