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RE: What tool is recommended to convert pdf to html

From: Geert Josten <geert.josten@daidalos.nl>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2011 18:15:17 +0200
To: Alex Muir <alex.g.muir@gmail.com>
CC: XProc Dev <xproc-dev@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B26C615F8546A84C81165A7BC8BE61A020F39D8894@EXMBXC01.ms-hosting.nl>
Hi Alex,

If you are asking for my personal experiences: I've seen several toolkits (big faceless, pdflib, cambridgedocs, aabby, itext, ..), but most of them did too much in the sense that let's say 80% was reasonably accurate, but the remainder ridiculously wrong. Textual accuracy is always high as long as you are not working with image-pdf (scanned documents), but once you ask such tools to recognize for instance tables, they will try to find tables everywhere, even within diagrams. :-/

For one particular occasion I therefor decided to do the hard work myself. If you know your content well enough, you can be much more accurate with much less. I used the pretty blunt tool 'pdf2html' (just a very simple command-line tool) to extract tabular data amongst others. I wrote a small blog article about it few months ago: http://grtjn.blogspot.com/2011/05/pdf-to-xml-conversion-with-xslt-20.html

(sorry for the self-promotion ;-)

Kind regards,
Geert

Van: Alex Muir [mailto:alex.g.muir@gmail.com]
Verzonden: maandag 25 juli 2011 17:39
Aan: Geert Josten
CC: XProc Dev
Onderwerp: Re: What tool is recommended to convert pdf to html

Hi Geert,

Yeah all those things other than images would be useful. Generally speaking it would be nice to have the text aligned the same way it's found in the pdf file. Any tools good at that?

Alex
On Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 2:13 PM, Geert Josten <geert.josten@daidalos.nl<mailto:geert.josten@daidalos.nl>> wrote:
Hi Alex,

Well, does formatting include tables? Images, or images of statistics? Footnotes, headers, footers? Margin-notes? PDF is a rather crude data-format. Unless well annotated you will likely have to reconstruct things like that yourself. More advanced toolkits will try to help you, but not uncommonly from bad to worse.. ;-)

Kind regards,
Geert

Van: Alex Muir [mailto:alex.g.muir@gmail.com<mailto:alex.g.muir@gmail.com>]
Verzonden: maandag 25 juli 2011 16:03
Aan: Geert Josten
CC: XProc Dev
Onderwerp: Re: What tool is recommended to convert pdf to html

Hi Geert,

Well it just has to preserve the formatting and text. Even if the formatting can be preserved in a text output that is also good. For what I'm doing the format of the content can be just as important as the content.

I'll take a look at OCR, and I'm looking pdfbox ( thanks James)

Thanks
Alex
On Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 1:55 PM, Geert Josten <geert.josten@daidalos.nl<mailto:geert.josten@daidalos.nl>> wrote:
Hi Alex,

Bit off-topic, but what the heck.. How detailed does the conversion need to be? There are literally hundreds of tools, but they suite various purposes. You could look in the area of OCR and closely-related tools to extract high detail, but there are also plenty tools that do text extraction, just for searching purposes.

Kind regards,
Geert

Van: xproc-dev-request@w3.org<mailto:xproc-dev-request@w3.org> [mailto:xproc-dev-request@w3.org<mailto:xproc-dev-request@w3.org>] Namens Alex Muir
Verzonden: maandag 25 juli 2011 15:45
Aan: XProc Dev
Onderwerp: What tool is recommended to convert pdf to html

Hi,

I'm wondering what tool would be recommended to convert pdf to html or xml effectively for a process to convert a whole bunch of pdf.

Regards


--
Alex Muir
Instructor | Program Organizer - University Technology Student Work Experience Building
University of the Gambia
http://sites.utg.edu.gm/alex/<https://sites.google.com/a/utg.edu.gm/utsweb/>

Low budget software development benefiting development in the Gambia, West Africa
Experience of a lifetime, come to Gambia and Join UTSWEB - http://sites.utg.edu.gm/utsweb/<https://sites.google.com/a/utg.edu.gm/utsweb/>




--
Alex Muir
Instructor | Program Organizer - University Technology Student Work Experience Building
University of the Gambia
http://sites.utg.edu.gm/alex/<https://sites.google.com/a/utg.edu.gm/utsweb/>

Low budget software development benefiting development in the Gambia, West Africa
Experience of a lifetime, come to Gambia and Join UTSWEB - http://sites.utg.edu.gm/utsweb/<https://sites.google.com/a/utg.edu.gm/utsweb/>




--
Alex Muir
Instructor | Program Organizer - University Technology Student Work Experience Building
University of the Gambia
http://sites.utg.edu.gm/alex/<https://sites.google.com/a/utg.edu.gm/utsweb/>

Low budget software development benefiting development in the Gambia, West Africa
Experience of a lifetime, come to Gambia and Join UTSWEB - http://sites.utg.edu.gm/utsweb/<https://sites.google.com/a/utg.edu.gm/utsweb/>
Received on Monday, 25 July 2011 16:15:50 GMT

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