09 February 2009

Useless PDF files

I was looking forward to writing about the CBI's recent survey of companies and their attitudes to R&D tax credits. In the end, the piece I wrote, Would you tax credit it?, over on Science|Business was less than it might have been.

That is because whoever produced the report over at the CBI decided that it was too sensitive to allow anyone to copy text out of the PDF file. This removed the possibility of copying quotes out of the document.
We all know about selective quotes, but this is counterproductive.

Surely the CBI would not prefer to have journalists type the quotes. That is a good way of adding mistakes to reports of your work.

This is not the first time I have come across PDF files with a "chastity belt". Indeed, I have encountered the ultimate here in the shape of press releases that you can't copy.

When you point this out to people, they are often as surprised as the recipient. They did not ask for this level of security, which should be a lesson to anyone responsibvle for culculating PDF files. Check that the audience can get at the content.

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