During the last JISC PoWR workshop yesterday in Manchester (of which more anon) I made brief mention of a tool from Adobe which allows web pages, or entire sites, to be captured to a PDF file. I mentioned this primarily to illustrate one of the three points at which web capture can take place (behind the server; from the HTTP transaction; or browser-side) but it generated considerable interest, and I promised to blog about the product since I could not remember what it was called.
It turns out that it’s not a separate product, nor a plug-in, but a built-in part of Adobe Acrobat. It was first available as a free add-on for Acrobat 4 in 1998 or 1999 , and I think it was then that I first saw this demonstrated at the PRO (as it then was) – hence my misunderstanding. Tools like this have their place, but (like all web preservation technologies) they also have their drawbacks. PDF’s print-oriented format isn’t a good match to some sites, much as some sites don’t look good when you try to print them. (In fact, I believe that Acrobat Web Capture effectively uses the browser’s print engine combined with PDF writer pseudo-printer to do its work, so there will be a close correlation.) But we’ll be covering this tool, along with others, in the handbook.