Keys in HTML format

Ben Richardson benr at CALM.WA.GOV.AU
Fri Mar 19 04:52:05 CET 1999

- From: Mike Dallwitz

> In the Windows character set, the graphic 'en dash' has the code 150. 
> In my sample keys, this is represented by a single character with this 
> code, whereas in Ben's sample, it is represented as '–'. This is, 
> strictly speaking, called a 'character reference'. The corresponding 
> 'entity reference', which would be theoretically preferable, is 
> '–', but unfortunately this is not interpreted correctly by 
> Netscape Navigator.
> It is a moot point whether the character reference is preferable to 
> the single character, as both use the Windows encoding. In the limited 
> tests I carried out (Internet Explorer and HotJava in Windows, 
> Netscape Navigator in Windows, MacOS 7, and Linux), browsers handled 
> both equally well (i.e. either succeeded with both, or failed with 
> both). The 'correct' character reference is actually '–'. 
> Interestingly, HotJava converted my single-character code to '–' 
> (as shown by 'view source'), left '–' alone, and did not display 
> either correctly. However, this browser did display the character 
> reference 'δ' (Greek lower-case delta) more or less correctly, 
> whereas Navigator and Explorer did not.

I tried using the "–" character reference in Navigator 4.05 running 
on MacOS 8.1, and it was perfectly viewable as it was in Communicator 
4.5 on Win95, but there is the problem of how to encode those missing 
characters in the ISO 8859-1 character set. The obvious solution is to 
push forward and use the Unicode character set!

I assume your suggestion of the 'correct' character as "–" is 
this? Either way, I'd appreciate any web URLs you have that describe 
this character reference.

HTML and the web in general is always in a state of flux, so if putting 
a meta tag at the head of a document doesn't help now, that doesn't mean 
that it won't help in the future.


Ben Richardson               benr at
Western Australian Herbarium
Locked Bag 104
Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983

More information about the delta-l mailing list