2017-02-09 17:59:46 UTC
Ross is one of 14 candidates for 10 TUG Board vacancies.
I would like to offer my services to the TUG Board. Having been active in the TeX community for more than 20 years, writing code for packages, my first TUG meeting was in 1997. Previously I've been a board member, but have taken a rest these past 2 years. In January, Boris asked if I'd be willing to return; I was happy to say ‘yes’.
Well, 2017 is likely to be a very important year for the PDF format, hence for TeX, and for TUG and other user groups around the world. Already on 18 January, a document “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Final Standards and Guidelines” was published into the US Federal Register, effectively becoming law. This affects “standards for electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as guidelines for telecommunications equipment […]. These revisions […] are intended to ensure that information and communication technology covered by the respective statutes is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” It specifies that “authoring tools capable of exporting PDF files must conform to PDF 1.7 […] and be capable of exporting PDF files that conform to PDF/UA-1.”
While documents produced by TeX-based software are compatible with PDF 1.7, it is certainly not the case that they conform to PDF/UA, which requires producing ‘Tagged PDF’. Thus if LaTeX or other TeX-based software can be used within US government agencies only as part of a processing chain requiring other software to complete the final document. This is not how we normally work with TeX. Furthermore, the PDF 2.0 standard, also based upon ‘Tagged PDF’, may appear as early as June.
Over the past 8 years (or more), I have given talks at annual TUG meetings, demonstrating PDF features that tagging allows, produced using an extended version of pdf-TeX. Currently I'm working on a set of LaTeX macros that produce valid ‘Tagged PDF’ documents satisfying the WCAG 2.0 Accessibility standard. Examples, using different LaTeX document classes and built with the current pdfTeX, can be found on my web page[http://maths.mq.edu.au/~ross/TaggedPDF/]. These developments need to be enhanced to become de rigeur for the way we use TeX and LaTeX, else there will be no new TeX users in years to come. As a Director of TUG, this outlines an agenda that I'll be supporting.