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Old 06-01-2019, 03:44 PM   #1
exaltedwombat
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Backlinks arrrrrrgh!

I was feeling quite proud of myself - I received an academic EPUB containing over 3000 endnotes with the request 'make them work'. Luckily the code was clean and consistent, so job done quite easily with some basic regex.

Today's book also has endnotes. The author has made multiple references in the text to the same endnote. Not just the FIRST time a word occurs, but EVERY time. And some of the endnotes are several pages long.

Whatever I do isn't going to be right, is it?
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Old 06-01-2019, 06:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by exaltedwombat View Post
I was feeling quite proud of myself - I received an academic EPUB containing over 3000 endnotes with the request 'make them work'. Luckily the code was clean and consistent, so job done quite easily with some basic regex.

Today's book also has endnotes. The author has made multiple references in the text to the same endnote. Not just the FIRST time a word occurs, but EVERY time. And some of the endnotes are several pages long.

Whatever I do isn't going to be right, is it?
I've only run into one EPUB like that and I couldn't find any good way to fix the issue. The feeling is best expressed by the attached cartoon.
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Old 06-02-2019, 11:15 AM   #3
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Whatever I do isn't going to be right, is it?
Theoretically, you could generate dynamic backlinks with JavaScript.
For an example, see this proof-of-concept epub3 book.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:12 PM   #4
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In ePub 2 you have two choices. repeat the endnote entry or have multiple back links with the user choosing the one that is appropriate. If they pick the wrong one it will go to the wrong place. The use can tap the endnote again and make a second try.
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:09 PM   #5
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At that point, I would just rely on the device's "back" button. If it doesn't have that functionality... too bad?

It's the usual "many-to-one" problem. Last time I remember discussing it was Kindles accidentally creating popup footnotes with a glossary:

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=291507

specifically emphasizing mine+Hitch's responses.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:42 AM   #6
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At that point, I would just rely on the device's "back" button. If it doesn't have that functionality... too bad?
IMHO, it's more realistic to rely on popup footnote support by readers and apps. For example, Apple Books (iBooks) and eInk Kindles will automatically display footnotes as popups if they were properly encoded.

For example, KDP authors won't have to worry about the "many-to-one" problem, as long as they format footnotes according to the Kindle Publishing Guidelines.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
IMHO, it's more realistic to rely on popup footnote support by readers and apps. For example, Apple Books (iBooks) and eInk Kindles will automatically display footnotes as popups if they were properly encoded.

For example, KDP authors won't have to worry about the "many-to-one" problem, as long as they format footnotes according to the Kindle Publishing Guidelines.
Doits:

What do you mean, KDP authors won't have to worry about it? There are still hundreds of thousands, if not more, of devices that don't have popup footnotes, so I'm not sure what you're saying here? Can you clarify?

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Old 06-03-2019, 10:42 AM   #8
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There are still hundreds of thousands, if not more, of devices that don't have popup footnotes, so I'm not sure what you're saying here?
Hmmm, and don't popup footnotes have other issues as well, like some CSS formatting getting stripped, not displaying images, etc.

I forget what the heck I was testing lately (maybe it was my Kobo Forma?) where the popup footnote was missing italics (since the book stupidly applied them via <span class="italic"> instead of <i>).

Side Note: How are large popup footnotes handled on actual Kindles? Do they allow you to "page" through them? Or do they only display X amount of characters, and then you have to jump to the full footnote?
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tex2002ans View Post
Hmmm, and don't popup footnotes have other issues as well, like some CSS formatting getting stripped, not displaying images, etc.

I forget what the heck I was testing lately (maybe it was my Kobo Forma?) where the popup footnote was missing italics (since the book stupidly applied them via <span class="italic"> instead of <i>).
That's been a problem with KDP footnotes, yes.

Quote:
Side Note: How are large popup footnotes handled on actual Kindles? Do they allow you to "page" through them? Or do they only display X amount of characters, and then you have to jump to the full footnote?
No, you can't page through them on about 50% of devices, you have to click, jump to the note and then read it. And then, obviously, jump back.

Don't get me wrong, I like the popup footnotes, myself when reading, but they're not the solution to everything, and as we've discussed, the glossary/many-to-one problem isn't solved by them, either, unless you really want to code a bajillion duplicate (effectively) footnotes/endnotes and all those cursed backlinks individually.

And let's say you do--so that (my usual example) "Irish Setter" in the body of the book has those 10 backlinks; it looks crap in the book, never mind the endnotes. IDK, the many-to-one issue is always, IMHO, going to be problematic.

As Wombat says, nothing he does is going to be "right" for that situation in which he finds himself. (Other than talking the author out of that usage, that is.)

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Old 06-03-2019, 11:39 AM   #10
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It seems, with searchable electronic documents, the glossary has, mostly, gone the way of the dodo bird. IMO the glossary is only good for letting people know what's in the book if they don't already know what to search for. Instead of direct links, the electronic reader/app should just allow a long (or hard) tap to bring up that word in a search function.... BTW, that function is available in Marvin - it will not only find the word in the book, but it can search the internet for that word to get definitions, references, examples, etc.

Multiple, identical, footnotes also should no longer be necessary - unless the book is some kind of reference/technical work. Most people read from the beginning to the end. If they care about the footnote reference, they would click on it when they come across the first instance, and then not need it on subsequent instances - presumably they would have learned the reference the first time... (yes, I know, that might be expecting too much of some people )
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:36 PM   #11
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I'm just going to have to hope the author previews on a device that DOES support popups!

The book is a religious rant. Which CAN imply an author who proof-reads meticulously and pedantically. Or I might be able to get away with murder. We'll see :-)
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by exaltedwombat View Post
I'm just going to have to hope the author previews on a device that DOES support popups!

The book is a religious rant. Which CAN imply an author who proof-reads meticulously and pedantically. Or I might be able to get away with murder. We'll see :-)
Wombat, what is your plan if he doesn't? Do you have the multiple backlinks, or...?

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Old 06-03-2019, 06:19 PM   #13
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There are 72 instances of <sup>1</sup>, 92 instances of <sup>2</sup> etc. etc. in the main body of text. What would you suggest? :-)
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:00 PM   #14
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There are 72 instances of <sup>1</sup>, 92 instances of <sup>2</sup> etc. etc. in the main body of text. What would you suggest? :-)
I'm not criticizing you. I was trying to understand what you had. So, you used the sup1's for the first reference, sup2 for the 2nd, etc.? Ouch, brother. you have my sympathies.

When the user jumps to (my go-to) "Irish Setters" from the sup1, or the sup2, etc....if there isn't back functionality, do you have the backlinks AT the glossary item? e.g.,:
  • Back to 1st instance
  • back to 2nd instance

etc. Or back-sup1, back-sup2, and the like?

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Old 06-03-2019, 07:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Tex2002ans View Post
I forget what the heck I was testing lately (maybe it was my Kobo Forma?) where the popup footnote was missing italics (since the book stupidly applied them via <span class="italic"> instead of <i>).
I'm afraid the <span> is not the culprit on a Kobo. Currently Kobo pop-up footnotes don't display any kind of HTML styling as far as I can tell. I suspect the pop-up widget they've used is of the PlainText variety.
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