First let me start by heartfelt congratulations for all those who have contributed to publish day after day the FCA Bulletin: we owe them a great debt for an excellent job of communicating with the COP3 participants. The pdf format is what makes the printing of the bulletin possible so it is obviously a necessary choice for this task.
But when one considers those who are not attending physically COP3 and read the Bulletin on line, I'll argue that the most appropriate/effective format would be/is a blog format.
As I just mentioned, the PDF format is for printing purposes, not for internet reading or use. A position all internet usability specialist hold as exemplified by Jakob Nielsen's classic text.
When compared to a blog format, pdf has many disadvantages.
Let me show you with a simple example, the article by Massamba Diouf about the situation in Senegal that I just posted: This article is on page 4 of the Bulletin 85 of Saturday November 22. How do I access it if it is only available in a pdf format?
I have to figure out it is in this issue, then open the pdf file devoted to the whole issue and look for the page 4. Once there I cannot select a link that would allow me to share it directly with another advocate: it remains stuck within the pdf file for the whole issue. I cannot easily copy it.
If the article is posted on a blog dedicated to the Bulletin, it has a distinct url that can be accessed directly without having to read through the whole issue. I can instantly copy it.
Google will reference the article separately and you'll be able to tag it with various specific and relevant categories like Senegal, Massamba Diouf, that will facilitate and improve the results of a search.
Years from now it will still be very easy to retrieve it.
As a tobacco control advocate who relies on the net to collect and process information I can only continue to suggest to the dedicated people who put together the Bulletin to also publish it on line in a blog format.
This will not add any extra time to their task as the blog can -of course- be open to each contributor who can therefore post herself/himself directly without requiring the assistance of an editor.
An added benefit will be that each contributor experience the effectiveness of blogging for communicating on line.
If the blog format has so many advantages, why are our dedicated friends who publish the Bulletin only in a pdf format not making this choice?
I have no explanation and it is for you to ask them, gently as they are certainly still recovering from their valuable efforts.
Those efforts deserve more and better than a pdf format only.
They also deserve a blog format so that once each conference is over, once the only way to access the bulletins is on line, it can be done easily.
During the conference I had the opportunity to introduce many advocates to the beauty of blogging and to help create several new blogs.
I was stunned to find that many still thought a blog format was something reserved for the expression and sharing of personal feelings, not a professional publishing tool. The reality is that you can use a blog format for any content: the format is content neutral.
Why are so many and diverse organizations using blogs?
I can only say: give it a try and reiterate that if you want my help doing so, I remain available.
Just email me.
And thank you again for the 6 excellent bulletins published during COP3.
Conference Blog Editor