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Upcoming Events

Discussion of 2018 gathering

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

pdf versions

The articles are a great idea, but the couple I've looked at don't print 'nicely' - aren't formatted for that obviously. Maybe add capability to upload formatted to print 'pdf' articles as well? Would also make it possible to create more complex keys, etc. - without having to upload every figure/map individually.

Why hasn't this topic had more responses ? I think this is an awesome idea. I was wondering lately about asking if there was some way to better organize all the articles because as it is now they are not much more than forum topics and is difficult to find anything and they are not organized in any particular way. If we had PDF capabilities then the articles could be arranged by the type of article it is and make finding, and I would think storing, them much easier and easier for everybody to use.

Where I work I am an engineering/drafting manager. The documents, calculations, and drawings that we generate are all converted and transmitted via email as PDF files. This system of operating is not only very efficient but very handy as well. The recieving party doesn't have to have any fancy equipment or software to recieve, read, or print the files and everybody can open them using the free Acrobat Reader that anyone can get from Adobe. However, all of us that create the PDFs have the full version of Acrobat which does cost money, but there is plenty of freeware out there that will create PDF files and, as I said, it's "freeware".

Here are some advantages to using PDF files, especially for articles :
1). Ability to import images and manipulate them for location on the page, size on the page, etc.
2). Print capabilities.
3). Individual page setup.
4). Multi page documents.
5). Redline and highlighting capabilities.
6). Bookmarking capabilities.
7). Table of contents capabilities for eack PDF.
8). Addition of forms within any PDF.
9). Search within a PDF document.
10). Page zoom capabilities.
11). External linking capabilities.
12). Javascript capabilities.
13). Movie capabilities.
14). Sound capabilities.
15). And, last but not least, security features that could rival Fort Knox with password protection and the whole works. You can set it up to where a person can't print, or where nobody but someone with the password could modify it, and many other such security features. You could even set it up so that it couldn't be downloaded if you wanted.

People could even create documents at home or anywhere using Word, Excel, image software, or whatever, then send it to either a BugGuide designated person or get the full blown Acrobat or use one of the freeware programs, to create the PDF then upload it to "Articles" and you're done. Another advantage to this is that you wouldn't have to be logged in to BugGuide for an extended period of time, eating up bandwidth, while you assemble the document.

It could be setup to where readers could either download it, or, if you didn't want that, set it up to where it opens in another browser window and without the possibility of being saved to someones hard drive. To me, the options, capabilities, and possibilities FAR outway any cons there might be....I can't think of any but I'm sure there are some.

In my opinion, having PDF capabilities here at BugGuide, especially for articles, instead of just typing in a "textbox" (no offense intended) would greatly improve our library of information and resources as well as the ability to do so much more with the articles than is currently available.

PDF's and collaboration/site mission
Well, PDF's have many advantages, especially for printing, as is mentioned above. They have, however, some real disadvantages in terms of browsability and usefulness in collaboration.

First, browsability... I've just never found that PDF's with hyperlinks provide a smooth browsing experience--one is moving in and out of a plain browser and browser plus the PDF plug-in.

Even more important is the limited ability of PDF's to be used in a collaborative manner. BugGuide, is at its heart, a collaborative environment. PDF's are very difficult to edit once formatted. When I want to edit a PDF, I usually go back to the source document (MS-Word, Excel, etc.), do the editing, and re-generate the PDF. Since a collaborator won't have the source document, or even the application, necessarily, that is not going to work well.

That said, I could see the utility of having a place to upload PDF's in some circumstances--as in providing keys. I just don't know if John VanDyk wants to go that way. This really could be done on another site as well, because all one needs is web storage space. Web space is so cheap now, certainly interested parties could create such a site and provide links from within BugGuide.

But it really comes down to the mission of the site. I, for one, think that improvement of our current collaborative tools is a bigger priority. The biggest shortcoming of BugGuide I see right now is the lack of history tracking and edit reversion tools on this site. These are tools that "Wiki" software has, for instance. Another pressing need is the ability to automatically generate links to certain nodes, such as glossary entries.

I agree
that editing an existing PDF is difficult and very inefficient and that changes would need to be made in the original document so that is definitely a con. But I still think that the advantages of PDF articles far exceed this minor limitation. The way it works now is that when someone creates an article they are the only ones, usually, that ever edits them or makes changes to them anyway so whoever creates the PDF article will have their original and can make changes, recreate the PDF, then re-upload it. It takes approximately 30 seconds at the most, depending on original size, to create the PDF from it's original so time shouldn't be a factor. I don't see editing the original then recreating the PDF any different than editing an article now online.
I think browsability could be done in such a way that it wouldn't be a problem....any more than it is now.
As far as John's end of it and the work that would need to be done to implement this....I can't say how much would be involved....hopefully not a lot but I don't know.
I'm not sure about having another site set up just for PDF's. Seems like that would be making more work but again I don't know.

I have created a basic PDF of one of our articles if someone wants to look it over. Keep in mind it is very basic because I didn't spend a lot of time on it. I just took an existing article and converted it to a PDF. It took me a total of maybe 1 1/2 minutes, if that.

Let me know if someone wants to take a look at it.

Interesting thought...
Although I haven't tried to print anything, I think this would be a good idea, too. But I'm sure it would be a bit of a hassle on VanDyk's or Troy's part to build it into the webdesign or they would have to take each article and convert it themselves. hmmm. I am not a web designer so I can't say for sure.

Kari J McWest, Canyon, Texas

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