[whatwg] the cite element

Andrew W. Hagen contact2009 at awhlink.com
Sun Jun 7 13:46:56 PDT 2009

On 6/6/2009 4:10 AM, Kristof Zelechovski wrote:
> Instead of:
> 	<li><q>Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps.</q><br />   --
> <cite>William Hazlitt</cite></li>
> Consider:
> 	<li><q>Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps.</q><br />
> (William Hazlitt)</li>
> Reads equally good, if not better.
> Bibliographic references are a topic of its own, and it is not going to be
> solved with the CITE element alone.  Bibliography is a form of a database
> while hTml is mostly about text.  The best HTML approximation to a list of
> bibliographical references is a table, except that tables tend to be
> unreadable when they are too wide.  You could also use
> <A HREF="urn:ISBN:."><CITE>A brief history of time</CITE></A>
> and let the UA figure out the details.
> Removing the default style from CITE is too fragile: using the style
> attribute makes the code messy and using a class will not survive
> copy-paste.
> Chris
Thank you for your reply.

As you say, HTML neither is a ready-made bibliography-publishing system,
nor will it become one. The default styling of the cite element should 
not change.

It does make sense, however, to allow the cite element to be used more 
than just for titles. Arising from the change, one additional use out of 
for the cite element would be for whole bibliographic entries.

Under the current spec, we would have:

Smith, John. <cite>The Triumph of HTML 5</cite>. 2015. New York: Faraway 

Yet, since the author is citing the work, and a work comprises more than 
its title, that is unsatisfactory. The example below would reflect the 
author's intent.

<cite class="bibliography-item">Smith, John. <i>The Triumph of HTML 
5</i>. 2015. New York: Faraway Press. </cite>


Andrew Hagen
contact2009 at awhlink.com

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