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RE: Abbreviations and Acronyms: [techs] Latest HTML Techniques Draft

From: Brian Kelly <B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 16:33:29 -0000
To: jon@hackcraft.net
Cc: 'Charles McCathieNevile' <charles@sidar.org>, 'Christian Wolfgang Hujer' <Christian.Hujer@itcqis.com>, 'David Woolley' <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, www-html@w3.org, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <010201c3c0cd$ac8c9970$d513268a@ukoln.ac.uk>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-html-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:www-html-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of jon@hackcraft.net
> Sent: 12 December 2003 16:14
> To: Brian Kelly
> Cc: 'Charles McCathieNevile'; 'Christian Wolfgang Hujer'; 
> 'David Woolley'; www-html@w3.org; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Abbreviations and Acronyms: [techs] Latest HTML 
> Techniques Draft
> > Note that my suggestion for allowing a range of meanings is 
> to be able 
> > to distinguish between a strict definition, a chatty 
> explanation, etc. 
> > For example, the FAILTE project www.failte.ac.uk says that FAILTE 
> > standards for Facilitating Access to Information on Learning 
> > Technology for Engineers.  However the Web page goes on to say that 
> > failte  is the gaelic word for WELCOME, and is pronounced something 
> > like 'fawl-sha'. It *may* be useful to be able to provide markup to 
> > differentatite between, say, a formal meaning and an explanation (I 
> > say *may* as clearly there is a cost to doing this.)
> Longdesc for abbreviations? Indeed we could have such a long 
> description for 
> all words and some of them would be quite interesting.
> How useful would this be though, does knowing the meaning of 
> the word "filte" 
> help you process the meaning of the acronym "FAILTE" in any way?

To be honest, I don't know!

However I have in the past argued that the ALT attribute for images is
not rich enough and that there is a need for providing richer
descriptions.  I think we've envisaged that being provided by RDF I some
way. However will a new language being developed it strikes me as an
opportunity to rethink these issues.

The HTML 4.0 spec is somewhat vague (even allowing for the cultural
differences in these terms).  It is left to the author as to how ABBR
and ACRONYM should be used.  This can be fine for use of the terms to
support readers of an individual page; however it makes use of such
metadata for other purposes more difficult (e.g. building glossaries).
In XHTML 2.0 we could specify what should be provided (give a formal
definition and not a chatty explanation).  However this strikes me as
the wrong approach.  So we could allow authors to provide a range of
options, if necessary, which could encompass regional and cultural
variations, as well as different approaches to the content.    

I wonder whether there may be circumstances in which a rigourous exact
definition may be important - perhaps in legal documents; scientific
pages, etc?

The angle I'm coming from is that these tags are about metadata
(structured information which is used for processing) and in order for
the processing to be correct and reproducible there is a need for clear
and rigourous definitions of the metadata and accompanying cataloguing


Brian Kelly
UK Web Focus
University of Bath 
Email: B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk
Web: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/
Phone: 01225 383943
FOAF: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ukoln/staff/b.kelly/foaf/bkelly-foaf.xrdf
For info on FOAF see http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ukoln/staff/b.kelly/foaf/ 
Received on Friday, 12 December 2003 11:34:50 UTC

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