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Re: Proposal for XHTML 2.0: The <footnote> element

From: Lorenzo De Tomasi <lorenzo.detomasi@libero.it>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 01:12:33 +0100
To: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BA4A6600.2616%lorenzo.detomasi@libero.it>

on 15-01-2003 0:29, Jonas Jørgensen at jonasj@jonasj.dk wrote:

> [This message is CC'ed to www-html-editor in accordance with what I
> believe is the official way to suggest new elements. Please don't CC
> www-html-editor on followups to this message.]
> I hereby propose for inclusion in XHTML 2.0 a <footnote> element for
> marking up footnotes.
> Typically, footnotes in HTML are done using "[1]" (or similar) as the
> reference to the footnote, with the number linked to a paragraph at the
> bottom of the document. Here's an example of such markup:
> <p>There exists no element for marking up footnotes[<a
> href="#footnote1">1</a>] in the current XHTML 2.0 draft.</p>
> <p id="footnote1">A footnote is a note of reference or comment at the
> foot of a page.</p>
> There are several problems with this approach:
> * When printed, the footnote will be on the last page instead of on the
> page containing the reference to the footnote.
> * When copying text containing a footnote from one HTML document to
> another, you need to copy two pieces of text from two different places
> in the document.
> * If you add a footnote in the middle of a document, you need to
> renumber the footnotes in the rest of the document manually.
> These problems could be solved by marking up the footnote as a footnote
> and putting the footnote where it belongs, after the text that
> references it, instead of at the end of the document.
> With a <footnote> element, the above example would become:
> <p>There exists no element for marking up footnotes<footnote>A footnote
> is a note of reference or comment at the foot of a page.</footnote> in
> the current XHTML 2.0 draft.</p>
> Additional advantages of this approach:
> * Cleaner markup; easier to read and write.
> * User agents can handle presentation any way they want. For example, a
> visual user agent might insert a footnote reference where the <footnote>
> element is, and display the contents of the <footnote> element at the
> bottom of the canvas when the reference is visible.
> * Aural user agents can handle footnotes in a more user-friendly manner.

I think that this approach is very interesting. I was thinking to write
something similar and I must thank Jonas because he has written the same
things I would have written :)
I think that note is a better name, because I can place the note also on the
right or the left of the text.
The best is if with xhtml and css I would be able to do what I usually do
with pdf docs, where I write a text, I place an arrow [>] at the end of a
line that indicates the note on the right that starts exactly aligned  with
the line of text where the arrow [>] is.

The best would be if I can write
an xhtml strict doc with <note>
elements and with a css I can
handle presentation any way I
For example, I can insert a note
reference where the <note> tag
is, and display the contents of the
<note> element in a column on the
right, indicated by an arrow like
this one [>].                               This is the note
To do this I need css commands that         indicated by the
places the text in the <note> tag           arrow [>] on the
where I want with a position                left
relative to the <note> tag in the
text, in a column with a defined
I should also be able to choose a
personalized symbol that links to
the note, like the arrow [>],
another arrow ->, a superscript
number, a number [1]...                     [1] This is the
What do you think?                          note indicated
                                            by the arrow [>]
                                            on the left

I know that this method requires attention because too much frequent and
long notes have no space, but it's very functional if well used, because it
permits a linear reading without forcing you to go to the footer of the page
or the end of the document. Soon I'll upload a pdf doc with an example of
this and I'll sendo you the link.

Thankyou for your attention.
Lorenzo De Tomasi, student of Information Architecture, Interface Design and
Visual Design
via Bellaria 6, 21018 Sesto Calende (Varese), Italia
phone: +39 (0)331 924649
mobile: +39 329 3941065; +39 333 8979304
e-mail: lorenzo.detomasi@libero.it; lorenzo.detomasi@email.it
website: http://biografica.tzone.it
ICQ uin: 11313132
Yahoo! Instant Messenger id: tummait
Received on Tuesday, 14 January 2003 19:13:31 UTC

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