On 15/11/2011 22:30, Melinda Shore wrote:
Librarian, here. As a fan of the unusual argument I love the
suggestion that future researchers will have an easier time with
undocumented, proprietary formats, and therefore in the present
day we should all be required to run behemothware so that we can
be able to look at slides loaded with the sort of Features that
Tufte warned us about. Odd to see an IETF participant arguing
against interoperability, BTW.
That sort of sarcasm has a tendency not to work out in the longer run.
Oh wait, didn't someone else say that already? :-)
In fact, I deleted a paragraph that I had written about accepting multiple
formats and converting everything into a common format, simply because the
IETF does that already with pdf. Possibly deleting this didn't help the
My point was merely that no file format is ideal: ascii7 has elegant
simplicity but hobbles presentation format style. PDF is widely supported,
and I am informed that PDF/A is considered suitable for long-term
preservation (thanks R.P. for pointing this out offline). However, pdf is
a monstrous bag of horrors internally and forensic historians of the future
will not necessarily love us for it, particularly if they are picking apart
corrupted pdfs with some of the more exotic constructions. Full
documentation is available for Microsoft doc/docx/ppt/pptx formats,
regardless of your assertion that these are undocumented - and the xml
versions are slightly less godawful than the binary formats. ODF is
documented badly enough to the extent that incompatible but compliant
versions exist. Take your pick.
FWIW, my preference would be to accept current common formats on the
datatracker, including pptx/docx/etc, to convert them immediately to some
form of lowest common denominator (e.g. pdf, with all the information loss
that that entails) and then to post the original format for current
consumption, the converted format for posterity, and if possible a text
format version. But that's more work than the (reasonable) current ietf
position of just publishing PDFs.
Re: Tufte, I often wonder if he doesn't have a feline mass grave in his
back yard for all the stultifyingly awful ppts imposed upon bored audiences
over the years.
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