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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/A – the ISO standard for long-term archiving

Up to the end of the 20th century, physical media formats (paper, microfilms and microfiches) were the only option for businesses and public authorities storing documents for the long term in a reproducible format. The major drawback to these analogue approaches was the significant time and effort required: documents are hard to search through, trained personnel are required, specialist equipment is needed to read microfilms, and entire climate-controlled rooms are needed to store documents.

The first digital archiving format to gain ground in many countries was the TIFF image format. In 1993, however, a modern, more powerful format became available in the form of PDF. This became the basis on which the standard archive format PDF/A was developed.

For companies, public authorities and private users needing to store digital information for a long period of time – be it 5 years, 50 or 500 – the PDF/A standard is now the clear choice of file format.

PDF/A is a multi-part ISO standard developed over many years of committee work by industry associations, businesses and public authorities around the world. The result is “a file format based on PDF, known as PDF/A, which provides a mechanism for representing electronic documents in a manner that preserves their visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for creating, storing or rendering the files.” (ISO 19005-1, quoted from the introduction).

ISO Logo
The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the largest organisation in the world for developing and publishing international standards.

The first part of the standard, PDF/A-1, has been available since the 1st of October 2005. Its official designation is “ISO 19005-1:2005. Document management – Electronic document file format for long-term preservation – Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4 (PDF/A-1)”.

Since then, two further parts have been made available to users: PDF/A-2 (since 2011) and PDF/A-3 (since 2012). These parts exist in parallel and are optimised to meet particular needs.
The PDF/A standards family regulates how to create electronic documents to ensure they can be reliably reproduced for decades to come. The standard does not describe how to build a revision-safe archive, nor the theory behind one.

The decisive advantages of PDF/A

  • A PDF/A file contains everything needed to display it and nothing which could negatively impact the display.
  • PDF/A files can be used on any platform.
  • Free programs exist for displaying PDF/A files.
  • The multi-part PDF/A standard offers great flexibility to users.

Widespread acceptance of PDF/A

PDF/A is becoming more and more common, be it in industry, public administration, financial services or academia. A large number of authorities and institutions worldwide recommend PDF/A or specifically require the use of the standard

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Tags: ISO
Categories: PDF, PDF/A