Notes on Footnotes

(Last modified 31 March, 2003)

This page demonstrates the use of a new footnote object1 for Dreamweaver 3. Unfortunately, this technique works only in 4.0 browsers and above, with JavaScript turned on. (And it doesn't currently work in the public beta of Safari.) To view a footnote, move the pointer over a footnote number. I believe I've fixed the problem that caused Netscape 4.x to crash on resizing a page containing footnotes; if you resize this page in Netscape and Netscape crashes, please drop me a note.

Uses of the footnote

Many scholarly works2 include footnotes. A footnote can be used for any of six major purposes:

To digress.3

To obfuscate.4

To confuse the reader.5

To be pedantic.6

To cite references that7 nobody will ever look up.8

To show off the author's erudition.9

Obtaining footnote text

Before creating a footnote, one must first obtain a reference or a parenthetical aside. References may be obtained by consulting any library;10 be sure to choose a book or article with an impressive-sounding title. Parenthetical asides are also easy to come by: merely think of something irrelevant to the topic at hand, and write it down.11

Stalking the wild footnote

Footnotes are easily startled.12

If you encounter a footnote that is foaming at the mouth or shows other signs of rabies, do not under an circumstances attempt to capture it yourself. Instead, immediately contact your local university's Comparative Literature department, which will be happy to send a trained expert to assist you.

Preparing a footnote

Footnote are tasty straight out of the box as a low-calorie snack.13

If you prefer, you may sautée them with butter and onions, and wrap them in pita. If you must cook a footnote in the oven, be sure to stop when it's half-baked.

Care and feeding of the footnote

If you treat your footnotes well, they will breed. In general, the more footnotes a given work has,14 the more it is likely to acquire.15 Some articles contain more text in the footnotes than in the main text.


Treat your footnotes well, and they shall wax fertile, and multiply.



Jed Hartman <>