[linux-elitists] Suggestion to publish court opinions in secret Microsoft word processor format
Wed Feb 5 00:09:01 PST 2003
date="Tuesday, February 04, 2003">
All this is just an unfortunately longwinded introduction to an email that
I received today from the Webmaster for the Washington State
Courts. (Imagine what it would be like to introduce yourself using that
title at a cocktail party.) The email states:
I am a Webmaster for the Washington State Courts Internet site
(www.courts.wa.gov). We have been posting published and
unpublished opinions on our website since 1996. When we started
making the opinions available, we had a requirement to do so in
text format and we are still doing the same today.
However, come summer we will have a new Appellate Court
processing system in place and our options for changing how we
make opinions available will broaden. Given this, we are looking
at html, Word, and PDF as alternative display methods. We are
leaning strongly toward Word or PDF, with Word being our top
choice at this time.
As these discussion move forward, I have been in contact with the
Washington State Supreme Court Commissioner. He mentioned the
"How Appealing" website and your comments regarding PDF as the
preferred method for display.
Since you recommend PDF, I am wondering how you suggest courts
deal with accessibility issues. As I am sure you know, PDF is not
considered an accessible format, as a PDF document is essentially
an image. While I realize that Adobe has recently come out with a
version of PDF that is supposed to be able to be read by screen
readers, my understanding is they are not very good and that
documents have to go through an extraordinary conversion process.
When attending an accessibility seminar for Government employees
held recently in Washington, the recommendation was to avoid the
use of PDF unless an alternative version of the same document
could also be provided. Do you know if most courts that provide
PDF versions also provide an alternative format? If so what
format seems to be the primary choice?
Thanks for your time and thoughts on this matter.
If any of my technologically proficient readers have thoughts to offer in
response to the questions posed in this email from the Webmaster for the
Washington State Courts Internet site, please send me an email, and I will
collect and forward on to the Webmaster of the Washington State Courts
system the most useful comments that I receive.
posted by Howard Bashman 9:36 PM
Howard Bashman's email address is
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