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Fwd: Footnote discussions

From: Shane McCarron <shane@aptest.com>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 13:04:14 -0600
Message-ID: <CAOk_reEUh05dX8j2XUodaY4EOUrtkKgwSFJzbgGmgTJn6gHUGQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: "public-digipub-ig@w3.org" <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
David asked me to forward again.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
Date: Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 12:10 PM
Subject: Re: Footnote discussions
To: Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>
Cc: Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org>, Matt Garrish <matt.garrish@bell.net>,
"Siegman, Tzviya - Hoboken" <tsiegman@wiley.com>, Shane McCarron <
shane@aptest.com>, Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com>, Robert Sanderson <
azaroth42@gmail.com>, George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>, "
public-digipub-ig@w3.org" <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>

The role attribute in html5 does not allow for behaviour in the browser so
I would rather see it as a <note> element with attributes for its various


On Friday, February 6, 2015, Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>

> An e-mail I just got from a client I'm working with (one of the world's
> largest scholarly publishers, this is not an outlier) contained something
> pertinent to this discussion:
> "On a given textual edition, there might be a combination of any of the
> following:
> --authorial footnotes;
> --authorial endnotes;
> --authorial marginal notes;
> --editorial footnotes;
> --editorial endnotes;
> --editorial marginal notes (these are rare, but do occur – e.g.,
> Richardson, Early Works, p. 71)."
> Clearly those are semantic distinctions. They are positioned differently
> for a reason. The reason is what matters, not the position.
> However, I think the fundamental question wrt markup is whether these are
> _structural_ semantic distinctions or _content_ semantic distinctions.
> It's quite arguable that they're the latter. To the publisher, as long as
> they have a way of making that distinction in their markup, they're
> probably fine.
> So what this might lead one to conclude would be @role="note" and
> @class="[whatever]".
> --Bill K
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Liam R E Quin [mailto:liam@w3.org]
> Sent: Monday, February 02, 2015 7:41 PM
> To: Matt Garrish
> Cc: Siegman, Tzviya - Hoboken; Shane McCarron; Dave Cramer; David
> MacDonald; Robert Sanderson; Bill Kasdorf; George Kerscher;
> public-digipub-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Footnote discussions
> On Mon, 2 Feb 2015 16:03:02 -0500 Matt Garrish <matt.garrish@bell.net>
> wrote:
> [...]
> > It’s not to suggest that the distinctions aren’t real in publishing
> > and don’t have meaning, but aren’t they all just variations in kind
> > when we take print workflows out of the equation? [...]. Accept that
> > they’re all annotations -- and that styling/layout can be so fluid in
> > digital that they could be pop-ups, margin notes, bottom of page notes
> > or end notes all depending on the capabilities of the user agent and
> > the desire of the reader
> To pull some threads together...
> The nature of a footnote is that it does not require any actuation -- in
> print you can see it by looking at the bottom of the page, and in an
> e-reader one can easily imagine a dedicated footnote area anywhere on the
> screen.
> The nature of marginalia is that it can be seen without any actuation, and
> also that one can use marginalia as a way t find related content.
> The nature of an end note is that it does require actuation (even if in
> print it's just keeping two bookmarks and turning a bunch of pages, or
> scanning down to the end of a section).
> So there is a difference in authorial intent.
> That many Web designers are not familiar with the demands of producing and
> processing complex texts doesn't mean the distinctions are not important --
> these texts are a huge challenge to put on the Web today.
> I think it's useful to look at a second level of footnotes as an
> annotation. For example, a critical edition of a text wthat had footnotes
> with dagger, star, obelisk for numbering ill often add another level off
> footnotes with 1, 2, 3, or even Greek callouts, as here [Member-only link,
> sorry; I'll try and make them public in the next few days but I have also
> attached it to this message]
> https://www.w3.org/Style/XSL/Group/2008/06/footnote-examples/pages/Hearne-Works-VolIV-447/
> Here, note (1) is from the first edition, and note (*) is a clarification
> in this second edition (a footnote to a footnote in fact). The margin note
> helps people to find a passage of signifcance (in the opinion of the
> editor) and the 2 at upper right is a page/folio number from the original
> manuscript.
> This is not a complex example of notes in the humanities.
> Speaking from a markup point of view, and from searching and editing, one
> might reasonably want different markup for these different cases, perhaps
> yes using the work of the annotations WG - assuming they accept
> complex/rich text annotations that contain markup and might themselves
> contain footnotes.
> And from an accessibility perspective, a footnote as a link isn't bad if
> you can reliably go back to exactly the right place; I' might also want to
> be able to have a sort of table of contents of a section containing only
> the marginalia, so as to be able to go straight to a passage of interest,
> and the markup would need to support this. Endnotes are in a sense already
> links.
> The current CSS draft in GCPM does not I think handle multiple levels of
> footnotes (as on this sample page). I have many more recent examples but
> used this one because it's out of copyright. In one of the other samples in
> the same set there are multilingual examples, with Greek and Hebrew. An
> interlinear gloss is another example where I think the term "annotations"
> may be OK or may seem to trivialize the importance of the gloss - the gloss
> is actually often the main text of the document. So in markup one might
> want to make the gloss - the translation written between the lines of the
> original - be the main text and the "original" be an annotation,
> that-which-is-translated. Another example would be Japanese Ruby. However,
> in processing the text one typically needs to be able to ignore the ruby
> annotations.
> It might be that from an HTML perspective note class="footnote" -- Matt,
> they are called footnotes, it's not about the placement, deal with it eh?
> :-) :-) -- would work, perhaps with ARIA roles to indicate rendering and
> actuation intent.
> > then what becomes more interesting is the semantics of the information
> carried in the annotation, who has provided it (author, translator), etc.
> to facilitate intelligent rendering.
> I think this probably goes back to HTML class and ARIA.
> > The multi-reference problem would have to be overcome, although maybe it
> wouldn’t be so much of an issue if you aren’t “going somewhere” so much as
> “something opens” (i.e., that can be closed to the current spot). Or, if
> you have the choice, you could pick the rendering option that best works
> for you.
> In complex texts it's not uncommon to have a single note referred to
> multiple times in a chapter - it should only appear once on each applicable
> page in print of course, but can make the UI harder for "going back".
> > [...] Forcing people to read notes where they occur removes the ability
> to explore the notes after reading the text (something I’m fond of doing,
> as I hate losing the narrative thread). But perhaps this is a UA problem to
> solve if we leave rendering to the UA.
> I think it probably is. However, Web browsers haven't been very innovative
> in hypertext so far, and ideas like content narrowing (show only...) have
> to be done in JavaScript today -- and seem not as common as one might have
> thought when the Web started.
> > But that leads to the question do we really want another linking method?
> Maybe I’m not as informed on the @rel/@role attributes, but couldn’t one of
> them carry the semantic that the <a> references a note? I get the urge for
> a dedicated reference, but most of the appeal of HTML (to me) is its
> minimalism, and EPUB’s stuck with <a> without problem. It would be nice not
> to have explicit references at all, but as Dave Cramer noted, inlining
> leads to messy content models plus duplication for multi-references (and on
> to maintenance headaches...).
> The problem isn't simple. So it's a case of whether the markup helps, or
> whether we have to solve the problems by overloading the markup.
> Liam (just in from clearing snow here in Eastern Ontario)
> --
> Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
> Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/



David MacDonald

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Shane McCarron
Managing Director, Applied Testing and Technology, Inc.
Received on Friday, 6 February 2015 19:04:44 UTC

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