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WAI: Strategies, guidelines, and resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities

[DRAFT] Referencing and Linking to WAI Guidelines and Technical Documents

Status: This document is an old draft. The published version is at www.w3.org/WAI/intro/linking.
Please send any comments to wai-eo-editors@w3.org (a publicly archived list).

Page Contents

This page provides general guidance on references and links, along with WCAG links for policies, tools support, and others. If you have additional questions, you can contact WAI directly at wai@w3.org.

For a complete list of WAI documents, see the WAI Site Map or the WAI Resources annotated list.

Linking to Overview Pages

In many 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. Without a number, you get the latest version.

Latest completed version

To refer to and link to the latest completed version that is the recommended Web Standard ("W3C Recommendation"), 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 of a technical specification, include the version number, for example:

Links to the technical specification and the Overview page

Even when referencing the technical specification, 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 technical specification 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
www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/ For links specifically to Version 1.0 of the WCAG technical specification, and not subsequent versions WCAG Version 1.0 No
www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT Deprecated. We prefer that for WCAG 1.0 you use www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/ Deprecated link to WCAG Version 1.0 No

Linking to Techniques and Other "Notes"

While the technical specifications listed above will not change once they are completed, the supporting material that is advisory may be updated. WAI supporting technical material, called "W3C Working Group Notes", includes:

The content at these URIs will change when the Notes 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 where you want to link to specific information in a Technique or other Note, 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 abbreviation for the Accessible Rich Internet Applications documents. In order to avoid confusion, please use "WAI-ARIA" (instead of just "ARIA"), at least in titles, headings, and on first reference in documentation.

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).