HTML WG Glossary

Glossary for the HTML WG

The following is from the perspective of an author to structure and  
render their material as they see fit by using the HTML specification.

The HTML5 recommendation should include a glossary.

It is recognized that many of the definitions provided in the WHATWG  
Web Applications 1.0 Working Draft are well thought out.

This is a starting point. If this has merit, a wiki page can be  
created. References will be double-checked.

Use Cases

1.	Authors of web page content need to control the structure of their  
documents by following the recommendations of the HTML specification.  
They may have difficulty doing this because of incomplete, unclear,  
or incorrect associations between general dictionary definitions and  
definitions and examples presented in the HTML specification.

2.	A large group of people from many backgrounds needs to work with  
agreed upon definitions. These people learn definitions from  
different sources and so may have an honest disagreement of a term's  
meaning. This leads to confusion.

3.	A term needs a narrow, specific definition when used in certain  
situations. General dictionaries may define the same term  
differently, sometimes contradicting each other. Also, a term may  
have several definitions within one language.


1. 	We need to decide on the definitions to terms used within the  
HTML specification.
2. 	We need to include general dictionary definitions that any person  
would most likely associate with as well as working definitions for  
use in the HTML specification.


The terms are to be selected according to the needs of content  
authors regarding their ability to control how their content is  
structured and presented. The merits of including or excluding a  
particular HTML element or attribute will not be considered here.

Process Toward Solution

1.	Select terms and provide definitions from general dictionaries  
and, where appropriate, provide definitions from the HTML 4.01  
Specification (, the Web  
Applications 1.0 Working Draft ( 
current-work/), and the W3C Glossary and Dictionary (http://
2.	For each term, provide a working definition specific to the HTML  
3.	Provide supporting explanations of the definitions.
4.	Come to a consensus and generate a working glossary.

Order of Terms: Word terms are arranged by relationship to one  
another, not alphabetically. Acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms  
are arranged separately and alphabetically (none included at this time).

semantics: The branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. 
Elements, attributes, and attribute values in HTML are defined (by  
this specification) to have certain meanings (semantics).[2] http://
working definition:

structure: the arrangement of and relations between the parts of  
something complex.[1]
how [a document] is organized logically (e.g., by chapter, with an  
introduction and table of contents, etc.)[3] 
20and%20presentation Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
working definition:

A document of prose may have chapters, sections within chapters, and  
paragraphs. Certain words, phrases, and titles of other works may be  
marked by the author to be emphasized, emboldened, or italicized.  
Chapters are an obvious part of structure. An emphasized word may not  
appear to be structure, but presentation. However, when an author  
specifies an emphasis, they expect that emphasis to remain regardless  
of presentational change. In other words, whether a document is  
displayed in Times New Roman or Arial does not change the need to  
emphasize the word the author desired.

content: the material dealt with in a speech or text as distinct from  
its form or style.[1]
working definition:

presentation: the manner or style in which something is presented.[1]
how [a] document is rendered (e.g., as print, as a two-dimensional  
graphical presentation, as an text-only presentation, as synthesized  
speech, as braille, etc.)[3] 
20presentation Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
working definition:  the manner or style in which something is given,  
offered, or displayed.

emphasis: special importance, value, or prominence given to something. 
stress laid on a word or words in speaking.[1]
working definition: special importance and stress given to a word or  
words, or other object.

The placement of emphasis changes the meaning of a sentence and thus  
forms an integral part of the content. By emphasizing an entire  
sentence, it becomes clear that the speaker is fighting hard to get  
the point across.[3] A writer usually indicates emphasis with  
italicized text, although bold type, a different color, etc. could be  

bold: (of type) having thick strokes.[1]
working definition: a typeface with thicker strokes than that of  
surrounding text and primarily used to draw attention.

An author may use bold type to draw attention to something. This  
could be a warning or a highlight of a word or value. The words  
defined in this glossary are in bold so the reader may find them  
easily among the rest of the text. A currency total may be in bold on  
an invoice so the purchaser may easily recognize how much they are  
paying. This is not the same as placing emphasis on something,  
although a writer may chose to embolden what they emphasize.

