I offer some justification below for things-as-they-currently are with
respect to these oft raised issues.
1. The discussion about <note> seems to confuse the physical placement of
the note in the running (print) text with its ontological status as an
annotation. Not surprisingly, since of course the <note> element as it is
usually used conveys both at once. When we encode a <note> inline, we like
to place it (as the Guidelines say) "at its point of attachment", and thus
convey both the point of attachment (the place in the text which is being
annotated) and the annotation itself economically with one element. This is
usually fine in running text, but there are places where it is difficult or
inconvenient to do so, such as the examples variously cited by Perry and
The solution, for those who don't want to clutter up the m.Incl class, is to
use two tags. Use a <ptr> with an appropriate value for its TYPE attribute
to mark the point of attachment, and put the <note> somewhere else, probably
with all the other <note>s in a special purpose <div>. Yes, this makes the
processing a bit more complicated -- but then processing notes properly is
*already* complicated anyway.
2. The TYPE attribute should not be global, as its use needs to be carefully
controlled. It has no specific semantics: a <foo type="bar"> is any kind of
subclass of <foo>. This has several implications. Firstly care should be
taken not to use it simply to mean "it's like a foo but really it's a bar".
(This is why suggesting that<note> is synomyous with <div type="note"> is
just plain wrong, as Syd points out). Secondly, some elements cannot and
should not take the TYPE attribute for the good reason that we already have
ways of subclassifying them by using distinct element names. Thirdly, some
elements have specifically-named attributes tied to a particular kind of
subclassification: for example, <title> has a LEVEL attribute which is used
to distinguish analytic, monographic, serials etc. If TYPE were allowed on
<title> you can be sure that someone would use it instead of LEVEL to do the
In general, TYPE is best used only on elements which are entirely generic
(such as <div>, <seg> etc.) .
I would be interested to see some specific cases where people have found it
necessary to introduce it before I readily agreed that it should be made
global. It's a very sharp weapon, and not a panacea!