W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > September 2009

Re: Change back the semantics of <cite>

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 10:18:21 -0500
To: Bruce Lawson <brucel@opera.com>
Cc: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1252682301.22683.44209.camel@pav.lan>
On Fri, 2009-09-11 at 15:57 +0100, Bruce Lawson wrote:
> On Fri, 11 Sep 2009 15:54:01 +0100, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>  
> wrote:
> > On Fri, 11 Sep 2009 16:39:48 +0200, Bruce Lawson <brucel@opera.com>  
> > wrote:
> >> On Fri, 11 Sep 2009 14:48:53 +0100, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>  
> >> wrote:
> >>> I consider that a bug in the HTML 4 spec. I wish I had
> >>> reviewed it more closely.
> >>
> >> Nevertheless, it was in the spec and therefore many people (I include  
> >> myself and therefore declare an interest) used <cite> for names of  
> >> people.

Fair point; I suppose the HTML 5 spec should in some way acknowledge
that this usage was licensed by the HTML 4 spec for 10+ years.
I don't think it should be encouraged, though.

I suggest changing
  "must therefore not be used to mark up people's names"
  "should therefore not be used to mark up people's names"

with some sort of historical footnote about the HTML 4
<cite>name</cite> example.

Meanwhile, I did just a little bit of research, looking
at tutorial materials to see whether they picked up
the HTML 4 <cite>name</cite> usage. I find that
they seem to stick the <cite>title of work</cite> usage:

"Example: <CITE>The Toronto Star</CITE> gave its review of the movie
<CITE>Titanic</CITE> yesterday."
  -- http://htmlhelp.com/reference/html40/phrase/cite.html

"One of my favorite books is <cite>Through the Looking Glass</cite> by
Lewis Carroll."
 -- http://webdesign.about.com/od/htmltags/p/bltags_cite.htm

"The cite element is for marking up citations, for example to a
magazine, book or web site."

though that first one says "The CITE element is used to markup
citations, such as titles of magazines or newspapers, ship names, ..."

ship names?!?!

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
gpg D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
Received on Friday, 11 September 2009 15:18:31 UTC

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