W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > November 2000

proper use of abbr and acronym

From: Frank Tobin <ftobin@uiuc.edu>
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 10:23:43 -0600 (CST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.21.0011171004250.21999-100000@palanthas.neverending.org>
I've been a little concerned about the proper use of <abbr> and <acronym>)
lately.  Given an unfamiliar abbr/acronym that is repeatedly used in a
document (e.g., "XUL"), I've been pondering different ways to mark this
up: possibly XUL, what is a good way to tag this up?  I've come up with a
few ways:

1)  For each instance of XUL, mark it up as

  <abbr title="expansion">XUL</abbr>

However, this is labor-intensive, and more importantly, not 'clean', in
the sense that this is bad factorization.

2)  At the first place where XUL is defined, have:

  <dfn><abbr title="expansion">XUL</abbr></dfn>

Later uses of XUL in the document are marked up as :


This solution has good factorization, with the expansion of XUL being
defined at a single point, in the <dfn> tag; the user-agent can reference
the <dfn> from a use of the marked up XUL later in the document, and get
the expansion.  However, XUL is still being tagged up at every step, which
is labor-intensive (and hence, many authors will not use the method).

In order to help poing to the <dfn> tag, the user-agent could keep a table
of <dfn> tags already processed, and can reference them later.

3)  Same as 2), but do not markup instances of the term XUL that are not
in the <dfn> tag.

Which solution do you think is a good one?  Is there a better approach
that I haven't mentioned?

The problem actually extends to more than abbr and acronym tags; if
instead we are talking about the W3C in the document, should we tag each
instance as pointing to http://www.w3.org/, or just the first?  Should we
use a <dfn> tag at the first instance if we don't tag later instances?

Frank Tobin		http://www.uiuc.edu/~ftobin/
Received on Friday, 17 November 2000 11:23:44 UTC

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