PDF/A Competence Center Newsletter: Issue 7

Topics include cooperations with APROGED and VOI, status on PDF/A-2 and PDF/A for SAP.

Table of Contents

  • Current News:
    • PDF/A-2 – Status after the ISO Meeting in Peking
    • Cooperation 1: APROGED and the PDF/A Competence Center
    • Cooperation 2: VOI and the PDF/A Competence Center
    • PDF/A for SAP Document Management
  • PDF/A Competence Center Members Introduce Themselves:
    • SEAL Systems AG
  • New Members





Johannes Hesel

Dear PDF/A Community,

2008 is slowly drawing to an end. We at the PDF/A Competence Center can look back at a very successful year with numerous highlights: the 1st International PDF/A Conference in Amsterdam, the completion of the Isartor Test Suite for PDF/A validators, the successful participation at trade fairs all over the world and new cooperation agreements with international associations.

As the representative from SEAL Systems, my personal „PDF/A Highlight“ in 2008 was the rise of SEAL Systems from “full member“ to “partner member“ in the PDF/A Competence Center and my own election onto the executive committee. We would especially like to represent the interests of customers who are using PDF/A in the engineering environment.

Technical drawings, documents and specifications that arise out of product development must remain available over the entire life cycle of the product. These documents are not archived and forgotten; they are used daily as the basis for production, maintenance and procurement activities. Their availability and error-free reproduction must often be guaranteed over many years, as the following example from the aeronautics industry demonstrates: it can take 10 to 20 years between the time that the planning for a large aircraft starts and the actual production begins. Afterwards, it is quite common that such an aircraft will be produced for up to 50 years. Legal regulations require that all documentation be archived and remain available for a further 30 years after production ceases. In order to guarantee this, many questions with respect to long-term archiving must be clarified. A very important question deals with the document format, which must ensure legibility after 100 years. In this case, PDF/A delivers the answer.

More and more industrial customers are recognizing this fact and are therefore deciding on PDF/A as their preferred format for long-term archiving. The following questions are being posed to the PDF/A Competence Center: “How can PDF/A be created from CAD? Is PDF/A an accepted format with respect to product liability? How can one ensure that documents provided by suppliers conform to the PDF/A standard? Can one simply convert a supplier’s PDF documents into PDF/A format? How do PDF/A and SAP treat each other?” We at the PDF/A Competence Center have the correct answers. In addition to current topics and events, this edition of the Newsletter deals with the subject of “PDF/A and SAP DVS”.

Let me give you a short preview of the coming year. The PDF/A Competence Center will again conduct and attend a number of events. The highlight will without doubt be the International PDF/A Conference that will be held June 18 and 19, 2009 in Berlin. Reserve the dates now – a visit is definitively worth it!

I wish you a wonderful Christmas season and good luck and prosperity for the New Year.

Johannes Hesel
Executive Committee Member
PDF/A Competence Center


PDF/A-2 – Status after the ISO Meeting in Peking

During the last two weeks in October 2008, the ISO committee ISO TC 171 SC2 (ISO Technical Committee 171, Sub-Committee 2) met in Peking to begin work on the second part of the PDF standard (ISO 32000-2) and to continue working on the PDF/A-2 standard (ISO 19005-2).

Adobe submitted approximately 150 pages of proposed changes to the existing PDF standard (ISO 32000-1, roughly equivalent to the Adobe PDF 1.7 specification). The requested amendments deal with portfolios in PDF files, digital rights management, the integration of Flash, the new forms technique XFA and the use of 3D content.

Foreseen is the definition of a basic functionality for PDF, in order that the inclusion of the increasing number of new functionalities can be better structured in the PDF standard.

For the new PDF/UA (Universal Access) standard dealing with barrier-free PDF documents that is under development, a request was submitted to completely incorporate the document into the future ISO 32000-2 standard, in order to avoid splitting the PDF standard into too many sub-standards.

Due to the numerous amendments to PDF/A-2 that were submitted based on the first Committee Draft, a second Committee Draft for PDF/A-2 will now be prepared and distributed to all national representatives that are members of the ISO TC 171 SC 2.

The next meeting of the ISO TC 171 SC 2 is planned for April 2009 in Germany. At that time, comments on the second Committee Draft will be discussed, and subsequently PDF/A-2 will be prepared as a Draft International Standard (DIS) for final voting. If everything goes well and according to plan, PDF/A-2 could be officially released as an international standard by the middle of 2010.

Cooperation 1: APROGED and the PDF/A Competence Center

A central goal of the PDF/A Competence Center is to increase the international acceptance of PDF/A as an ISO standard for long-term archiving in PDF format. A formal cooperation agreement with the French professional IT association APROGED (Association des Professionnels du Numérique) was founded for this purpose. APROGED members receive access to the extensive information and events of the PDF/A Competence Center on the subject of PDF/A. On the other hand, APROGED and its’ members offer an excellent platform for the PDF/A Competence Center to introduce PDF/A quickly and efficiently to the right recipients in the French market.

The very successful appearance of the PDF/A Competence Center and seven of its members at the Forum des Acteurs du Numerique (FAN) in October was as the same time the official start of the cooperation and the first joint public activity. “PDF/A : L’essentiel”, the French version of “PDF/A in a Nutshell” , was published just in time for the FAN. The translation of the most vital publication dealing with PDF/A into French is a further important result of the cooperation between APROGED and the PDF/A Competence Center. The cornerstone for a comprehensive market introduction of PDF/A in France has been laid. Discussions over further joint activities to follow in 2009 are now being finalized

Cooperation 2: VOI and the PDF/A Competence Center
The PDF/A Competence Center and the VOI – Verband Organisations- und Informationssystem e. V. (Association for Organizational and Information Systems) have agreed on a cooperation. The cooperation agreement was signed during the SYSTEMS fair at the VOI joint stand. Joint activities will enable both associations to reach a wider audience on both the national and international stages. For example, the PDF/A Competence Center and the VOI want to conduct joint events in the future both in Germany and internationally. The responsible delegates from the two organizations have worked out a catalogue of possible activities.

