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Re: Best citation format for accessibility

From: Jean Kaplansky <jkaplansky@safaribooksonline.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2015 11:19:42 -0400
Message-ID: <CAHY73a4fLrnmZr=zfUMm7-0qQDhhUP7xb8ogyvip3PczGzqHUw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org>
Cc: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>, W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Hi, Robin -

I've worked extensively with citations as a stylesheet developer.Efforts
included applying technology to reformat citations for visual rendering
based on the type of article in which they appeared. It's a very arduous
undertaking involving lots of checking within the reference to see what
actual pieces of any one reference are present, as the presence or absence
of any one piece can change what punctuation must be generated by the

I've never seen anyone try to do this in HTML, let alone for a11y purposes.
It would still be an arduous undertaking, but I don't think it would be any
more arduous than, say, applying the MLA, or ALA reference style to a
series of reference types with a finite set of conditions. The bigger
question is does anyone who truly understands the issue have the ability to
financially back such an effort?

My original work in this took place between 1998-1999 using a precursor to
the NLM>JATS DTD. No one has ever asked me to provide that particular level
of detail in bibliographic references since that project.

Optimal a11y citations need to look right when visually rendered (based on
whatever bibliographic reference standard) but not have so much markup as
to trip up assistive technology. It's a tall order for HTML when you're
working with <span> and <cite> and without a very detailed stylesheet.

But that's just my experience. I'm hoping to hear from the a11y committee
to understand what other approaches have been tried over the last 15-17
years and any resulting best practices not based on DTD-specific XML.

Best regards,

Jean Kaplansky
Content Manager

email: jkaplansky@safaribooksonline.com
twitter: @jeankaplansky

On Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 11:02 AM, Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org> wrote:

> The EDUPUB profile of EPUB 3 defines a number of semantic superstructures,
> many are adapted from the DocBook XML schema including "biblioentry".
> http://www.idpf.org/epub/profiles/edu/structure/ .
> Whether the mapping of DocBook semantics to HTML5 via the EDUPUB profile
> is the "best" approach for citations is surely debatable but I believe it
> will support the semantic-based content reformatting you posit and as such
> will be good for a11y (which has been a primary concern in the EDUPUB
> initiative).
> --Bill
> On Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 7:41 AM, Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> citations in scholarly publishing have a long history of at-time
>> acrimonious disagreement over the exact format one should set them in.
>> There can be long arguments about the how and why of some specific
>> detail, but these are all about visual presentation. I have yet to hear
>> someone discuss the best format to use for the *content*, when in
>> digital form, such that it is most accessible.
>> By applying some technology, we can reformat a citation for visual
>> rendering. We can even make citation formatting follow readers'
>> preferences rather than publishers'. But when doing so the HTML-level
>> encoding of the citations should be optimised for semantic, non-visual
>> access.
>> So my question is: has anyone given thought to what the best order of
>> content and best markup practices would be for optimally accessible
>> citations?
>> Thanks!
>> --
>> Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/ - @robinberjon
> --
> Bill McCoy
> Executive Director
> International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)
> email: bmccoy@idpf.org
> mobile: +1 206 353 0233
Received on Tuesday, 22 September 2015 15:20:29 UTC

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