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Re: footnote element in HTML

From: Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 01:30:49 -0500
To: public-digipub-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <20150212013049.17e63c52.liam@w3.org>
On Mon, 9 Feb 2015 16:59:23 -0800
Robert Sanderson <azaroth42@gmail.com> wrote:

(forgot to send this the other day, mostly sending it now for notes on annotation primer for Robert)

> Thanks for the feedback Liam!

Sorry, I should have made it before, but got overwhelmed by all the traffic on the WG.

> Also on
> the roadmap is a primer document focused on the learning and implementing
> aspect, rather than a formal specification.  But it's hard to write a
> primer before having a spec :)

My advice is, do NOT write a primer. Run screaming. Don't do it.

The reasons are
(1) it makes people think the spec is hard.
(2) it gives the WG a license to use poor and incomplete explanations in the spec,
    and to say "oh we'll explain it in the primer".

Instead, the most effective approach I've seen is to give each section an introduction tat is, in effect, a primer -- aimed at people who might read _only_ those introductions.

To a large extent Don Chamberlain did this for the XQuery 1 spec, and it really did work much better than e.g. XML Schema or EXI.

> Footnotes are (in my experience) always about a region of text, rather than
> a single point in the document.  That we put a marker at a point is to
> avoid having to highlight content in a print environment which would be all
> sorts of terrible.

it also avoids the need for the author to decide on a range, which might not have precise delineation. But, thanks for the clarification.

> > > * Ability to have a footnote refer to multiple sections of the text,
> I mean:
> <noteref noteid="1">This is some content text</noteref> ...<noteref
> noteid="1">This is some later content</noteref>
> <note noteref="#1">This is the footnote text</note>

OK, agreed then.

> > > * The ability to refer to the footnote itself, for example to (you know)
> > > comment on it.
> > We have CSS selectors that can match footnote elements, and we have
> > XPath...
> >
> And XPointer and Fragment IDs. All good ... I just wanted to call out the
> requirement :)

OK.  Actually Panorama used TEI pointers, which were better than what eventually got into XPointer (and designed by some of the same people) because of politics.

> > > * The ability to create footnotes with reference to non text, including
> > > bounding boxes in image based media.
> >
> > I'm not sure I understand this either -- I think that would be a callout,
> > and I agree we should be able to do them (good old SoftQuad Panorama
> > supported annotations on user-defined regions of images back in the early
> > 1990s, for SGML documents)
> >
> I think you understand it perfectly :) The text of the footnote refers to
> some region within an image, and thus there needs to be something like:
> <noteref noteid="1" fragment="xywh=100,100,640,480"><img
> src="aircraft-diagram.png"/></noteref>

Ok, so yes, a callout. This is different from w rhetorical point of view from a footnote: you can delete all footnotes of a book and have the main text unchanged, but you can't delete callouts -- e.g. the line pointing to the starting handle that says "A" is essential for the text "pull the handle marked A..."


> > researching and writing up good ideas for presentation and user agent
> > preferences sounds like it would be very productive.
> > Click-to-go-to-separate-footnote-document is about the worst interface that
> > I've seen in widespread use.
> >
> +infinity
> > I don't think footnotes are a bad thing, nor that they should be subsumed
> > into annotations, just because they're not well-supported in today's Web
> > browsers. We should rather work towards improving the support, of course.
> >
> No disagreement, of course :)

OK, thanks for replying :)

Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Received on Thursday, 12 February 2015 06:31:15 UTC

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