[whatwg] The blockquote element spec vs common quoting practices

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Fri Jul 15 07:50:00 PDT 2011

14.07.2011 16:10, Bjartur Thorlacius wrote:

> Þann fim 14.júl 2011 11:09, skrifaði Jukka K. Korpela:
>> 14.07.2011 13:49, Karl Dubost wrote:
>>> <blockquote cite="urn:isbn:978-2-07-07533-7">
>>> <p>Sur un pétale de lotus, j'écrivis ces quelques vers :</p>
>>> <p>«<q>Même si l'on vient me chercher<br/>
>>> Comment, abandonnant la rosée<br/>
>>> De pareil lotus,<br/>
>>> Retournerai-je<br/>
>>> Dans le monde changeant et frivole ?</q> »</p>
>>> <p>et j'envoyais ce pétale.</p>
>>> <p class="source">
>>> <cite class="auteur">Shonagon, Sei</cite>,
>>> <cite class="titre">Notes de chevet</cite>, p.64, Unesco, NRF, 1966.</p>
>>> </blockquote>
> Yes, but for usability reasons the cite[@class=titre] should represent a
> hyperlink to the cited book.

Should it? Even when the book has no URL? If you expect urn:isbn:… to 
work anytime soon in any significant browser, you’re very optimistic.

Browsers currently treat <cite> just like <i> (except that it has a 
different name). There is no sign of advance functionality emerging. It 
does not matter how usable something is when it does not exist at all.

> Is an user agent to find a cite descendant
> of <blockquote> and make it represent a hyperlink to the cited resource
> (identified by the URI in the cite attribute of blockquote)?

That would be rather pointless.

If there is an online resource to link to, you can simply make the title 
a link to it, explicitly. Then you can also style the link to desired, 
and it will stand out as a link (unless the author styles it badly).

I forgot to mention that the ISBN number should be included visibly in 
the credits, especially because it is usually the simplest and sometimes 
the only reasonable way to identify a book unambiguously (and can be 
copied and pasted into a suitable bibliographic search form). It’s 
metadata, but metadata that need not and should not be hidden but 
presented in textual content. At most it might be included into elements 
that are not initially displayed but become available when the user so 
requests—possibly some day via the <details> element if browsers 
implement it well.

The cite attribute in <blockquote> should really be moved to the 
non-recommended part of HTML. It hardly ever serves a useful purpose, 
and it tends to mislead authors into including important information 
_only_ in the attribute, which has no browser support worth mentioning 
(despite having been in HTML for over 13 years).

>> (I don't like to nitpick on the author identification, but wouldn’t
>> <cite class="auteur" lang="jp-Latn">Shōnagon, Sei</cite> be better?)
> I don't think author names are allowed in <cite> in HTML 5.

They aren’t, but HTML5 linters (“validators”) won’t report the issue, as 
they don’t understand the meanings of words.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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