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Locking Document Content


From: Wayne Dick
Date: Dec 21, 2003 8:51PM

Help from anyone,

Currently the California State University System prints off all policies and
executive orders in PDF format. Lately they have even been setting all the
security options so tight that I can't use adaptive technology. Now, their
reason for behavior is a perceived need for security. They feel that some
nefarious agent might take online documents, change their content and
publish them as if they were official CSU documents. (I think that is the
worry. That seemed to be what they said.)

I sit on the CSU System Committee on Accessible Technology, so when I
suggested that all PDF documents, which are produced first by word
processors, be placed in standard markup format (HTML, XML, whatever) as
well as PDF format. The Chancellors Office people, especially the legal
people, seem to be very worried by this prospect. Now, I suggested that
they save all documents as in PDF and markup format, post both formats on
the web and simply state that the PDF format is the official document. Then
they could lock up the PDF document tight as a drum, and still have an
accessible document. This would work, but it would have the problem of
consistent versioning. That is, without care the official copy of a
document could be more up-to-date that the markup unofficial version -a
minor danger.

To be honest, I find the Chancellor's Office concerns a little excessive,
but they have much more power than me, so I must listen. They seem to be
happy with the dual format system, but is there a way to lock up markup
documents in a way that they are accessible, but not mutable?

Sincerely, Wayne Dick

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