The Stoic Resilience of PDF Within a Digital Ecosystem
PDF, as a format for the dissemination of scholarly content, does have its detractors—so why does the stalwart PDF file stubbornly refuse to retire from service?
At present, PDF is the core output of Overleaf’s LaTeX-based typesetting. Direct conversion of “raw” author-produced LaTeX documents to XML or MathML does present technical challenges and, typically, such conversion processes may require “normalizing” of the input and, perhaps, varying forms of “cleanup” of the output resulting from conversion—depending on the tools and technologies performing the conversion. Discussions of “print vs. digital” and the suitability of PDF as a container format for content distribution have been, and continue to be, played out in heated threads and debates across the web; however, we thought that a brief overview of the evolutionary path to today’s publishing context might be interesting.
Content: complexity and consumption