author note as aside footnote, sidebar, or marginalia?

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I'm trying to determine the best epub:type to use for a short author note at the start of each essay in a book and how to display it visually. The _Chicago Manual of Style_ calls these short author notes unnumbered footnotes, so I'm thinking a "footnote" might work even though the essays also have endnotes. Is this an exception to the rule that essays should never have both footnotes and endnotes or should I call it something else? Sidebar? Marginalia? I don't want accessible users to be thrown off by the epub:type if they even have access to it.
Then there is the visual question. In print, it's set off at the bottom of the chapter opener (per _Chicago_) with ornamental rules above and below, and it looks great. In EPUB, it should definitely be an aside, and I placed it at the back of the essay for lack of any better place. Now I'm thinking it should be at the front, but somehow differentiated, which goes back to my first question about what pub:type to use. I tried to find some samples at: <> but I didn't find any.
Any help about where I can find samples of complementary content or complete answers would be appreciated. As you might guess, I'm new at this.



In terms of placement, it's always best to position the content where it's expected to be read. EPUB doesn't support placement of content at the bottom of a page at this time, outside of turning your publication into a set of fixed layout pages, which would be a terrible thing to do in most cases. The functionality is coming to place content, but for now you have to find alternates from print for content that is fixed to the bottom of a single page.

Since the note is expected to be optionally read at the start of the chapter, an aside after any title/author byline sounds like the best approach. The aside element conveys that the content is not primary, regardless of any additional epub-specific semantics you attach, too. You could visually style the element as a bounding box (or borders above and below), with a different shading background, etc. to highlight to visual readers that it is not the first paragraph of the content.

In terms of the epub semantic to apply, there are no rules about what can and cannot appear in any content document. You can have notes, footnotes, endnotes, annotations and whatever else applies. In this case, it sounds like footnote is the closest semantic (but the generic "note" semantic could equally well apply).

The epub:type exists for two key purposes. One is to enable reading system behaviours. iBooks will turn noteref/footnote into popups notes, for example (but others don't which is why placement/styling always matters). The other is to enable accessibility by giving a rich picture of the document. Instead of being limited to announcing that a reader is in an "aside", for example, the epub:type value can be used to give a fuller picture.

I can't point to a reading system that provides those voicings yet, but when it comes to determining what semantic to apply it's useful to consider which semantic you would expect to hear. In this case, sidebar and marginalia don't quite reflect the nature in the same way as a note.

Hope this helps.

Hi Matt,

That's very helpful! Calling it just a note will work in this case. Let's hope reading systems start supporting more of the spec and soon. Thank you.

Thanks Matt. It is helpful

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