The articles in this chapter contain the content of the Conference Track A: Archives & Libraries. For archives and libraries, “long-term archiving” virtually means “forever”! Special measures are required for both hardware and software, and PDF/A can fulfil many of the requirements for software and file formats.
Hans-Joachim Hübner from the SRZ gives a very good introduction into “Relevance of PDF/A in Archives & Libraries – Digital Preservation”. SRZ has been working for a long time in this sector, and he adds a lot of details and best practices from real world projects.
UBS as a large Swiss bank may not seem to belong in this track. But all large corporations have departments which are responsible for the historic company archive and also their own libraries. UBS had the requirement to archive their website for compliance and history purposes, and has chosen to do it as PDF/A files. UBS will now be able to answer questions in the future like: How did our website look 3 years ago?” or “Which special credit offer did we have in January?” for compliance and legal reasons.
Archives are typically receivers of documents, and from their point of view it would be optimal if the files they receive are already in PDF/A format. This can be achieved through proper communication and organisation with the suppliers. There are many PDF/A scanning solutions that can be applied when existing documents in an archive are converted into electronic format. For files that are delivered in other electronic formats, numerous tools are offered for converting to PDF/A. It may be desired to archive both the original format (e.g. Microsoft Word) as well as a PDF/A version of the document.
In general, libraries are both receivers and suppliers of documents. When existing files are converted into a new format, the digital original (e.g. uncompressed TIFF or JPEG2000 lossless) may still be retained. PDF/A can be created from the original file and serves as an ideal delivery format, enabling full-text search and supporting embedded metadata. With respect to digital documents, existing or newly delivered books can be converted to PDF/A. PDF/A can be used for archiving postgraduate work in university libraries as well, and would itself be an interesting topic for such work. There are an increasing number of recommendations and requirements for PDF/A in archives and libraries, for example with the German National Library.
Mrs Natascha Schumann from the German National Library and project leader of nestor, the German competence network for digital preservation, will present this long-term archiving initiative. nestor has been working together with the PDF/A Competence Center for several years and now we are happy to be an official cooperation partner of nestor.
I would like to thank the authors for their excellent contribution of articles which hopefully makes this chapter a worthwhile reading for you! If you want to speak with an international archive or library, please do not hesitate to contact the PDF/A Competence Center – we will be happy to connect you with them.