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The DMS Expo offers a great opportunity to reflect on the development and acceptance of PDF/A. The PDF/A Competence Center was founded six years ago at the DMS and has since grown into the PDF Association. During this time, PDF/A has become accepted in all business sectors. Areas of application include scanned documents for the digital mailroom and digitizing dossiers through to digital applications like converting email to PDF/A and document output systems that use PDF/A as an archiving format. During the past year in particular we have seen more and more users who have completed pilot projects and selected PDF/A for strategic reasons.
The PDF/A ISO standard has developed moderately during this time. When the first part of the standard was initially published it was clear to the ISO that a standard for long-term archiving can never lose its validity; however technology will continue to develop and offer practical improvements that will need to be considered in future parts to the standard. PDF/A-2 was published in the summer of 2011 and is already being applied in numerous projects. The third part to the standard PDF/A-3 and its possibilities will be presented in the main topic of this newsletter.
The PDF Association will be conducting their traditional Pre-DMS seminar again this year, with the PDF/UA (Universal Access) standard for barrier-free documents being discussed.
Universal access is an important issue, since the structured access to content is not only of importance to people with disabilities, but is also necessary when using mobile devices with small displays. For this reason, many public authorities are already requiring documents to be prepared in accordance with these needs.
Many of our members will be present at the DMS and available to provide information about the different PDF standards. In addition there will be six presentations at the expert forums. We look forward to meeting you again at the DMS. The PDF Association is also available throughout the entire year to provide information and expert referrals.
I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter.
Managing Director, PDF Association
The following members of the PDF Association will be at the DMS Expo 2012:
PDF/A-related presentations will be on offer on all three days of the DMS EXPO in the VOI Forum (Hall 5, Stand A53).
In addition, a set of three PDF/A presentations will be held in the BITKOM Forum at 12:00.
PDF/A-3 is the third part to the PDF/A standard for long-term archiving and will be published shortly by the ISO. It may even be available by the start of the DMS.
The ISO responded relatively quickly with PDF/A-3, primarily because there were many user requirements, especially from archives, that needed to be addressed.
From a technical standpoint, there is only one new feature with PDF/A-3, namely that any source format can be embedded in a PDF/A file. This Container concept expands the character of PDF/A as a guaranteed long-term archiving format. Normal PDF files have supported this feature for a long time, and with PDF/A-3 it will also now be allowed in the PDF/A format.
New areas of application will be opened up for PDF/A thanks to this possibility.
Todays classic archives often apply a dual strategy whereby the source file, for example an Excel file, as well as a PDF/A file are saved. This requires however two separate objects to be archived. Archives therefore submitted a request that it would be much more eloquent if there were only one object to archive, containing both the original file as well as a long-term reliable PDF/A file. This exemplifies the container approach, and can be applied for cases like the Baden-Württemberg State Archive. The archive has stated that they will save the bitstream of the original file, for example Excel, in addition to a PDF/A file. They however do not provide any guarantee that the Excel in e.g. 50 years will still be legible, whereas with the PDF/A file an unambiguous reproduction of the file can always be guaranteed.
Personally my favorite example is the German registry of births, marriages and deaths, since every citizen has as a minimum a birth certificate. The legislators have stipulated that the master must be a digitally signed XML file, which is most likely to be machine-readable. It has long been best-practice in this field to additionally archive a PDF/A file as an unambiguous visual reproduction of the birth certificate. With PDF/A-3, both the digitally signed XML master as well as the PDF/A reproduction can be combined into one physical file.
Further possible areas of use include the embedding of XML and EDI files in invoices, and there are different initiatives underway to integrate this in PDF/A-3. And in the healthcare industry there is the CDA standard that can be used in medical reports.
Last but not least, PDF/A-3 is also suitable for email archiving. Within the scope of email management, many users today convert emails with their attachments to PDF/A in order to fulfill long-term archiving requirements. With PDF/A-3, the original formats of the attachments, e.g. MS-Office, OpenOffice or other formats can also be embedded in the archived email.
There are many additional possible uses, and the PDF Association is happy to provide more information, in addition to also being in the learning curve for PDF/A-3 themselves.
As mentioned above, PDF/A-3 will be published shortly and naturally there are not many software tools available today that already support PDF/A-3. However, some providers of PDF/A solutions will be presenting their first PDF/A-3 products at the DMS.
Anyone planning a medium-term project who wants to consider the strategic implementation of PDF/A can include PDF/A-3 in their planning and integrate it in their concept. And the members of the PDF Association are readily available to provide guidance as to which part of the PDF/A standard is best suited for your specific needs.
On the day before DMS Expo begins, the PDF Association will host an event about the new ISO standart PDF/UA. The event will be in German. (More info )
In cooperation with the PDF Association the Danish publishing company Rosendahls in Copenhagen hosts a one-day seminar about PDF/UA. (More info )
Duff Johnson to speak at the AHG Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference 2012 on November 14, 2012, about the new PDF/UA standard. (More info )
Members of the PDF Association and the special interest group (SIG) PDF/A in healthcare will be available at Medica for information around PDF standards and especially PDF/A. You will find our members DMI, intarsys, Optimal Systems and secrypt in hall 15. (More info )
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 Associations members 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.
Neue Kantstr. 14
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