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HTML for Chat Boards
By Marc Kahn

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Along with many other woodblock print collectors, I enjoy the give and take that happens on internet chat boards, especially the Shogun Gallery Chats and the Ukiyo-e Q&A. Occasionally, a participant will ask "I have a print on which I would like an opinion -- how do I post a picture of it here?" The purpose of this article is to provide an answer to that question and to give a few tips on how to make effective use of HTML in a chat board environment.

HTML is an acronym for hyper-text markup language. Like most other computer languages, it is very picky about syntax. If you miss a single required character, the browser won't do what you want it to do.

HTML instructions, correctly embedded in your chat board posting, will allow you to display pictures, create links, emphasize text, and use characters not available on your keyboard.

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Post an Image

There are 3 steps necessary to embed an image within the text of your posting:

  • Capture the image in a digital data file. The most common format is jpeg, which is very useful for the internet because it is a compressed format which makes for quick data transfer. You may use a scanner or a digital camera to capture the image. There are many software programs available to manipulate your image, combine images, and create the appropriate size for your file.

  • Store the image on a server which is available on the internet for public retrieval. Usually your internet service provider is able to provide server space for you for this purpose; follow their instructions for uploading files. There are also many public or free services, such as AuctionWatch, NBCi, and NetFirms, although their image-hosting policies change from time to time.

  • Embed an "image source" HTML instruction string within the text of your posting. This automatically displays the image in your chat room posting.

The HTML instruction will look like this:

<img src="http://DomainName/Folder/FileName.jpg">

The underlined characters are required by HTML syntax and should be reproduced as shown. The green italic characters are under your control and will vary according to the actual names.

Here is a sample:

<img src="">

Embedding that instruction in our text yields the actual image:

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Post a Link

You can also embed a link to another web page within the text of your posting. First, you will need to get the URL of that page, such as or Usually, you can do that by copying it from the address box at the top of your browser window, while viewing that page. Once you've got the URL, use it like this:

<a href="URL">link text</a>

Once again, the underlined characters are required by HTML syntax and should be reproduced as shown. The green italic characters are under your control and will vary according to the actual names and text desired.

Here is a sample:

There's a Hasui print shown at this <a href="">home page</a>.

Let's see how that works:

There's a Hasui print shown at this home page.

Don't forget to use your browser's "Back" button to return here. There are more tricks in the next section!

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Formatting Text

At some point, in one of your postings, you may wish to emphasize a word or a phrase. HTML allows you to underline text, to make text bold, or to italicize text using "tags". You can even combine tags to make, for example, bold italicized text. Here's how it's done.

To initiate bold text, use the tag <b>. To terminate bold text, use </b>.

Here is a sample:

Bakufu Ohno is an <b>under-respected</b> shin hanga artist.

And this is how it looks:

Bakufu Ohno is an under-respected shin hanga artist.

In a similar manner, <i> and </i> are the tags used to delineate italic text. <u> and </u> are the tags used for underlining.

Internet etiquette and common sense dictate that you use these formatting tags in moderation. Also, you should never start formatting without terminating it.

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Special Characters

You may wish to use a character in your posting which is not available on your keyboard. There are many special characters available using a code preceded by an ampersand (&) and followed by a semi-colon (;). For example, perhaps you would like to state the cost of a print in yen, using the yen symbol. The yen symbol is available using the special code: &yen;

Here is a sample:

In 1930, the publisher's price for that print was &yen;20.

This is how it looks:

In 1930, the publisher's price for that print was ¥20.

The artist Ito Shinsui's name is correctly spelled and pronounced with an emphasized, long "o". Typically, this is shown in printed publications by using a horizontal bar (or macron) above the "o". Unfortunately, characters with macrons are not currently available through HTML. (See the policy on the big Ô.)

Here's how you can make your own big ô, using an ampersand followed by the literal "Ocirc;" or "ocirc;":

&Ocirc;ta Gak&ocirc; designed prints of Kabuki actors in the 1940's and 1950's.

This is processed by the browser and looks like this:

Ôta Gakô designed prints of Kabuki actors in the 1940's and 1950's.

Many more such characters are available; a chart and technical discussion are available here.

Your feedback is welcomed -- please send in your comments and suggestions.

Original text as written and submitted by Marc Kahn for this article is his property, copyright 2001, all rights reserved.

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Quick Links:

  • Introduction
  • Post an Image
  • Post a Link
  • Format Text
  • Special Characters

  • Except as noted, the original content herein is the property of
    The Shin Hanga Skull & Bones Society (TM).
    Copyright 1999-2004. All rights reserved.