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This page is here to capture information around support for features related to embedding "notes" within HTML documents and ensuring those notes are semantically rich and accessible. There has been ongoing discussion about the requirements around "Notes". In this case a "note" is ancillary supporting text that is associated with one or more locations within a document or documents. People often use terms like "footnote" or "endnote". For purposes of discussion, let's just consider those presentational aspects of the general case of things that are "notes".


  1. There MUST be a way to declaratively define a NOTE and one or more references to a NOTE.
  2. There MUST be a way to easily navigate to and from a NOTE.
  3. There MUST be a way to determine / navigate among all references to a NOTE.
  4. It MUST be possible to fully style NOTES such that, for example, they could manifest differently on different sorts of devices, appear as side notes, appear as floating "tooltips", be organized into "endnotes", or whatever other innovative presentation mechanism the author might come up with.
  5. It MUST be possible to support a mixture of end-notes, footnotes, inline notes and marginalia
  6. It MUST be possible to reference a single note multiple times; navigation back from a note MUST return to the correct starting-point even where a note had multiple reference pointing to it.
  7. It SHOULD be possible to navigate among all NOTES / NOTES with specific @role or @rel values.
  8. The scope of a note (beginning and end) MUST be well-defined, so that it is possible to extract all NOTES or process them separately in any order.
  9. It MUST be possible to include a NOTE within a NOTE. @@@ What does this mean in terms of knowing where a note starts and ends?
  10. It MUST be possible to include markup (including for example MathML, SVG, HTML tables...) in a NOTE
  11. It MUST be possible to enhance the semantics associated with a NOTE through well-defined values for @role - from Charles LaPierre
  12. It MUST be possible to have NODE identifiers be automatically generated
  13. It MUST be possible to override the automatic generation of NOTE identifiers
  14. It SHOULD be possible to define multiple streams of notes / NOTE identifiers - from Bill Kasdorf
  15. It MUST be possible to carefully control the position of notes - from Bill Kasdorf
  16. It MUST be possible for end-users to override the publisher's positioning requirements - from Bill Kasdorf
  17. It MUST be possible to mark a section of text as the link to the NOTE (anchor), rather than just a marker at a single point - from Robert Sanderson]
  18. It MUST be possible to have a NOTE refer to multiple sections of the text, rather than only one
  19. It SHOULD be possible to have alternative representations of the NOTE based upon arbitrary criteria (e.g., age, developmental level, interest level)
  20. It SHOULD be possible to reference a NOTE so that it can be further commented upon
  21. It MUST be possible to create NOTES that reference non-text items such as the bounding box of image-based media
  22. It MUST be possible to define a NOTE with non-text (e.g., image, audio, video)
  23. It MUST be possible to style the reference to a NOTE
  24. It MUST be possible to extract semantic information about the provenance of a NOTE (e.g., creator, date created, etc) when that information is available
  25. It MUST be possible for an author or enduser to control the presentation of the NOTE through scripting and/or other preference settings.


Notable Comments

"Given a good front end, the creation of annotations should be as easy, dedicated, elegant and accessible as any office product." - Robert Sanderson