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Can Scholarly Publishing Evolve Beyond the PDF? (video)

We all use pdf-icon[1]PDF’s everyday but have you ever wondered where it came from?

Wiley released a video a few weeks back which explores the history of the PDF format from its early years as a tool of the printing industry to the current hydra-like status it enjoys today.

Okay, hydra might not be the most accurate term (kudzu?) but I have noticed that every time I try to delete a PDF file 2 more take its place. It’s a pernicious problem.

Kidding aside , PDF has hung around for 20 years not just because Adobe supported it but also because it fills a need both among producers and users. It’s the document format that is the cheapest to produce and use which offers complex layouts, print fidelity, active code, and (we must not forget) security holes.

Scholarly Kitchen

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npj December 16, 2013 um 7:31 pm

My $1000 hybrid tablet is basically a glorified (and expensive) pdf reader. As a researcher, I have to have accurate references, so saving online material as a pdf allows me to capture online content (and info to revisit the original website) and document my first interaction with it. Because an internet website document may not exist in the future, it’s important to capture it immediately because I may never go back to the website, or it may disappear or be altered. Pdf printing makes it easy.

With pdf files, my entire library goes with me anywhere in the world, carrying information in color that I can read (or print) at my own leisure. A pdf is not as small as a txt file, but it is extremely compact when compared to the size of video and music files.

With a hybrid tablet, I can now read pdf’s and make notes on my reading without resorting to a different media like pen and paper (which I still love.)

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