W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > August 2003

<name> element

From: Reinthaler, Frank <Frank.Reinthaler@auspost.com.au>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 13:14:25 +1000
Message-ID: <EFA34A363840164C903B6A88C032D0F109E7B660@exsmel04.hq.auspost.com.au>
To: www-html@w3.org

Hi www-html@w3.org,

I would like to revive discussion on the usefulness and practicality of a
<name> element for XHTML2. This element was suggested previously by Jason
Orendorff (see
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-html/1999Oct/0115.html for example).
The element would be simple i.e. <name>Isaac Newton</name>.

I do not think that such a <name> element would be trivial. The benefits
that I can see are:
 - it adds semantic richness that is not currently there in HTML
 - information marked-up with <name> is highly beneficial for current
indexing methods
 - differentiating text such as "the the" (i.e. a duplication error) from
<name>The the</name> (name of the artist)

The "of" attribute suggested back in 1999 seems to me to be a wise and
practical idea. For example <name of="movie">Zorba the Greek</name> rather
than <name of="book">Zorba the Greek</name>, <name of="character">Zorba the
Greek</name> or <name of="song">Zorba the Greek</name>. (A list of possible
"of" attribute values could be suggested by the W3C and further defined by
third-party groups along the lines of the Dublin Core metadata initiative.)

There are of course many different naming schemes which can't possibly be
covered in a simple language like the HTML family is supposed to be. I *do
not* suggest that we go further into the semantic structure than a simple
<name> element
i.e. no 
	<name of="person">
or other cultural specific naming conventions. Nor do I suggest that we go
into specialist naming conventions i.e.
	<name of="animal">

One of the possible criticisms is that in any particular HTML page there are
dozens of names of things that could be marked up with <name>. This is a
valid point but the I think the benefits nevertheless outweigh this - we're
not after perfection here! It is of course up to the page author to decide
which names should be marked-up with <name>.

From the list thread for the previous discussion the <cite> element was
mentioned as already fulfilling the same function as <name> would. However
from the HTML 4.01 Spec it states "CITE: Contains a citation or a reference
to other sources." which is not what <name> would fulfil at all!
Furthermore, I have noticed on the mailing list that <cite> causes confusion
and is the topic of some debate on whether or not it should be merged with
other elements. The usage for the <name> element would be self-evident to

As this is such a basic and fundamental idea for an element I can only
wonder why it was not adopted a long time ago. I am sure that there are many
people on this list who have been involved in the development of HTML for a
very long time that can enlighten us all about this :-)

Frank Reinthaler

Australia Post is committed to providing our customers with excellent service. If we can assist you in any way please either telephone 13 13 18 or visit our website www.auspost.com.au.


This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are privileged and confidential information intended for the use of the addressee. The confidentiality and/or privilege in this e-mail is not waived, lost or destroyed if it has been transmitted to you in error. If you have received this e-mail in error you must (a) not disseminate, copy or take any action in reliance on it; (b) please notify Australia Post immediately by return e-mail to the sender; and (c) please delete the original e-mail.
Received on Wednesday, 13 August 2003 23:16:09 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Thursday, 30 April 2020 16:20:50 UTC