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Re: [Moderator Action] Footnote discussions

From: Jean Kaplansky <Jean.Kaplansky@aptaracorp.com>
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2015 17:54:01 +0100
Cc: Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>, George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>, "public-digipub-ig@w3.org" <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <9C3D70B2-AA17-4C46-BF94-34C1AE826880@aptaracorp.com>
To: Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com>, Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org>
From your description below, it sounds like you are talking about something like this:

http://www.docbook.org/tdg/en/html/footnote.html <http://www.docbook.org/tdg/en/html/footnote.html> and this:

http://www.docbook.org/tdg/en/html/footnoteref.html <http://www.docbook.org/tdg/en/html/footnoteref.html>

I’m not saying you guys should advocate for these models as is in the next iterations of HTML, but these models could serve as a discussion starting point.

-Jean Kaplansky

From: Dave Cramer
Date: Monday, February 2, 2015 at 10:31 AM
To: Liam R E Quin
Cc: Bill Kasdorf, George Kerscher, "public-digipub-ig@w3.org <mailto:public-digipub-ig@w3.org>"
Subject: Re: Footnote discussions
Resent-From: <public-digipub-ig@w3.org <mailto:public-digipub-ig@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Monday, February 2, 2015 at 10:32 AM

How the markup should look is an interesting question. Lots of "classic" XML/SGML vocabularies have a footnote element that essentially serves as both marker and reference:

<para>Call me Ishmael.<footnote><para>This is a footnote</para></footnote></para>

When rendered, the footnote element is moved somewhere, and a reference left in its place. 

The PDF formatters Prince and AntennaHouse can do something similar today with HTML footnotes:

<p>Call me Ishmael.<span class="footnote">This is a footnote</span></p>

They use CSS to move the footnote and generate the references using CSS counters and some non-standard pseudo-elements:

span.footnote { float: footnote }
span.footnote::footnote-call { content: counter(footnote); vertical-align: super; }
span.footnote::footnote-marker { content: counter(footnote) '. '; }

This leads to content model problems, as often footnotes may have sectioning or block elements inside them (like blockquote, div, etc.) which are not valid inside paragraphs.

We've also run into problems with implementing footnotes using CSS regions. It's easy enough to move the footnote element somewhere else, but CSS has not defined ways of leaving markers behind to serve as the callout. 

Separating the note and the reference has its own issues, as you have to essentially create all the links yourself, and it seems a bit arbitrary where to put the note content itself.

I'd lean towards having a note element that could be embedded at the point of reference, with a rather expansive content model. A noteref element would be optional, for the case where there are multiple references to the same note. But CSS would need to address the issue of leaving a reference when the note element was moved to somewhere else in the document. Such a pseudo-element (one possible proposal) would be more generally useful, with sidebars, images, and other such content.


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Received on Monday, 2 February 2015 16:54:10 UTC

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