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Re: [O] Frontmatter / Text before first headline

From: Achim Gratz
Subject: Re: [O] Frontmatter / Text before first headline
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2012 19:46:42 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.93 (gnu/linux)

Jambunathan K <address@hidden> writes:
> I have trouble understanding what the real purpose of the "text before
> the first headline" is.

"When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither
more nor less."

-- Humpty Dumpty, "Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there"

> It looks to me more like a placeholder for
> capturing the "Frontmatter" [1]. 
> I have also trouble understanding what the rightful position for it is:
> Should it be like:
> (a) Title, Initial Text, TOC, Chapters
>       Or like
> (b) Title, TOC, Initial Text, Chapters
> Currently org-latex does a (b). 
> But if I look at an organization of a typical document, I am inclined to
> think that it should be (a). It is also my contention that Table Of
> Contents is relocatable only as a means to achieve (b).

That would depend a lot on the type of document and the publishing
culture it's intended for.  If we're talking books, then things are even
more complicated, as traditionally you'd have a bastard title(*) before
the actual title page.  The back of the actual title page (which would
be page 3 if it were numbered) almost always has some text, most often
the bibliographic entry.

(*) The bastard title is a relict from those times when you bought your
books as folded signatures as they were coming from the printer and you
had to cut and bind the book yourself if you were going to the trouble
and expense.  The title page(s) and front matter would be printed after
the rest of the book had already been off the press on their own
signature (you wouldn't know the page numbers for the TOC otherwise).

> I am wondering if you would be interested in formalizing frontmatter in
> Org documents. Backends will then be obligated to render the front
> matter headings as "centered text".

I'm not sure why you'd insist on "centered".

> - Title Page
> ,---- Frontmatter
> | - Copyright notice
> | - Abstract
> | - Preface
> | - Acknowledgements
> | - Dedication
> | - Table Of Contents
> | - List of Tables, Figures and Illustrations etc

The title page is considered part of the front matter in traditional
printing as it is printed on the same sheet as the rest of the front

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