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Re: References Re: What are the requirements/problems? Re: Working on New Styles for W3C Specifications

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2011 17:52:40 -0500
Message-ID: <4EE685B8.8070306@arcanedomain.com>
To: Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>
CC: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>, "chairs@w3.org" <chairs@w3.org>, "spec-prod@w3.org" <spec-prod@w3.org>

On 12/12/2011 12:12 PM, Marcos Caceres wrote:
> I still would like to see what this means. In practice, trying to "use"
> a printed spec is hard (it's not really searchable, and you can't really
> find what terms means because they are defined throughout a
> specification).

The relative merits of print vs. on-screen are endlessly debated, but I 
think we should acknowledge that there are a variety of reasons that some 
people, some times, prefer to work with paper. That may be so they can 
write notes in the margin (yes, you can get online tools to do this, but 
they are arguably clumsier than scrawling and circling with a pen, and 
certainly not universally available); it may just be, as in my case, that 
there are times when I prefer to read when there's no machine handy, when 
the paper copy is easier to read, etc.

Maybe or maybe not print is still important for archiving. (Another long 
debate we shouldn't rathole on here, but there is a case to be made that 
paper documents sometimes survive long after the formatting software needed 
to recreate them from electronic originals.)

Of course, the linking, zooming, split screen, and other capabilities of on 
screen formats can be of great value, and I like most of us do most of my 
reading online. Absolutely, we should make sure our documents work well on 
screen, are extensively hyperlinked, etc.

So, I suggest that we take it as a given that W3C specifications must 
format well for printing, and should print with bibliographies etc. that 
meet the reasonable expectations of those used to reading printed 
specifications. If over time, the need for that diminishes, maybe we should 
reconsider, but I don't feel we're at that point today.

As I wrote earlier, I also think biblios in particular are better 
 >archival< indications of what was intended as a referent. Even if a linnk 
goes 404, it's very useful to know from the biblio to know that the 
intention was to link version V of specifcation S.

Received on Monday, 12 December 2011 22:53:03 UTC

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