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Old 10-04-2012, 09:39 AM   #1
GraciousMe
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Question Time for footnotes

Hi folks

I´ve been away from the forum for quite some time, not up to the latest happenings.

Anyway, my ebook (epub, working with Sigil 0.5.3) is almost done. Now time for the final touch.

I happen to love footnotes, and have a number of them in this book as well.

With an earlier published book (paper) I had them on the side of the page, not at the end, nor UNDER the page.

With ebooks this is totally different, I understand that. Don´t really like the idea of jumping around from chapter to footnotes (+ don´t look forward to the programming..) so I am thinking of simplifying things a bit.

1) Either have the footnote right under the paragraph, in smaller type. Or even IN the paragraph, in smaller type.

2) Rewriting the text so the footnote either goes into the regular text (in a parenthesis maybe), or simply goes away altogether (delete).

Looking for feedback on this.

As I said, have been away from the forum and have lost touch with the niceties of programming...

Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:04 PM   #2
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With the navigation on a reader so easy, I feel it is best to have just endnotes.
You can easily jump to the endnote from the text, and click the back button to get back to where you were reading.
This is much less disruptive to reading than trying to incorporate the additional information in the text.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:15 PM   #3
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To tell the truth... most readers aren't quite as enamored of footnotes as the people who love to include a whole slew of them.

Just make it so they never interrupt the flow of the regular text and everyone is happy: footnote lovers and footnote skippers alike.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 10-04-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #4
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Endnotes, so that´s what they are called...

I might actually save the footnotes for the paper version of the book.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:07 PM   #5
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Note: Not all readers have a back button. So if you are wanting to cover everyone, link to the footnote AND back.

If you are a footnote lover, you will no doubt go on for a page or so on some point, so in the paragraph will be disruptive. I put mine immediately after the paragraph, in smaller type so they are not separated easily. But again big footnotes can create a problem.

Another thing to consider is if you footnote everywhere, how is the reader to know just which ones are important and which ones are merely of interests to fanatics on the particular subject? Just a question, I don't have an answer.

One advantage of chapter endnotes is the numbers can stay of reasonable size. Footnote 222 (or 666!) is bulky.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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Perhaps this is a reader/writer conflict... For my part, as a reader, I really dislike footnotes that have been inserted into the middle of the text. Hyperlinking, in my view, is the greatest thing to happen to footnotes since, well, footnotes. if you link to and from the the footnotes (i.e. from the body text to the footnote, and from the footnote back to the paragraph or line being footnoted), navigating footnote-heavy books is a breeze. Granted, as has been said already, this is no longer technically a footnote (... and neither is inserting it the footnote text in the middle of a body paragraph), but really what matters is that it's the most efficient way to provide readers with extended parenthetical information. If you believe that the footnote is central (ie, not parenthethical) to the sentence (enough to be awkwardly integrated into the body text), then it shouldn't have been a footnote to begin with.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElMiko View Post
Perhaps this is a reader/writer conflict... For my part, as a reader, I really dislike footnotes that have been inserted into the middle of the text. Hyperlinking, in my view, is the greatest thing to happen to footnotes since, well, footnotes. if you link to and from the the footnotes (i.e. from the body text to the footnote, and from the footnote back to the paragraph or line being footnoted), navigating footnote-heavy books is a breeze. Granted, as has been said already, this is no longer technically a footnote (... and neither is inserting it the footnote text in the middle of a body paragraph), but really what matters is that it's the most efficient way to provide readers with extended parenthetical information. If you believe that the footnote is central (ie, not parenthethical) to the sentence (enough to be awkwardly integrated into the body text), then it shouldn't have been a footnote to begin with.
I completely agree. I'm OK with putting them at the end of chapters, but even then, once the reader gets to the end of a chapter they might have to page through several footnotes (that they may have already read) before getting to the next chapter. That can be annoying (even if you provide a link to skip over them). The only advantage I see to putting them at the end of the chapters instead of the end of the book is for performance reasons: the ePub renderer has to load another file entirely if the foot/end-notes are physically in a different (x)html file. They're already loaded up/parsed if they're at the end of the very same (x)html file.

