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RE: Optimizing PDF files for Accessibility

From: Charles F. Munat <charles@munat.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 16:05:33 -0800
To: "Melinda Morris-Black" <melinda@ink.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "Charles F. Munat" <charles@munat.com>
Message-ID: <NDBBKDNHDLCHIDEDGEICAEPFCDAA.charles@munat.com>
Melinda,

Oops. My mistake. I didn't realize that you were not working on the federal
level (didn't read closely enough... shame on me).

I commend you on your efforts. Also, if Adobe can make OCR work in Acrobat,
that will hopefully lower the cost as you will only need one application to
make the conversion.

Wouldn't it be nice if some of that surplus went to the states to help with
problems such as this? Ah, we can dream, can't we?

Chas.


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Melinda Morris-Black
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2000 3:08 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: Charles F. Munat
Subject: Re: Optimizing PDF files for Accessibility


Charles, your comments reflect many of my sentiments. It appears that my
post
has been taken out of context. I do indeed believe that all documents should
be
accessible. It is my personal goal to help accomplish this at the state
level in
Kansas. The current reality, wrong as it may be, is that no money has been
allocated to tasks of this nature. Kansas state agencies are only now
developing
guidelines for state webmasters regarding accessibility. Many states have
yet to
take this step.

The Federal budget surplus will most likely not be allocated to Kansas to
correct this problem. :) We (the developers) are looking for solutions now,
despite our limited resources, as opposed to waiting for state legislators
to
allocate funds, which may take awhile. Software makers tend to release
products
much quicker than government acts, so that was our first step when looking
for
solutions.

We are exploring OCR programs to accomplish our tasks. It appears that Adobe
is
moving in that direction with Acrobat, to some degree. I found their
website's
new stance significant only as a signal of industry change. Realizing that
there
is money to be made on accessibility is always an incentive. Hopefully,
software
makers will get down to it.

--
Regards,

MELINDA MORRIS-BLACK
Information Architect
Information Networks of Kansas
FON: (785) 296-5143
PCS: (785) 550-7345
FAX: (785) 296-5563
melinda@ink.org


"Charles F. Munat" wrote:

> The only way that PDF technology can be made accessible is if it
recognizes
> the text as text. If the PDF is simply an image of the original document
(as
> many PDF files are, I think), then there is still no way to access that
> information except visually.
>
> To convert an "image" PDF to a "text" PDF requires the same OCR or
> transcription that converting it to a digital document would require.
Unless
> Adobe includes OCR in Acrobat, accessibility will not be improved for
> "image" PDFs. And if Adobe did add OCR, how would that differ from current
> OCR software?
>
> If you are waiting for Adobe to make your documents accessible, you are
> waiting in vain. Frankly, while I sympathize with your problem, there is
no
> solution other than OCR or transcription. Until government agencies are
> willing to face this and allocate sufficient funds to moving into the
> digital realm, a significant portion of the citizens of this country will
be
> denied access to that information, effectively relegating them to
> second-class citizenship.
>
> Speaking as a citizen, I find this unacceptable. Instead of making
excuses,
> I'd prefer it if you joined the ranks of people demanding that all
documents
> made available be made available in an accessible format. The money is
> there. In fact, there is a multi-hundred-billion dollar surplus. That the
> government is more likely to cut taxes for the wealthy than to make
> documents accessible to everyone is a political reality, but it has
nothing
> to do with a shortage of funds. It has everything to do with the status
quo.
>
> I apologize if this seems harsh, but I, for one, have heard this excuse
one
> too many times. I don't buy it, and neither should you.
>
> Sincerely,
> Charles F. Munat,
> Munat, Inc.
> Seattle, Washington
Received on Tuesday, 25 January 2000 19:05:27 GMT

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