Monday, March 28, 2005

Statistics Canada PDF Problems

There is an ongoing discussion on government and data librarian listservs about the problems many people have encountered with opening PDF files downloaded from Statistics Canada. Sometimes, the files do not open, or they open to a blank browser window.

Statistics Canada appears to be the only government department with this problem. What drives people crazy is that the problem is not consistent. As one person put it on the GOVINFO discussion list, "not all titles consistently display the problem; for some serials, certain issues or numbers open up just fine, while others for that title open the 'blank page' of death."

Typically, the Statistics Canada help desk people point to their Troubleshooting PDFs web page which makes it out to be a "browser problem". Researchers and librarians continue to be frustrated by the situation.

A participant in the DLI listserv (Data Libration Initiative) wrote recently that while some problems may be related to browser configurations, other important potential causes related to the composition and length of the defective file URLs could only be resolved by the administrators of the Statistics Canada website.

The librarians who sit on the so-called External Advisory Committee will bring up the topic at their next meeting with StatCan in May.

I know I've felt silly on quite a number of occasions having to tell someone at work that I can't deliver a free Statistics Canada document to them because of this.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:13 pm

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