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Executive Director of the PDF Association

October 1, 2014 14

As of October 1, 2014, a significant change for me. After four years I’m leaving the Board of the PDF Association (a volunteer position), to become the organization’s first Executive Director. This is going to be a lot of fun because it combines something I really enjoy (standards development and the promotion of standards adoption) with… Read more

“PDF Day” for IT managers and executives

September 29, 2014 0

An organization in which I’m rather heavily involved, the PDF Association, is hosting two educational events for IT executives this December, in Washington DC and New York City. PDF Day is intended to educate IT executives on what PDF can do. Most people think very little about PDF, but the format has (as most readers of… Read more

3 key tips for beating Acrobat’s z-order nightmare

August 21, 2014 546

PLUS – 6 ways to beat the z-order problem in the first place! It’s the content reordering nightmare. You are manually tagging a PDF in Adobe Acrobat. All of a sudden stuff starts disappearing from the page. Professionals call it the “z-order problem”, but it’s known to most users simply by the howl of pain… Read more

Big Data: history to scale

July 21, 2014 446

Less than a decade after the country’s founding, the US federal government began to pay systematic attention to mapping the immense land-area that was to become the United States. While several military and civilian surveying efforts resulted, there were conflicts and a lack of standardization. A mere 94 years after the original Land Ordinance of 1785… Read more

How accountable are web pages?

July 8, 2014 2

Does the world still run on paper documents? No… and yes. To be sure, vast quantities of documents and data reside on servers. This material is accessed worldwide, millions of times per second, 24 hours a day. It’s typically delivered from web server to browser in HTML, the core language of the web. We trust… Read more

Clickbait to make your head shake

June 30, 2014 19

A recent World Bank study (PDF) analyzed download rates for reports published on the World Bank website. The study showed that although 13% of World Bank reports in PDF are downloaded over 250 times, almost a third (31%) are never downloaded. A powerful factoid indeed! …but wait for the punchline… Many of these files were posted as… Read more

The future of electronic documents: Gilbane’s view from 1993

May 28, 2014 0

Legendary content management guru Frank Gilbane wrote an article in 1993 discussing the fact that all significant content was (then) distributed on paper. He wondered: what would come next? First: why was paper distribution critical to business information in 1993? Frank said: “Paper was not only the lowest common denominator, it was the only common denominator.… Read more

Apple’s Preview: Still not safe for work

April 7, 2014 307

I love Apple products. My desktop is a Mac Mini, my road-warrior is a MacBook Pro and I upgrade my iPhone every other version. My iPad 1 still works reasonably well; I never guessed its batteries would have lasted this long. But as someone intimately involved in developing international standards for software I am appalled… Read more

Archival standards: an interview with NARA

March 21, 2014 14

It’s easy to understand that stable, reliable records-keeping is essential to business, government and society in general. When paper and its microfilm cousin were the only media for records the world was a simpler place. Over the last 50 years government agencies have replaced filing cabinets with servers and printed documents with PDF files. Things got a… Read more

Accessible content: legal and regulatory update

March 11, 2014 13

The time when content producers could focus on delivering a given visual appearance without concerning themselves with underlying structure or reusability is coming to an end. As is so often the case, litigation and regulation are key harbingers of change. Three recent developments, all from February 2014, are worth considering: In the US Department of Justice’s… Read more