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RE: footnotes

From: David Norris <kg9ae@geocities.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 1998 05:42:05 -0500
To: <aisaac@american.edu>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000201bd9393$3ee4cea0$03000004@illusionary.dyn.ml.org>
I would agree that footnotes do have semantic value.  Much of the footnote's
functionality can be accomplished best by other means in HTML, but, a
footnote has a vast array of meanings.  I think, perhaps, that an anchor
using the suggested REL/REV ="FootNote" in combination with some footnote
construct may be useful.  The only problem, that I see, is sorting out when
to use footnotes and when to use a more appropriate method.  The title
attribute, for example, could be more useful for some footnote-type
information.  The vast choices might/would confuse some people.  With proper
documentation this should not be a problem.  However, people rarely read
proper documentation.  I certainly wouldn't mind an additional element
dealing with footnotes.  Or, a clear explanation of how to use current
elements to cleanly and consistently handle a footnote.

I have been digging around trying to figure out the footnote issue for over
a week.  I am translating a legal document in MS Word 97 format to HTML 4
and CSS.  It is littered with footnotes.  I have been scratching my head
trying to figure out what to do with them.  For now, I just hit the 'Save as
HTML' button and ran it through a converter to change the formatting to CSS.
Absolutely hideous code, but, very readable.

,David Norris

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-----Original Message-----
From: Alan G. Isaac [mailto:aisaac@american.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, 09 June, 1998 01:03
To: kg9ae@geocities.com
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: footnotes


One might use footnotes for many things,
and there are many possible implementations.
The basic function of a footnote is to
designate some text as subsidiary.

I don't understand why html does not
offer explicit footnote and endnote tags,
both for the structure this offers to html
documents and to facilitate translation
between document formats.
(The latter reason alone wd be reason
enough, but there are clear structural
reasons---reflected in the existence of
footnotes---as well. There were discussions
recognizing this and proposing to include
footnote tags in html 3.0.)

Of course one can use make shift ploys:
e.g., superscript a hyperlinked number.
But i. this does not acknowledge the
special structure of footnotes, and
ii. this does not permit algorithmic translation
*from* html to other formats.

--Alan G. Isaac
Received on Tuesday, 9 June 1998 07:01:41 GMT

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