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

*Karl Dubost*:
> Le 11 déc. 2003, à 07:02, Roberto Scano - IWA/HWG a écrit
>> UN is not abbreviation but Acronym... an abbreviation could be:
>> <abbr title="Monday" xml:lang="en">Mon.</abbr>
>> A question for clarify: the abbreviation must end with a .

That's how I handle it in German documents, but look at CNN: "United States"
gets dots ("U.S.") while "United Nations" doesn't ("UN").

> See HTML 4.01

The specification has been proven misleading and self-contradictory in this
regard more than once.

>    <ABBR title="World Wide Web">WWW</ABBR>

In German it's pronounced letter by letter ("w@ w@ w@"), but usually expanded
in English, because "double-u, double-u, double-u" would be longer. This
behaviour is not expressable in HTML and maybe it shouldn't be, because it's

>    <ABBR title="Abbreviation">abbr.</ABBR>

That's clearly an abbreviation and an abbreviation must always be expanded. I
doubt, though, that the 'title' attribute is appropriate for the full form.
You almost can't provide little extra information on demand with it, like in

  <acronym title="Hypertext Markup Language">HTML</acronym>,

anymore, because some browser might expand it unwanted (imagine "DNA" or

IMHO it should be possible to link a resource that further explains how to
treat abbreviations and acronyms, which are just a special case of
abbreviations anyway, found marked-up in the page. Like so:

  <link rel="stylesheet abbr" href="/abbreviations.css" type="text/css"
  <p xml:lang="en"><abbr>e.g.</abbr>, <abbr>abbr.</abbr>,
  <acronym>WWW</acronym>, <acronym>NATO</acronym>.</p>

  /* /abbreviations.css */
  abbr("abbr."):lang(en) {content: "abbreviation";}
  abbr("WWW"):lang(en) {content: "World Wide Web"}
  abbr("WWW"):lang(de) {content: "W W W";}
  abbr("NATO") {content: "Nato";}

Or something more specialised for this job than (an enhanced version of) CSS,
like a CSV file or even some XML application.
Screenreaders should then use this in addition to built-in tables:

  "For example, abbreviation, World Wide Web, Nato."

Quite similar a glossary might work:

  <link rel="glossary" href="/glossary"/>

  ; /glossary.txt
  foo: A generic placeholder.

  <!-- /glossary.html -->
  <dl><dt id="foo">foo</dt><dd>A generic placeholder.</dd></dl>

would make <term/> either linked to the appropriate glossary entry or use the
description from the glossary file to display a tool-tip / balloon-help on

> You can add on the top of that for example, that you have in fact
> in french, three different things abbreviation, acronyms and "sigle".

Is a "sigle" an initialism or something different?

Received on Thursday, 11 December 2003 09:36:41 UTC