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What is the standard for handling footnotes when tagging a document for 508 Accessibility?

Guest
Apr 06, 2019 Apr 06, 2019

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I am tagging a PDF document so that it can be fully accessible and 508 compliant. What is the correct way to handle footnotes when looking toward the two scenarios below?

...this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is HERE1 making reference to the one word alone.

...this is the second example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is at the end of the paragraph making reference to the whole of the paragraph.2

As far as I am aware the second example is fairly straight forward when dealing with and can be dealt with as follows:

<P>

    this is the second example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is making reference to the whole paragraph.

        <Reference>

            <Lbl>2

However regarding the first it seems improper to deal with a footnote which makes reference to the one word "HERE" alone in the same manner: Is it correct procedure to do as below? Or is this not acceptable? If unacceptable what is the correct procedure?

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is

        <Reference>

            <Lbl>1

        HERE

    making reference to the one word alone.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

FYI, per the standard, if a hyperlink will link the <Reference> tag to the <Note> tag, then only the superscripted number should have the hyperlink. No hyperlink should be on the word or phrase that the <Reference> refers to.

If there will be a hyperlink to the footnote text, the tags should look like this, but be aware that hyperlinking footnotes is not the preferred method at this time:

<P>body text

     <Link> (the destination)

          <Link-OBJR>

          <Lbl>1 (that's the superscripted footn

...

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Community Expert ,
Apr 07, 2019 Apr 07, 2019

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Without telling us where the <Note> tag appears in your code, it's difficult to advise you.

At this time, the standard doesn't sufficiently spell out how how the combo of tags <Reference>, <Lbl> and <Note> should be used in Tagged PDF, but clarification is in the works by the committee.

Also, at this time most assistive technologies don't do anything with the <Lbl> tag, other than read the contents in it, so its usefulness right now is "meh."

So for now, an informal best practice that will be useful and readable by those who use assistive technologies is what Raeben3 suggested above: place the <Note> tag after the sentence, or better yet, after the paragraph. Definitely don't interrupt the sentence with a <Note> tag.


If your software (the source application software and the conversion utility) puts in the <Lbl> tags, great. If not, add them manually with your PDF software (such as Acrobat Pro) if it's feasible to do so.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Guest
Apr 07, 2019 Apr 07, 2019

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Thanks raeben3 and Bevi Chagnon for your quick responses.

After looking at my post I realise that firstly I should have included my Note tag so as to highlight the topic of my question which is whether or not the first of the two example procedures is acceptable practice (the reference tag attached to the word HERE which is the word that I am calling out and attaching the label 1 thereto)?

If the above which seems more proper to me is not acceptable practice should I simply put the word "HERE" after "this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is HERE" (right before the <Reference> tag)? My issue with this is that it appears that I am calling out the word HERE and everything prior from the "...this is the first example..." even though this is probably the correct procedure? I hope that I have made my query clearer.

Below is my amended post with the placement of the footnote the <Note> tag at the end of the paragraph:

I am tagging a PDF document so that it can be fully accessible and 508 compliant. What is the correct way to handle footnotes when looking toward the two scenarios below?

...this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is HERE1 making reference to the one word alone.

...this is the second example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is at the end of the paragraph making reference to the whole of the paragraph.2

As far as I am aware the second example is fairly straight forward when dealing with and can be dealt with as follows:

<P>

    this is the second example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is making reference to the whole paragraph.

        <Reference>

            <Lbl>

                   2

However regarding the first below it seems more proper to deal with the callout in the following manner (see the word called out — "HERE": Is this correct procedure? Or is this not acceptable?

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is

        <Reference>

            <Lbl>

                   1

        HERE

    making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

    <Lbl>

           1

     the content of my footnote is this sentence.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 07, 2019 Apr 07, 2019

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Are you asking if there's a difference whether the footnote references only one word versus the entire paragraph?

If so, that's irrelevant to tagging the PDF.

Place the <Note> tag at the end of the paragraph, regardless of whether it is for a single word or more.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Guest
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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My question is not regarding the <Note> tag; my question is regarding whether or not I can specify (in the way that I tag the PDF) whether or not the footnote references one word within the sentence rather than what appears to be one or more words being referenced. In other words, if I am referencing the one word "HERE" (by the way I made a mistake in the tree structure in my last two posts and so I have amended below) can I do the following:

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is

    <Reference>

         <Lbl>

              1

         HERE

    making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

    <Lbl>

         1

    the content of my footnote is this sentence.

