Ideas page


Reading electronic documents (1/3/2002). As part of my job I read excessive ammounts of technical papers and books. My personal preference for reading these is on paper, for two reasons. One, I prefer reflected light properties of paper over the projected light properties of CRT (this is much improved with LCD screen technology). Two, the main reason, is that I cannot mark up the electronic version. When I read a technical paper I scribble on and highlight areas of interest, I write my own notes in the margins etc. What I would like to see is software like an e-Book/Acrobat reader which could display ALL possible electronic text formats (postscript, pdf, ascii, html ...) and allow me to highlight, underline and scribble on it in any colour. The possibility of making active links within existing documents would also be very useful. Hidden notes would also be useful, a bit like the ALT tag in web images, which provide a small pop up description when the mouse is placed over the relevent area. I would like to be able to print out the original document without my scribbles, and also print it with my scribbles in colour. Importantly this software should be open source, free, and available on ALL possible computing platforms.

Update (10/2/2003). I have just tried Microsoft eBook Reader http://www.microsoft.com/reader/, and it appears to have 'Annotation'. However the format is limited, and the navigation is awful - unless that is just the free dictionary they allow you to download.

Update (25/7/2003). Just got Adobe Acrobat 6.0 - At last a package that has proper review and comment facilities!