W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-egov-ig@w3.org > February 2010

RE: Ed and Outreadch Opportunity

From: <chris-beer@grapevine.net.au>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 08:53:10 +1100 (EST)
Message-ID: <60485.165.12.252.111.1265061190.squirrel@webmail.grapevine.com.au>
To: Niemann.Brand@epamail.epa.gov
Cc: rachel.flagg@gsa.gov, owen.ambur@verizon.net, "'eGovIG IG'" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>, public-egov-ig-request@w3.org, niemann.brand@epa.gov
Good suggestion, but specific to the US, and other countries that have
made the step to open engagement - in this case we should probably focus
on the baseline - that all .gov.*'s and agencies world wide have a need to
publish Publications and that they will likely use PDF's. A Wiki format is
great, but depends so much on a policy of open government being in place
to work.

Chris

> Rachel and all, I would suggest that agencies provide their most
> important documents in Wiki format along with PDFs so the public can
> more easily access and comment on them. I would also suggest that
> agencies integrate their OGD deliverables for the same reason - see
> http://www.slideshare.net/guest8c518a8/design-suggestions-for-epas-one-wiki-in-support-of-the-epa-ogd-work-group
>
> Brand
>
>
>
>   From:       rachel.flagg@gsa.gov
>
>   To:         Owen.Ambur@verizon.net
>
>   Cc:         "'eGovIG IG'" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>,
> public-egov-ig-request@w3.org
>
>   Date:       01/31/2010 09:51 PM
>
>   Subject:    RE: Ed and Outreadch Opportunity
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> +1 to Owen's statement in a previous post".. let me assure you that I am
> going to be one ticked off taxpayer if .gov agencies continue to insist
> upon flaunting style over substance in publishing their strategic and
> performance plans (including their open gov plans)."
>
> +1 to Brian's comment below that, if there are better ways to create
> PDFs, then we need to tell people.
>
> So in the interest of transparent, participatory and collaborative
> government, my question to the group is this....
>
> If you were in charge of publishing government agency strategic/OpenGovt
> plans... how would you do it?
>
> Keep these points in mind:
>  - for some agencies, old habits die hard and there will probably be a
> push to publish at least some of these plans as glossy PDFs with pretty
> pictures........ so we need to make sure that content creators are
> creating these PDFs correctly
> -  the solution must be explainable in non-techie language, to help
> agency web managers convince their bosses of the "right" way to do this,
> so plans are accessible (in all ways) to the public
>
> HOW can we do it better?
> Is there ONE place that offers simple, step-by-step guidance for
> creating machine-readable PDFs, that we point out to agencies and tell
> them to follow that model?
>
> I think we all agree that context, style and substance are all important
> - so how can we combine all those into one end product that meets all
> those needs?
>
> Government agencies are trying really hard to get this right - what
> tools can you recommend to help agencies deliver?
>
> Thanks!
> -Rachel
>
> -------------------------------
> Rachel Flagg
> Web Content Manager
>  and Co-Chair, Federal Web Managers Council
> Government Web Best Practices Team
> Office of Citizen Services
> U.S. General Services Administration
> rachel.flagg@gsa.gov
> www.webcontent.gov - Better websites. Better government.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>  "Owen Ambur"
>  <Owen.Ambur@verizon.net>
>  Sent by:                                                            To
>  public-egov-ig-request@w3.org                   "'eGovIG IG'"
>                                                  <public-egov-ig@w3.org
>                                                  >
>  01/29/2010 02:22 PM                                                 cc
>
>                                                                 Subject
>                                                  RE: Ed and Outreadch
>                                                  Opportunity
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Brian, with reference to my separate message and the text of your draft
> cited by Dave below, I would also point out that:
>
> a)      HTML is a presentation format and, thus, is about style rather
> than substance (meaning), and
> b)      RDF may be ā€œserializedā€ in XML:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_Description_Framework#Serialization_formats
>
>
> Besides XFDL, MSā€™s XML Paper Specification (XPS) is another XML
> vocabulary dealing with style.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XML_Paper_Specification
>
> Adobeā€™s Mars Project is described as ā€œan XML-friendly representation
> of
> PDF documentsā€:  http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/mars/
>
> Owen
>
> From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [
> mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Brian Gryth
> Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 4:51 PM
> To: Dave McAllister; Owen Ambur
> Cc: eGovIG IG
> Subject: Re: Ed and Outreadch Opportunity
>
> Dave,
>
> I apologize for the error and it has been corrected.
