Footnotes and endnotes in David MacDonald Web Accessibility Blog, testing, teaching, and discussion

Footnotes and endnotes in
"How to" tips and testing

I’ve taken an action item with John Foliot to propose a new
element in HTML5 for footnotes. The
and related
elements would provide an easy way for authors to create
functioning footnotes, such as those in MS Word. Here’s a Q&A
to start the discussion.

Why is this necessary, when in page # links can be used?

It is reasonably easy to create footnotes in HTML using
in-page hash # links and the back button to return. However, in 20
years of HTML there has been little uptake of links to/from notes
in online academic documents. We are not going to see people
magically begin to use footnotes after 20 years unless we make an
explicit way to provide notes in HTML, and expect authors to use

Why do people use proper footnotes in MS Word?

Footnotes (and endnotes) have been available in Microsoft
Word as an explicit command since the 1980s. Virtually all
academic documents created in Microsoft Word today use this
footnote feature which allows users to easily jump to and from the
note from it’s reference point. Proper footnotes are weaved in the
fabric of academic documents [...]

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