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PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
More contributions
PANEL “Five visions of a PDF future” at the PDF Days Europe 2018

Catherine Andersz (PDFTron), Richard Cohn (Adobe), Harald Grumser (Compart), Carsten Heiermann (Foxit) and Duff Johnson (PDF Association) present their ideas for the next 25 years of PDF.

Interview with Dietrich von Seggern, CEO of callas software, about PDF Days Europe 2018

Dietrich von Seggern, CEO of callas software, will be hosting a presentation titled “Text and fonts in PDF” at the PDF Days Europe 2018. In this Interview he gives some background information about it.

Interview with Ulrich Isermeyer, Sr. Business Development Manager, Adobe Systems GmbH, about PDF Days Europe 2018

Ulrich Isermeyer, Sr. Business Development Manager, Adobe Systems GmbH, will be hosting a presentation titled “The power of 3D PDF” at the PDF Days Europe 2018. In this Interview he gives some background information about it.

Six Questions to Duff Johnson, Executive Director at PDF Association

Our Executive Director Duff Johnson gives some personally information about his experience with the “PDF universe” and much more.

Interview with Kevin Willems, Software Engineer at iText Software, about PDF Days Europe 2018

Kevin Willems, Software Engineer at iText Software, will be hosting a presentation titled “Redaction in electronic documents” at the PDF Days Europe 2018. In this interview Kevin gives some background information about it.

Email archiving with PDF/A


The main challenge when archiving emails is the absolute menagerie of different file formats a business has to deal with. There is the email itself, of course, but the real problem is the attachments, which can be images, scanned documents or PDF, Word or Excel files. These formats tend to be proprietary and non-standard, but converting emails and their attachments to PDF/A will ensure they remain readable for long periods of time. The format is ‘complete’: all fonts are embedded within the file, for example, as is the relevant metadata. PDF/A also ensures that a file will be displayed exactly the same on any system and forbids any dynamic content. Finally – and this is the most important argument of all – the ISO standard is designed for long-term archiving, guaranteeing that files saved in the PDF/A format will remain reproducible and readable for decades to come. We can consider it guaranteed that a PDF/A viewer will always be available over the span of time required for archiving.

During the conversion process, the header information within an email is extracted and added to the PDF/A file’s XMP metadata, allowing users to search for specific emails. The body of the email is converted to PDF/A and stored as the PDF/A file itself. The three different versions of the PDF/A standard open up a range of options which all come into play when archiving email attachments: PDF/A-1 adds any attachments to the end of an email as additional pages. PDF/A-2 allows the user to embed additional PDF/A files, meaning that attachments can be integrated as PDF/A files in their own right. The third and latest version of the standard, PDF/A-3, goes a step further: because it allows users to embed any file type, attachments can be integrated into the archive-ready file in both source and PDF/A formats. The email can also be embedded in its original format, if desired, meaning that it can then be opened in an email client – to reply to the sender, for example. Under this system, it is important to preserve the relationship between archive-ready documents, emails and attachments within the PDF/A file – to ensure, in other words, that this relationship is not dependent on the archive itself. This guarantees complete system neutrality, a key advantage which can avoid issues such as time-intensive system migration projects down the line. When choosing and integrating PDF/A tools, archivists should seek expert advice. One good source of information on the subject is the PDF Association. The PDF/A Competence Center is a subdivision of the Association, forming an excellent point of contact with a wide range of PDF/A experts.

Dietrich von Seggern, Business Development Manager, callas software GmbH, summarized the situation: “More and more businesses are archiving emails in PDF/A format. Handling attachments is a critical part of this strategy, and the third version of the PDF/A standard allows them to be archived as both original and archive-ready files.


Tags: Archiving, PDF/A-3, long-term archiving
Categories: PDF/A