PDF Association Newsletter: Issue 23


    • The Legal Case for PDF/A
    • LuraTech Europe GmbH

gary hodkinsonDear Readers,

January is strange month, don’t you think? After the frenetic activity of December full of office parties, last-minute deals to be closed, Christmas shopping, family get-togethers (and arguments!) ending in the mad celebrations that are New Year’s Eve, perhaps it’s not surprising that January can leave you feeling a little depressed.

Cheer up, you’re not alone; January has the dubious honour of being the only month with a day described as “the most depressing day of the year”. This means that you can share your tales of over spending, over eating and general misery with your nearest colleague at work, who I’m sure, will be only too willing to listen and add your worries to their own.

Originally, I had assumed that this collective malaise was just a British concept but I’ve just discovered, to my surprise, that it’s official. Well, when I say ‘official’ I mean it’s listed on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date)) which, let’s face it, is probably the nearest definition to “official” we can hope to get for this topic.

So, dear readers, as Editor of the January PDF/A newsletter I feel it is my responsibility to drag you all out of this depressing period and encourage you all to look forward to the opportunities ahead in 2012.

Here in the UK, as well as in the USA, there is a growing interest in the use of PDF/A for archiving in the Legal vertical (see main article below). To a large degree this follows the initiative of the US Federal Courts in requiring case document to be filed in PDF/A format, but the interest has spread beyond the USA.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg, France, made the decision to store their archived digital material in compressed PDF/A format and UK-based law firms have subsequently shown an interest in the ISO standard.

The LegalTech show is being held in New York from January 30th until February 1st this year, followed by a second event in Los Angeles from May 22nd – 23rd. Undoubtedly, PDF/A will be on the agenda at these shows as well as at the LawTech Futures 2012 event in London, on March 15th.

With less than 250 shopping days left until Christmas, I advise you to plan well ahead for a prosperous and, hopefully, cheerful 2012!

Gary Hodkinson

LuraTech Ltd. 


The Legal Case for PDF/A

(This is an abbreviated version of the full-length article, available at www.pdfa.org)

It is not just law firms that need to keep documents for a long period of time, but it sometimes feels like this industry takes the concept to a whole new level! In addition to the thousands of paper documents nearly every firm accumulates, most companies now have the need to operate some form of digital document storage and make use of so-called ‘Document Management Systems’. This means that many law firms now have the need to maintain (at least) two types of document archive, i.e. paper and digital.

The aim of this article is to draw attention to the fact that there’s an underlying problem with digital document archiving, which may only present itself as a major problem in the future when there is a need to go back and view this digital data. The real risk, discussed below, is not whether someone can actually search, find and retrieve the digital information, but concerns whether it will be possible for the retrieved file to be viewed exactly as it was when it was created. Will the pages and images be displayed correctly, and will cross-references still be accurate?

PDF/A in the USA Federal Courts

The potential risk of not being able to reliably access archived digital information long into the future was identified by the Administrative Office of the US Courts and they were one of the initiators of the PDF/A ISO standard. Since 2010, PDF/A has subsequently been taken up by multiple district courts, including those in New York and Wyoming. After 15 years of the federal court adopting PDF as the standard for their central case management system, and with approximately 500 million PDFs in the archive, the decision was made to ultimately require district courts to file in the PDF/A format.

The move to PDF/A was made in direct response to the ISO certification of PDF/A in 2005, and the realisation that PDF/A is the only way to guarantee future readability for legacy case related documents.

PDF/A Worldwide

PDF/A has been adopted as the standard for long-term government archives in many countries, and is mandated in many other industry verticals. These are some examples.

