[whatwg] the cite element

tjeddo tjeddo at gmail.com
Mon Oct 5 23:55:50 PDT 2009

On Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 7:13 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> On Tue, 22 Sep 2009, Jim Jewett wrote:
>> On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 8:46 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
>> > On Wed, 16 Sep 2009, Erik Vorhes wrote:
>> >> On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 4:16 AM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
>> >> >> Unless there is some semantic value to the name being more than

>> >> and with the removal of the <dialog> element (of which I was unaware
>> >> when I sent my last message) makes a compelling case for the
>> >> re-expansion of <cite> for dialog.

I disagree with the above statement. I believe that the current HTML5 spec is
heading in the right direction by narrowing the meaning of the cite element
compared to its ambiguous use in HTML documents in the past. Overloading
the meaning of the cite element further by using it to distinguish
speaker's names
would not only add ambiguity but would require developer's (who want to honor
typographical convention) to undo the default italics styling that
would be applied to
the speaker's name when enclosed by <cite> tags.

>> That almost sounds as though the real specification were:
>>    "Book Title, even if you aren't quoting or
>>     paraphrasing anything -- this isn't really about
>>     citations; we just call it cite for historical reasons."
> That's exactly what HTML5 says, yes.

I feel it is an improvement to HTML that the cite element is being focused to
specify the "title of a work." It is however unfortunate that the element's name
is 'cite' for legacy HTML reasons. I would much prefer the name of the
cite element
be reserved for a purpose equivalent to the use of \cite{} in LaTeX.

However, given the ambiguity of the HTML4 specification as to the correct usage
of the 'cite' element, I'm wondering if we shouldn't align the 'cite'
element with a more
intuitive use case matching that of satisfied by \cite{} in LaTeX. And
introduce a new inline
element called 'tow' (title of work) or 'tor' (title of reference),
for example, to explicitly
specify the "title of a work."

For example,

     <p>I enjoyed reading <tow>East of Eden</tow>.</p>

instead of

     <p>I enjoyed reading <cite>East of Eden</cite>.</p>

In fact, the two examples given in the HTML4 spec for using <cite> are
both incorrect
according to the current HTML5 definition:

     - "As <CITE>Harry S. Truman</CITE> said,"
     - More information can be found in <CITE>[ISO-0000]</CITE>."

Note, the second example is being used to cite a source with a
displayed bibliography
entry key of ISO-0000, which is not the title of the work; rather an
identifier for the work.

So using cite in the LaTeX sense, you may have HTML5 markup that looks like:

    A proof of Theorem 2.4 is provided in <cite
href="#local_bib_key"><tow>Survey of Foo Theory</tow></cite>.
   Given that the existence of foo we infer bar <cite
href="http://example-math.org/bibliography#ABC">[ABC, p.

Admittedly, besides the improved legibility of the proposed cases, I'm
sure the more general <a> tag is just as sufficient.

> Ships get <i>. Search for "ship name" in the spec (it's mentioned twice).

By the way, what is the reasoning in the HTML5 spec for stating that
ship names should not be
marked up with <cite> but should use <i> instead?

I guess I'm saying, why are ship's not considered "works?"

Merriam-Webster's definition:
"7 a : something produced or accomplished by effort, exertion, or
exercise of skill <this book is the work of many hands> b : something
produced by the exercise of creative talent or expenditure of creative
effort : artistic production <an early work by a major writer>"

I would say a ship fits this definition and is certainly on par with
other large engineering/sculpture works such as the Statue of
Liberty--which is the title of a "work."

Here are three references that indicate specifically that Ship names
receive the same typographic treatment as other titles of works.

Let me know if I'm missing something as to why ship names should not
be surrounded by <cite> tags.

Tim Eddo

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