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Re: I and B vs EM and STRONG

From: Nir Dagan <nir@nirdagan.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 02:22:51 GMT
Message-Id: <199811171711.SAA20107@sahara.upf.es>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
The common statement "use <EM> instead 
of <I>" can be quite misleading.

One should use EM, CITE, VAR, DFN, etc. instead of I.

When speaking emphasizing is pronounced differently that 
mentioning a name of book or newspaper. Al tells as that 
this is the case also in Brille. In visual media they
are all rendered the same.

Because <I> has no semantics  in parctice all media 
which do not render italics translate <I> to <EM> by default.
(this may be ofcourse a controvertial practice; one may 
suggest that they should ignore the typographical hint altogether)
Therefore using <EM> instead of <I> doesn't matter per current 
browser practice; it is more a matter of elegance and the 
simplicity of following the principle  of  using "structural" rather 
than typographical elements.

What realy matters is to use CITE, VAR etc. when appropriate 
and not I or EM for all "italized" words.

Some people who try to improve their documents do 
so by replacing all their <I> with <EM>. This is an error.

Netscape composer of Communicator 4.0 replaces 
all <EM> <CITE> <VAR> and <DFN> of a document written 
elsewhere with <I>, when resaving the document, and it does this 
without BLINKing...

Nir Dagan, Ph.D.

"There is nothing quite so practical as a good theory." 
-- A. Einstein
Received on Tuesday, 17 November 1998 12:21:38 UTC

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