  • In 2008, the Swiss Federal Council began requiring PDF/A format for all communications between the government and citizens.
  • In Austria, all land register deeds must comply with PDF/A in order to prove the authenticity of its documents through a qualified digital signature.
  • In Germany, the use of PDF/A has been recommended for e-government applications.
  • The European Commission has also included PDF/A in the recommended data formats for scanned documents and long-term archiving in order to standardise the exchange of documents between the European Commission and the governments of its member states.
  • The European Court of Human Rights has recently begun to archive documents in PDF/A format and is using compression technology to minimise storage space and cost as well as facilitate document retrieval times.
  • The Brazilian and Dutch Governments have now mandated the use of PDF/A for archiving, along with the Australian Public Records Office.

In parallel with the above, various options for archiving in PDF/A have begun to appear here in the UK. From document imaging systems to specialised eBible and data migration tools, the technical barriers to securing long-term accessibility to your archived documents have largely been removed and all that’s required now is the commitment to make the change. It is not certain when, if ever, there will ever be a UK mandate for PDF/A in the legal field but, while we wait to find out, there’s little doubt that the time is right to begin protecting your future.


LuraTech Europe GmbH

LuraTech delivers production software and document and data conversion solutions, along with bespoke services and outstanding support. LuraTech’s solutions are easy to handle and require little customisation to implement. DocYard is production software for Scan Service Providers which integrates every step of production into configurable, centrally manageable workflows. Scan Service Providers therefore achieve a very high level of automation and integration in document processing. The PDF Compressor is a multi-sector, production-oriented application for compression, conversion to PDF(/A), OCR, classification and form data extraction.

Since its foundation in 1995, LuraTech has been a leading provider of open and ISO-standards-based document and data compression solutions. These include, among others, the successful PDF, PDF/A and JPEG2000 products.

LuraTech is an active participant in various associations, including the Competence Center Standards und Normen and in regional groups of the Association of Organization and Information Systems (VOI) and BITKOM. In addition, LuraTech is the initiator and founding member of the PDF/A Competence Center – a global association with more than 120 members. LuraTech also is a member of the associations AIIM, ARMA, NIRMA and TAWPI.

The company headquarters are in Berlin, with additional locations in Remscheid (Germany), Redwood City (California, USA) and London (UK).

LuraTech has long been involved in the efficient compression of scanned documents and provides solutions for converting scanned files into PDF/A documents. In response to the large demand from the market, the product portfolio has been expanded to include PDF/A solutions for digital documents, enabling users to realize a complete PDF/A strategy with the help of LuraTech products.

Carsten Heiermann, president of LuraTech Europe GmbH: “The certified PDF/A format is the long-awaited answer to the oft prevalent uncertainty in electronic archiving. Our current portfolio helps organizations and corporations to optimally convert both their digital as well as their paper-based documents to PDF/A and therefore to archive them in a single certified standard format.”


January 30, 2012 - February 1, 2012: LegalTech New York 2012

The PDF Association will host a booth at LegalTech New York 2012. Visitors can meet PDF/A experts and learn everything about PDF/A and how it can be deployed in legal applications. Members interested in participating are welcome.

The Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of Americas, New York 



March 6, 2012 – March 10, 2012: CeBIT 2012

Again, many PDF Association members will exhibit at the CeBIT 2012 show.  Please use the opportunity to meet them.

Hannover, Germany

CeBIT 2012 EN




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

About PDF Association

Association for Digital Document Standards – ADDS

The PDF Association is an initiative of the Association for Digital Document Standards (ADDS) e.V., founded in September 2006. The association is geared towards developers of PDF solutions; companies that work with PDF in document management systems (DMS) and electronic content management (ECM), interested individuals, and users who want to implement PDF technology in their organizations. Although the Association’s members originally were predominantly from German speaking countries, the PDF Association now boasts members from over 20 countries world-wide.


Association for Digital Document Standards e.V.
– PDF Association –
Thomas Zellmann
Neue Kantstr. 14
D-14057 Berlin

T: +49 30 394050 – 50


About PDF Association

Founded in 2006 as the PDF/A Competence Center, the PDF Association exists to promote the adoption and implementation of International Standards for PDF technology.

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