[whatwg] the cite element

Erik Vorhes erik at textivism.com
Wed Jul 1 07:55:46 PDT 2009

On Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 11:19 PM, Ian Hickson<ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> I don't understand why it would be more useful. Having an element for the
> typographic purpose of marking up titles seems more useful than an element
> for the purpose of indicating what is a citation.

Why is it more useful?

If <cite> is exclusively for titles, it shouldn't be called <cite>. In
addition to the semantic difference between a title and a citation,
limiting <cite> to titles potentially raises confusion between this
element and the cite attribute (for <blockquote> and <q>), as the
latter is limited to URLs. Yes, elements and attributes are different
things. But in one context the concept "cite" is limited only to
titles (and forbids URLs); in another context "cite" is limited only
to URLs (and forbids titles).

While it makes some sense, I suppose, to limit the cite attribute to
URLs, it makes absolutely no sense to limit the <cite> element only to
titles. If it's so pressing for there to be an element allowed in the
<body> to mark up titles, why not create a new element for that
purpose or allow for a <cite>-specific attribute to note that

I understand HTML5's attempts to provide semantic value to such
elements as <i>, <b>, and <small>. To at the same time remove semantic
value at the same time is completely asinine.

> Note that HTML5 now has a more detailed way of marking up citations, using
> the Bibtex vocabulary. I think this removes the need for using the <cite>
> element in the manner you describe.

Since this is supposed to be the case, why shouldn't HTML5 just ditch
<cite> altogether? (Aside from "backward compatibility," which is
beside the point of the question.)

Erik Vorhes

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