In my opinion, the PDF format has the advantage of being able to create a
fairly sophisticated electronic document that can be a source of reference
for an extended period and if you really need a hard copy it is nicely
formatted and presentable.
Versions seem to be less of a problem with PDF files given the relative
backward compatibility of the new viewers., also there is the advantage of
being able to actually just replicate an out-of-print document in the PDF
format at a cost saving to the environment and economically.
The disadvantage is that you need the reader but this is not an
insurmountable problem. More of a problem is the fact that the recipient may
not have a windows based PC and may only be able to receive text, also some
PDF files are quite large and may not be easily received as email
Each recipient needs to be questioned as to facilities, and requirements.
From: Kathryn TOURE <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 25 January 1999 09:41
Subject: Re: reading PDF files
>text format much butter ... PDF can be tiresome/bothersome to use on
>regular basis ... plus versions of Adobe expire quickly, etc.
>> De : Ian Smout <[log in to unmask]>
>> A : [log in to unmask]
>> Objet : reading PDF files
>> Date : lundi 25 janvier 1999 12:41
>> Greetings from someone who has been lurking on this list for some time!
>> I would be grateful for advice on disseminating material through the
>> internet. Like others, we provide documents on our web-sites in PDF
>> which can be downloaded. It's a very easy way to make the printed
>> available, without any complicated conversion procedures. We provide
>> guidance on various topics to professionals working in the water sector
>> related areas in low-and middle-income countries and want to make the
>> material available as widely as possible.
>> for a simple example, see
>> To read PDF files, people need to have downloaded the free Adobe Acrobat
>> Reader, which in UK takes 30 minutes or more over the phone. Once a user
>> has done this, accessing PDF files works well.
>> I would welcome comments from the African IT community on whether this is
>> useful means of dissemination to non-IT professionals who have internet
>> access in Africa, or on the contrary a delusion because connection
>> mean that in practice few people can download the reader.
>> Similarly has anyone recommendations on overcoming the problems?
>> Ian K Smout, Leader of WEDC and Associate Director, WELL
>> Water Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)
>> Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
>> tel +44 1509 222642 (or 222885)
>> fax +44 1509 211079
>> The WELL web-site is at http://www.lboro.ac.uk/well/
>> The WEDC home page is at