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

Re: proper use of abbr and acronym

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 21:50:08 -0000
Message-ID: <00c901c050e0$5c3be760$99ca01d5@z5n9x1>
To: <www-html@w3.org>
Cc: <ftobin@uiuc.edu>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Sure, most don't know the elements exist.
> But I do.  And I care; maybe I'm the last of
> a dying breed :)

No, you're certainly not! This is a WAI matter (http://www.w3.org/WAI) as
much as anything. You should mark up your HTML as semantically as possible
(i.e. we all should); the points you have raised appear very relavent (and
valuable) to me, and I hope they do to the rest of the WAI groups. The
marking up of <acronym>/<abbr> within HTML contributes to its overall
In specific, it appears to me that XUL is an acronym, rather than an
abbreviation. You should use the following markup for the first instance:-

     <acronym title="Xenophobic Underlay Limas" class="XUL">XUL</acronym>

And then just <acronym class="XUL"> for each following example. But, you
should *also* add this bit of code to your CSS2 style sheet:

     @media all {
     acronym.XUL:after { content: " (Xenophobic Underlay Limas) "; }

I am (usually) against using class="[...]" to provide semantic information,
but HTML doesn't provide us any other option! If I had my way we could all
add Dublin Core to whatever attributes we wanted, and it would make the
semanticization of XHTML a lot easier.
There is no need to provide it as a <dfn> unless it is used in the context
of (for example) a definition list, but inline.

In reference you your "W3C" question, use:
<acronym title="World Wide Web Consortium -
for now, but when we get to use Dublin Core, you could write:-

<acronym dc:title="World Wide Web Consortium"
     dc:description="The W3C is a global consortium issuing WWW guidelines"

If you want to use Dublin Core in XHTML m12n soon, check out my XHTML module
for it: http://xhtml.waptechinfo.com/modules/rdf/rdf.mod

To see more of what I'm talking about, take a look at
Oh, and by the way, just because something is invisible to users of IE 5
etc., it doesn't mean that it isn't visible to anyone, or that it is
inherently useful. Tools that catalogue pages according o content may find
extracting <abbr> and <acronym> etc. very useful, and people who haven't got
a clue what XUL is will also find it useful! Indeed, as we move into the
realm of the SW, it will become very important indeed.

Thanks for raising this point,
Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
Speaking for himself - i.e. in a personal capacity,
"Perhaps, but let's not get bogged down in semantics."
   - Homer J. Simpson, BABF07.
Received on Friday, 17 November 2000 16:50:36 UTC

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