[Air-L] PDF is proprietary?

Burcu Bakioglu bbakiogl at gmail.com
Tue Jan 15 07:28:29 PST 2013

Dear Jason,
I don't think anyone is dismissing the #pdftribute initiative. My concern
was that one couldn't retrieve relevant information unless the site is
indexed properly and the files are categorized better. Dumping information
does not necessarily mean that it will be usable, open-access. Unless you
know the Twitter handles you have no way of recognizing what pdf could be
of use to you.

Also as danah was saying, PDF is not a machine readable format, so search
engines can only index by the title, not the content of the article. So
those who are searching it won't readily find it. And the format was
originally proprietary, but was later open sourced.

#pdftribute is a nice idea for a short term protest. I say it made noise
and brought to the foreground the issues that the academic community have
been discussing for awhile. But if we are hoping to initiate a long term
change, we need something more lasting. Hence the discussion on publishing
on open access journals.

By all means, my initial e-mail wasn't to dismiss the initiative, but to
open up a discussion about what this may mean and its shortcomings to
figure out what more we could do to make the best out of this unfortunate

All the best.


On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:04 AM, Jason G. Karlin <
ukarlin at mail.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> In what way is PDF proprietary? It was officially released as an open
> standard on July 1, 2008.
> I applaud those who are leading the #pdftribute movement.
> Cordially,
> Jason G. Karlin, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor
> University of Tokyo
> Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies
> 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku
> Tokyo 113-0033 JAPAN
> URL: http://individuals.iii.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~karlin/
> Email: ukarlin at mail.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp
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Burcu S. Bakioglu, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow in New Media
Lawrence University


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