LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for CODE4LIB Archives


CODE4LIB Archives

CODE4LIB Archives


CODE4LIB@LISTS.CLIR.ORG


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CODE4LIB Home

CODE4LIB Home

CODE4LIB  June 2009

CODE4LIB June 2009

Subject:

Re: Durability of PDFs

From:

Ben O'Steen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 15 Jun 2009 23:51:03 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (172 lines)

Jonathon,

Likewise that paragraph reads with the same accuracy with the
following alterations

s/UTF-8|Unicode/PDF/
s/encoding/version/

I think the key thing is that garbage in == garbage out, but I feel
happier with garbage that was meant to have been unicode at some
point, compared to a pdf that was made by a Word->PDF printer driver
that craps out on large files, but does so silently.

My experiences with PDF versions:

PDF 1.3 and earlier is evil, 1.4 not too bad aside from colour issues
and its ham-fisted way of attempting to shove CMYK info into itself,
1.6 has issues to some people that I am still trying to isolate, 1.7
is rare as hens teeth and PDF/A as a spec seems to be okay, but I've
only seen a few of those in the wild and only from OpenOffice too. It
would be interesting to see how OOo's idea of PDF/A stacks against
Adobe's.

And there is PDF/X(-3?) orsimilar which I've only even seen on an
options panel, before being swiftly ignored.

And on a final note, there have been PDF files that are useless to me,
I can't wheedle out anything from them, and that are only 10 years
old. However, I have resurrected a tex-based thesis from an earlier
period without difficulty, and created a PDF/A from the source.

Bottom line is that it's best to preserve the source materials as well
as the final disseminations - you can't always guarantee a viewer will
work as expected. The trend is that newer PDF versions are better, but
be very very wary of hidden DRM. If memory serves, an eBook publisher
lost 1/4(?) of their stock, due to losing the mechanism to unlock.
Let's not have that happen to repositories...

Ben

2009/6/15 Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]>:
> Fair enough.  Asking someone to give you a UTF-8 (or other Unicode encoding)
> plain text file though -- you better try to heuristically check the encoding
> before ingesting it, and plan on a lot of failures. Typical users using
> typical consumer software (which tends to be somewhat unpredictable with
> character encodings) can't be trusted to give you a UTF-8 encoding just
> because you specify it, or  to have any idea what this means or how to do
> it.
> And checking the to see if the 'true' encoding of a plain text file is what
> it's advertised as in an automated fashion is heuristic at best, and not
> going to be perfect.
> And you're still going to have trouble with complicated mathematical
> formulas, molecular diagrams, other diagrams, etc.
>
> Jonathan
>
> Doran, Michael D wrote:
>>>
>>> As far as electronic formats go, I think PDF is as good as anything --
>>> except maybe plain ASCII text, which is not
>>> nearly as useable (and doesn't allow diagrams,
>>> mathematical equations, non-English letters, etc).
>>>
>>
>> There is no requirement that plain text be limited to the ASCII character
>> set repertoire.  Although once they were almost synonymous, that is no
>> longer the case [1].  Plain text can encompass anything and everything in
>> the Unicode character set.  That includes non-Roman scripts, mathematical
>> symbols, yada, yada, yada.
>>
>> -- Michael
>>
>> [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_text
>>
>> # Michael Doran, Systems Librarian
>> # University of Texas at Arlington
>> # 817-272-5326 office
>> # 817-688-1926 mobile
>> # [log in to unmask]
>> # http://rocky.uta.edu/doran/
>>
>>
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>>> Jonathan Rochkind
>>> Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:13 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Durability of PDFs
>>>
>>> The bet is that PDFs are so popular that _someone_ (the archival
>>> community if no-one else, but probably someone else) will ensure that they
>>> continue to be readable somehow.
>>>
>>> These are real non-trivial issues in electronic archiving though, issues
>>> that the archival community.  It is generally a safe assumption that good
>>> electronic archiving over the decades-and-more term requires some regular
>>> attention by an electronic archivist to make sure that files remain
>>> readable, and are converted to new formats when necessary. As well as
>>> attention to avoiding actual bit-level corruption of files. You can't
>>> neccesarily just dump files on a HD and ignore them and expect they'll be
>>> readable in 100 years, that much is true -- and true pretty much regardless
>>> of particular electronic format you choose.
>>>
>>> As far as electronic formats go, I think PDF is as good as anything --
>>> except maybe plain ASCII text, which is not nearly as useable (and doesn't
>>> allow diagrams, mathematical equations, non-English letters, etc). I don't
>>> know why you're colleague has decided that "30-40 years" is the horizon
>>> after which PDF specifically will become "unreadable", this seems like just
>>> a wild guess to me, but it would be interesting to see if he has any
>>> particular evidence to back up this claim.
>>> So there are real issues with electronic archiving, but unless they lead
>>> you to refuse to accept electronic submissions at all, you're just going to
>>> have to deal with them, it's not really an issue of PDF specifically, but it
>>> is true that "just dump files on a HD and forget about them and assume
>>> they'll be readable in 100 years" is not a particularly safe electronic
>>> archiving strategy.
>>>
>>> Jonathan
>>>
>>> Mike Taylor wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> Dear CODE4LIB colleagues,
>>>>
>>>> In one of my alternative incarnations, I am a zoological taxonomist.
>>>> One of the big issues for taxonomy right now is whether to accept as
>>>> nomenclaturally valid papers that are published only in electronic
>>>> form, i.e. not printed on paper by a publisher.
>>>>
>>>> In a discussion of this matter, a colleague has claimed:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> [PDF files will not become unreadable] in the next 30-40 years.
>>>>> Possibly not in the 20 years that will follow. After that,
>>>
>>> when only
>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> 30-year and older documents are in the PDF format, the danger will
>>>>> increase that this information will not be readable any more. It is
>>>>> generally considered as quite unlikely that PDF will be readable in
>>>>> 100 years.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I would appreciate any comments that anyone on this list has on the
>>>> likelihood that PDF will be unreadable in 100 years.
>>>>
>>>> Many thanks,
>>>>
>>>>  _/|_
>>>
>>> ___________________________________________________________________
>>>
>>>>
>>>> /o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <[log in to unmask]>
>>>
>>> http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
>>>
>>>>
>>>> )_v__/\  "Can't someone act COMPLETELY OUT OF CHARACTER
>>>
>>> without arousing
>>>
>>>>
>>>>         suspicion?" -- Bob the Angry Flower, www.angryflower.com
>>>>
>>>>
>>
>>
>

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.CLIR.ORG

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager