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Re: How would you mark up this information?


From: John Foliot - WATS.ca
Date: Apr 24, 2005 9:30AM

Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

>> On Sun, 24 Apr 2005, John Foliot - WATS.ca wrote:
>>>> Might I suggest the Definition List instead?
>> You can, but then you are wrong and I need to tell it.

Jukka, you know I respect your opinion, but I must disagree with you. The
W3C specifically states:

"Definition lists, created using the DL element, generally consist of a
series of term/definition pairs (although definition lists may have other
applications). Thus, when advertising a product, one might use a definition


I am suggesting one of those other applications... (and referencing the

>>>> (this is, after all, a list of
>>>> contact information is it not?)
>> It is. It is not a list of definitions.
>>>> <dt>Emergency Communications Center</dt>
>> You are not defining what the term "Emergency Communications Center"
>> means, i.e. your are not specifying the properties that
>> something needs to
>> have in order to be called Emergency Communications Center.

Correct, although I am echoing back specific information (properties)
regarding this subject. I consider all instances of "call and response"
lists appropriate candidates for Definition Lists, and the "example"
provided on the W3C website/page listed above supports my claim:

<dt><strong>The ingredients:</strong></dt>
<li>100 g. flour</li>
<li>10 g. sugar</li>
<li>1 cup water</li>
<li>2 eggs</li>
<li>salt, pepper</li>

<dt><strong>The procedure:</strong></dt>
<li>Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.</li>
<li>Pour in wet ingredients.</li>
<li>Mix for 10 minutes.</li>
<li>Bake for one hour at 300 degrees.</li>

<dd>The recipe may be improved by adding raisins.</dd>

(Source: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/lists.html )

>> Hence, the markup is semantically wrong. No need to tell that
>> even HTML
>> specifications contain semantically wrong use of <dl>
>> elements; the W3C
>> doesn't always follow its own recommendations.

*How* is it semantically wrong? (and according to whom else besides you?) I
would suggest that you are defining the word "definition" a tad too rigidly
for the HTML spec... I do not believe it was ever intended to be that

I suppose the larger issue is context. The information could also be marked
up differently, and that difference would not be substantially different;
you could mark it up as an unordered list, or even a nested unordered list
(given the multiple phone numbers). Each entry could also be marked as
separate paragraphs (although *I* wouldn't do it that way). However one
list of three or four "things", with each "thing" having attendant
information attached to it to me says definition list... It's the call and
response structure that I see.

>> Moreover, on the practical side, styling <dl> elements suffers from
>> various peculiarities and oddities in browsers.

Again, refer to above example, and the use of <strong>. What "peculiarities
and oddities" are you referring to, and can you share that information with
the list please?

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Web Accessibility Testing and Services
Phone: 1-613-267-1983 / 1-866-932-4878 (North America)