Posted in Web 2.0
Some time ago I was asked by Oxford University Press to write an article for their Library Magazine about which document format is better: pdf or xml. I defended pdf and following is my text. Martin Fenner defended xml. You can download both contributions as pdf file (!) here.
Pdf is still strong
Another line of attack by science publishers is to lure the scientist away from the pdf file by convincing the scientific community that important additional scientific material – like video, interviews, photographs and large datasets – can be more conveniently packaged in a different format. Preferably a proprietary xhtml-like format that due to the inclusion of proprietary server-side scripts will be bound to the web site of the publisher. Many of the additions are not necessary or even unwanted. For sharing of large datasets scientific collaborations find their own way of sharing data and need no assistance of commercial publishers.
Amusing is the fact when you look at the quality of the state of the art (x)html-versions of scientific manuscripts as shown on present-day publishers’ websites they are still of much lower quality than the 1993 pdf files.
Improved pdf files
The answer to the question in the title is of course: pdf.