[whatwg] the cite element

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Jun 30 21:19:37 PDT 2009

On Fri, 5 Jun 2009, Andrew W. Hagen wrote:
> That was interesting about the history of the cite element.
> The import of my proposed change is that it would make the cite element
> much more useful than it would be than if it were limited to titles.
> For example, take a page listing numerous famous quotations. Below might be
> one of them:
> <li><q>Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal
> that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what
> they ought to be.</q><br />  -- <cite>William Hazlitt</cite></li>
> That works well, yet that would be technically against what the spec
> in its current form allows.
> A second example. Let's say a web page is to list a citation of a work.
> This would be the citation, marked up according to the current HTML spec.
> <p>Hawking, Stephen.<cite>A Brief History of Time</cite>. Bantam: New York.
> 1988.</p>
> Most of the citation is not in the cite element.
> The following should be an option for web authors.
> <p><cite>Hawking, Stephen.<i>A Brief History of Time</i>. Bantam: New York.
> 1988.</cite></p>
> That encases the entire citation in a cite element. The web author can
> re-style the cite
> element as desired.
> Cite should be available for untitled works. For example:
> Rock critics have universally praised<cite style="font-style: normal">the
> untitled fourth
> album</cite>  by Led Zeppelin.
> While people aren't usually typographically marked up, they are cited.
> The change would allow things other than titles to be placed into the cite
> element.
> That would make cite much more useful.

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.

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.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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