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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.
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Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

Slides and video recordings of PDF Days Europe 2018

You missed the PDF Days Europe 2018? Never mind! Here you can find the slides and video recordings of all 32 stunning sessions!

Using PDF/UA in accessibility checklists

PDF/UA, like PDF itself, is internally complex, but used correctly, actually makes things easier.

PDF Association expands its board of directors

Catherine Andersz of PDFTron Systems, Alaine Behler of iText Software and Peter Wyatt, ISO Project Leader for ISO 32000 enrich the newly elected board of the PDF Association.

PDF in legal: now and the future

Binary code with a question-mark.As with the financial services industry, it’s hard to imagine the modern attorney without a hard-drive full of PDF files. Some things, however, haven’t changed too much. Lawyers are still swamped with stacks of OPD (Other People’s Documents). They are, of course, also prolific document generators themselves.

The legal industry uses PDF because it’s both flexible and permanent. How did PDF fit in so neatly? It’s because PDF has a unique mix of capabilities.

  • Any scanner, or any software that can print can make a PDF
  • PDF pages are self-contained; any PDF page may be collated with any other PDF page
  • PDF documents are searchable
  • PDF documents look the same way across town or after years
  • PDF files are smaller than source-files
  • Viewing PDF files is free

Portable Document Format technology has been around for 21 years; attorneys all over the world depend on it everyday. As a fixed-format electronic record it has no equal, but few law-firms systematically leverage the power of PDF to help everyone work as a team.

Where will PDF go from here?

The US Courts, the US Library of Congress and the National Archives were among the first organizations to call for development of a standardized quality-control model for PDF. Nonetheless, it was in Europe, following the 2005 publication of PDF/A, that the revolution in electronic archiving first took off.

Today, PDF/A is an accepted best-practice for long-term document retention; failure to use PDF/A is increasingly understood as a failure to follow due care in ensuring high-value documents are readable. The US Courts are slowly transitioning to require submissions be in PDF/A form.  This trend should be expected to continue to include state courts and regulators. Due to the potential of PDF/A for reducing risk, it may be implemented to manage documents transacted between businesses as well.

PDF technology is much more than a reliable printable page. How else will PDF affect the legal industry?

Progressive elimination of paper: PDF serves uniquely well as electronic paper, in part because PDFs can reliably become paper documents, and vice-versa. Over time, expect more PDF files and less paper.

Identity and authentication: With digital signature technology, attorneys and their clients can enjoy increased security in electronic communications, including tamper-proofing, proof of authorship and a mechanism for revocation, time-stamping, version-control and more.

Discovery: From email to CAD files and more, PDF documents are the natural “format of record”, but the original often remains important. The 3rd part of PDF/A provides a hybrid solution in which an archival-quality rendering serves as the container for files of non-archival types.

Achieving Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance: Tagged PDF technology contributes towards ADA compliance obligations for accessible electronic documents.

To learn more about what PDF technology can do, attend PDF Day, December 10 in Washington DC and December 11 in New York City

Categories: Legal