RE: Footnotes in HTML3: questions/proposals

Michael Johnson (
Thu, 29 Jun 95 08:00:20 EDT

Keith Rogers writes:
>I assume that the glossary link is described in some other
>document. Could you tell me where I could find this information?

Check out which is a
hypertext version of Dave Raggett's HTML 3.0 IETF draft.

>So if the glossary can be assumed to be searchable, then there has to be
>some sort of standard glossary format, doesn't there? Has this been
>specified? Is that what the ".cgi" suffix on your example file indicates?

Um, no. Searchable just means that the server is set to up to respond to
queries against that document. A query is formed by sending a URL to the
server with a '?' and some text appended to it, such as:

There are various ways of setting up a document as searchable. The example
I gave was supposed to imply a CGI script that would examine the query string,
look up a definition for the word or term, and return that definition as an
HTML document. Anyway, that's outside the scope of the HTML design issues.

>Still, in the event that multiple glossaries are specified
>for a document, shouldn't the HTML spec (or *some* spec)
>state explicitly which should be searched first? And

It would probably be sufficient to say that they should be searched in the
order that they are encountered in the document markup. That allows the
author to determine the search priority.

>should there be some way for an author to specify directly
>which glossary he wants to reference for a particular word?

Possibly. How would you do that without cluttering up HTML though?

>For instance, an author may include several lists of acronyms
>in a document. Given the large number of TLA's floating around
>in the world, there is considerable overlap. The author thus
>may desire that a specific technical glossary be referenced
>for a particular word. I don't know how this would best
>be implemented in HTML, but it does seem like a valid informational

It seems to me that an author should not overload an acronym in a document,
e.g. there should not be two possible interpretations of the acronym HTML.
If one can expect a term to be used consistently throughout a document, then
a little bit of intelligence on the server side ought to be able to resolve
that issue without needing additional HTML features.

Michael Johnson
Relay Technology, Inc.