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The solutions to all our problems may be buried in PDFs that nobody reads

Posted on May 11th, 2014 at 18:24 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


What if someone had already figured out the answers to the world’s most pressing policy problems, but those solutions were buried deep in a PDF, somewhere nobody will ever read them?

According to a recent report by the World Bank, that scenario is not so far-fetched. The bank is one of those high-minded organizations — Washington is full of them — that release hundreds, maybe thousands, of reports a year on policy issues big and small. Many of these reports are long and highly technical, and just about all of them get released to the world as a PDF report posted to the organization’s Web site.

The World Bank recently decided to ask an important question: Is anyone actually reading these things? They dug into their Web site traffic data and came to the following conclusions: Nearly one-third of their PDF reports had never been downloaded, not even once.

  1. Considering that the report you linked to, is a PDF, does that mean it’s defying the trend it’s reporting on?

  2. Nice catch, Mudak. “PDFs are useless”, said the PDF.

  3. It’s not very difficult to imagine the world’s most pressing problems could be solved if we controlled greed and religious constraints.

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