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[whatwg] Citing multiple <blockquote> elements in HTML5

From: Calogero Alex Baldacchino <alex.baldacchino@email.it>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 04:05:32 +0100
Message-ID: <4933547C.2010501@email.it>
Ian Hickson ha scritto:
> On Sun, 30 Nov 2008, Calogero Alex Baldacchino wrote:
>> I'm not sure I'm understanding the whole function of the <cite> element, 
>> and perhaps I'm bothering again with ids and references, but the 
>> relationship between a <cite> and a quotation could be disambiguated by 
>> coupling an id and a reference to that id.
> Why is the ambiguity a problem?

Well, it depends on the uses the <cite> element is targeted to. If the 
'only' purpose (and such can be enough) is to provide the semantics of a 
citation in a media-independent manner and as well a stronger fashion 
than a 'general purpose italic' can do, but regardless of the actual 
subject taken from the cited source (which finds in the <blocquote> and 
<q> elements a proper, independent semantics), the ambiguity shouldn't 
be a problem: the end (human) user consuming the document should be able 
to correctly relate the cited source to the quoted subject just by 
extrapolating it from the surrounding prose, unless such text were 
really unintelligible (but even in this case, disambiguation would be 
out of the <cite> scope, with the above semantics). Otherwise, if there 
were any good reason to explicitly relate the source to the subject, or 
viceversa, i.e. to make it intelligible to a user agent (perhaps a bot 
grouping and joining in one document all contents taken from the same 
source, by parsing a series of articles? - surely there must be some 
better ways to accomplish that, but perhaps such could make sense for a 
somewhat purpose), then the ambiguity concern might be addressed by the 
mean of a well defined relationship in terms of html semantics. I just 
tried to suggest a solution to a concern I thought you and Sam Kuper 
were discussing for some reason, since there is no way to correctly 
define such a relationship in terms of relative positions, as you 
pointed out.

>> Q: What problem does it solve?
>> Uhm... perhaps a first cite could be a complete reference, i.e. a book name
>> along its author, publisher and IBAN code, or a reference to another
>> site/blog, its author and a link to the page with the quoted text. Ok, and
>> now? Let's say any other reference to the same sorce could be shorter and
>> without the need of any markup, but for styling, while the quotation block
>> could remind the whole sorce to the reader, for instance, when the user moved
>> his pointer over it, or focuses the <blockquote>, a tooltip could present the
>> citation content - as if it where the content of the title attribute - and a
>> screen reader could speak it aloud after the quotation, and if the referred
>> <cite> contained a link, a click on the <blocquote> content (or any other kind
>> of activation) could open the linked page in another tab/window.
> That describes how it could be used, but _why_? Is there an actual problem 
> that isn't solved today that needs solving?

Well, in fact, the above could be done as well by 'playing' with anchors 
(but is it still possible to set an anchor somewhere in the document, 
such as <a id="foo" />? I haven't found examples for that, perhaps I'm 
missing something...). Anyway, maybe, using a <cite> element as anchor, 
and a related <blockquote> or <q> as the mean to reach it, might render 
a stronger semanitcs than "generic" anchors and hyperlinks (maybe 
coherent for an article holding "extended" - complete - citations, as 
references, in a proper section, separated from the rest of its 
content), perhaps in a similar fashion as a <dfn> element is 
referenceable through out its id by an <a> element.

Best regards,
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Received on Sunday, 30 November 2008 19:05:32 UTC

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