Or is this incorrect procedure? As you can see I have put above the word "HERE" within the <Reference> tag one level under <Reference> (in other words directly in line with <Lbl>) which a <Span> tag in the place of <Reference> allows for.

If incorrect procedure (and even though the footnote within the PDF that I am tagging references the one word "HERE") should I instead do the following:

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is HERE

    <Reference>

         <Lbl>

              1

    making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

    <Lbl>

         1

    the content of my footnote is this sentence.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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andreasm46323731  wrote

My question is not regarding the <Note> tag; my question is regarding whether or not I can specify (in the way that I tag the PDF) whether or not the footnote references one word within the sentence rather than what appears to be one or more words being referenced.

Footnotes can reference a word, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph. It's the author's choice.

The footnote reference has nothing to do with accessibility standards: it's grammar rules that guide where you place it. See https://www.scribendi.com/advice/what_are_footnotes.en.html

You place the <Reference> (the superscript number) at the place where you want to tell the reader that there's more information. Whether the <Reference> is after a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph is up to you, not accessibility standards.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Guest
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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Without wanting to offend anybody; this question remains unanswered:

If anybody can answer my question (please look at my previous post) that would be much appreciated.

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Engaged ,
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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Are you asking how to handle a footnote if it falls in the middle a sentence, as opposed to how it works when the footnote falls at the end of a sentence?

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Guest
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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Is the BELOW TREE STRUCTURE correct? I want to reference ONE WORD within a paragraph and the one word is "HERE". Now Let us say for example's sake that the paragraph looks something like so:

"...this is the closing sentence within a paragraph, the three dots prior include all preceding sentences within the paragraph, the footnote is right HERE1 and the paragraph closes here."

TREE STRUCTURE BELOW:

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is

    <Reference>

         <Lbl>

              1

         HERE

    making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

    <Lbl>

         1

    the content of my footnote is this sentence.

(See post 7 and 5 above)

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Community Expert ,
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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andreasm46323731  wrote

Without wanting to offend anybody; this question remains unanswered:

Without wanting to offend anyone, when you see MVP or ACP icons next to someone's screen name, it indicates that we are volunteer experts that Adobe has asked to monitor the forums. Others without any icon are volunteer users in the community, like yourself. They may be brilliant, experienced experts. Or not. And the Adobe logo/Staff next to a screen name means that they are a paid Adobe employee.

Therefore, be nice to us. We don't get paid to help you, especially in the evening on our personal time.

From the start, two of us have asked you to clarify your question: we can't determine what exactly you're asking us.

In my answer above, I reviewed my PDF/UA reference materials to give you the required tag structures. Hopefully you can use it to figure out what's needed in your document. Note the correct nesting of the <tags>, which is shown via the paragraph indents.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Engaged ,
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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<P>

          this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is here

          <Reference>

                    1

          making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

...

The footnote superscript is the link. Why have a link on the text "here" as well? It should be understood that either the footnote references the broader sentence as a whole if placed at the end of that sentence, OR that the footnote references the preceding word or phrase if placed within the sentence. I would not have a link on BOTH word and footnote superscript. If that were the case, then why not put a link on the entire sentence for footnotes that come after a complete sentence? Or on a paragraph?

Huh. I just made quick Word Doc with a few sentence samples as you're describing. I couldn't insert a footnote on the text anyway. It ignored my selection and only created the dynamic footnote number sequence. Exporting to PDF shows the same. The text that I highlighted reflects the sample above, where "here" is not part of the reference/link. Only the number is.

Is this at all on track with what you're trying to accomplish?

I know you are probably getting frustrated, but the earlier posts are pretty heavy to interpret exactly what it is you're asking. Stripping it down to just what it is you're looking to resolve may help with translation. Here is the HHS PDF download for 508 tagging guide. Check page 30/50 for a screen capture of their standard tag suggestions. That may be overkill based on what Bevi noted above in reply #2 in how the use of <Reference>, <Note>, and <Lbl> is note clearly defined.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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FYI, per the standard, if a hyperlink will link the <Reference> tag to the <Note> tag, then only the superscripted number should have the hyperlink. No hyperlink should be on the word or phrase that the <Reference> refers to.

If there will be a hyperlink to the footnote text, the tags should look like this, but be aware that hyperlinking footnotes is not the preferred method at this time:

<P>body text

     <Link> (the destination)

          <Link-OBJR>

          <Lbl>1 (that's the superscripted footnote number)

...

