Re: floating heads -- do they exist?

Eve Maler, UNI (
Thu, 12 Aug 93 11:07:43 -0400

>To: MX%""
>Subj: Re: Semantics of <Hn>
>(2) One dtd I've been using has two different kinds of heading tag -- a
><head> which can appear *only* at the start of a region, and a <caption>
>which can appear anywhere else, but doesn't start a new region.
>The trouble is that it's heard to see how you would tag something as a
>heading without there being something following which it is the heading
>of - and which therefore is a region.
>The only cases I know of are the "pull quotes" which appear typically in
>magazines (where you have a sentence or so in big letters splashed down
>in the middle of a paragraph to catch your eye) and -- less
>persuasively--very low level newspaper captions where it's just too
>much time and trouble to mark every paragraph as a region.

Yep, floating heads do exist in documents other than magazines.

This is exactly what we've implemented in our DTD for software
documentation (we got the idea from Bull, which submitted its
"in-between title" idea to OSF for its consideration). We now have a
"bridging title" whose purpose is to help the reader navigate the
discussion once he/she has located it, but which is not meant to label
just the following "region" -- rather, it often bridges the previous
and following discussions.

It does create sort of a phantom region in the mind's eye, and we
realize the idea is tainted with a bit of presentation specificity, but
it buys us certainty that the entire discussion won't be broken up into
tiny little (useless, incomplete) topics in our online book viewer.
We've found the concept to be pretty useful, seems intuitive for
writers to apply, and is a good alternative in places where you want to
*structure* information, just not strongly *hierarchically*. (Clear as
mud? :-) I believe it's been picked up by several of the organizations
who were involved in the OSF conversations.