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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

PDF is now ISO standard

PDF (Portable Document Format) has been approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The new standard is ISO 32000-1.

ISO 32000-1:2008 specifies a digital form for representing electronic documents to enable users to exchange and view electronic documents independent of the environment in which they were created or the environment in which they are viewed or printed. It is intended for the developer of software that creates PDF files (conforming writers), software that reads existing PDF files and interprets their contents for display and interaction (conforming readers) and PDF products that read and/or write PDF files for a variety of other purposes (conforming products).

See also: PDF now ISO standard, By Joab Jackson, GCN, 07/03/08.

With Adobe relinquishing control of PDF, the ISO Document Management Applications Technical Committee will review any changes made to the format.

The openly published standard provides the technical information required for writing software programs that can create and read PDF files, ensuring that organizations will always have some tools available to render PDFs, even if Adobe stops shipping its PDF viewer.

PDF/A (Electronic document file format for long-term preservation) was approved by ISO earlier.

Happy Document Freedom Day!

Today is the world’s first Document Freedom Day! About 200 teams from more than 60 countries worldwide are organizing local activities to raise awareness for Document Freedom and Open Standards. The site also has a pamphlet to print and distribute, as well as information on open standards, document standards, and more.

Call for responses re NY State official document standard

A friend just alerted me to this call for responses regarding New York State’s official document standard for all state agencies. The more well-written responses that advocate for genuine open standards/formats the better. The State just extended the deadline to Jan 18th.

The main issue here is that Microsoft is attempting to have their fraud “OOXML” declared an Official New York State Standard for all state government documents stored on computers. OOXML is not a standard format. Indeed today, no software writes OOXML, and no software reads OOXML. OOXML has no published documentation, despite Microsoft’s claims. But even if, one day, some Microsoft software writes and reads files claimed to be in OOXML format, New York State should not accept any format controlled by a private interest. New York State should not force any format which, in practice, can only be manipulated by source secret software, on any resident.

The call for comments, which is a long two part document, gives evidence that Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart will take seriously careful clear comments. I ask defeatists on our side to consider that Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart refers to Groklaw in the Call for Comments.

Public Documents as Blogs

Mark Simpkins, who works for the BBC and describes himself as someone who also works “hacking for democracy in his spare time,” will present this session at the 4th Annual O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference that will be held March 14-17, 2005 in San Diego.

Simpkins notes the disadvantages of governments releasing documents in PDF format only — particularly the difficulties the format creates for online discussion of parts of those documents.

Simpkins also points to the interesting blog consultationprocess.org
which has the slogan, “opening up public documents to the blogosphere.”