… represents a span of text to be stylistically offset from the  
normal prose without conveying any extra importance, such as key  
words in a document abstract, product names in a review, or other  
spans of text whose typical typographic presentation is boldened.[2]

italic: denoting the sloping typeface used especially for emphasis  
and in foreign words.[1]
working definition: a typeface that slopes to the right compared to  
surrounding text and primarily used to denote certain titles of works  
and words of a foreign language.

Certain writing styles (MLA, APA) require some titles to books,  
films, and other works to be in italics. Words foreign to the  
language being used may be italicized. This is not the same as  
placing emphasis on something. The author or a writing style may  
require the use of italics.

… represents a span of text in an alternate voice or mood, or  
otherwise offset from the normal prose, such as a taxonomic  
designation, a technical term, an idiomatic phrase from another  
language, a thought, a ship name, or some other prose whose typical  
typographic presentation is italicized.[2]

underline: a line drawn under a word or phrase.[1]
working definition: a line drawn under a word or phrase and primarily  
used to denote certain titles of works and draw attention.

Some writing styles (APA) allow the underline to be used to identify  
book titles.

subscript: (of a letter, figure, or symbol) written or printed below  
the line.[1]
working definition: a letter, figure, symbol, or word displayed below  
the normal line of text.

superscript: (of a letter, figure, or symbol) written or printed  
above the line.[1]
working definition: a letter, figure, symbol, or word displayed above  
the normal line of text.

abbreviation: a shortened form of a word or phrase used chiefly in  
writing to represent the complete form.[4]
working definition: a shortened form of word or phrase used to  
represent the complete form and usually expanded to the complete form  
when spoken.

Examples include Dr. (doctor) and abbr. (abbreviation). WWW (World  
Wide Web) and UK (United Kingdom) should be spoken in their complete  
form. They may be spoken as separate letters as if they are  
considered initialisms. In the absence of initialisms, WWW and UK  
should be considered normal abbreviations.

acronym: a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters  
of words in a set phrase or series of words. [5]
working definition: a word formed from the initial letters or groups  
of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words.

Examples include radar (radio detection and ranging) and laser (light  
amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). WWW would not be  
considered an acronym because it does not form a word and should be  
considered an abbreviation. SQL is an abbreviation, not a acronym,  
although it is sometimes pronounced like a word (see-quill).

initialism: an abbreviation consisting of initial letters pronounced  
working definition: an abbreviation consisting of initial letters  
pronounced separately.[1]

WWW is an abbreviation that is pronounced as the three letters 'W'  
'W' ''W' if specified as an initialism. A person's name may be  
expressed as their initials and these are pronounced as individual  
letters. The name Jane Doe has the initials J.D., pronounced as the  
two letters 'J' 'D'.

reference: a mention or citation of a source of information in a book  
or article.[1]
working definition:

citation: a quotation from or reference to a book or author.[1]
the source, or reference, for a quote or statement made in the  
working definition:

quotation: a passage or remark repeated by someone other than the  
working definition:

footnote: an additional piece of information printed at the bottom of  
a page.[1]
working definition:

definition: a statement of the exact meaning of a word or the nature  
or scope of something.[1]
working definition:

table of contents: a list of chapters or sections at the front of a  
book or periodical.[1]
working definition:

chapter: a main division of a book.[1]
working definition:

paragraph: a distinct section of a piece of writing, beginning on a  
new line and often indented.[1]
working definition:

sentence: a set of words that is complete in itself, conveying a  
statement, question, exclamation, or command and typically containing  
a subject and predicate.[1]
working definition:

phrase: a small group of words standing together as a conceptual unit. 
working definition:

must: …a mandatory requirement…[6]
working definition:

shall: see must.[5]
working definition:

may: With respect to implementations, … an optional feature that is  
not required…[6]
With respect to Document Conformance, …the optional feature must not  
be used…[6]
working definition:

optional: see may.[6]
working definition:

[1] Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English  
[2] Application Web 1.0 Working Draft, WHATWG, 2007. 29 Mar. 2007.  
[3] W3C Glossary. <>
[4] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth  
Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 29 Mar. 2007.  
[5] Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 29 Mar.  
2007. <>.
[6] XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language (Second  
Edition), W3C, 2006. 26 Jan. 2000. < 

Received on Sunday, 8 April 2007 11:12:18 UTC