This includes amongst other things a PDF/A workshop for members of the VOI, participation by the PDF/A Competence Center at the joint VOI booth at the CeBIT, and an active involvement of the VOI at the PDF/A Competence Center’s international conference.

The VOI represents a predominant majority of enterprise content management system (ECM) and document management system (DMS) suppliers in Germany. It acts on behalf of its members interests, creates transparency in the market and, as the “Voice Of Information”, is the communications bridge between suppliers and users. As an international association, the PDF/A Competence Center strives to advance the exchange of information and experience in the area of long-term archiving in accordance with ISO 19005: PDF/A. In order to achieve their goals more quickly, both organizations have agreed on a cooperation.

The respective areas of interest complement each other extremely well. Both associations can better communicate their message in the market through joint activities – both at the national and international levels.

PDF/A for SAP Document Management

The document management system DVS that is integrated in SAP has proven itself to be a powerful DMS for numerous types of document and files formats. The built-in version and status controls as well as several authorization and classification functions make it very practical in many use cases. Documents associated with business processes and business objects, for example product and logistic information, quality data, manuals, work instructions, catalogues and pictures, are especially suited for being managed.

The productive use is versatile: documents can be displayed on screen directly from the document management system or through business processes, and can be distributed in digital form or by means of a printing process. Preparing documents together with other SAP forms for production, purchasing and maintenance creates reliable processes and saves considerable time. Due to these advantages, more and more companies are using SAP DVS for administering their product relevant documents.

Data from diverse sources and applications are processed together in SAP DVS. Since these product and process data are often subject to long retention periods and are used in business critical processes like production and maintenance, it must be guaranteed that they are easily, correctly and identically reproducible over long periods. PDF/A is the ideal data format for fulfilling these requirements.

How can it be guaranteed that a PDF/A file is available for every document in the SAP DVS? Practical experience has shown that the best solution is to use central, server-based processes that automatically convert documents from all applications in the company into PDF/A. These converters, that can be controlled through the SAP conversion server, automatically convert DVS administered documents to PDF/A when a pre-defined status is reached, or can be manually controlled by a user.

For documents that are already stored in PDF format in the document management system, the quality of the PDF file can be verified using a suitable validator and corrected, if necessary, through a subsequent conversion process. These test and correction methods can be integrated into the document management process through user exits, such that the quality of every PDF file that should be saved is first verified. If a supplier’s PDF file must be changed to conform to the PDF/A standard, legal aspects like the copyright of the original document must, amongst other things, be taken into consideration. In such a case, the company that is correcting the file does not own the copyright and it is essential that the original file is stored along with the file that was changed to conform with the standard. The integrated quality assurance should create an associated protocol with the verification steps, the results of the verification and changes that were applied to the document, and should also be stored in the SAP DVS for safekeeping.

A further subject is the handling of inventory data. Since these are quite often required for production and maintenance processes over many years, a strategy must be defined for also retaining this information in PDF/A format. Conversion methods and processes must be implemented in order to guarantee a smooth transfer to PDF/A.

In summary it can be said that the SAP DVS offers excellent possibilities for the long-term retention of all types of documents and is included in the basic version of every SAP system. PDF/A as a file format fulfils all requirements for reliable and secure long-term archiving. An integrated creation, verification and correction process for PDF/A can be realized in SAP DVS and provides a maximum guarantee for the future availability of data and information. SAP DVS and PDF/A are an intelligent combination that business processes can be built upon for long-term efficiency and security.


SEAL Systems AG

By Reinhold Müller-Meernach, Executive Committee Member, SEAL Systems AG
Printing, distributing, publishing and converting documents and forms – this is SEAL Systems’ product offering.

All three areas of document distribution in business can be resolved using the output management software from SEAL Systems :

Business Printing

Printing and electronic distribution from the ERP system to all printers, fax and email systems can be accomplished using standardized interfaces and system management.

Engineering Printing

The distribution of large and small format documents from CAD, PLM and DMS systems to all leading manufacturer and brand-name devices is supported. Control information is also included, e.g. status and release stamps.

Network Printing

Print services are provided for desktop and terminal server environments with a standard Windows driver model and a basis configuration for managing and distributing device information in different applications and networks. More than 1000 installations demonstrate the success and stability of output management with SEAL Systems. The company has been on the market for over 25 years. Mehr als 1000 Installationen zeigen den Erfolg und die Stabilität von Ausgabemnagement mit SEAL Systems. Seit mehr als 25 Jahren ist die Firma im Markt etabliert.

Conversion Professionals and Partnership with SAP

The conversion of application, print and file formats is one of SEAL Systems core competences. End user and system integrator conversion tools, used for creating neutral format files from all applications and environments, can also create PDF/A. In addition there are methods for quality assurance, correction and inventory verification of PDF/A files in ECM repositories.

Elements of SEAL Systems’ solution portfolio are SAP NetWeaver certified. Included in the solution offerings are standardized conversion servers for the SAP DVS and the BC-XDC interface. A key element of the offerings are methods for the complete, correct and sorted output of forms and documents for production, purchasing and maintenance.

SEAL Systems has offices in Germany, France, North America and Australia. Local partners are available in numerous other countries for assistance.

More information can be found at: www.sealsystems.com.


We welcome the following companies as members in the PDF/A Competence Center:

About PDF/A Competence Center

The first of the PDF Association's Competence Centers.

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