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PHSC 300 Assignment 10: Electronic Archival Formats such as PDF and DjVu, and Creating Such Documents

Part 1: Electronic Archival Formats

This week's assignment is a little different. The most common electronic archival format is pdf (which stands for "portable document file"). To read such documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (which you probably already have on your computer, but is available for free from http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html. ) The advantage of pdf format documents is that they can be used with any computer based platform, Mac, Unix, Linux and Windows with appropriate software. Many agencies and journals now want documents submitted to them in pdf format, including the NSF (National Science Foundation, the major scientific granting agency of the federal government). This week's assignment is to take any of your lab reports and convert it to pdf format. The lab report must contain at least one table and at least one figure. If you need help scanning the figure for this assignment (if you cannot cut and paste it), please see your instructor who will help you scan the figure). Some word processing programs such as WordPerfect 9 and higher have an option under "File" for "Publish to pdf". In WordPerfect 9 and above arrange your report as you would like it to appear. Save your word processing file!! When you are satisfied, under the File Menu select the "Publish to pdf" option. Open Office also has a "Publish to PDF" option. Pdf documents, can be made using another free program, however. On all of the chemistry lab computers, a program called CutePDF Writer is installed. This program is installed as a printer driver. Once you have the document the way you want it to look and you have saved the word processing file (or any oher format that allows you to choose a printer), you choose CutePDF Writer as the printer, and save the document as a pdf file. CutePDF Writer is a free program. There are other free programs as well for creating pdf files, but CutePDF seems to work the best. CutePDF works from within any Windows program that I have tried in Windows 98, Windows 2000, or Windows XP.

CutePDF Writer is available as a free download from http://www.acrosoftware.com/products/cutepdf/writer.asp. This program is fully functional and ad-free. You will need to download both the free CutePDF Writer file and the free converter, usually a version of Gnu Ghostscript. You will then need to install both files which are both executables. Installation should be trouble free. Restart your computer, and you are ready to go. The only thing this program won't do, is provide live internet links from within your pdf document They will be colored blue, but dead). For that you'd have to buy their product or the full functioned Adobe Acrobat.

Another such program is PDF995. It is free and available for download from http://PDF995.com. You will need to download the PDF995 Printer Driver and the Free converter. This program every time you use it will open a browser window for the PDF995 software. To remove this, you can purchase a "key" for the rather reasonable price of $9.95.

Once agian for live links using PDF995 you'd need to purchase the full version.

Other pdf editing software is also available at both these sites.

The other option, is, of course, the fully functional Adobe Acrobat, but it is rather steeply priced at around $500 (for those of us without student discounts). Adobe Acrobat is installed on some computers around campus, but not on the Chemistry Computer Lab computers.

Once you are done creating your pdf file, make sure to look at the lab report in pdf format using Adobe Acrobat Reader, since occasionally when publishing to pdf slight changes occur. You may have to adjust the word processor file to get the exact look you want in pdf format. (i.e. occasionally an extra space may have to be inserted or deleted to get things on the page properly.)The pdf file is not editable, since pdf files are essentially image files. If you need to modify your pdf file, you will have to change your word processing file and use the "Publish to pdf" option again or the changing to the printer driver to CutePDF (or other pdf creation program) again to make a new pdf file. Turn in a floppy disk, CD-R, or CD-RW containing your lab report (not a printout of the pdf file) to your instructor on the due date. You will get your disk back after the assignment has been graded. Alternatively you can e-mail your file to chemprof2001@yahoo.com .

PDF documents are "vector" based and are essentially uneditable images. The advantage of the vector based program is that things look "smooth" no matter how large the text is expanded.

Recently there has been a challenger to the electronic archival format dominance of pdf. The format is "djvu" (pronounced deja-vu). This is a raster based format which results in smaller files than pdf files. Raster based formats get "fuzzy" or jagged when viewed at higher expansion. Djvu is probably a better staorage format for large images than pdf. A good free Windows-based djvu reader is WinDJView which is available for download at http://windjview.sourceforge.net/. At the same site MacDJView is available for those running OS X on their Apples. Using WinDJView it is possible to open a djvu program and convert it to pdf using CutePDF. Unfortunately, there is no easily used free djvu converter software available yet, unless you are more or less a Linux or Java expert. However, there is an online site which will convert your files for you for free at the Any2DjVu at http://any2djvu.djvuzone.org/ . This free online site can convert PostScript, PDF and scanned document files to DjVu files. Another useful peice of software is a browser plug-in for DjVu which is available for free at http://www.lizardtech.com/download/dl_download.php?detail=doc_djvu_plugin&platform=win . Since you already have a PDF file of your lab report, use the Any2DjVu site to convert it to DjVu. Turn this in the same way as your PDF file (they can be on the same dsik, CD-R or CD-RW, or can be e-mailed). In summary your assignment is:

  1. Create a pdf document of a lab report (doesn't matter what subject) but the lab report must contain at least one table and at least one image. The pdf document should be stored on a disk, CD-R or CD-RW to be turned in, or e-mailed to chemprof2001@yahoo.com .

  2. Convert the pdf document of your lab report to DjVu using the online Any2DjVu site at http://any2djvu.djvuzone.org/. The DjVu document should be stored on a disk, CD-R or CD-RW to be turned in, or e-mailed to chemprof2001@yahoo.com

  3. What is the size of your pdf file? What is the sized of your DjVu file?

  4. Bring a blank CD-R to Dr. Delaney sometime the week of April 7. Your next assignment will be CD-R based and Dr. Delaney needs to copy the database you'll be searching onto the CD-Rs. (Dr. Delaney will be out of town at the national ACS meeting in New Orleans on Monday April 7, but should be back on April 8.)