[LINK] "Wow. These are some fancy handouts."

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Thu Oct 8 10:27:11 AEDT 2009

Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
> Have a look at this document from Hitachi Data Systems  ... 
> http://www.hds.com/assets/pdf/apac-site/anz/research-report-great-information-glut.pdf
> It's 2,820 Kb, 36 pages ... about 12 pages are full or half page full
>  colour photographs... could have been half the size ...

In my blog I regularly copy plain text from the executive summary of 
large, hard to read corporate PDF documents. I used to worry that the 
publishers of the original documents would complain about breech of 
copyright, but they instead thank me for drawing attention to their 
work. They marvel at how many people are referred from the blog, how my 
short plan text version is widely read and rates much more highly in the 
search engine than their graphic-rich original.

It never seems to occur to these people that if they were to create a 
text rich, accessible version, then more people would read it. When I 
explicitly suggest they do this, they say that would be technically 
difficult, or contrary to their corporate procedures, so I keep copying 
and pasting. ;-)

The same thing comes up in education, where I am regularly asked how 
large PDF and Powerpoint files can be provided online for education. No 
matter how many time I explain that you just need to reformat the data 
into small, plain, accessible HTML documents, the message does not seem 
to get across. This may change now that e-books are becoming more 
popular. I have found I can simply download a Moodle e-book from the 
learning management system in HTML and upload it to Amazon's Kindle 
system for distribution as an e-book: 

ps: To get around this communcations problem I plan to use the same 
technique which has worked for Green ICT: teach it toin formal courses. 
I have prepared a proposal for ANU to run a formal postgraduate 
e-learning course on e-literacy for public servants and corporate 
communicators. People pay attention when they have paid you money to 
teach them and know that you are assessing them. ;-)

Tom Worthington FACS HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/people.php?StaffID=140274

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