But I say link, links, links. Get 'em (the notes) out for the normal flow of text and leave it up to the reader to decide if they're going to make the effort to follow them or not. The ones who are interested will be more than happy to click/tap a link to travel there and back, and the ones who aren't interested won't be annoyed at having the normal flow of text continually interrupted with ancillary/anectdotal asides.

But everybody's gotta do what they gotta do ... these are just opinions after all.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 10-04-2012 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
I completely agree.
+1 for Diap and ElMiko's sentiments, and I love footnotes. Links, links, and mo' links, both ways.

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Old 10-05-2012, 10:26 PM   #9
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Yep, as an ebook "designer" for several academic authors, I can categorically state that even in fiction, they loves them footnotes.

Now, in an ebook they are actually "endnotes" (which is usually the case anyway in academic papers) but... we can link to them directly where ever they are stored physically.

But what about the link back? The usual way I've been doing it is that the ID= of the <a..> tag of a footnote reference in the text takes you back (via the <a target=...> tag of the footnote itself to where the footnote was jumped FROM. On many readers, that means that the line containing the footnote becomes the top line of the screen.

But, sometimes it's better to place the ID="..." in the PARAGRAPH TAG before the actual footnote reference in the text rather than in the <a.../a> tag itself. That way, the back-reference takes the reader to someplace that provides context for the footnote.

Just sayin'...

Oh, and @Hitch: I HATE footnotes! (I'm lazy...)
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:31 PM   #10
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Foot/end notes are so dead tree old school

What is needed, is Balloon Help at the note location.

If the reader does not take action (click on the note marker), they just read on.
No End/Foot stuff clutter
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:59 AM   #11
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Foot/end notes are so dead tree old school

What is needed, is Balloon Help at the note location.

If the reader does not take action (click on the note marker), they just read on.
No End/Foot stuff clutter
Agreed. Pop-up footnotes would rock.

@St_Albert: Nah, inquiring minds love to know. I love footnotes, refs, cites... old research brains still like to know from whence cometh the info. In a day and age in which far too many people can't distinguish between fact and opinion, I like to know the skinny, myself.

But, hey...as bookmakers, ours is not to reason why, ours is but to code and cry. ;-)

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Old 10-06-2012, 12:15 PM   #12
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But, hey...as bookmakers, ours is not to reason why, ours is but to code and cry. ;-)
Preach the word, brother! I love navigating the ebooks i've made with footnotes... and it almost helps me forget that while I was manually coding all the links, I was a weeping, blubbering mess.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:54 PM   #13
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Preach the word, brother! I love navigating the ebooks i've made with footnotes... and it almost helps me forget that while I was manually coding all the links, I was a weeping, blubbering mess.
Actually, coding them didn't bother me all that much. It was testing that each and every link functioned properly—there and back—that nearly reduced me to tears.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:13 PM   #14
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Actually, coding them didn't bother me all that much. It was testing that each and every link functioned properly—there and back—that nearly reduced me to tears.
LOL, I hear that! We did an 1800-page (in print) medical textbook this past year--took nearly 4 months, with all the proofing and the back and forth with the client, and MOMMA, talk about footnotes! Footnotes and charts, with--wait for it--aqua chapter headers. I was sweatin' that one for a while. Came out great, but...man.

@ElMiko: Amen!

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Old 10-06-2012, 02:15 PM   #15
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Ah, well the newest version will be a bit of help then There's a Back button for clicked links (even in Code View). And the newly written insert id/hyperlink functions allow you to add an id, and select a hyperlink from the list of available targets in the book. Select footnote number, add id, select footnote, add id, add hyperlink, select (or put cursor in) footnote number, insert hyperlink Although it won't be until the next beta that the selected inserts work smoothly...
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