Legally Speaking, PDFs Are Required
Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 2:38 PM
Zaid in PDF Data, Personal Database

The Mashup App was designed to support all types of mobile users and all types of data including web, PDF, image, audio, video, time, and location data. More specifically, The Mashup App supports the unique requirements of legal professionals in the management of PDF content, report generation, and knowledge transfer.


To learn the mechanics of how-to save PDF content into your personal database, click here


In previous blog posts, we discussed The Mashup App's support for new types of data such as time and location. In this blog post, we will look at The Mashup App's support for PDF data and the unique workflow requirements of legal professionals.



Understanding the Structure of PDF Data


As a data type, PDFs are unique. The PDF format was originally created in the early 1990s as an electronic substitute for the printed page and predates the public web. Unlike a web page which does not natively implement the concept of pages, a PDF document is divided into a sequence of pages. Many times when a user converts a printed document into a PDF, the printed page numbers do not match the electronic page numbers. In a corporate presentation, this impedes collaboration. In a court room, if your electronic documents do not reference the correct printed page numbers, you will be laughed out of court because the lingua franca is the printed document and the printed page number.

So even though courts in many jurisdictions require the electronic filing of PDF documents and even more courts will distribute their judgements as PDF documents, any inter-document references must be to the printed page number and not the electronic PDF page number.

To support this requirement, The Mashup App will automatically capture the electronic page number and to support legal documents, you can also identify the printed page number and The Mashup App will maintain this association.


The Mashup App's PDF Editor before loading content




Size And Shape


Another unique characteristic of PDFs and specifically PDFs used in legal proceedings, is that they can be very large. Even on constrained devices, such as the iPhone 3GS, The Mashup App allows you to load very large PDFs perhaps containing hundreds or thousands of pages. 

 The Mashup App's PDF Editor displaying the US Supreme Court October 2004 Term: you can easily navigate the over 1000 pages


Large PDFs can also be published by standards committees. For example, the 2006 PDF Reference manual is 1310 pages in length.


The Mashup App can load very large PDF documents even on a constrained device such as the iPhone 3GS


As PDFs are electronic representations of printed pages, in the United States they are 8 1/2 X 11 inches in size but may be different sizes in other parts of the world. The Mashup App supports many PDF page sizes.



Just the 'Highly Relevant' Parts: PDF Document vs. PDF Pages


As we previously discussed in the blog post entitled: "Just The Important Parts: Documents vs. Snippets" The Mashup App allows you to pierce the veil of the document file and directly access the actual data. As we also discussed, here, here, and here, the desktop metaphor of files, folders and windows is an unneeded barrier to data comprehension, memory, and sharing. Furthermore, this is the wrong metaphor for mobile devices. The Mashup App implements an alternative by allowing you to directly manipulate the PDF data at the page level. The Mashup App also stores a reference to the document/file name from which the page was extracted. And with the ability to group related PDF pages together perhaps with other relevant data such as web, audio, video data and other PDF data... The Mashup App empowers you to graduate from the chore of PDF file management to data management and from data management to knowledge management. 


The Mashup App allows you describe your data in multiple languages


Annotating Time and Location Data to Your PDF Content


The Mashup App allows you to annotate time and location data to your PDF content. Because The Mashup App implements a spatio-temporal database, legal professionals can describe when and where a document was created, signed, destroyed, or any other time or location concept. 

Previously, we discussed the details of The Mashup App's support for time and location and we will not repeat that information in this post but will illustrate how ease it is to add location data to PDF content:


You can add location data to a PDF page to capture where it was created, signed, or destroyed... or any other time or location concept



Making Your PDF Content Accessible to the Print-Disabled


The Mashup App will automatically extract the text of a PDF page upon saving into your personal database. While the correctness of text extraction will vary from one PDF to another, you can edit the extracted text. This capability is important for the blind, low-vision, foreign language speakers, and power users who prefer audio to text:


The Mashup App automatically extracts the PDF page text and uses it for text-to-speech to empower the print-disabled


Since text extraction from legal PDF pages while most likely contain undesired artifacts, The Mashup App allows you to further edit the extracted text to aid in the comprehension of the text by the print-disabled.

You can then generate an audio file and save it with the PDF page. To further empower print-disabled users, you can email or generate a web page with the originial PDF page, the audio, and the text.

The Mashup App generates HTML5 web content including use of the AUDIO and VIDEO tags.



Publishing and Sharing Your PDF Content


The Mashup App provides you with the ability to cross-cut one or more PDF documents by allowing you to extract and group related pages while at the same time maintaining the relationship between electronic and printed page numbers as well as the association between the PDF page stored in your personal database and the source PDF file. When you export your PDF content, either as an email or a report, that information is preserved:

 You can generate a report containing PDF content. The Mashup App preserves the relationship between the electronic and printed page numbers.

The Mashup App allows you to email the PDF content saved in your personal database:


The Mashup App allows you to quickly select a specific PDF page or range of PDF pages

You can email specific PDF pages or groups of PDF pages


The selected PDF page will be emailed as an attachment and will contain both the electronic and printed page numbers


In addition to emailing items from your personal database, The Mashup App also allows you to generate a report. You have two options for your content when generating a report:


  1. Embed the content directly in the body of the report. The benefit of embedded content is that the reader of your report will see both your description of the page and the PDF content. The Mashup App does its best to ensure that if the document is printed, both the description of the page and the PDF page itself will be print together on a single sheet of paper.

    You can generate reports with embedded PDF pages. Your description of the PDF page is above the embedded PDF page. For the purposes of this example, the PDF page is highlighted in blue.
    Depending on which browser you use to view the report generated by The Mashup App, you will be provide with different options:

    Apple Safari 5.1 detects that there is an embedded PDF page and provides this menu option. Note that you can print the PDF page independently or together with the description. Safari does not need the Adobe PDF plug-in.

    Google Chrome 17 detects that there is an embedded PDF page and provides these controls. Note that you can print the PDF page independently or together with the description. Chrome does not need the Adobe PDF plug-in.

  2. Link to the content from the main body of the report. The benefit of content links is that the main body of your report is much smaller in size but it is easier for your reader to skip an important PDF page as your reader may not click the link. Perhaps a more important benefit is that your reader will be able to read the previous pages and subsequent pages. This is often needed in PDF documents containing trial testimony.

    The Mashup App can generate a link to the PDF page. When clicked, your browser will load the PDF file. Many browsers such as Chrome will also automatically scroll to the specific PDF page.

    If you click the link, a new tab or window will open. Many browsers such as Google Chrome 17 will automatically scroll to the specific PDF page. You can then scroll forward or backward to read additional pages.

    If you plan to copy the PDF page links to a blog or Microsoft Word document, it is important to understand how The Mashup App encodes the links:

    The Mashup App uses relative links so that to ensure that your reports are portable

    In Microsoft Word 2011 on the Mac and in Microsoft Word 2010 on Windows, you should use relative links and not the default of absolute links:

    Microsoft Word allows you to edit your PDF links. Make sure use relative links so that your reports are portable


Additional Links


  1. How-to use PDF content with The Mashup App
  2. How-to use location data with The Mashup App
  3. How-to use time data with The Mashup App
  4. Blog posts about time and location capabilities in The Mashup App




The Mashup App provides PDF content management, reporting, and sharing. By harnessing the capabilities of The Mashup App, professional are now empowered to graduate from the chore of PDF file management to knowledge management and knowledge transfer.

Article originally appeared on The Mashup App (
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