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Subject: Acronym Expansion (was RE: [docbook-tc] DocBook Technical CommitteeMeeting Minutes: 15 December 2010)

This came up again in today's meeting.  There appear to be a couple of
issues that are compounding this discussion.  The W3C says to use the
title attribute for the expansion of acronym and abbr elements.  Using
the glossary to store information that the transforms would use to add
a title attribute when acronym and abbrev elements are rendered would
be straightforward but would require changes to the stylesheets.

However, apparently many screen readers ignore the W3C recommendations
and do nothing with the title attribute.  While the title attribute can
be helpful to sighted readers in HTML browsers, producing equivalent
behavior in PDF may or may not be possible and would be of no use in

So, is there an alternative available that works in screen readers and
all other delivery formats and that does not require additional markup
or changes to existing content models.  A suggestion was made during 
today's meeting that is worth considering.

I was taught (we won't go into how many years ago) to introduce the
term before the abbreviation or acronym.  Based on that, this coding
will work in DocBook 5 (and 4):

<para>We use modulated <termdef>Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission
of Radiation (<acronym>LASER</acronym>)</termdef> technology for
short-haul data links.</para>

If you prefer the acronym first, it still works.  You can also move the
acronym outside the termdef, but this keeps them together.  This solution 
requires no changes to stylesheets or improvements in screen reader 

Larry Rowland

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Pawson [mailto:dave.pawson@gmail.com] 
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:51 PM
To: Bob Stayton
Cc: DocBook Technical Committee; docbook@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [docbook-tc] DocBook Technical Committee Meeting Minutes: 15 December 2010

Not sure what access I've got so responding to all adss
It bounced from my own email.

On 16 December 2010 17:36, Bob Stayton <bobs@sagehill.net> wrote:
> DocBook Technical Committee Meeting Minutes: 15 December 2010

     3107140  aconym expansion inline
 Members felt there are already mechanisms to support acronyms.
 ACTION: Norm to respond to RFE.

 He did
 "We talked about this on the call today. It seems that there are two
 existing approaches that would work. First, you could put the acronyms
 in a glossary, point to the glossary entries, and get the expansions
 from there. If you wanted a one-off entry without all the glossary
 machinery, you could use alt for this purpose.

 If neither of those approaches satisfies your use case, could you
 provide a little more detail for us?"

 I've not argued that the acronym expansion could be in the glossary.
 My complaint is that I can't expand it inline.
   I've no idea about the Chicago manual of style, but in English I
 was always told to expand an acroym inline, on first use, thereafter
 using the abbreviated form. E.g laser (light amplification by
 stimulated emission of radiation), .... laser is ....

 As with sighted people, a blind user shouldn't have to hike over to
 the glossary to get that expansion if the author wants to use good
 English practices.

 Is that sufficient Norm?


Dave Pawson
Docbook FAQ.

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