>
> + 1 to Owen's statements.  That is why I would suggest that we need to
> focus on educating people on the best approach to creating PDFs.  If a
> PDF can be created with the necessary raw data, metadata, or what have
> you that makes the document more machine readable than we need to tell
> people.
>
>
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 2:14 PM, Dave McAllister <dmcallis@adobe.com>
> wrote:
>
> Just for completeness (and since the group has heard this before.
>
> One objection...
>
> In this sentence, you lump a standard, PDF with two
> implementations/products.
>
> The W3C, the Sunlight Foundation, and other open government advocates
> recommend that government's should use open standards based
> technologies, such as HTML, XML, or RDF, rather than proprietary
> formats, such as PDF, Microsoft Word or Excel, when publishing data.
>
> PDF is not proprietary, it is an open International standard, ISO 32000,
> under TC171.
>
> Adobe products such as Acrobat and Acrobat Reader are proprietary... And
> yes, if you choose to state Acrobat here, then Iā€™ll live with it. But I
> worked really hard to separate PDF from Adobe specification to ISO
> standard.
>
> Thanks for the insight into the letter.
>
> davemc
>
>
> On 1/29/10 1:10 PM, "Brian Gryth" <briangryth@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all,
>
> Thanks for the good discussion.  It has been helpful.  I have created a
> Google Doc to capture my thoughts.  It is a draft letter that I plan to
> send to member of the Colorado General Assembly concerning the school
> finance bill I identified.  The doc is viewable at
> https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0Aev3E7WkLorMZGhkcGhkYjlfOXpudzNkNWZ0&hl=en
>  (please let me know if you would like access to edit the doc.)
>
> As to this discussion, I think that it can best be described as the PDF+
> approach.  As Joe has frequently and correctly pointed out, PDF use is
> persistent and this will not change.  (Adobe has been very effective in
> making their product ubiquitous.)  Replacing PDF is going to be
> extremely difficult, if not impossible.  Therefore, we need to education
> the government community on the best practices for creating PDF
> documents or the best approach to augment PDF publication.
>
> Again thank you for the information and please continue the discussion
> or help revise and improve the document I linked to above.
>
> Thanks,
> Brian
>
> On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 8:29 AM, Joe Carmel <joe.carmel@comcast.net>
> wrote:
> David,
>
> PDF is probably the most flexible human-readable electronic format we
> humans have invented and provides one of the richest possible electronic
> formats ever devised in terms of capabilities (text, graphics, color,
> image, audio, video, forms, printability, digital signatures, metadata,
> file attachments, and archiving).  With no disrespect, it seems like the
> problem for many is that PDF is not readable and consumable with a text
> editor.  While this is true, there are several public domain and
> commercial tools that provide developers with access to PDF file
> contents (even converting page contents to XML).  Given these
> overwhelming benefits and the substantial use of the format on the
> human-side of the web, itā€™s very unlikely that PDF is going away.  Even
> if everyone stopped using it, there would still be over 26 million PDF
> files (per Google) on the web from the .gov sites alone.  Since the PDF
> format allows metadata inclusion and file attachments, I think getting
> the word out about how these and other features add interoperability to
> PDF should encourage practices that lead to combining human and machine
> readability for all electronically published information.
>
> HTM  30,800,000 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Ahtm&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> HTML27,700,000 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Ahtml&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> PDF    26,100,000
> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Apdf&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> ASP    13,100,000 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Aasp&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> TXT     2,980,000 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Atxt&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> DOC    2,310,000 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Adoc&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> XLS     1,880,000 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Axls&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> XML    1,010,000 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Axml&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
> RDF             3,240 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3A.gov
> +filetype%3Ardf&aq=f&aqi=&oq=
>
> Also, see http://legislink.wikispaces.com/message/view/home/14870950 for
> more tech info.
