In the business-to-consumer relationship, the topic of PDF/A also crosses over to the consumer. For at least as long as the communication between companies (or other organizations) and the consumer uses individual correspondence, is relevant for archiving and is sent to them via e-mail or provided for download from a Web portal, the consumer will be exposed to long-term archived documents. This usually concerns documents that are created individually for the end-user, such as invoices, quotations, order confirmations etc. that are more or less automatically created in large numbers by such companies. In this case, you must consider additional prerequisites not only on the side of the creator but also on the side of the consumer. In this respect, you should also always consider the consumer habits and options in such an environment.
In the first article “Once upon a Time before PDF/A…”, Kai Volmer (from the Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen) describes how the archiving of documents has entered companies and how this process was executed in the Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen up to the conversion to PDF/A. To this end, he takes the reader on a journey through time and uses several examples to demonstrate what, and in what form, has been archived since the year 1430 B.C., which problems have been caused by this and why PDF/A was eventually chosen as the format.
In the next article “Electronic Invoices as PDF/A”, Domenico Barile explains the legal prerequisites for sending electronic invoicing that apply in Italy and how they were solved using a range of services based on PDF/A and offered by his company E-Mission. E-Mission offers a Web service that can be used to electronically signed invoices and other business documents, to convert these to PDF/A, to store them in an archive and to make these available to business partners and their customers via a portal.
Harald Grumser from Compart AG concludes this section of the proceedings with an article concerning the topic of “PDF/A in High Volume Printing Applications”, in which he reports on the characteristics of PDF/A in the environment of mass correspondence. Since the PDF/A standard does not allow you to work with external resources (as you would usually do in the area of high-volume printing) and since embedding resources such as fonts for each individual document may lead to an enormously inflated volume of storage, you must weigh up other techniques and approaches that allow you to work with PDF/A and its advantages regardless of this.