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From: <roderick.timberlake@btinternet.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 16:03:00 +0000 (GMT)
Message-ID: <2147161.1069171380573.JavaMail.root@>
To: www-html@w3.org

If the replacement for <q> is to be purely semantic, why not go the whole hog and make <cite>, which is intended to be paired with it, purely semantic, too.

I mean, as it is proposed that visual user agents will not add quotation marks to <quote> elements, why not say that, likewise, they shouldn't italicize <cite> elements (which most do at present).

This would have a number of advantages.

1. It would stop people misusing it to italicize titles where nothing is cited. Example:

<p>Lawrence of Arabia carried a copy of the Morte D'Arthur in his knapsack.<p>

Here if anything is being cited, it's (implicity) The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and <cite> is inappropriate around "Morte D'Arthur". If browsers don't italicize people won't do this.

2. It would mean that the name of an author, orator, etc., wouldn't inappropriately get italicized, as would happen with the "buck stops here" quote in the draft document example.

3. It would mean that authors would not have to use CSS to *stop* that happening, nor have to multiply CSS classes unnecessarily  to allow it sometimes to happen and sometimes not.

4. It would authors to do any of the following, as appropriate:

<p>As <cite>Dr Johnson</cite> says, <q>What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.</q></p>

<p>I thought then of <cite><em>A Midsummer Night's Dream</em></cite>: <q>I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows ...</q></p>

<p>In <cite xml:lang="fr"><em>Du Contrat Social</em>, Jean-Jacques Rousseau</cite> said, <q xml:lang="fr">L&#8217;homme est ne libre, et partout il est dans les fers.</q></p>

I know there is a quasi-theological markup argument over whether an italicized title can be said to be emphasized or not. It's debatable either way. But first, an author doesn't *have* to add <em> tags as I did above. And secondly, in practice, once people twig this solution, they will kill the browser behaviour with CSS and do that anyway, because it is the simplest and most elegant solution.The smart guys are already doing it:

See here for one example:


<cite>&#150; Iris Murdoch, <em>Under the Net</em> (Penguin edn. 1960), pp. 57-61 (<a href="pdfs/extracts_murdoch.pdf" title="Extracts from Under the Net, by Iris Murdoch" tabindex="210">More extracts available in Acrobat format</a>)</cite>
Received on Tuesday, 18 November 2003 16:46:37 UTC

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