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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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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.

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…

What is a “Competence Center”?

Competence CentersThe PDF Association started in 2006 as the “PDF/A Competence Center”. The mission was to identify – and thereby establish – a common interpretation of the PDF/A-1 specification. With that accomplished through meetings open to all members, the secondary objective was to help drive that understanding to the people who would be most interested in the results: PDF software developers around the world.

It worked. A common perspective on PDF/A-1b was quickly adopted by industry leaders, and then implemented worldwide, with few exceptions.

The PDF Association has moved on since the days in which it focussed on PDF/A. There are now Competence Centers for PDF itself and each of the major PDF subsets. Today, most of the work is concentrated in so-called “Technical Working Groups (TWG)”. So, what’s a “TWG” versus a “Competence Center” anyhow?

TWGs and Competence Centers

Each Competence Center consists of one or more subgroups. Typically, the Technical Working Group addresses the specification itself, or interpretations and applications thereof. When present, a Marketing Working Group (MWG) tends to focus on how the PDF subset is presented to the world at large, especially end-users.

There may also be one or more Special Interest Groups (SIG) within any given Competence Center; these organizations are dedicated to specific functional, technical, marketplace or other areas of interest.

Access to these groups is for PDF Association members only, and is one of the principle benefits of membership.

We encourage all PDF developers to consider joining the PDF Association and participating in these activities! PDF is only worthwhile when it’s fully interoperable, and the Competence Centers are here to help maximize that outcome.


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