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Replacing auto-generated PDF format with single-page printable HTML option


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In addition to the classic in-browser interface, finding aids in OAC have also been viewable in two alternative options under the “View entire collection guide” section: a simple HTML format, and a PDF version (auto-generated from the simple HTML format). 


As of this December, we will begin to decommission the PDF auto-generation process, including removing the PDF view option. Instead, we will provide a single option to view a simple and single-page HTML version of the full collection guide, which users can then print and/or save as a PDF document using their web browser. 

“Printable Guide [HTML]” link opens to a single-page collection guide in browser.

In recent years, the PDF auto-generation process was increasingly failing to generate PDF files, resulting in a “noPDF” label or broken links to the PDF. Additionally, we identified style/formatting issues within some of the successfully auto-generated PDFs, as well as broken embedded URLS. To date, we have not been able to implement a robust update to the legacy code used for this process.

Issues with PDF: noPDF, formatting, broken links

We understand the printable format has been a crucial feature utilized in providing public services and at the time this feature was implemented, the ability to generate a PDF varied from user to user. Now however, all modern web browsers allow users to print and/or save HTML pages to PDF, so the removal of this OAC specific utility will not preclude the ability to create these documents. Leveraging the browser-based functionality will also address the systemic style/formatting and broken embedded URL issues. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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