this question is relevant to the full-issue pdf files of tugboat, as made available for electronic reference or download. all articles are always posted individually, but a single front-to-back pdf file is much more convenient for downloading.
a single issue of tugboat will always contain items prepared with plain tex, pdflatex and usually xetex, and there may also be items prepared with context or otherwise requiring lua(la)tex. thus it is impossible to prepare a full issue as an unbroken unit. also, the table of contents is always on the back cover.
a recent (sensible) suggestion was to package the electronic issue with the toc at the front, followed by the rest of the contents in the same order as the print edition.
the tool now used to package the full-issue pdf is ghostscript [9.21]. this merely concatenates the separate article files. it does not create bookmarks or any links; to add these would place an unreasonable burden on an already overworked volunteer.
after issue 38:2 was packaged in this manner, i noticed while checking the pdf that the page numbers indicated in the box between the navigation arrows and the "page mm of nnn" message did not correspond to the numbers on the actual pages. since one purpose of a toc is to show starting page numbers, the ability to type in a page number to access a particular item directly is highly desirable.
i use acrobat to read pdf files; karl berry, who prepares the output files, does not, and when i mentioned this disconnect, he didn't know what i was referring to -- his pdf reader, xpdf [v.3], displays the page information in a somewhat different way.
finally, the question: what (freeware) tools are available for which at least a starting page number can be specified so that the logical page number of a page in the pdf file will be the same as the page number shown on the page image as viewed on the screen?
addendum: in response to a (now deleted) comment asking why we don't ask for source files for tugboat submissions, we do! the whole excruciating process of putting together a tugboat issue has been detailed in the "production notes" column that appears in the TUG@BachoTeX 2017 proceedings issue. (this link goes to the issue toc; the referenced article appears on page 263.)
in answer to a request for details on how the page numbers appear in the two
mentioned browsers, here they are:
- xpdf: Page 1 of 183
- acrobat: 284 (1 of 183)
the arrangement of pages in the file is as follows:
cover 4 (toc), cover 2, 109 (title page) - 288. cover 3