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Old 03-04-2020, 02:50 AM   #1
Milenski
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About footnotes

Hello. I'm using calibre to convert .docx files to .epub. It's not a perfect software, but it's maybe the best free converting software. But i have a problem with footnotes. Sometimes i am converting books which have a huge amount of footnotes. I am talking about 700-800 footnotes. In Microsoft Word, every single chapter can have his own footnotes counter. But when i convert .docx to .epub, Calibre is not splitting footnotes for every single chapter and numbering them from 1 to 800 (if book contains 800 footnotes). Paper books usualy use different footnotes counter for every single chapter. Calibre convertor does not, atleast im not familiar if the program can do it. This leads to 2 problems:
1.Footnotes can have some big numbers - 673, 766, 800. It's a bit esthetical problem.
2.Sometimes footnote(s) can refer to another footnote(s) in the same book. And here comes the big problem. Although the ID link that Calibre creates for every single footnote is correct, the visual presentation is not because of the continuous footnote numbering. Footnote 766 in .epub can be 42 in paper book. And if text says to look to footnote 42 for more information, in .epub its actually 766. It is not impossible to fix this manualy by fixing the HTML code, but you can imagine at what cost.
So my question is: Is there an option, which can split footnotes for every single chapter when converting to .epub? If there is not, creating such an option from the creator of the program, will be a huge thing in my opinion.

Last edited by Milenski; 03-04-2020 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:16 AM   #2
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I'm afraid not, sorry. This is far more work than I am interested in doing for it, but patches are welcome.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:58 AM   #3
Milenski
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
I'm afraid not, sorry. This is far more work than I am interested in doing for it, but patches are welcome.
Hello. Thank you for developing this software.
By "split footnotes for every single chapter" i didn't mean to place them in the chapter itself. Maybe i wasn't making myself clear. What i meant was, it would be good to reset footnote counter (not the actual ID counter, but the visual one) at chapter break when converting to .epub.

This is how a regular .epub footnote link looks like in Calibre:

<a href="../Text/index_split_882.html#note_861" title="861" class="noteref"><sup id="back_note_861" class="calibre6">861</sup></a>

<a href="../Text/index_split_020.html#back_note_861" title="861" class="calibre12">←861</a>

This here can be a footnote 1 at beginning of a new chapter. The actual ID is 861. What is need to be changed is 861 to 1 here: >861<
and here: >←861<. These are the actual numbers we see when we read the text. Is it realy so difficult to write a code to check the first note of a chapter and then renumber all visual numbers (those between >...<, which are not the numbers in code, but in the text we read) in this same chapter starting from 1?
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:17 AM   #4
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Yeah I understood you. And again, it's not worth the effort for me, but as I said, patches are welcome. Be aware that "chapters" are not a well defined concept in either word or ebook formats.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:33 PM   #5
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Milenski, it's also not a good idea to do this for four reasons related to publishing peculiarities:

(1) Not all publishers restart footnotes with each chapter, especially for multivolume works. (And in legal references, that still leads to footnote numbers in the thousands when they do!) So by default not doing this is the best policy.

(2) As Kovid notes, the concept of "chapter" is rather... undefined. For example, I recently struggled with a book from a continental European publisher (has a chesspiece logo) that splits its chapters into between one and eleven .xhtml files in the epub. Worse, it is inconsistent in whether the files and chapters even begin with an <hx> tag; some are <span>, some are even just a used-once-only <p class=y>! I can guarantee that converting this book successfully would require eyeball intervention anyway.

(3) A patch is almost certainly the wrong way to do it, because there are so many different ways to do the notes. For example, some older University of California Press (freely available so no issues with unauthorized copying) titles use an <ol></ol> list for notes, but others — even in the same subject area published in the same year — hard-code numbers, while yet others use a really kludgy JavaScript application. A patch could not handle all of those variants.

(4) Last, and far from least, is the dagger footnote. That is, not all footnotes are numbered in the first place! In particular, books that contain previously-published journal articles often have from one to four unnumbered footnotes at the beginning of each chapter, and as soon as one assumes it'll be the same number throughout the book Murphy will strike with a fatal exception error that screws up the rest of the conversion.

In sum, there are just some features that have been developed in books over the last few hundred years that are just going to require manual intervention. Modern footnotes (and even endnotes) is one of them; and be glad you're not trying to convert Swift's "The Battle of the Books" while maintaining any fidelity to the way it was published!
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