Currently the HTML specification for


The blockquote element represents a section cited from another source.

The contents of a blockquote must be quoted from another source, whose address, if it has one, can be quoted in the quote attribute.

4.5.4 The blockquote element – Web Applications 1.0

For some uses, this definition is adequate. However, the phrase "the content inside a blockquote must be quoted from another source" makes it boring or impossible to make some modifications or additions common to a

. These changes are of three main types:

Typographically accepted changes to a quote, such as changing the case or adding ellipses to indicate a missing prose
Added online quote metadata, such as notes and attribution
Adding quote metadata on a line after the quote, but so as to remain visually associated with the quote

I suppose 1. is actually allowed (it would be crazy not to do that), but a strict reading of the current specification would theoretically make any change to the non-compliant source text. The online annotation of a quote (2.) is quite common (especially in the academic world), but it is non-compliant with the current specification and impossible to achieve in a compliant manner. The following line citation metadata that is part of (visually associated) block citation (3.) are possible with the current specification. However, for some block citation styles (border, box-shadow, etc.), this is annoying to implement, requiring a wrapper


< div Class = " bq " >
< blockquote > [quoted text] </ Abstract ]>
< > < cite > [19459008Signalezlecommentaire] ] [title of quote source] [/ cites > </ p >
</ div >

Horrible replacements are also needed if only a few block quotes have this metadata:

As this association is visual and non-semantic, it is lost if CSS is not present because the metadata

is not a child of

. If

was a child of

he would not generally need additional style, and would not require a wrapper


Although it is possible to add quotation attribution and notes in the surrounding prose (as suggested by the specification), the placement of these things in or with a block citation is common in the print. I have collected some references and visual examples of bulk citation practices . I suspect that authors who want to do this usually add quote metadata inside the element

despite the warning of the specification.

Potential Solutions

Assuming that typographically accepted modifications of a quote are given, we always have additions and changes online and associated (such as attribution and notes). There are several specification changes that we can consider for

to allow this kind of use cases, including:

A new element, say "" or ""
Lighten restrictions on

to allow quoted content and metadata for cited content, such as citations or notes
Creating an attribute to identify non-source additions to the block quote

Although a new item can be nice, no item can cover these different uses, for example even online and bulk attribution. Instead, I think that online changes should be allowed as prose as the notes in parentheses, or with the current elements as and . This would require rewording "the contents of a blockquote to be quoted from another source" to allow these changes.

There would still be no way to separate the original source material from the author's changes and additions. However, is this a valid goal? The authors edit and make changes (within the limits of accepted submission practices) to improve the citation. Having informative or attribution notes as part of the block quote makes it more valuable than the original source. The explicitly connected assignment (online or using


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