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Re: updated cite definition - please review

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2013 02:03:50 +0200
To: Michael Zajac <mzajac@gmail.com>
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20130824020350643301.efedc406@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Michael Zajac, Fri, 23 Aug 2013 12:29:31 -0500:

In my view, <cite> can be used for titles of paintings etc, e.g. 
<cite>Mona Lisa</cite>.

> There is no writing convention wherein italics are applied to author 
> name,

I disagree. I think whether <cite> can be applied to names depends on 
the purpose of using that name. 

Without doubt, we agree that <cite>Ulysses</cite> is OK even if Ulysses 
is not only the title of a book but also a male name. But do we also 
agree that when, within scientific genres, we use the name of the 
author as a shorthand reference, then we can mark up the shorthand with 

Example: “Truman 1956” used as shorthand for Volume 2 of his memoirs:[0]

<p>According to himself, then
    <q>once a decision was made, I did not worry about it afterward,</q>
   see <cite>Truman 1956</cite>.</p>

From my point of view, the old definition of <cite> was just fine. What 
I would have liked to be **added** to the old text, however, would be a 
note that clarified that it would be perfectly all right to do 
<cite>Truman 1956</cite>, if the particular work where “<cite>Truman 
1956</cite>” was used, made use of “Truman 1956” as shorthand for 
Truman’s memoirs, volume 2.

	PS w.r.t. HTML4’s so called permission to use <cite> for names:

No, HTML4 doesn’t really permit <cite> for names. A reasonable 
interpretation of the only “rule” HTML4 offers for <cite>, is that 
<cite> (and other phrase elements) should be used **according the 
conventions of the particular genre**. Quoting HTML4: [1]

  ]] The other phrase elements have particular significance in
     technical documents.[[

And w.r.t. names, then some ”illustrative” **examples** is all there 

  ]] These examples illustrate some of the phrase elements:
    As <CITE>Harry S. Truman</CITE> said,
    <Q lang="en-us">The buck stops here.</Q>
    More information can be found in <CITE>[ISO-0000]</CITE>.[[

The last <cite> is an example of a <cite> used for marking up a 
shorthand reference to a work: “<CITE>[ISO-0000]</CITE>”. (Real world 
parallell: “Universal Coded Character Set” is the title of the 
ISO-10646 standard.[2])

But as for the example’s much more “interesting” markup of Mr Truman’s 
name, then I think it is a fair comment that <cite> is not meant for 
marking up names, but that the HTML4 example could be interpreted as 
though it is.

The question is, however, whether HTML4’s Harry Truman example is the 
result of overthinking (and thus some kind of attempt of broadening its 
meaning) or whether the whole thing is just the result of sloppiness - 
sloppy coding and sloppy fact checking (and thus, that the overthinking 
eventually is the belief that HTML4 blesses <cite> applied to names). 

I believe it is the latter - sloppiness. Because, after all, the phrase 
“The buck stops here”, is known not because Truman said it but because 
he kept a sign (that originally was a gift) with that slogan on the 
desk in the oval office.[3]

[0] http://historyquotes.org/harry-s-truman-quotes/

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/text.html#edef-CITE

[2] http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/index.html

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Buck_Stops_Here#cite_ref-5

leif halvard silli
Received on Saturday, 24 August 2013 00:04:19 UTC

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