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Too Many PDFs on the Web

Accessibility expert Joe Clark on PDF and accessibility:

The first thing to do with a PDF …is Google the URL. Seriously. Most of the time, Google does a half-decent job of making a PDF readable in HTML. Poor character encoding, ill-constructed multicolumn PDFs, and document security features can prevent Google from indexing a PDF at all, or doing so readably. Nonetheless, thats what I do first.

There are too many PDFs on the web. Most every PDF should be something other than PDF. Any simple text-and-graphics document that is typeset in a single column should be provided as an ordinary HTML+CSS+JavaScript web page. Really, I cant think of any exceptions for simple documents.

Amen! Amen! See also: How to Make Movies Accessible.

As readers of ebooks know, there is not a good portable device for reading PDF files. (The cybook beta pdf reader seems to be the best option available).

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