Formats for On-line Papers
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The following formats are used.
Maybe there needs to be a project, perhaps by a consortium
to produce a good system for the on-line production and viewing of
text that includes mathematics. Maybe there is, and I just don't know
about it. On second thought, maybe
latex2html is good enough, although it operates very slowly on
documents with a lot of mathematics, since each formula has to be translated
to dvi, then to Postscript and then to a gif and the pasted in.
- This is ok for a document that is to be printed rather than
read on-line. Postscript viewers are optimized for proofreading
documents that are to be printed. Here are some of postscript's
- Reading at 72 dots per inch a
document intended to be printed at 600 dots per inch is unpleasant. It
is possible to compile the document into a form suitable for on-line
reading. It is a lot of work, and suitable style files are not
- The document cannot have links out of it.
- The user cannot put a link to a specific point in the document in
other documents. See the later discussion of "unco-operative links."
- The document cannot be searched for specific phrases.
- Excerpts cannot be copied.
- The disadvantages are the same as postscript, except that the viewers
are better, and magnification is possible in the viewer.
- It is legible on-line and has links. It allows pictures and
diagrams, and the advertising applications are driving improvements
in that respect. Its disadvantages are
- The available forms of html and the viewers do not support
mathematical formulas. Making formulas available seems to be an extremely
low priority for Netscape, et. al., who correctly see that there is no
way the scientific market will contribute much to the billions of dollars
their stockholders expect them to make. See latex2html.
- There are no uncooperative links, i.e. a reader cannot ask his reader
to give him a link to a specific place in a Netscape document so that
he can return to it or refer to it in another document. The only links
into a document have to be provided by the creator of the document putting
in anchors. Uncooperative links can be based on counts or searches.
- This elegant system converts a Latex document to a number of
files with an internal linkage structure based on the latex labels.
It is a trifle complicated to use. See the
LaTeX2HTML Tranlator manual.
- Adobe Acrobat
- The original form did not allow arbitrary links out, but the new
version apparently does. It is proprietary, so the features are
limited to what Adobe chooses to provide. It can handle mathematical
formulas. No uncooperative links. It allows searching and excerpting.
It isn't available on all machines, especially not all Unix machines.
See Adobe Acrobat.
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