Business Publishing – References
State Office for Data Processing and Statistics
Statistics mainly fulfill the task to show situations and trends, from which conclusions can be drawn and projections provided. The “State Office for Data Processing and Statistics” (LDS) in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is one of 17 nation-wide statistic offices, which among other things is responsible for collecting and providing information and figures. Every year it evaluates the number of marriages, divorces, births or accidents, and records populations, election results or inflation rates. One of the best-known cross-section publications of the LDS is the Statistical Yearbook which describes the situation of the society and economy in North Rhine-Westphalia and at the same time provides structures and trends.
The huge amounts of data for this annual publication, which are aggregated from various sources, are initially processed by use of a mainframe before they are laid out within RagTime 5. Specifically this means turning this comprehensive material, which is linked with each other in many ways, in an easy and efficient way into a conveniently readable and intelligible form. On the one hand it is important to comply with the DIN 55.301 standard (“Presentation of statistical tables”), on the other hand it is expected that the statistics are presented in a graphically appealing form.
As a result, this process will yield meaningful figures in the form of graphs, tabular statistics and textual comments and analyses. This publication is not only available in a printed format but increasingly in electronic format at the LDS “Internet Shop” as a PDF document. The prospects – press, state governments, towns and municipalities but also institutions and enterprises from all economic sectors – are sent these files upon request via email or on a CD-ROM. Professionally prepared and intelligible as well as appealing statistics form an important basis for justifying decisions, explaining processes, planning the next steps or predict developments.
Hans Lohmann, who has worked for LDS since 1989, holds the position of a press officer and has been responsible for public relations since 1989. He has witnessed the technical development in the last few years and is one of the co-deciders when it comes to finding and deploying the best suited soft and hardware for Information and publishing.
What the program has to do
Layouting the Statistical Yearbook requires a software which ensures that the standard is met, allowing a little bit of flexibility in the layout. Here, common layout programs must rely on a comprehensive regulatory system that defines in which form the raw data must be structured and supplied. In the end, the supplier must follow these rules. These requirements are not needed for RagTime because it offers a lot of very versatile formatting options, including tablular composition.
Good reasons for RagTime
From the perspective of Hans Lohmann there are some important aspects that make RagTime superior to any other office or layout application:
- RagTime offers a real page view, which provides a permanent control over the resulting print output.
- The layout of the designed page is absolutely device-independent, i.e. the accurate output of documents is guaranteed at any time. Single page items and text can be positioned most accurately. Even if the printer driver changes, the document format is preserved (no new breaks).
- RagTime offers all means to evaluate and raise the value of all types of numerical data in a visually proper fashion. The required calculations (e.g. averages, standard deviations) can be done within the program, and the results can be professionally processed for the different table types. The graphical evaluation within graphs is also supported to an optimum.
- Paragraph style sheets as well as character and value formats, given by the DIN standard, can be defined document related as a custom style format or program-wide. This ensures, without great effort, that the layout has a homogeneous appearance and hence allows for quick reading and an increased intelligibility.
- An important aspect with table constructions is the variable distribution of a table on several pages. RagTime handles this requirement very efficiently. The underlying figures are only saved once but can totally or partially be displayed in different areas. The continuous analysis of figures, which can also be performed for logical criteria, is preserved.
State Office for Data Processing and Statistics in North-Rhine Westphalia prepares its data for color-separated printing and for the PDF documentation on the Internet or CD-ROM. The separation, including the color management controlled conversion of RGB data, can be done directly in the application. For the export PDF function RagTime tightly cooperates with Adobe Acrobat Distiller (version 4 or newer). Distillers settings and job options can be selected directly within RagTime. When required, RagTime starts Distiller and provides the document data. In doing so, optimized PDF files are created in just one step, for the Internet, digital printing or further prepress processing.