>
> Joe
>
>
>
> From: David Pullinger [mailto:David.Pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk]
> Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 9:27 AM
> To: chris-beer@grapevine.net.au
> Cc: Kevin' 'Novak; Joe Carmel; 'Brian Gryth'; 'eGovIG IG'
> Subject: Re: Ed and Outreadch Opportunity
>
>
>
> Chris,
>
>
>
> Let me assure you that I'm not in favour of PDF for data or
> communication, the critical words were ...'those who insist on..'   Let
> me draw a comparison.  The government is not in favour of people taking
> drugs.  But we provide information to help those who do.  Our friends at
> Adobe should not draw the analogy too far as I just mean that sometimes
> we engage in harm reduction - in this case to get at good re-usable
> data.
>
>
>
> David
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> David Pullinger
>
> david.pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk
>
> Head of Digital Policy
>
> Central Office of Information
>
> Hercules House
>
> 7 Hercules Road
>
> London SE1 7DU
>
> 020 7261 8513
>
> 07788 872321
>
>
> Twitter #digigov and blogs:  www.coi.gov.uk/blogs/digigov <
> http://www.coi.gov.uk/blogs/digigov>
>
>
>
>
>>>> Chris Beer <chris-beer@grapevine.net.au> 28/01/2010 12:05 >>>
> Hey Brian, everyone
>
> Wouldn't be right if I didn't pop the TF4 hat on and respond into the
> conversation ;) I already sent Brian an email offering to assist, but
> since we're doing this in list... :)
>
> Personally and professionally,  I have issues with "data", if not any
> government information, being published in PDF formats as well as how
> PDF files are used in general, not only by Gov, but by the Private
> sector as well.
>
> IMO The only three reasons (and only if you had to) to use PDF is a) as
> an archive snapshot of a document and b) for document control - that is
> - when you don't want a document to be altered by users such as in the
> case of a manifestation or publication of a piece of legislation,
> tenders etc - hence why you can embed digital signatures, lock them from
> editing, etc etc. and c) With accessible Smart Forms, which are actually
> just such a cool idea and so very useful as an assistive technology, and
> for both the user, and the owner - that said these all still have issues
> around being in PDF.
>
> The general usage, however, seems to be for anything and everything that
> can be published. Want a printable version? Download the PDF file.
>
> Rather than focus on the pitfalls of using PDF's in the .gov.* space
> (which I'm more than happy to discuss with anyone - especially David in
> light of his comments ;) ), I'll focus on the topic at hand. I've had a
> look at the Fiscal Note Brian provided as well as the proposed Act and
> I'm a little stunned by the leap of logic in this sense.
>
> A careful reading of the Bill reveals that throughout, information is
> required to be "posted on-line, in a downloadable format". Now if I was
> a clever Web Manager in charge of implementing my local schools
> requirements under this bill, I could quickly and easily meet these
> requirements through a CMS enabled website/database - the act of viewing
> a webpage is, by definition, downloading information. Not only that, but
> I could point at my model and highlight the fact that:
>
> a) The data supports RDF(a), XML, StratML etc in a far more useful and
> usable format than a PDF version
>
> b) I can send my schemas to other schools, or even the Department (who
> might want to create a centralised model) to enable consistancy of data
> formatting, not just a pretty view of the data
>
> c) I can deliver my data in a range of open standard formats, from such
> as binary, CSV, HTML, XML, etc using very basic, free, vendor
> independant and accessible technologies
>
> d) I can export a customisable view of this data on demand as a PDF file
> if needed... (think the export as PDF function of Google Analytics
> dashboard reports.) But I can also export it in a variety of other
> propriety formats on demand.
>
> e) I can very easily track the usage and access of this data by the
> public through web analytics. If I track it well enough, and agressively
> enough, I can start to analyse which parts of the data are the most
> useful (for instance I might well find that visits from .edu domains
> (ie: teachers) show a marked interest in salary schedule comparisons)
> and I can tailor the solution from a push Web 1.0 model to a information
> on demand Web 2.0 model.)
>
> f) I can allow others, including other arms of Local, State and Federal
> Governments, through API's and mashups, to mix my data with other data
> to provide interesting information - like financial data mapped against
> student result averages.
