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Chapter 4. Basic (X)HTML Formatting > Explaining Abbreviations

Explaining Abbreviations

Abbreviations and acronyms (an abbreviation that can be pronounced as a word) abound. Unfortunately, people use them so often that they sometimes forget that not everyone knows what they mean. You can use the abbr and acronym elements to add meaning to the abbreviation or acronym in question without breaking the flow of your Web page or distracting your readers with extra links.

To explain abbreviations

1.
Type <abbr.

Or type <acronym if the abbreviation can be pronounced as a word.

2.
Next type title=“explanation”, where explanation gives more details about the abbreviation.

3.
Type >.

4.
Then type the abbreviation itself.

5.
Finally, finish up with </abbr> or </acronym> depending on what you used in step 1.

Figure 4.23. It seems an awful lot of code for just a few words. Still, it can be very helpful to get immediate information about an abbreviation, at least the first time it is used.

<p><abbr title="Lyndon Baynes Johnson">LBJ
</abbr> took the <abbr title="Interborough Rapid
						Transit">IRT</abbr> down to 4th Street <abbr
						title="United States of America">USA</abbr>.

<br />When he got there, what did he see?

<br />The youth of America on <abbr title="d-
						Lysergic Acid Diethylamide">LSD</abbr>.</p>

<p>--Hair, the Musical, 1967</p>

<p>Or perhaps you'd rather talk about something
slightly less political, like <acronym title="Light
						Amplification By Stimulated Emission of Radiation">
laser</acronym>, or <acronym title="Radio
						Detection And Ranging">radar</acronym>, or
<acronym title="Self-Contained Underwater
						Breathing Apparatus">scuba</acronym>? </p>

Tips

  • Netscape 6 (on both platforms) supports both abbr and acronym, highlighting both elements with a dotted underline and providing the title attribute’s contents as a tool tip (Figure 4.24).

    Figure 4.24. Netscape 6 Mac/Win highlight abbreviations and acronyms with a dotted underline and when your visitors hover, they get a question mark pointer, and then the contents of the element’s title attribute.

  • Explorer for Mac supports just the acronym tag, displaying its contents in small caps and the title attribute as a tool tip (Figure 4.25), though you have to point at just the right place. It completely ignores the abbr element.

    Figure 4.25. Explorer 5 for Mac displays acronyms in small caps, and if the visitor hovers over them in just the right place, produces the contents of the element’s title attribute. It completely ignores the abbr elements.

  • Explorer for Windows (up to version 6) supports neither abbr nor acronym (though it still shows titles as tool tips).


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