Hi Sarah,

>Unfortunately the exact wording of the content (in this client's case)
>is legally required, and so the possibility of editing it, or the
>references, in any way is out of the question.

Moving the title of the reference to the fore of the title attribute value 
wouldn't be changing the reference (as it is shown in the endnotes), but 
representing it in a medium-appropriate manner? If the title attribute is too 
long it will be truncated anyway. It could be perceived that there's a similar 
issue of changing the content when adding alt attributes or long descriptions 
to images, in-page anchors, etc.

It may come down to the relationship with the client, but if the protocol you 
recommend for implementing references on the website is formalised, then 
perhaps using the title attribute would be seen as a adding-value-to rather 
than 'changing' the reference? The client's web style guide would then be 
updated to ensure a consistent approach is taken to marking-up future documents 
(and get the legal team back on board).

You could illustrate the issue of medium-specificity with how a search engine 
results page may excerpt a portion of a document (without the complete 
reference text).

>I like the idea of linking back to the content once the reader has read
>the relevant footnote, but there are many instances when more than one
>footnote is attributed to a portion of the content (see example below).
>Also, the same footnote reference is referred to in different portions
>of the content.

The example you've provide isn't too bad, you could create separate links for 
each reference marker (<a>[1]</a><a>[2]</a>). What's more problematic is the 
second situation you've identified where a single reference is linked to 
*twice* within the same document, e.g.

<p>This paragraph is at the top of the document [1]</p>
<p>This one is further down the page, but also references the same document 

(Clarifying for the benefit of the avid reader.)

Making clear to the user which of the two reference markers the user would jump 
back to, would perhaps be more trouble than it's worth.

Looks like linking the reference back to the reference mark could be out then. 
Although the one-way system might not be too bad--the reader can still get a 
quick sense from the title attribute as to what the reference is to, and then 
read the full reference by clicking the link.

I'm not against the JavaScript Sweet Titles option posted, but agree with the 
spirit of the usability observation on the entry that an overly-long tooltip 
may 'feel' unwieldy or provide more detail than might be expected/required from 
a short reference.

Let me know the path you end up taking. As usual, there's no 'silver bullet'...

Best regards,

Andy Kirkwood | Creative Director

Motive | web.design.integrity
ph: (04) 3 800 800  fx: (04) 970 9693
mob: 021 369 693
93 Rintoul St, Newtown
PO Box 7150, Wellington South, New Zealand
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