Members of the committee are chair, P.A. Moore (email@example.com), Karen Heidenreich (firstname.lastname@example.org), Kathryn Henniss (email@example.com), Judy Nowag (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Joan Winters (email@example.com).
The committee met over a four-month period (February through May, 1995), during which time the members reviewed numerous Web documents. The Committee also received input from other members of the SLAC community involved with the Web, which was taken into consideration in drafting this report.
This report outlines the recommendations of the WWW Style Committee, as follows:
The Committee recognized from the outset an implicit tension between:
The Committee's recommendations have been made with the intention of promoting some degree of informational consistency for Web pages at SLAC, while avoiding extensive recommendations regarding consistency of format. While the absence of strong format requirements will undoubtedly result in a less uniform look to SLAC's Web space, the Committee felt strongly that the need for informational consistency outweighed the need for format consistency, which in any event would involve the imposition of stylistic requirements that many groups would resist, as input from several people the Committee consulted has indicated. Furthermore, we are sensitive to the fact that a number of page authors volunteer their time.
The following recommendations are therefore intended to promote a basic level of informational consistency across all SLAC Web pages, while allowing for considerable departmental and individual differences in page layout.
According to emerging Web style conventions, the owner information usually appears at the bottom of the page, often in an <address> tag.
At SLAC, we recommend that page owners use the /owner script (or some functional equivalent) for displaying this information. The SLAC /owner script, the syntax of which may be found by viewing the source for the SLAC Template Page, displays information about the individual (phone number, email address, office location, and mail stop) drawn from a centrally maintained database, currently binlist.
Use of the SLAC /owner script also provides a mechanism for identifying all page owners at SLAC for the purposes of disseminating information relating to page ownership, responsibility, and broken links.
In cases of pages which display information drawn from a dynamic database, it may be useful for page authors to distinguish between:
The Style Committee makes no recommendation about the location of the date, or whether the date on a page is a modification date (e.g., "Last updated 8 May 1995") or a creation date (e.g., "Created 1 January 1995"), but encourages all page authors to include some kind of date information somewhere on their pages.
The Committee recommends that an icon or the word "SLAC" be used on every SLAC home page as a link to the SLAC Institutional Page. In addition, the Committee recommends that the word "SLAC" appear in the title of each home page at SLAC (e.g., "SLAC Technical Publications Department" or "SLAC Environment, Safety, and Health Division"). Including "SLAC" in a home page's title not only provides institutional context for the page's information, but it also aids in information retrieval when automated indexing tools are used.
While for the home pages of most groups within SLAC (like the Technical Publications Department or the ES&H Division) it makes sense to have "SLAC" in the title, for larger collaborations involving many institutions like BaBar or SLD, the appropriateness of "SLAC" in providing context for the page's information is less clear. The Committee's recommendation is correspondingly relaxed in these cases. However, when such home pages reside on servers owned and maintained by SLAC, the Committee considers it appropriate for there to be a link to one of the SLAC core pages (see discussion of SLAC core pages below) somewhere on the page. An icon or text element pointing to one of the SLAC core pages is sufficient. This link back into SLAC Web space ensures access to the SLAC disclaimer (see next section).
Regarding page style, we do recommend that page authors consult other page owners and Web experts at SLAC. Many HTML style guides exist, both online and in print, and the Committee further encourages page authors to consult such documents. (An annotated bibliography of online HTML Style Guides is being prepared, and will be ready for the SLAC Web community sometime in June.)
Though it contains no information on the medium of hypertext, The Chicago Manual of Style is recommended as a resource for issues regarding standard English usage and punctuation.
The core pages at SLAC shall consist of (1) an institutional, or "brochure" page, and a pair of working home pages: (2) a "sparse" home page and (3) a "dense" home page (see diagram).
The "Institutional Page" contains general information considered to be primarily of interest to visitors to SLAC WWW space, while the home pages provide information that is more oriented towards SLAC users, although it is recognized that there may be considerable overlap between these two broadly defined user categories. Since the Institutional Page creates SLAC's most public-oriented presence on the Web, it is appropriate for this page to contain more graphics than the two working home pages.
The "Sparse Home Page" (and its related pages) will function like a top-level, generalized table of contents to SLAC WWW space, while the "Dense Home Page" is a more exhaustive, index-like reference page. The current production SLAC Home Page is an example of a "dense" home page.
The proposed sparse page would consist primarily of the first- or first- and some second-level headings from the dense home page, which in turn link to separate HTML pages containing all the links under that heading on the dense page. In its simplest realization, the dense home page would be a concatenation of all of the pages directly linked from the sparse home page, though the Style Committee is still working on enriching this aspect of the model.
The evolution of the dual home-page scheme is a response to user feedback indicating that there are legitimate preferences for each type of access to SLAC's rich information space.
Experienced Web users can set their browsers to default to whichever of the three core pages best suits their needs.
It remains to be decided which of the three SLAC core pages (institutional, sparse home page, or dense home page) should be designated to come up in response to the request http://www.slac.stanford.edu/. The questions are, do we
Due to the conditions of the charge and constraints of time, this report makes no recommendations on the following topics:
In spite of a healthy aversion to unnecessary bureaucracy, which was voiced by several members of the SLAC Web community in responses to the earlier draft version of this report, and which members of the Style Committee share, we nonetheless recommend that a small, representative group of people be appointed by the Associate Director of the Research Division, to serve as a Web Policy Group. Those chosen should represent as many different groups from the lab as possible. Each person selected should have more than a passing familiarity with the Web.
The purpose of such a group would be to set policy on matters like personal pages and privacy on the SLAC Web, authorization to set up servers, and responsibility for server maintenance, as well as to appoint subgroups to address special issues as they arise.
Some members of the WWW Style Committee will continue to meet during summer of 1995 to develop and implement the three-page model for SLAC core pages, and to deal with residual issues not covered in this report (e.g., menu bars). Subsequently, the WWW Style Committee will reconvene on an as-needed basis, as new issues arise. People who wish to comment on style issues are encouraged to do so by sending email to www-l, by posting messages to slac.www.general, and/or by attending meetings of the SLAC WWW Users Group (SWUG).
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