I recently got a new job in the national archive business here in Norway, because of this I've been given a unique opportunity to present LaTeX as a viable storage format for future documents in records and document management. While I think this is a great opportunity, I have troubles figuring out how to best sell this in to the boards and member archives that eventually will decide the faith of my suggestion.

My endgame here will be to get LaTeX as a storage format into Law. Hopefully we can make the future more manageable when we can deal with proper reproducible white formats (i.e.: tex, xml, svg, ASCII stl) instead of normalization and conversion from one brown file format (i.e. docx) to another (PDF/A) like we do today.

Here are hopes that someone here could aid me a bit on how I best can present LaTeX as such a storage format. What features or concepts could be critical for a successfull evaluation?

  • 4
    Not the full discussion, but arXiv.org and its history could serve as an example on how well information is preserved for almost 3 decades now.
    – Skillmon
    Oct 12, 2020 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Congratulations on your new job.

I would emphasise the longevity and stability of LaTeX (first edition 1985 current edition basically 1994).

Primarily used by mathematicians but also by poets, novelists, linguists, etc., etc. and in multiple languages and scripts (e.g., Japanese classes and packages).

Free software so not influenced by commercial considerations (some companies keep updating their products and force you to spend money on updates because the previous version doesn't work any more).

A very active support group (TUG and tex.stackexchange.com).

  • 3
    I'm not sure whether long-term stability is a good argument, because especially the latest LaTeX release has marked quite a break in preserving old behaviour (which is not necessarily a bad thing). What's probably a better argument is reproducibility in the sense that if you install the version of the TeX distribution that the document was compiled with originally you are guaranteed to obtain the exact same output. Oct 16, 2020 at 10:33
  • Does the statement of your second sentence not also apply to WordPerfect, for example?
    – AlexG
    Oct 16, 2020 at 16:02
  • @AlexG I have never used WordPerfect and have no intention of doing so. I assume that people from multiple disciplines use it. However my first and third sentences, and possibly the last, do not apply to WordPerfect. Oct 17, 2020 at 17:38
  • Sorry, it was meant as a reply to @Henry.
    – AlexG
    Oct 18, 2020 at 11:32
  • 1
    An additional plus is that TeX files are text with some markup. So even if you can't find the TeX distribution, you can still look through the source file and figure out (most of) the information.
    – Teepeemm
    Oct 22, 2020 at 0:49

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