<Note> (the destination of the link)

     <Lbl>1

     <P>Footnote Text

Also recommended that a reverse hyperlink be in the <Note> to return the user back to the body text.

But the preferred method at this time, per the standard, is this: no hyperlink. Have <Note> follow the paragraph <P> that contains the <Reference> in the tag reading order. <Note> should be after a complete sentence or paragraph.

<P>body text

     <Reference>

         <Lbl>1 (that's the superscripted footnote number)

(continue with the remaining sentence or paragraph text)

<Note> (have this tag immediately follow the preceding body text paragraph)

     <Lbl>1

     <P>Footnote Text

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Guest
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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Thank you.

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Guest
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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Yes, looking at the PDF which you provided the link to it seems that both the second tree structure within my third post (post 5) and Bevi Chagnon's last post (post 11) seem like the only way forward for me, however my issue was this:

If the Lbl tag is optional (see page 30 of 51), both within the Reference tag and the Note tag then how is it (except by a link) that the rest of the footnote text is separated there from the superscript (label) id in the event that I have for example the same superscript number within the footnote body?

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is HERE

    <Reference>

         1

    making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

    1

    the content of my footnote1 is this sentence.

Is it because of the superscript number which matches within the reference? What if I have within the rest of the footnote body text (as in the example tree structure just shown) the same superscript number that is displayed within the Reference tag? Taking of course into account that being the label tag optional then both the superscript number (label) and the rest of the footnote body text are at the same first inline tree level. This must mean that a link so as to separate body text and label id is most definitely required? Or am I missing something within the PDF code behind the surface of the PDF tagging procedure which can separate footnote number and (in the event of the same superscript number within the footnote body) footnote body same superscript number.

This is basically why I thought that when doing the following (just like when using the Span tag in a paragraph during the PDF tagging process):

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is

    <Reference>

         <Lbl>

              1

         HERE

    making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

    <Lbl>

         1

    the content of my footnote is this sentence.

That I could then specify the word (in this case HERE) or words (in any other case) that the footnote is referencing there from.

Anyway, I shall go with the helpful answers within posts 10 and 11; Seeing that the question has been marked as answered it is not up to me to leave it open for further comment.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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andreasm46323731  wrote

<P>

    this is the first example sentence within a paragraph and the footnote is HERE

    <Reference>

         1

    making reference to the one word alone.

<Note>

    1

    the content of my footnote1 is this sentence.

No.

That's not correct.

I think you have the terms switched or something. That's why we can't figure out what you're asking us.

Where you write "the footnote is HERE" is not the footnote.

And it can't be there.

That's not how footnotes/references are created or termed.

The superscript number that appears in the body text is called a "citation" or "reference" and the superscript number is in the <Reference> tag.

The footnote is the small text at the bottom of the page and is in the <Note> tag.

As stated early in the thread, brush up on how footnotes are constructed at https://www.scribendi.com/advice/what_are_footnotes.en.html

And make life easier for yourself: just use InDesign's footnote utility and it will create the correct tags in the PDF for you.

Learn to use InDesign's footnotes at: Create footnotes in InDesign

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Expert ,
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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Have uploaded a mini-tutorial about this with 3 demonstration files. Located at: How to Make Accessible Footnotes in Adobe InDesign CC:2019

  • An InDesign CC:2019 .INDD with a demonstration of creating accessible footnotes.
  • Ver 1 exported PDF (Interactive for tagged PDF) exported from the INDD layout. Version 1 is compliant with PDF/UA-1.
  • Ver 2 exported PDF (Interactive for tagged PDF) whose <Note> tags were adjusted in the PDF for better compliance. Open the tags tree and compare the tag structure with Ver 1.
|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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New Here ,
May 28, 2024 May 28, 2024

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I realize this is an older string, but I just had to comment on you providing the link to the HHS PDF download for 508 tagging guide.  That guide is THE BEST guide I've come across in many years, and I still refer to it today!  Anyway - just found it interesting!  Thanks!

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Guest
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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"Without wanting to offend anybody;" (Q.) Why did I say this? (A.) So that the next part could then follow without offending! Why have you then taken offence? "when you see MVP or ACP icons next to someone's screen name, it indicates that we are volunteer experts that Adobe has asked to monitor the forum . . . Therefore, be nice to us. We don't get paid to help you, especially in the evening on our personal time."

I very much appreciate any help I can get via these forums so PLEASE take no offence!

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