[Taxacom] online publishing

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Jul 22 17:00:19 CDT 2010


Paper copies can also be altered/forged; so nothing new there. However,
unlike paper copies, electronic copies can be compared precisely (bit-to-bit
comparison) against a master copy almost instantly.  So, the trick with
preserving the integrity of electronic documents is to establish several
"master" copies, stored in a highly secure way so they cannot be altered,
with services that will do bit-wise comparisons with a candidate copy, to
verify the authenticity of the copy.  The masters can be compared as needed
to ensure they have not been tampered with.

However, I think it would be unwise to adopt PDF as the de-facto standard
for archival electronic documents.  ASCII is probably the most basic
standard in all of electronic binary information representation, but doesn't
have the suite of characters we probably want.  UTF-8 has what we need, and
will probably be a well-established and recognized standard until the end of
human civilization (Or, if it is eventually retired, there will be PLENTY of
time to transition to the next standard LLLOONNGGG before the UFT-8 standard
is forgotten).  XML uses the UTF-8 character set/encoding to add semantics
and structure to electronic documents. From a well-formed XML file (with
associated style metadata), you can automatically generate something that is
effectively indistinguishable from a PDF, for consumption by human eyeballs.
My vote is for XML using UTF-8 encoding as the standard we ought to adopt
for archival electronic documents.

Rich

P.S. The current zoological Code expressly excludes print-on-demand as a
published work in the sense of the Code.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Jason Mate
> Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 8:24 AM
> To: Taxacom
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] online publishing
> 
> 
> Retailers like Amazon have been printing books on demand for 
> some time now. So the technology is there for these permanent 
> depositories to store physical copies of every book, easily 
> and cheaply. Furthermore these copies can be printed on 
> archival paper and ink so the process is a bonus. Its just a 
> question of money...
> As for altering PDFs, it is feasible but they can be 
> protected (how effectively who knows). And in any case you 
> can also alter documents, probably even more convincingly. If 
> you only have one copy, regardless of the medium, you have 
> nothing else to go on so how can you be sure of its veracity?
> Jason
> 
> > Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 18:34:43 +0200
> > From: dipteryx at freeler.nl
> > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] online publishing
> > 
> > Van: Donat Agosti [mailto:agosti at amnh.org]
> > Verzonden: do 22-7-2010 17:49
> >  
> > > It is not about formats: it is about reading content 
> online rather 
> > > than hard cover.
> > 
> > > If it where about format, then I would make the argument 
> and stress, 
> > > that, just as you point out with your discussion below, 
> should not 
> > > have it own format but be rather generic and with the 
> content with 
> > > some basic semantic mark-up.
> > > The other point is, that it has to be open access and archived 
> > > somewhere with a high probability of sustainability.
> > 
> > > Donat
> > 
> > ***
> > For nomenclatural purposes, it is first and foremost about 
> permanence:
> > the guarantee that the document has not been altered.
> > 
> > As pointed out before, one of the ways to assure this for 
> electronic 
> > documents would be to have copies (of the entire publication, or at 
> > least of the nomenclaturally relevant part) deposited, at 
> publication, 
> > in a central archive. Ideally this archive would be on-line, open 
> > access, etc. Another, lesser, option would be to extend special 
> > recognition to some high-quality e-journals, each with its 
> own permanent archive.
> > 
> > Otherwise, without deposited copies, it IS about formats, 
> formats that 
> > guarantee an unaltered document. Whether that is possible? I guess 
> > that even with quite limited means, PDFs can be altered: 
> those with more technical ability could be probably be quite 
> convincing.
> > 
> > Paul
> > 
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