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RE: Cleaning House

From: Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 07:27:36 -0400
Message-ID: <1835D662B263BC4E864A7CFAB2FEEB3D258BFF@msfexch01.srunet.sruad.edu>
To: Dão Gottwald <dao@design-noir.de>, "Murray Maloney" <murray@muzmo.com>
Cc: "Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis" <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>, <www-html@w3.org>, <public-html@w3.org>

On Mon 5/7/2007 5:25 AM Dão Gottwald wrote:

>But let me try it another way:
   ____________                       _______ _
  /            \         ____________/_
| meaningless__|_______/_          |  \   ...
  \__________/_/       /  \          \__\____ _
      ...   |  italic |    | emphasis    |
     _______|_____    |    |     ________|_
    /        \____\____\__/     /       /  \
   | foreign words |    \______|_______/    |
    \_____________/            |  boldface  |

I love the above diagram.  In saying this I should say I am not trying to argue with anyone, and have not really been following this discussion but I do like that diagram. I think it would be fun to expand it to cover a fuller range of typographic expression. I also like ASCII art. *
I have been told (but am unable to verify it in a quick search) that the underlining of titles of books  in manuscripts began as a convention to signal to typesetters that the words of the title should be typeset using italics. The rules conveyed to students in textbooks on exposition during the post-printing-press, pre-Mac era encouraged students to underline titles. Hence, if my bit of typographic folklore is accurate, "misuse" and mythology surrounding these matters may date back to Gutenberg. Some of that legacy is probably worthy of preservation. 
A definitive history of punctuation (of which markup is arguably a specialized subset) really should be made available on the web somewhere. I note that were it not for Sonny Bono, the reference cited in by Wikipedia: D.B. Updike, <i>Printing Types: their history, form and use</i>, Harvard University Press, 1927, in the Wikipedia article you cite would have entered the public domain by now. (I don't know if its copyright was renewed) Next time a case like Eldridge v Ashcroft comes up I would urge the companies represented here to file amicus briefs on the proper side. (Well maybe I am trying to argue with someone.) It might help us to resolve disputes more quickly. Well.... maybe not.
Not cited by Wikipedia are the following, available at Gutenberg press (the only matches there to the words "punctuation" "typographic" or "typography"): 
copyright 1920. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20787/20787.txt
and another "The Aldine, Vol. 5, No. 1., January, 1872 A Typographic Art Journal" -- which appears (to my untrained eye) to have nothing to do with the subject of typography.

The first does not seem to address the folklore concerning the use of underlining to mean italics, but it does have a nice bibliography pointing to some typographic resources that will most likely have become PD.

*Maybe we should have an <asciiart> tag.... or does <pre> handle it? I don't know. What about all those funny little blinkers and overstrikes and screen clear characters that used to torture our email terminals in the 1980s? 
Received on Monday, 7 May 2007 11:35:26 UTC

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