Handling large graphics files in electronic documents

Gary Noonan carabid at MPM1.MPM.EDU
Fri May 3 14:36:44 CDT 1996

        I have in press a 216 page monograph of the carabid beetle subgenus
Anisodactylus.  The monograph will be published in printed form through my
museum Contributions in Biology and Zoology.  Since all of the text and
graphics are on my computer, I thought I would provide a service to
ecologists, conservation managers and other non-systematists by publishing
an electronic handbook providing a nontechnical means of identifying these
beetles, many of which occur in wetlands and might be useful environmental
indicators. I had thought to use Adobe Acrobat to generate files that people
could download.  The users could view the text and graphics on their screen
or print out part or all of the handbook. Distribution of the handbook would
be via World Wide Web and would be very economical as compared to producing
a printed handbook.  I think such handbooks can help other biologists
benefit from and appreciate systematics.
         However, I'm not sure how to handle the current 18.1 megabytes of
graphics.   The graphics illustrating  morphological features consist mostly
of bitmap type images that were scanned from drawings.  These bitmap images
were pasted up into plates within Designer, a program actually designed to
draw and manipulate vector based graphics.  However, Designer served will
for generating printed plates of morphological figures.  Other graphics are
vector based images based on maps exported from Atlas GIS.
          The Designer files currently total 18.1 megabytes.  A test
compression on one of the larger files suggested that using Pkzip would
reduce the size to approximately 11 megabytes.  Size could be further
deleted by removing some images not needed in the handbook. It doesn't seem
very practical to have people downloading and manipulating on their computer
a handbook totaling around 10 megabytes.  I could of course divide the
handbook into several files, but downloading would still be probably a time
consuming process.
         I'll appreciate any suggestions about approaches toward producing
the handbook in electronic form and distributing via World Wide Web.  Many

  * Gary Noonan, Curator of Insects, Milwaukee Public Museum  *
  * 800 W. Wells,  Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 USA             *
  * and Adjunct Associate Professor of Zoology, University of *
  * Wisconsin-Milwaukee carabid at mpm1.mpm.edu                  *
  * voice (414) 278-2762  fax (414) 223-1396                  *

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