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Referencing and Linking to WAI Guidelines and Technical Documents

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This page provides general guidance on how to reference and link to guidelines and other technical documents. It suggests that you include a link to the overview page. It describes when to include a version number or "dated URI", and when not to.

Linking to Overview Pages

In most cases, it is best to link to the Overview page instead of the technical specification because the Overview page provides an introduction, links to related documents, and the status of revisions in progress. Overview pages include:

Referencing Guidelines and Other Technical Specifications

WAI's technical specifications (WCAG, WAI-ARIA, and the others listed above) use a "shortname" in the URI (the Web address); for example, "WCAG" and "ATAG" are shortnames. Specific versions are indicated with a number in the URL. Without a number, you get the latest version.

Latest completed version

To link to the latest completed version, do not include a number. For example:


Specific version

We recommend that you reference the latest version without a number as explained above, unless there is a reason to reference a specific version. To link to a specific version, include the version number, for example:

Links to the technical specification and the Overview page

Even when linking to the standard, it is usually good to include a link to the Overview page as well. For example:

Example: Linking to WCAG

URI Use Document linked to: Will the content at this URI change?
www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag For most links about WCAG WCAG Overview Yes, content will be updated with new versions, but the fragments/targets/anchors will mostly remain stable
www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/ For links to the latest version of the WCAG standard The latest version of WCAG Yes, content will change when there are new versions, and fragments/targets/anchors may also change
www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ For links specifically to Version 2.0 of the WCAG technical specification, and not subsequent versions WCAG Version 2.0 No

For more formal guidance on referring to WCAG, see Appendix A How to refer to WCAG 2.0 from other documents.

Linking to Techniques, Understanding Documents, and Other "Notes"

While the standards listed above will not change once they are completed, most of the the supporting material that is advisory will be updated. Supporting technical material is usually published as "W3C Working Group Notes". This includes:

The content at these URIs will change when they are updated. In most cases, you should not include numbers in these links, so that your links provide the latest information and best practices.

Stable "dated URIs"

In rare cases when you want to link to specific information in a Technique or other Note, and not the latest information, use the "dated URI" that is listed at the top of the main web page under "This version:". For example:

The <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20081211/">Techniques for WCAG 2.0 published 11 December 2008</a> states that "The WCAG WG encourages submission of such techniques so they can be considered for inclusion in this document...".

Referencing WAI-ARIA versus just ARIA

"WAI-ARIA" is the formal abbreviation for the Accessible Rich Internet Applications documents. It is now acceptable to use just "ARIA" in informal references.

Additional Information

If you have additional questions, you can contact WAI directly at wai@w3.org.

Related information is provided in Version Management in W3C Technical Reports (W3C-member-only link).