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MedBiquitous Activity Report Working Group Teleconference, January 22, 2007

Attending: Toby Vandermark, Chairperson, Ed Chase, (Adobe), Jeannette Harmon, Lorena Hutchins, Edward Kennedy, Laura Martin and Valerie Smothers

Valerie uploaded a partial draft of the Activity Report Guidelines for the group to review prior to the call. Ed Chase, from Adobe, joined the call to provide further information on the use of PDF as a platform for transmitting XML data together with a human readable document.

Ed Chase mentioned most people are familiar with PDF for archiving and maintaining the original look and feel of a document. Adobe saw the use of XML for interoperability standards and saw an opportunity for binding XML to PDF documents. You can create a PDF form and map Areas of that form to specific fields in an XML standard. The IRS maps their forms to a schema so that data can be validated. The resulting document is both human and machine readable. PDF also has value with regard to legally binding electronic signatures, which can be important for audit trails.

Peter asked about how standards bodies implement the use of PDF. Ed works with different standards bodies and many do not allow products to be part of their specifications. In many cases, guidance is written around PDF and not a specific product. Some industry groups provide direct implementation guidance. Ed will send documents for Valerie to post to the yahoo group site.

Peter commented it would be nice to have practical guidelines (toolkit) without using adobe products. Valerie suggested providing specific information about adobe products and other products that perform the same function. Ed agreed to send examples of different guidance documents to share with the group.

Ed further explained the tools for XML in PDF are branded LiveCycle. Livecycle Designer provides an XML and PDF authoring tool. It gives you a form design environment with a visual layout that allows you to add XML functionality, similar to XML spy. It has the ability to merge an XML document into the PDF. The group asked whether you need Livecyle after the mapping has been completed. Ed answered no, you only need Livecycle at the design point. After the form has been published to PDF, you can work in Adobe reader. Only in Acrobat Standard and Professional can you see the XML. Both of those products have export/import functionality. There is a Livecycle reader extension that is a server product that can tag pdf documents to enable more functionality. Anyone with a free reader can apply electronic signatures or export.

Peter asked Ed what the costs were for Livecycle. Ed will contact the account manager and forward that information to share with the group. There is a free demonstration version and a reader extension. The reader extension cost can range from thousands per form to tens of thousands per form. Application servers are in the tens of thousands. Peter noted most CME providers could not afford that. He wondered if an aggregator could provide access to an XML enabled form as a service. There could also be an open source solution. For small institutions looking at small number of docs, there is limited functionality with acrobat professional. A single reader extension could be purchased.

Ed described another Livecycle product that could be used, Livecycle document security. It is a central tool for securing or digitally signing documents. For example, institutions are creating pdf transcripts that are digitally signed. The signature is identifiable. The document is verified as being from school; the document is also tamperproof. The document will notify that it's been tampered.

Valerie stated most CME providers have a template certificate form they replicate hundreds of times; currently these CME certificates are HTML documents with no security features. Both Toby and Ed Kennedy agreed it wasn't critical to include the security feature now. Lorena asked if Livecycle Designer was available on Macintosh. Ed answered it was not, but he highly recommended Version 8 which can be used if you are working with more structured XML. Valerie thanked Ed for joining the call.

Valerie continued with an Activity Report guidelines update. Lorena mentioned Highwire's activity certification was at a standstill awaiting comments from the Learning Object Working group. Valerie assured Lorena the Learning Objects working group agreed with everything Highwire submitted. Morgan Bantly, the chair, will be sending a note to the Standards Committee acknowledging this. Valerie will make the changes to the schema within the month.

The draft activity report guideline was uploaded to the Yahoo group for review with highlighted changes. A few questions remained as to how the activity report interacts with other specifications and should we reference other guideline documents. Toby agreed to reference other guidelines and link to other schemas. Lorena expressed concern over the cost of implementation for smaller customers. Valerie asked Lorena what elements Highwire uses for data exchange. Lorena mentioned a few, expiration date, start date, but will follow-up with Valerie and send the group a more extensive list.

  • Ed will share guidance documents with the group.
  • Ed will contact the account manager to forward pricing information
  • Valerie will make changes to the schema within the month
  • Lorena will send a list of elements used by Highwire for data exchange to the group by email
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