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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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Save-The-Date: PDF Day France, Toulouse, April 4, 2019

PDF Day France will be the first French-speaking event of the PDF Association, organised by our member ORPALIS. It will take place in Toulouse which is the home ground of Airbus and we are very happy that Airbus will present a case study around its usage of PDF in their document management environment!

Electronic Document Conference: Call for Papers

Prospective presenters at the Electronic Document Conference 2019 are invited to submit high-quality original proposals for 25-minute presentations on subjects of interest to developers and technical product managers concerned with electronic document implementations.

Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.

Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Members supporting PDF features!

The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.

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