>
> A couple of other things to consider with the financial and workload
> aspects in mind, is that technically (and correct me if I am wrong) each
> and every PDF release of this data would be classed as a government
> publication and will require not only ISBN numbers etc, but entry into
> the Library of Congress or State equivalent, catalogues as well. A
> single website, being considered as an Intergrated Resource, technically
> would require only a single catalogue entry...
>
> The Fiscal Note also reads "It is assumed that financial documents can
> be electronically converted into a portable document format (PDF) or
> image file (tiff, gif, jpg), and posted online at minimal cost, and that
> software to convert documents and software to modify websites is readily
> available at the district level."
>
> Now thats an interesting assumption - and it is just that - an
> assumption. Considering publishing the information as HTML etc is
> effectively free.
>
> These are only some initial thoughts, but you get the idea. Happy to
> discuss.
>
> David - would love to discuss your thoughts around the standards and
> governance on PDF, but it'd probably off topic in this thread. Drop me a
> line and expand on things :)
>
> Cheers
>
> Chris
>
>
>
>
> David Pullinger wrote:
>
> Both,
>
>
>
> As well as separate data files, it is perfectedly possible to embed RDF
> (a) into PDF files, as other markup, and so provide access to Linked
> Data thereby...
>
>
>
> We're considering whether or not to issue standards in this area so that
> those who insist on releasing information in PDF files nevertheless
> don't put a block on Linked Data.
>
>
>
> David
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> David Pullinger
>
> david.pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk
>
> Head of Digital Policy
>
> Central Office of Information
>
> Hercules House
>
> 7 Hercules Road
>
> London SE1 7DU
>
> 020 7261 8513
>
> 07788 872321
>
>
> Twitter #digigov and blogs:  www.coi.gov.uk/blogs/digigov <
> http://www.coi.gov.uk/blogs/digigov>
>
>
>
>
>>>> "Joe Carmel" <joe.carmel@comcast.net> <mailto:joe.carmel@comcast.net
>>  26/01/2010 18:56 >>>
> Brian,
> One option to consider might be XForms (and XSLTForms in particular).
> Although Iā€™m not familiar with the school district financial data, it
> seems like publishing an XForm on a central website and mandating that
> school districts fill it out would be easy to create, maintain, and
> implement.  The output files could then be posted centrally and/or
> locally.
> Iā€™m working with Owen Ambur and several others on something like this
> for StratML.  Check out http://www.xmldatasets.net/XF2/stratmlxform3.xml
> .   Itā€™s still being developed but it might serve as an example.  The
> idea is to provide a way to create, import, update, display, and finally
> catalog StratML fles across the web.
> Joe
>
> From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [
> mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Novak, Kevin
> Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 12:13 PM
> To: Brian Gryth; eGovIG IG
> Subject: RE: Ed and Outreadch Opportunity
> Brian,
> I am here to help you.
> I can provide input and opinion on the piece you are developing. I
> concur with your assessment of PDF. Other options in addition must be
> considered.
> Kevin
> From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [
> mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Brian Gryth
> Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 12:08 PM
> To: eGovIG IG
> Subject: Ed and Outreadch Opportunity
>
> Good day all,
>
> Members of the Colorado General Assembly introduced legislation recently
> that would mandate school districts to publish certain financial data in
> a down loadable format.  The bill is HB10-1036 and is available at
> http://legislink.org/us-co?HB10-1036.  This is a good thing on the
> surface.  What concerns me is the fiscal impact statement associated
> with the legislation.  The concerning part of the fiscal impact
> statement focuses on the information being released in PDF or in an
> image format (e.g. JPEG, TIFF, GIF), but does not talk about other
> formats.  The fiscal note is available at http://bit.ly/80RBiu.  As has
> been discussed by this group and in other places, PDF only publication
> is not the best method of publishing government data.
>
> Therefore, I saw this as a perfect opportunity for some education and
> outreach.  I am planning on putting some summarized information together
> that will discuss data publication methods to sent to the bill sponsors
> and other members of the Colorado legislature.  I also plan on speaking
> at the Senate hearing for the bill as a concerned citizen.
>
> I would appreciate the assistance of anyone wishing to help me out.
> Please feel free to e-mail me and I will share a Google Doc I will be
> using to draft the materials.
>
> Thanks
> Brian
>
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Received on Monday, 1 February 2010 21:53:45 GMT

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