Optimize visual layout of PDFs


is about reconciling the output of the two approaches to the PDF generation and is about optimizing the visual layout of printing options from the PUI view. This ticket specifically is geared towards optimizing the PDF stylesheet completely.

Widespread feedback re: the PDF stylesheet is that it takes up way too much whitespace, which makes printing finding aids for large collections practically impossible. I would like to propose the following:

  1. Eliminate the cover sheet - this information is presented in a more condensed way on page three - save a tree! However, this opens up a question about whether to keep or move the Table of Contents, which has some definite benefits, particularly for navigation through the SUI structured PDF… (What do others think about this?)

  2. Condense whitespace whenever possible while maintaining enough to be visually comprehensible.

  3. The stylesheet for the collection inventory needs to be carefully thought through.

    1. Notes for archival objects currently are presented in a bold and larger font than the actual archival object. The archival object title always should be more prominent than the note title. Perhaps the title (and dates) should be the same font size and also bolded? I can sympathize with wanting to visually distinguish multiple notes…

    2. Nested items at the folder and item level are practically indistinguishable. There needs to be a slightly larger indentation for nested items at these levels.

    3. Currently, font sizes seem to be determined by the heading level, which can be problematic from an accessibility standpoint because this means that users might have font that is too small to read, just because of its heading status.

    4. The font should default to sans serif (thanks, Marcella Huggard, for that suggestion) for accessibility, such as Arial/Calibri. It would be great if it could be a configurable option. Other examples of accessible fonts.

    5. Observe all line breaks in the text, including the arrangement note and others. Currently, this doesn’t seem to consistently be the case.


    6. The language of the archival object is present on every single object, which just creates visual/aural (if you’re using a screen reader) noise. This should be a configurable option to include it beyond the collection-level language note, with a default of “off”


Others may have other suggestions as well. I think the PDF is constantly improving, but really want to encourage this. Thanks!


Anne Marie Lyons
January 16, 2020, 6:21 PM

We have had a request from one of our customers for this ticket. They are specifically interested in condensing as much white space as possible. For example, they have a finding aid that takes up 18 pages in a Word document, but 92 pages when it is printed as a PDF from the PUI side. They asked if the text box formatting outlines could be removed, and the box and folder numbers be moved to the left. I’ve attached a screenshot.


Anne Marie Lyons
January 28, 2020, 9:14 PM

Just another comment from our customer: they would like for the PUI PDF to look like the staff-side PDF, specifically in layout and lack of white space.

Christine Di Bella
February 24, 2020, 5:50 PM

- would it be possible for you to attach the PUI and staff-side PDFs for the example you mention here?

Marcella Huggard
February 24, 2020, 6:24 PM

I’ve had a comment from a colleague that, whatever way the title page goes for the public pdf, the main resource identifier should display prominently. (For our institution, that identifier is usually the main call number for a collection.)


Additionally, I’ve had comments from colleagues using both the staff and the public pdfs about lack of ease in understanding the hierarchy in a collection--indentations don’t always make clear when moving from one sub-series to another, etc. Not really sure there’s a way to fix this in the pdfs--I’ve been encouraging folks to go back to the sidebar menus in the PUI to see the full hierarchy--but I thought it worth mentioning since I do get this question fairly frequently.

Marcella Huggard
May 4, 2020, 2:38 PM

Additional feedback I’ve gotten from staff:

  • suggestion to use a sans serif font for accessibility/aid individuals with visual impairments

  • again, clearer distinctions in levels of hierarchy--I think in both staff and public pdfs, if you have scope and contents or other notes at a series level and then at a sub-series level directly under that, visually it’s difficult to tell that you’ve shifted down a level in description.





Lydia Tang